There are many things in this life that God has set apart as sacred and doesn’t want us messing with in a way that diminishes their sanctity. When the sacred is turned into a tool for self-glorification or some other form of idolatry, the situation calls for God to step in with some form of his judgment. Our bad actions in such cases beg for God’s equal and opposite reaction. By equal, I mean God determines what judgment is necessary to address each particular situation.
The last king of Babylon, Belshazzar, found this out the hard way in Daniel 5. He was puffed up by his power, position, and wealth and thought it would be a great idea to have a big party for his government leaders and many wives–a party full of gluttony and drunkenness. And to add injury to insult, he brought in all the sacred vessels the Babylonians took as the spoils of war from God’s temple in Jerusalem, using them to get drunk. These were anointed vessels dedicated to glorify Jehovah, but Belshazzar and his thousands of VIPs used them for binge drinking. As they were getting drunk, they then shouted praises to their Babylonian idols for providing the vessels from Jehovah’s temple to get drunk with.
That’s when God decided enough was enough and crashed the party with a human hand that suddenly appeared supernaturally in the air that put the writing on the wall for Belshazzar and his crew. The drunken king was scared sober by it and eventually Daniel, because of his godly reputation, was called in to decipher God’s message–MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. The king promised Daniel all kinds of prestige and prosperity if he would help them figure it out, but Daniel wasn’t interested in what Belshazzar offered and just gave the message out of his love for the Lord. In that message, Daniel rebuked the king for not learning the lessons of the recent past from his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar who was temporarily dethroned for turning crazy after disrespecting God. That night the prophecy was fulfilled and the Babylonian Empire fell by a sneak attack from the Medo-Persian Empire. It was curtains for Belshazzar.
Now if God felt this way about how his vessels of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone were used, just imagine how he must feel about the disrespect for sacred things like sex, marriage, children, the Bible, and the true Christians (his church and temple of today) that is pervasive in today’s society. Belshazzar was so busy disrespecting God and doing what felt good to him he was inattentive to a deadly enemy approaching, which made judgment all that much easier to get him. Those who are determined in our time to thumb their noses at God should take this as a lesson, because the same thing could happen to them. And if it does, they can’t say they weren’t warned.
Harry A. Gaylord