Text: Daniel 5:1-31

The king gave a  party and invited all of his  friends. When we want to do something we like to have those of like  interests around and with us, those who will  approve of our conduct or  behavior. At this  party the  forces of evil had a field day. There was much  corruption and  riotous living.  It was at the height of this party  that Belshazzar called for the vessels of God that Nebuchad­nezzar had taken from Jerusalem. While they were drinking from these and praising pagan gods some­thing startling began to take place. Prior to this the king and  his friends were living it up. As the world says, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Then all of a sudden the kings face grew pale and terror came into his heart. We might say he was “as white as a sheet as if he had seen a ghost.” But we know  it was more than that. The Most High God was making His presence known. He did something that would make them stand up and take notice.

What did  Belshazzar do? He did the  same thing that Nebuchadnezzar did, he called  on his  wise men to tell him what was happening. These counselors could not  come up with the  answer.  It is foolishness to think that the world can have the right answers. Then a familiar tune: Daniel is called in. he read the writing; it was a message of  judgement. (Dan. 5:1-24) What  did the inscription mean?

  • Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and  brought it to an end.
  • Tekel: You have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.
  • Peres: Your  kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the  Persians.

It happened  just like God said it would. That  very night  Babylon fell. There are a number of lessons to be learned from reading  this  account.

Sin is not static: What  do I mean by this  statement? The one  who sins  never stays on the plateau. The  path of  sin always  leads downhill. (James 1:13-15)  In many cases  we  do not  learn from experience who God is and that He is the  Sovereign God in control of the universe. Belshazzar fell into this category. He  knew  how God had dealt with Nebuchadnezzar; he went farther and  blasphemed God by  desecrating the vessels. This pattern of sin is  clear from Rom. 1:21-24; 26, 28.

Sin puts us to sleep in regards to sin. We think that we are  living  all right lives and that we are in control of our destinies. We don’t  even  think we are sinning.

God is not  static. There are times in history when  sin abounds and God does not seem to  intervene. We must not think that just because God has postponed judgment that he will forget; he  will pour out His wrath against sin. We say there are only 2 sure things in life, death and taxes.” Well,  you can  avoid  paying  some taxes, but death is certain (Heb. 9:27). This verse  gives another  certainty  for man­kind: judgement.

The final destinies of mankind: We see a  foretaste of the  final days here. All sin will be  judged. Each of us has to make a decision on whether to follow Christ or not. Those who have  fol­lowed Him and are  alive when  He returns  will be  caught up to meet Him in the air as  recorded in I Thes. 4:16-18.

But what about the unbeliever? Read Rev. 20:11-14. It will be a  time when  “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that jesus is  Lord.” But for the unbeliever it will be  too late. People think they have  plenty of time to be  saved. Where will you spend eternity? The  choice is yours. God tells us of the destiny of the wicked  so that  we might turn from sin to salvation. God de­sires that all will be saved, but we know that will not happen. (II Pet. 3:9)  If it were not for the long suffering of God we might not have had the opportunity to become  Christians. Judgment  is coming! To those outside of Christ, the  three words  on the  wall have mean­ing today.

Mene: God is  going to number your deeds to show that you have failed to achieve His stand­ards. At the Great white Throne, books are opened. All the evil you have  done will be  poured out on one side of God’s scales.

Tekel: All the lies, hypocrisies, all the  self-seeking, all the  evil will be  weighed as you stand there the  scales weigh down to condemnation.

Peres: The  Greek word for judgment means  divided. There is a path that leads to eternal life for those  who accepted Christ and have  obeyed the Gospel. But at this judgment, it is too late for that.

What will those  who are lost say to God on that day? Perhaps you will tell God that you lived a  good life. You must  choose to serve Jesus.

Christians must focus on sharing the Gospel message with the lost. We must help unbelievers find their way out of the kingdom of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel.

-Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and is a  member of the Cherry Street Church of Christ in New Albany, IN