Summary: How do we know that God’s judgment to the world in general is imminent? What will be the general attitude of the people to signal the impending judgment of God? As God’s people, what must we do?
Theme: GOD’S IMPENDING JUDGMENT
Text: Daniel 5
A. In chapter 4 of Daniel we learned God had chastened Nebuchadnezzar to make him realized that the Lord, called El Elyon in the passage, is sovereign and the One who holds his life and his future. The punishment however was intended to draw him to God. In like manner, if we start walking away from God’s direction, He is going to inflict upon us His rod of discipline to awaken us and turn back to him. Restoration is always the purpose of God’s discipline.
B. But this morning the message from Daniel 5 would be harsher. In this passage we can see that God had imposed His judgment against Belshazar, the king of Babylon, 20 years after the great Nebuchadnezzar died. He is believed to be a co-ruler in Babylon with his father Nebonides.
The story relates that Belshazar held a great feast in his kingdom. At the height of their revelry, a hand appeared writing something on the wall that everyone present in the party was not able to understand. They were all terrified and the king’s knees knocked together because of fear. He was extremely afraid at the sight. He called in all his magicians and astrologers in the kingdom to read and interpret for him the writing on the wall but no one was able to read it. Belshazar grew pale and became hysterical.
The queen (probably his mother) came in and told him to summon Daniel. So the prophet was promptly called in. He read the inscription on the wall and gave the interpretation. It was a message of judgment. Daniel said to Belshazar: “God has weighed you on His scales and found you wanting. He will put your kingdom to an end and will divide it to Medes and Persia.” On that very night Medes and Persia invaded and captured Babylon and executed Belshazar. The judgment of God had been carried out right away.
C. This story transpired a clear picture of God’s impending judgment not only to individuals but also to the world in general. We should not forget that the book of Daniel, though historical, is also apocalyptic in character.
D. We believe that we are now in the closing page of time. “We are in the end-times” is always heard from the pulpits today. The Christian church in general believes that the coming of Jesus is about to happen. “He’s at the door!”, we say. And the judgment of God is imminent! But how do we know? What will be the general attitude of the people of the world to signal the imminence of God’s judgment? What can we expect of God’s judgment? What must we do being aware of God’s impending judgment to the world? What challenge are we going to take up as God’s people?
T.S. Let’s explore the story and find:
THE SIGNAL OF GOD’S IMPENDING JUDGMENT.
-The inscription on the wall in verse 27 is read “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.”
-Tekel means, “You are weighed and is found deficient.” Belshazar was weighed in the scales of God and was found deficient. But what was his deficiency that brings about God’s judgment upon him? In what manner was he deficient? It is in his attitude.
1. He is extremely indifferent to the welfare of other people.
He held a great feast, but this was while his father engaged in fierce battle against the allied forces of Medes and Persia, and perhaps was defeated by the enemy and killed at the time the party was on. There was a great danger outside, but he took the safety of his nation and constituents for granted. No sign of concern. He just doesn’t care.
We are now in an era where respect and genuine concern of other people is almost lost and the value of life is diminishing. People become abusive to others. The poor are being exploited. Human trafficking is rampant. Abortion is prevalent. Children are disrespectful to their parents. Richer nations gorge on their abundance while poorer nations died in starvation. Terrorists kill “innocent” targets without mercy in the name of their god. Well, we can go on to list the symptoms of the prevailing attitude of indifference of this sick world. They are many and inscribe a very alarming message: “God’s judgment is imminent!”
2. He is extremely indifferent to the things of God.
In v.2-4, he gave an order to bring all the gold and silver vessels taken from the temple of Jerusalem by his ancestor Nebuchadnezzar. When these holy vessels of God were brought to him, he desecrated them by drinking wine from them, he, his nobles, his wives and concubines. To satisfy his profanity, they praised the gods of gold & silver, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone. What he did was a direct defiance against the Sovereign God. God’s anger was kindled; His bowl’s full enough. He passed out his judgment to this defiant, blasphemous king.