Prophetic Counsel
Daniel 4:19-28
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spoke, and said…

The true prophet is God's messenger to men. He has a definite mission to perform, and his service here is unspeakably precious. We have here several marks of a genuine prophet.

I. REAL SYMPATHY WITH HIS FELLOW-MEN. As a servant of the most high God, he can have no sympathy with self-indulgence, pride, ambition, or any form of sin. But he has real affection for men. Beneath the thick crust of worldliness, he perceives a precious soul, bearing still some lineaments of the Divine image; and his aim is to release and rescue the real man. The prophet feels for him, enters into his perplexities, bears with him the burden of sin. He would, if he might, take those burdens on his own shoulders, and bear them to the feet of the Sin-destroyer. To a large extent he identifies himself with suffering and enslaved humanity. Daniel's silence was more eloquent than any speech, and if he could have averted the monarch's doom he would have done so.

II. CLEAR INSIGHT INTO UNSEEN REALITIES. The prophet of God has commerce with the invisible realm. He knows, as a matter of fact, that there is a sphere of life encompassing us on every side, though unseen by mortal eye. The world, which is patent to the senses is a very small world compared with the territory unrevealed to sense. The visible creation is full of pictures and symbols of the invisible. Moral truths are adumbrated for us in allegorical forms. The objects and events, with which we are familiar in daily life, serve as hieroglyphs, and reveal to our dull understandings heavenly lessons. The trees of the field illustrate man's growth, prosperity, decadence, sudden fall. His frailty may be read in the grass of the field. No material scythe is needed to mow him down. He falls before the east wind. We are dullards and fools if we do not read lessons of wisdom from the scenes of nature, especially when the messengers of God have furnished a key with which to unlock the door of interpretation.

III. PERSONAL REPROOF. God's prophet is bold as well as skilful; fearless as well as affectionate. Being God's messenger, he is bound to represent God; and, with all God's might for his defence, nothing can really harm him. Beside, his very eagerness to promote men's welfare inspires him with courage. He is conscious that he has no other end in view, except to please his Master and to benefit men; hence he proceeds straightway to put his finger upon the plague-spot of men's disease, and to prescribe the remedy. In dealing with those who desire their guidance, God's prophets cannot be too plain, too pointed, or too faithful. If a wanderer seeks guidance through a perilous wilderness, his guide cannot be too plain in his instructions, nor too persistent in requiring a faithful following of his words. Fearless vindication of the truth is a mark of a genuine prophet.

IV. WISE ADMONITION. "Wherefore, O king," said Daniel, "break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor." It is quite probable that this monarch bad not been scrupulously upright in his administration of public justice; quite probable that the poor had been enslaved and oppressed. In the enlargement and embellishment of his capital, it is more than likely that forced labour had been largely exacted from the poor. Possibly the captives from Palestine and from other lands were included in these oppressive measures. Anyhow, Daniel traces the coming disaster to its real fount, viz. the personal sin of the monarch; and, like a true friend, he implores the king to endeavour by repentance to avert the awful doom. If the end can be obtained by methods less severe - the end, viz. man's salvation - God has no wish to employ harsher discipline. His aim is man's good. "Judgment is his strange work." But repentance must be thorough, genuine, practical. It must show itself in real fruit, No half-measures will suffice. The great Physician will have a perfect cure. No human eloquence, however persuasive, will induce men to repent without the attendant and subduing grace of Jehovah. Along with our own efforts, there should be earnest supplication for Divine help. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

WEB: Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stricken mute for a while, and his thoughts troubled him. The king answered, Belteshazzar, don't let the dream, or the interpretation, trouble you. Belteshazzar answered, My lord, the dream be to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your adversaries.

Moments, of Astonishment
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