DayBreaks for 8/31/15: The Hidden Deception of Sin
Daniel 5 is a fascinating chapter. Belshazzar, the titular king of Babylon and grandson to the great Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, was one of those who never learned from history. His grandfather’s pride led to his being punished with the disease of boanthropy – believing and acting like a cow – until he repented and came to his senses and was restored to his grandeur.
Belshazzar surely would have heard the story. Had he learned? No. He was filled with pride. Daniel 5 says as much, but it is evident in what was happening in the capital even as the enemy was at the gate.
Nabonidus, Belshazzar’s father and the actual king, was gone waging war against the Medes and Persians, and Belshazzar was left in the citadel of Babylon to rule in his absence. The Medes and Persians were outside the walls, threatening the city. So what does Belshazzar do? He hosts a wild party.
What was Belshazzar thinking? We can only surmise, but he had invited all the nobles to a great feast that night. It seems as if Belshazzar was mocking the enemy, or trying to convince his nobles (and perhaps himself!) that they had nothing to fear for he was, after all, the king of Babylon!
If there is a sin that has plagued creation since the time of the beginning, it would seem to be pride: pride in thinking we know better than the Creator what is good and best for us, pride that causes us to think we created our own successes and are alone responsible for our achievements. It is pride that makes us seek more and more possessions, more and more power, more and more fame and glory for ourselves. And Belshazzar had it in spades, this sin called pride.
Pride blinded Belshazzar to what befell his grandfather. Sin blinded him to the realities of the situation with which he was confronted. And that is what sin does best: it makes us unaware of the danger involved. Especially when sin is coupled with God’s long-suffering nature.
Because we have all sinned and seem to have “gotten away with it” (which is really just God’s incredible patience to have not stricken us dead on the spot, for “the soul that sins shall surely die”), we are blinded to the danger of our sin. It is like playing with a king cobra and not being bit. It leads us to a false sense of well-being and we conclude that “all must be well” when in reality, as Belshazzar found out, it was not well at all. That very night, in Daniel 5, Belshazzar was overthrown and killed.
We have recently seen how this happens with the entire Ashley Madison hack. Those who thought they were “safe” in their secret sins one night, awoke the next morning to find they had been deceived into thinking they were safe and their infidelities were secret and hidden.
Sin’s deception is hideous. It makes us unaware of the danger. And that is perhaps the greatest danger of all.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. – Galatians 6:7 (ESV)
PRAYER: Keep us from deception and from convincing ourselves that all is well when we sin! Reveal to us the danger in the things we do – yet seem to get away with. Make us wise to Truth! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.