Let us turn again our attention to the book of Daniel where we have been looking at a study of ‘Big God Theology’. I want to begin to look at Chapter 5 where we find that ‘He Is A God Of Retribution’. Many see God as a celestial Santa Claus throwing everyone candy kisses. I hear some say my God’s not like that or my God wouldn’t do that. You are probably right. Your God wouldn’t but the God of the Bible would. The word ‘retribution’ means a reward or punishment suitable to the action done. It seems like from the definition as well as born out in life, there is a good and bad retribution.
This chapter deals with Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar who has taken over the kingdom at the time of his fathers’ death. Let us turn our thoughts to Chapter 5 and verses 1-4 and ‘The Lawlessness Of Rebellion’. In verse 1 I find ‘The Discernment Of Wisdom’. I fear Belshazzar had the groundwork for discernment laid when his father was chained and eating grass for seven years.
There is no reason for this grand party to entertain the thousands. It was purely for pleasure. I am not surprised. Every generation has been a pleasure and amused crazed people and this was no different. The wisdom to have this party is not that which comes from above but below. James said, ‘The wisdom from above is first pure and then peaceable. It produces the fruits of righteousness.’
In verse 2 I find ‘The Desecration Of Worship’. Belshazzar took the gold and silver vessels that were set aside for worship and used them in a time of pleasure. His father brought them home from the Temple when Israel fell into captivity. Let us be careful of using eternal things in a temporal setting. Don’t sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the temporal. Oh, how often we are guilty of putting the temporal above the eternal. It is extremely dangerous.
In verses 1b, 2c, 3c, and 4 I find ‘The Drinking Of Wine’. How often in a time of pleasure man desires to numb himself with the drinking of wine. I have heard all the arguments trying to convince us that drinking wine is all right. Proverbs 31:4-5 says, “It is not for kings to drink wine…Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment…” The text is telling us that drinking can lead to a lack of discernment. John tells us in Revelation 1:6 that God has made us both kings and priests.
Let us remember we can numb ourselves with pleasure and drink if we like. We can overlook our failures and shortcomings because of a lack of discernment but do remember he is a God of Retribution.