The wine of pride!
Alcohol has been around for many years and here in the Book of Daniel, we have a record of a group of people having a party and drinking. Alcohol impairs judgment and often brings delusional thinking. (Proverbs 23:29-35) The effects of alcohol are also a picture of the effect of sin on the body, soul, and mind of a person made in God’s image for His glory!
King Belshazzar of Babylon had a party for a thousand of his nobles where they drank wine. After drinking for a while, the king ordered that the golden goblets that his grandfather had taken from the Temple of God in Israel be brought out. They were filled with wine and toasts were offered to the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. These idols of Babylon were thought to bring protection and power to the King of Babylon. As they were toasting, boasting and celebrating, there appeared what looked like human fingers that held a writing instrument and wrote upon the wall. (Daniel 5:1-6) This sight was deeply sobering to the king and his knees began to knock together with fear; his legs gave way.
The king called all his wise men, diviners, and astrologers to read the writing but no one could tell him what it said. Then the queen, very possibly his own mother or grandmother, told him about Daniel. Daniel was now an old man, probably in his 80’s. He was not among those drinking in the palace because of his godly character and life of prayer and consecration to the one true God. (Daniel 5:10-12) It was the Spirit of God in him that made all the difference, however.
Daniel spoke plainly to Belshazzar about God’s dealings with his father Nebuchadnezzar. He then told Belshazzar that he had failed to honor the God who held his life in His hands. (Daniel 5:22-24) Belshazzar had mocked God and angered Him by his refusal to humble himself and by drinking wine from the sacred goblets. Now the decree of God on the wall stated that God was sending judgment and Belshazzar’s kingdom would fall and be given to the Medes and Persians. (Daniel 5:25-28) That very night it came to pass! (Daniel 5:30-31)
What can we learn from this incident? It is easy to become drunk on the wine of this world and put what is profane in our holy goblets (our bodies and souls). Pride makes us drunk and delusional about who we are and the real source of our life. We must pay attention to God’s dealings with those around us. Others have found truth and we would be wise to listen and learn. Finally, those who are consecrated to God have insight and ability to read the handwriting on the wall because they truly know God and His Word! Daniel had read God’s Word in Jeremiah 51:39 and could understand what was happening. Apply what God is teaching you today and be among the wise who have the Spirit of the Holy God!