The Golden Cup [Part 1]
By Alan Wright — August 26, 2016
Are you ready for some good news?
You’re God’s holy vessel.
Today’s text: “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.” (Daniel 5:1–4, ESV)
In the middle of Babylonian King Belshazzar’s wild party, for some odd reason, the tyrant orders his minions to fetch the holy vessels of gold and silver that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem. They bring in the holy vessels of Israel and drink themselves drunk in an idolatrous orgy as they praise their pagan idols.
The golden cups the Babylonians defiled that night were not new vessels. Some of them probably dated to the time of Moses. Along with the tabernacle, various holy vessels were assigned to the holy place to be used only by the Levites in their service of God. Centuries later, when King David was making preparations to build the temple, those original vessels were brought to Jerusalem along with the ark of the covenant.
To Belshazzar, the golden goblets were considered trophies of war. They were, to the Babylonian empire, evidence that the God of Israel wasn’t as mighty as their gods.
The message of the narrative can’t be missed.
The aim of hell is to take what is holy and make it vulgar. The enemy of God wants to profane the holy by “proving” that the vessels aren’t anything special -- that they can just as easily be used to glorify pagan deities. And, in the process of defiling the golden cups, hell wants to bring scandal upon the name of the God to whom those vessels were dedicated so long ago.
This is the spiritual battle we face. This is the spirit of the Accuser, the aim of your Enemy, to convince you that you are not holy unto the Lord, that you are ordinary. But the devil is a liar and the handwriting is on the wall. He’s a defeated foe and nothing can ultimately profane you because you are already declared holy unto the Lord. And that’s the Gospel!