Idolatry And Faithlessness

Daily Reading: Daniel 5; 1 John 1

Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. (Daniel 5:1, NASB95)

Daniel 5 is rather abrupt and jolting to the reader. The story that has come before contrasts so strikingly with this new king.

  • King Nebuchadnezzar played the major role as king over Babylon in Daniel 1-4 and now this new king, whom we know nothing about, is using the vessels of the Jerusalem temple as common dinnerware (Dan. 5:2-3).
  • King Nebuchadnezzar learned to fear the Lord but his son shows no such fear. King Belshazzar has not learned any respect for the God of heaven (Dan. 5:21-22).
  • King Nebuchadnezzar brought the Jerusalem temple’s vessels of worship to Babylon and placed them in the temple of his god, Bel (Dan. 1:2). Belshazzar now makes an idolatrous use of them by using them to celebrate and worship before his gods (Dan. 5:23).
  • There is repetition in terms of Daniel’s character, wisdom, and supernatural ability to interpret the divine sign. While Daniel shows himself faithful, the king shows himself to be faithless.

God has written out his judgment over Babylon and its king (Dan. 5:24-28).

  • God has numbered its days and called an end to it.
  • Belshazzar has been weighed and found deficient.
  • The kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.

While Belshazzar honors his word to reward Daniel (Dan. 5:29), he shows no signs of repentance. That night, the king was slain and Darius the Mede takes his place (Dan. 5:30-31). This reminds us that we need to live pleasing before our God and that God’s judgment may be very fast. He raises up kingdoms and also brings them down. However, he also takes care of those who are faithful. Are you using your life for the worship of God alone (1 Cor. 6:19-20)? Do you have the faith of Daniel, to fear God and declare His word, even when it’s unfavorable?

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