Daniel 5:1-4 – King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
Every day, on pretty much every issue, we see things only from our perspective. Then, once in a while, we meet someone we care for and, in empathy, seek to understand things from their perspective which is different than ours. If you care for God, imagine what it must like to be God? Every minute of every day for all eternity God sees, hears, and knows all the evil of all humanity continually.
In Daniel 5, roughly 70 years have passed since the teenage Daniel was captured and enslaved in Daniel 1. Once again, the theme that God creates and Satan counterfeits is on full display. Here, a counterfeit king, with an evil kingdom, throws an ungodly holiday party to worship man-made gods and mock the real God.
At this point in the story, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is gone. His son, Nabonidus, was away. So, the grandson was ruling as king and like some bad movie the spoiled rich kid threw a drunken party at home while his dad was away on business.
In attendance were 1000 lords (or male political leaders) and commentators suspect the total attendance was around 15,000. This was a big party in the palace that’s roughly the same size as the main section of the White House according to archaeologists who have excavated the site. In the set up for this story, we see three things:
- Deviancy: In another book of the Bible, when Queen Esther sees the men starting to pour their drinks at a big party, she takes the wives into another room to spare their dignity. Here, the wives, concubines, and servant girls (some of which we’d call trafficking victims today) are all drinking with the men as things get naughty.
- Drunkenness: To kick off what would be a legendary drunk fest, the king ordered the sacred vessels (made of gold and silver stolen from God’s Temple and dedicated to God’s worship) be used to mock God, get drunk and worship demons (Daniel 1:2). Ezra tells us that this was more than 5,000 vessels (Ezra 1:11).
- Dishonor: If you can image showing up at your church and seeing the baptismal turned into a hot tub, the screens showing naughty movies, hearing the sound system blaring the beats from a DJ on the stage, people ripping up Bibles to roll joints to smoke, and the wine and cups for communion getting used for beer pong then you get the idea of what was happening in the days of Daniel.
When is the last time that you mocked God?
In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.
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