The Wild Party
In 1842 Edgar Allan Poe published The Masque Of The Red Death. In his classic short story a plaque sweeps through the land. Prince Prospero reacts by hiding himself away in an abbey with many of his nobles. The plague outside is horrific—sweating blood and death in less than an hour. Locked away in their castle, the prince and his nobles wait, and when no one drops dead, they feel so secure that Prospero throws a big masquerade ball.
Were they secure? What’s up with the seven color-coded rooms in the abbey and what happens to Prospero when he enters the seventh room? For the answers you can read the story for yourself, but where do you think he got the basic plot?
In Episode 5 in the Book of Daniel, we have a king, his nobles, and their wives and mistresses trying to mask the imminent threat of the Medo-Persian armies positioned outside the forty-foot walls of a city Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, believes is impregnable.
“King Belshazzar threw a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and was drinking wine before them. Then, with the tasting of the wine, Belshazzar commanded to bring in the gold and silver vessels that Nebuchadnezzar, his father, had taken from the Temple that was in Jerusalem so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. They brought in the gold vessels that had been taken from the House of God in Jerusalem and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.” Daniel 5:1-4
Remember those Temple vessels Nebuchadnezzar confiscated at the beginning of Daniel (1:2)? We were told then that the Lord allowed this to happen, and now we will see what God is going to do about those who mock him and trust in lifeless gods. And Belshazzar should have known better. He knew the battle Nebuchadnezzar waged against Israel’s God, and he knew how in the end Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the true God. But instead of bowing in worship, like Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar defies the Lord and uses his sacred temple vessels as common wine goblets. How will the King of Kings react?
LORD, use this account to warn against using alcohol and the party scene to try and dull the threat of death that none of us can escape. Help me to never depend upon cold, lifeless gods of gold, silver, wood and stone.
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