How would you answer the Bible quiz question, “whose knees knocked together, and why”, what would be your answer? The answer is in today’s readings and shows how quickly humans can forget the evidence of the power and presence of God in their lives.
King Belshazzar was probably the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 5 tells of “1,000 lords” gathered together by Belshazzar who were drinking wine. They were using “the vessels of gold and silver that Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem” (Daniel 5:1,2). As “they drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone, immediately the fingers of a human hand appearing and wrote on the plaster of the wall …” (verses 4,5). It was such a dramatic event that “the king’s colour changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together” (verse 6). His wise men cannot interpret the writing, but the queen mother comes in (verse 10) and reminds him of the now elderly Daniel. He is called and arrives to interpret the writing, a message of doom – “you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting” (verse 27). His kingdom is to be overthrown by Darius and “That very night Belshazzar … was killed” (verse 30).
Chronicles provides similar lessons. In 2 Chronicles 23 the boy Joash was preserved to become king. He was guided by the aged priest Jehoiada and did great work to repair the Temple which had been desecrated by his evil grandmother who had seized control of the nation and killed all the heirs, but he had been hidden. “But Jehoiada grew old and died … He was 130 years old” (24:15); the then “the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king (flattered him). Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the LORD” (verses 17,18) and great trouble followed.
These events are lessons for us. This world has abandoned their belief in God, and a time is coming when God will create situations in which knees will knock together – or worse! Let us heed the lessons of history.