Does God Get Angry?
“Instead you have exalted yourself against the Lord of the heavens. The vessels from his house were brought to you, and as you and nobles, wives and concubines drank wine from them, you praised the gods made of silver and gold, bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or understand. But you have not glorified the God who holds your life-breath in his hand and who controls the whole course of your life.” (Daniel 5:23 CSB)
Having gained power in Babylon, King Belshazzar threw a party with a thousand of his closest friends. As part of their feast, he ordered that the vessels that had been used for worship in the temple in Jerusalem be brought in “so that the king and his nobles, wives and concubines could drink from them” (v.2). As they used these sacred items, they also began to praise “their gods made of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone” (v.4). This was an abominable decision, as it ultimately was a blasphemous and idolatrous act intended to mock the God of Judah.
As the story unfolds, the fingers of a man’s hand immediately appeared and began writing a message on the wall of the king’s palace. Horrified, frightened, and unable to understand what was being written, Belshazzar had Daniel brought in to interpret the handwriting. Courageously Daniel told Belshazzar that he had “not glorified the God who holds your life-breath in his hand and who controls the whole course of your life” (v.23). Because Belshazzar had chosen to mock God through blasphemous and idolatrous worship, God’s judgment was able to fall upon him. And that very night, the king was killed and his kingdom was taken over by Darius.
God is not someone you want to mess with. Part of growing in our reverence or fear of Him is understanding that as the Holy God, He takes sin very seriously. Where we tend to minimize, ignore, justify or excuse sin, God looks at our acts of disobedience as a heinous rebellion against Him, deserving of judgment. To treat sin lightly or to outright mock His glory as Belshazzar did puts us in a very precarious position that we don’t want to be.
Thankfully, the good news of Jesus Christ is that by grace, the penalty of sin has been paid in full. Through faith in Jesus, we are no longer under His wrath, because Jesus took it for us on the Cross. “But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus went to the Cross and bore the punishment for our sins so that we didn’t have to. Our job now is to take our sin seriously by continuing to turn away from it and pursuing a life of holiness.
What does this look like in your life today?
* Originally posted at www.kingdomdrivendaily.com. Used with permission.