Daniel 5:27 – You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.
Belshazzar reigned in Babylon for approximately 15 years. In the first year Daniel had the vision of the four beasts and in the third year he had a vision concerning the Median/Persian empire and the Greek empire. The next time we meet Daniel he is over 80 and the year is 539 BC. Belshazzar is throwing a great feast for a thousand of his lords and he is having a wonderful evening. The wine is so good that he wants to drink it from the best of cups. So, he ‘commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that everyone might drink from them.’
The vessels were brought, the wine was poured and praises went up to the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. Then everything changed when the king saw a hand writing on the wall of his palace; the colour drained from his face and his legs gave way beneath him. He called for the wise men but they had no idea what the writing was, so the queen told him to call for Daniel.
Daniel began by reminding the king of the greatness and glory of Nebuchadnezzar that had been granted to him by the Most High God. The greatness corrupted him and his pride was dealt with by his removal from the throne until he acknowledged the sovereignty of God. Yet, knowing all this –
“you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven… and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.”
The writing on the wall was, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN: “God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” Belshazzar’s life was weighed by the Judge and his sin was heavy, with nothing to counter it. That very night, his life was required of him.
Our counterbalance is Jesus and only through him are we judged righteous. We have a responsibility to live our lives for his glory alone, for ‘in him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts17).
We honour God by acknowledging his sovereign power and giving him the praise for the extraordinary works of his hand.