Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. Daniel 5:17-23
Daniel does not mince words with Belshazzar. He refuses the gifts and brings up Nebuchadnezzar’s history with God. Daniel essentially tells Belshazzar that he has ignored the history of Babylon and what happened to Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar has dishonored God forgetting the punishment Nebuchadnezzar went through.
God had allowed Nebuchadnezzar to return as king of Babylon once Nebuchadnezzar recognized that God was in control and that Nebuchadnezzar ruled only as long as God permitted. Time has passed and the new king has returned to the old Babylonian ways. In fact Belshazzar has gone further than Nebuchadnezzar ever went in bringing out the Temple vessels and using them as common household good. These items dedicated to God are now party implements and God is no pleased.
We do the same things with things that should be dedicated to God. People have nice ornate Bibles that they put on display in their living rooms yet the only attention these Bible get is the occasional dusting. God’s word is not an accent piece. It is meant to be used. It is meant to be studied. It is meant to encourage and to teach us. I firmly believe God loves a well-worn Bible.
When I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church my grandmother gave me a King James Bible that I still have to this day. Back then I would no more have made a mark in my Bible than tear pages out of it. It was to be read in church and Sunday school and at other appropriate times. When I compare that Bible that means so much to me to my current Bible the difference is amazing. The newer Bible has passages highlighted and underlined. There are notes in the margins and around the verses. I have post-it notes so I can quickly flip to favorite verses. This Bible has seen a lot of use. I think God approves of the Bible my grandmother gave me but I think he loves the newer Bible, the one that is used and returned to time and time again.
The things dedicated to God have their uses. The Temple implements had there uses in the service to God by the priests in the Temple. They were not in the Temple as decorations. God gives us things to use. Some for daily use, some for use in His service and some for both. But they need to be used as He intended. Belshazzar use of the Temple items was not for God but for self. God was not pleased.
Have a blessed day,