In Daniel 5 the Babylonian king, Belshazzar, held a feast in which he made a mockery of the vessels that were once in the temple of the Lord by using them to praise his gods. It was at this time that a hand appeared and wrote, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. It meant that God judged the life of Belshazzar and found him wanting. As a result Belshazzar’s kingdom would come to an end at the hands of the Medes and the Persians.
Although Belshazzar could see the handwriting, and he had his wise men look at the inscription, only one could “see” enough to read it; Daniel. Many in the world today are just like those in this text.
Belshazzar. It is a sad reality that not all will go to heaven. As Jesus once said, few will find the strait gate. On the last day, many will hear what was said to Belshazzar; “you are found wanting.”
Now, I understand that we do not live under a law that expects us to “work” ourselves into heaven. The Islamic faith takes such a statement too literally. They, among others, believe that God will place all your righteous deeds on one side and all your unrighteous deeds on the other side and which ever one weighs more will determine your eternal home. God did not say this to Belshazzar. He simply told him that he was found wanting. Balshazzar failed to live under the set of laws God had ordained for his time (The Patriarchal system, remember he was not a Jew). Belshazzar did not honor God as God, he was prideful, he worshipped false gods, he trusted in diviners and conjurers, and the list certainly could be expanded had God given us a complete account of his life. The point is that Balshazzar made no effort to trust in God and for that he was found wanting.
Today there is only one way to tip the scales to your favor. In fact, this way is the same “way” it has always been. Those in the OT days look toward His coming and trusted in Him (Heb. 11:26). Those in the Christian dispensation look towards Him, that is Christ, to be the means of our propitiation. Only Christ carries enough “weight” to tip the scales toward heaven. Without Him, no amount of good deeds will ever save you. How can you get Christ into your measuring plate? Trust in Him and do His commandments.
The Wise Men. Belshazzar, like his wise men. understood that there was a problem. Belshazzar was so concerned about this handwriting that his knees smote one another. They also understood that whatever the message was, it had to be both important and most likely not good news.
But, no matter how hard these wise men tried, they could not read the handwriting on the wall, let alone interpret what was written. These wise men were made up of conjurors (astrologers-KJV), Chaldeans, and diviners (soothsayer-KJV). Astrologers are those that read the signs of the stars. The Chaldeans were known for their magicians. The soothsayers are those who foretell the future, among these types are casting of lots. Whether they looked to the heavens, looked to the sings in the earth, or looked to the dark arts, they could find no answer to Belshazzar’s problems.
In a like manner, people today continue to look toward the wrong sources to answer the problems in their lives. I am encouraged that “psychics” are not as popular today as they were 10-15 years ago. However, many people still fail to open their hearts to God and open their bibles. Instead they turn to the internet, Dr. Phil or Oprah for the answers to the heartaches. As a result, they like the Belshazzar’s wise men fail to see what the handwriting on the wall is supposed to mean.
Daniel. When Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall he did so without gimmicks, magic tricks or any other thing from this world. He understood its writing because God reveled it to him.
Daniel knew the problem, Daniel knew why it had come to pass, and Daniel also knew how all of it could have been prevented. He knew all this because he allowed God’s word to proceed from his own mouth.
For those facing life’s problems today, and for those facing the judgment of the Lord, let this bulletin serve as your hand writing on the wall. I would encourage you to be like Daniel. Put God’s word in your heart, look to the Lord for answers. All your life’s problems are not guaranteed to go away, in fact most won’t. But, the hope we have in heaven can make the struggles here seem less difficult.
If you choose not to turn toward God and act as Belshazzar did when he was filled with pride, then your knees may have strength today, but on the last day, when it is to late, you will fall on bended knee asking for mercy of which you will not receive. Tip the scales in your favor before it is too late.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Can You See the Handwriting on the Wall?
Volume 4 Issue 46