Daniel 5 (1)
Like Solomon’s foolish son, Rehoboam, Nebuchadnezzar’s “son” was all about self and power. But he overstepped his bounds by misusing the gold and silver vessels that had been dedicated to the Lord, and it would cost him dearly. Belshazzar blasphemed against God by using what had been dedicated to Him for his own indulgence and to extol false deities.
Read 1 Kings 12.1-16.
Read Daniel 5.1-4.
Think it Through
1. Political power can often lead to excesses of self-indulgence and self-vaunting. This is the case here with King Belshazzar, the son (actually, only a descendent, probably great-grandson) of Nebuchadnezzar. What do you suppose was Belshazzar’s purpose in holding this “great feast for a thousand of his lords”? Was this for the wellbeing of the empire? Do we see excesses like this by politicians in our own day? Explain.
2. Besides the merely self-indulgent agenda behind this feast, Belshazzar offended against God in two unforgivable ways. First, he explicitly commanded that the vessels consecrated for the service of God be brought so that he and his guests could drink wine from them. Why would this have been an offense against God? What, in effect, was Belshazzar saying by this action? Second, he praised the false “gods of silver and gold”, along with others, thus declaring his view of the vessels consecrated to the Lord, and of the Lord Himself. Why would this have been unforgivable? Belshazzar reduced something God had commanded to be used in serving Him to a vessel for self-indulgence and false religion. Do Christians ever do anything similar to this?
“And as to the fact that the author calls Nebuchadnezzar the father of Belshazzar, he does not make any mistake in the eyes of those who are acquainted with the holy Scripture’s manner of speaking, for in the Scripture all progenitors and ancestors are called fathers.” Jerome (347-420 AD)
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy againstthe Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the ageto come.” Matthew 12.31, 32
Every good gift comes from You, Lord, and is to be used for Your glory. Thank You for the many good gifts that are mine today. Guard me against mere self-indulgence, and let me use everything in my life to…
Pray Psalm 135.13-18.
As you pray, ask the Lord to guard you against making an idol out of things, things that you trust in for your happiness and wellbeing, rather than in the Lord.
Psalm 135.13-19 (St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
Evermore Your Name, O Savior, shall endure!
Your renown throughout all ages is secure.
For You have compassion, vindicating all
Those who serve Your Name and on Your saving mercy call.
Praise the Name of Jesus, you who serve His Word!
Raise your voice and praise our good and glorious Lord!
Vain the nations serve the idols of their hands;
Mouths and ears they have but cannot understand.
Every idol vain is, lacking life or breath;
All who serve them, like them, shall be lost to lasting death.
T. M Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.