Daniel 5:22-24 “But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honour the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.”
Daniel knew he was speaking to a king who had witnessed first hand his father Nebuchadnezzar’s deep humiliation as he learnt the hard way that the LORD God of heaven and earth brooks no equal. As he prepared to interpret ‘the writing on the wall’ that Belshazzar and his company had seen appear mysteriously during their unrestrained celebration, he reproved him for his arrogance: “… though you knew all this” (22). Belshazzar’s deliberate use of the LORD’s sacred vessels, removed from the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar during the sacking of Jerusalem, to worship other gods in a drunken orgy, was an act of mockery that would cost the Babylonian king, not only his reign, but also his life.
Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers”, describes a DOWNWARD PATH of ungodliness that leads to eternal ruin. First we might just dabble: ‘WALK in the COUNSEL of the wicked’ – let non-believers start to influence our thinking, our worldview. If we fail to address this we will begin to BECOME COMFORTABLY ‘AT HOME’ WITH this way of thinking: ‘stand in the way of sinners’ – begin adopting an attitude that is less confrontational, more ‘user-friendly’.
The final, fateful step is to MAKE FUN of God and his Word by letting other things – material possessions, hopes and dreams, physical pleasures, human philosophies, etc – usurp God’s rightful place in our lives: to ‘sit in the seat of mockers’.
Sadly, in my lifetime, I have witnessed our own society move right through this progression – or rather, regression – until now it is part of ‘being Australian’ to mock God, either subtly by tacit dismissal, or more overtly in arrogant opposition to his revealed truth concerning things like creation, the beginning of human life, marriage, and especially the person and work of Jesus the only Saviour. Let those of us who KNOW ‘the God who holds in his hand [our] life and all [our] ways’, honour him in every part and function of our being, in order that we might, by God’s grace, act effectively as ‘salt’ and ‘light’ to slow this process down.