Daniel 5

Sixty Years Later…

You are his successor, O Belshazzar, and you knew all this, yet you have not humbled yourself. For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you. You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!” – Daniel 5:22-23 NLT

Daniel is still in Babylon, and a new king sits on the throne. There has been a succession of rulers over Babylon since Daniel was elevated to his high position after having successfully interpreted the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. Now Belshazzar rules over the Babylonian empire. One night he decides to throw a huge party for 1,000 of his nobles. As a symbol of his power, he commands that the gold and silver cups that were once used in the Temple in Jerusalem be brought for he and his guests to drink from and to toast their false gods. These are the same cups that King Solomon had made when he built the Temple. They had been dedicated to God and were intended for His house and His glory. But King Nebuchadnezzar had taken them when he pillaged Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple.

Now Belshazzar, in his pride and arrogance, decides to use what was dedicated to God for his own personal use. It was a slap in the face of God and an affront to His holiness. And while Belshazzar was well aware of what had happened to his ancestor Nebuchadnezzar when he let pride get the best of him, it didn’t seem to faze him. Until he saw the handwriting on the wall. God crashed Belshazzar’s party and gave him a message – one that neither he or his magicians could understand or interpret. But when Daniel was summoned, he was able to tell the king its message – your days are numbered, you don’t measure up, and your kingdom is going to be divided. That very night, Belshazzar would be murdered and his kingdom taken over by Darius the Mede.

All the way back when Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem, along with all its contents – including the gold and silver cups – he seemed to understand that there was a day coming when God’s people would fail to worship Him faithfully. He prayed, “If they sin against you—and who has never sinned?—you might become angry with them and let their enemies conquer them and take them captive to their land far away or near” (1 Kings 8:46 NLT). He went on to plead with God, “Forgive your people who have sinned against you. Forgive all the offenses they have committed against you. Make their captors merciful to them, for they are your people—your special possession—whom you brought out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt” (1 Kings 8:50-51 NLT). Now here they were, all these years later, captives in Babylon. God had not left them or forsaken them. He was still watching over them. And He was protecting the holiness of His name. He was not going to allow Belshazzar or anyone else to desecrate His Holy possessions – whether it was gold or silver cups or His chosen people. Both were in exile. Both were in the possession of the enemy. But they still belonged to God and God had not forgotten that they were His. They were still His people – His special possession – and He was not done with them yet. Belshazzar, like Nebuchadnezzar, was just a pawn in the hands of the sovereign God. The cups were not his to use as he saw fit. Neither were the people of Israel. They were Gods and He had a plan for them.

Father, we are Your possession. We belong to You. And while this world tries to take us captive and use us for its own purposes, we have to constantly be reminded that we do not belong to this world. We are no longer slaves to sin or this world. We are Your holy possessions. We belong to You and while we find ourselves living in a foreign land, You have not forgotten us and You will not forsake us. Help us to remain pure and undefiled while we live in this world. For our own good and Your glory. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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