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Belshazzar: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 by Retold by Paula Kortkamp Combs

Image by Couleur from PixabayThe year was 539 BC. Ancient Babylon, located in today’s Iraq, was completely surrounded by the Persian army. But King Belshazzar wasn’t worried. The great Euphrates River ran right through the middle of Babylon, providing plenty of water. Also, the city had a twenty-year supply of food stored away. And finally, the city walls were 300 feet high. Who could possibly conquer Babylon?

In a show of contempt for the enemy camped outside the walls, Belshazzar threw a party for one thousand guests. The mood of the arrogant king was "Eat, drink, and be merry!" With the assembled nobles and their female companions following his example, the banquet was soon out of control.

The drunken Belshazzar then revealed his special contempt for the God of the Jews. He ordered wine to be served in the sacred goblets stolen years before from the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. These gold cups had been dedicated to Jehovah. Belshazzar and his mocking guests now dared to use them to drink toasts to the many idols of Babylon, thereby blaspheming the Lord God.

Suddenly in the midst of their rowdy laughter, the fingers of a hand appeared, mysteriously writing on a wall. Panic gripped the revelers. All color drained from Belshazzar’s haughty face. His knees knocked; his legs gave way.

Quickly the king sent for his astrologers and fortune-tellers, but not one of them could interpret the writing on the wall. In desperation he sent for Daniel, an elderly Jew who had previously served honorably in high governmental posts.

Daniel looked at the strange letters on the wall. "King Belshazzar," he said, "you have defied the Lord of heaven. As you and your guests have been drinking from God’s holy cups, you have been praising gods of silver and gold that can’t see or hear. You have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! So God’s message to you is this: “God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end. You have been weighed in the balances and have failed the test. Your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians."

Unknown to Belshazzar, the Persian army had dug a canal north of the city to divert the waters of the Euphrates River. While the drunken party was in progress, the water level receded enough for the soldiers to enter the city through the riverbed. That night Babylon fell with little bloodshed and Belshazzar died.

Food for thought: The dictionary defines blasphemy as any irreverent word, act, or writing concerning God. We blaspheme God when we use His name as profanity or when we show a lack of reverence for Him and His holy Word.

Worth repeating: The third of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7 NIV)

Today’s prayer: "Dear Lord, I recognize that You alone are God. Show me if there is any irreverence toward You in my attitudes or words. Help me to always honor Your holy name. Amen."

Resource: To see Paula Kortkamp Combs’ Bible studies in English and Spanish, go to this link: https://www.amazon.com/Paula-K-Combs/e/B00KGNRWZW?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_20&qid=1569165484&sr=8-20

© Paula Kortkamp Combs 1998

© Paula Kortkamp Combs 1998

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