King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. Daniel 5:1-4 (NIV).
They traded the Creator for the created. Worse, they mocked Him in doing so. Welcome to our world.
Archaeologists believe King Belshazzar may have been Nebuchadnezzar II’s grandson. Nebuchadnezzar had ruled for 43 years; we don’t really know how he died. We also don’t know specifically how many kings sat on the throne between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Finally, we don’t even know precisely whether Belshazzar was a full-fledged king, or merely a regent overseeing Babylon while the true king was away. Indeed, Wikipedia repeatedly says that the Biblical account of Belshazzar is fiction (while also contending, without proof, that all of the book of Daniel is also just historical fiction).
I accept the Bible as fact; it matters little to me whether Wikipedia does. I say that because it mocks God to say that some of the things He said in His word are true and others aren’t. That isn’t a path I want to travel. So, no matter how Belshazzar came to be king, he’s the king of Babylon as of the start of chapter 5 of the book of Daniel. And, like Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar is vain. He mocks God by dishonoring the articles that had been ransacked from the Temple in Jerusalem. The taken items were mere party toys for Belshazzar. In using them, he praises the gold and silver, not the God they were crafted to serve.
What he doesn’t know is that, by doing so, his minutes are now numbered. Big changes are quickly approaching that will change the entire world. Belshazzar’s reaction? Party on, dude.
Have you ever traded believing in God for something else? Belshazzar didn’t know that he was about to die, so he kept on living a life that mocked the true God. Thousands of years later, we remember him for it. For teaching us to live every moment in praise and thanksgiving to God, not mocking Him. If we don’t, the writing might just be on the wall, spelling out our doom.
For further reading: Judges 16:24, 1 Kings 3:15, 2 Chronicles 36:10, Isaiah 21:5, Jeremiah 50:35, Daniel 5:5
Lord, forgive me, a sinner. Forgive the times I have mocked You. Put aside Your righteous wrath.
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