Thursday, September 20, 2012

Your Life-Breath





Scripture

Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.
(Daniel 5:1 NASB)
When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.
(Daniel 5:2 NASB)
Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.
(Daniel 5:3 NASB)
They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
(Daniel 5:4 NASB)
“Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this,
(Daniel 5:22 NASB)
but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified.
(Daniel 5:23 NASB)

 

Observation


This is one of those Old Testament stories that I have always found very fascinating. This king, Belshazzar, had grown up in the palace with his father, Nebuchadnezzar. He would have experienced the seven years of his father's insanity -- all of which was the result of his father's pride. His father had to learn how to live humbly before God. Now, this young king is full of himself and has an arrogance which results in poor decision making. The God of the universe, the very one who provides for life-breath had been in a personal relationship with his father, and yet this young man chose to ignore all that he had seen and experienced and be a materialist. He called for the goblets from the temple in Jerusalem -- the very items that were consecrated to God, and then, with God's items he praised the gods of material goods -- the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. He had no fear or respect for the God who could give him the breath of life, and that very night his breath was taken from him.

 

Application


The failure of this young king seems to clear to us, and yet can't we just imagine the headiness of being in a party where 1000 people are praising you. The praise becomes almost intoxicating and so somehow you believe you need to prove that you are as good as everyone is saying you are -- and in this case, you pull a crazy stunt -- trying to prove your greatness compared to God. All of this may seem over the top and yet are there times when we worship the god of materialism over the God of life-breath? My mind turns toward the gadgets of our day and how they have come to fill our lives. They can do all kinds of tricks for us and we enjoy them but do we allow them to consume us?
Maybe it's time to step back a moment and remember that we are created to be a reflection of the life-giving God. We are not called to be a reflection of gold, silver, bronze, wood or stone. I'm sure that we can all find examples of us having these items in our lives and things made of these items may be important for our lives, but they certainly cannot be the most important. But if people look at us -- what do they see? Do they see the God of breath reflected in us -- or do they see the god of these things reflected in us?

For many of us we have had the privilege of witnessing the lives of those who have gone before us. These are people who have been faithful in so many ways and God has been faithful to them. If we have had the chance to have these experiences and to see their testimony -- then why would we have any desire to worship the god of materialism? Aren't we just like this young king? We don't need a hand to appear and write on a wall -- we have the word of God. God is constantly calling his people back into a personal relationship with himself. He is our life-breath and we are to be a reflection of him to a world that is dying and suffocating from all its stuff -- the material things, that will eventually suck the life out of us until we are left gasping for air.

 

Prayer


Lord, please help me today and every single day of my life to seek you and a daily infilling of your breath. Amen.

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