OK, so imagine with me, you’re sitting at the dinner table having a large family gathering. Everyone is eating and talking, and then, out of nowhere, a hand with no arm appears before you and begins to write a message on the wall with a finger. Do you get upset because permanent markers are hard to clean off the wall? Do you freak out and get scared? Do you pretend it didn’t happen and just move on? Do you call someone to help determine what the message means? Or should you grab the kids and run out of the house, put the home on the market, sell it, and move out of state? When this happened to King Belshazzar in the 5th chapter of Daniel, fear engulfed his heart and his life was forfeited shortly afterwards.
What did he do that was so disturbing that would cause such a supernatural message from God, and how can we learn from his experience today? Well, it all started a generation earlier with his father Nebuchadnezzar. His father, or some believe to be his grandfather, had invaded and carried off the Jews from Israel, including the sacred gold and silver vessels from the temple.
Now Belshazzar carelessly elevates the disrespect for the Lord to a whole new level. He calls for the temple vessels to be brought out. And, they not only drank from them, they used the vessels of the Lord to praise their man-made gods. At some point one must ask, “When does God say enough is enough?” Well this was that point. This was the exact time the hand appeared and began writing on the wall, and the words revealed may be visited on us today. “God has numbered your days and brought your kingdom to an end. You have been weighed in the balances and have been found wanting, and your kingdom has been divided and given to another.”
Enough is enough, and God didn’t use Israel to defeat Belshazzar’s unholy kingdom; he used a lateral enemy. Israel was still bound to their 70-year debt, but Belshazzar was no more. His problems didn’t start, however, when he called for the holy vessels of God, they ended. The problems began when his father took the vessels to begin with. What one generation neglects the next pays for, and Nebuchadnezzar not only cost his descendant his death, he actually planned it years earlier without knowing.
God’s holy vessels were never intended or designed to be used for anything but temple worship, and, today, those temples are the human heart and body. We live under a government rule we may or may not agree with. We pay taxes we don’t like and obey laws someone else made, but the temple is the one thing we have control of. We choose what feeds our bodies and our souls every day of our lives. We decide what promotes righteousness or accepts infection. The book of Daniel chapter 2 says that God appoints kings and removes kings, and he has appointed each of us as kings over the temple vessels he has given us.
So when God pulls out the floating hand to place messages on the walls of our hearts, it will always be to get our attention. He’s not really doing that today because he’s already done it once, and the message still resonates as loudly now as it did the night he wrote it back in the book of Daniel. God is the only standard of good and the only set of scales capable of measuring and judging our hearts. We’re being weighed every day, and the greatest tragedy in life would be found lacking where his standard is concerned. Grace covers the deficit needed to balance the scales, and, again, God is the only one that can give that as well.
We have so much more to discuss, and I would love to have you meet us at Christpoint church this Sunday at 9 a.m. and again at 11 a.m., on the square in Sparta. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.