Friday, September 4, 2020

Daniel 5 (Pt 3)

Daniel 5:2-4 (ESV)

[2] 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. [3] 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. [4] They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.


Belshazzar took that which was holy, golden vessels from the temple, and used them for common and unholy purposes. I had a conversation recently in which we were talking about holy places. Some churches and some forms of Christianity consider their buildings to be holy places. The architecture of the old cathedrals is designed to draw the worshiper’s attention upward to God. It is considered a holy place where one comes to meet God. For the Jews, the tabernacle, and later the temple were holy places in which the presence of God dwelt. More recent evangelical churches tend to have more utilitarian architecture. Part of the reason for that is theological. We believe that with the resurrection of Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer, the holy place is now the believer.


Romans 12:1-2 calls us to present our bodies to God as a holy act of worship. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1:15 instructs believers, “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” 1 Peter 2:5 says that every believer is a living stone and that as living stones we are “being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood.” Matthew 18:20 says that “where two or three are gathered” in Jesus’ name, he is there among them.” Psalm 139 reminds us that wherever we go, God is there. In other words, wherever we are is a holy place.



Belshazzar came under the condemnation of God because he used holy vessels for a common purpose. He partied by using the vessels of the temple for drunken reveling. If God takes holy vessels seriously, how much more does he take holy people seriously? To be holy does not mean to be perfect. Holiness is conveyed not earned. The word holy means to be set apart for special use. The vessels of the temple were set apart for use only in the temple in worship of the holy God. As believers we are set apart for God’s purposes. We are called to live a set apart life because God, whom we serve, is set apart from the world. God is holy by his very nature. We are holy because God has made us holy. When we gather together, wherever we gather, that place is holy.  A hymn by Geron Davis starts out, “We are standing on holy ground.” The hymn talks about entering into a building, but the truth is, we are standing on holy ground whenever and wherever two or more come together in Jesus’ name.


How would it make our fellowship, our worship, and even our daily living different if we realized that wherever we are is holy ground because we are in the presence of God who dwells within each believer. How would it change our attitude toward others to realize that they are holy because the Spirit of God dwells in them? How would it change our attitude toward unbelievers to realize that there is a sense in which they too are holy because they were created in the image of God? Have we been guilty of treating someone holy as though they are unholy? Have we been guilty of using something holy for common purposes? Have we been guilty of Belshazzar’s sin?


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