2007-02-12 - Daniel
Installment 40 ~ God's Graffiti
Beginning Chapter 5
The night was dark. The city was surrounded by the enemy. Darius knew that the walls made the city impregnable. But the Euphrates flowed under the walls into the city to provide its water supply. He had his soldiers working. He planned to cause the river to move out of its bed and leave the way under the walls open for his attack.
Meanwhile, the king had a party. "As the banquet progressed, Belshazzar would leap to his feet and call upon the guests to join him in drinking toasts first to Bel, then to each one, in order, of the Babylonian idols that were placed around the walls. Every guest would rise and drink to the toast each time the king demanded it until men and women were all in an advanced stage of inebriation, with an increasing breakdown of all moral restraint that invariably accompanies such debauchery and idolatry. Brazen licentiousness was a part of the worship of Bel, and this wicked Bacchanalian orgy degenerated into indiscriminate promiscuity between men and women as they would retire to the adjoining apartments of the palace, and some were so intoxicated that they would shamelessly indulge their lusts even in the brilliant light of the banquet hall itself. Small wonder that Belshazzar's notorious feast has come down in history as a sy mbol and synonym of unbridled drunkenness and lust and of the very acme of wickedness and debauchery." 1
And before the night was over Belshazzar would see God's graffiti and the city would fall. The armies of Darius would come in under the wall.
There are a number of lessons that can be learned from this passage. First, there is a progressive decline in men where sin abounds and a lack of concern with God's will is allowed to go unchecked. Second, it seems that, along with falling into sin, we often find a parallel increase in self-delusion, justifying our behavior and allowing us to believe we are okay. Finally, we will see that learning from the mistakes of others, we can rejoice because God is in control, and in His infinite love and mercy is willing to give us the opportunity to carry out His work in a fallen world.
To be continued
1 Graham, James R., The Prophet-Statesman, Higley, 1955, pg. 78.