Strong and Courageous #8. “Hope to overcome spiritual paralysis.”

Strong and Courageous #8. “Hope to overcome spiritual paralysis.”

I am not sure which decade gave us the expression, “Freaked Out,” but it perfectly describes Belshazzar’s reaction to the “Handwriting on the wall” (Daniel 5).

The impact was terrifying. The blood rushed from his face, fear gripped him, his hip joints went slack, his knees literally knocked together, and he started screaming out for his religious advisers (Daniel 5:6-7).

God was executing judgement upon Babylon. He had used them to punish Israel’s idolatry, and now it was Babylon’s turn. Belshazzar’s use of the God’s Temple vessels in his drunken party was the last straw. The message on the wall informed him that Babylon’s days were numbered. God had weighed it, found it wanting, and was sending the Medo-Persians to overrun it forthwith.

Centuries later, this time for Christians, we find the hand of God writing: “Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees” (Hebrews 12:12). The Hebrew Christians had become spiritually incapacitated. Though they were members of the church, their desire was to return to the synagogue. This was, of course, a rejection of Jesus the Messiah.

They were also being weighed and found wanting. But, unlike Daniel’s message to the Babylonians, our writer expresses hope: “But we are convinced of better things concerning you, things that accompany salvation” (Hebrews 6:9).

Their “feeble arms and weak knees,” though a metaphor, indicating the obvious state of their “inner man.” Just as Belshazzar’s sense of doom warned him of pending destruction, these Christians should have been sensing the same.

An unstable faith will manifest itself in practical ways. The most obvious of these is a lack of strength and courage in the face of temptation. If anything is going to spiritually paralyse us it is a belief that we can grow in faith and still find solace in sin.

Praise God that there is hope to overcome. God provides the Christian with strength and courage when dressed in The Full Armour of God (Ephesians 6). Within we stand—without we fall.

John Staiger

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