Weighed and Found Wanting

The story of King Belshazzar and the prophetic writing on the wall is a warning about pride, presumption and profanity.

Sermon Notes:

  1. In Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar came to recognize that God is the Lord above all kings. Belshazzar, his son, knew full well how God had humbled his father (v. 22).
  2. In Daniel 5 Belshazzar does not repent.  His life is a warning about pride, presumption and profanity.
  3. In captivity Daniel demonstrates purity and perseverance, and calls the secular rulers to repentance.
  4. A generation has passed between chapters 4 and 5.
  5. Pride had blinded Belshazzar to the peril of his kingdom and his profane attitude before God.
  6. By bringing in the vessels of gold from the Jewish temple, God’s holy presence was brought into the pagan party.
  7. We all think we have more time. But God will bring judgment at the set time (cf. Ps. 75).
  8. In presumption Belshazzar thought his gold kingdom would last forever (cf. Dan. 2:36-38).
  9. Belshazzar had ignored good counsel for years, but God weighs the heart (cf. Prov. 21:22).
  10. Belshazzar is profaning the sacred things of God before idols, demonstrating greater pride and profanity than his father.
  11. Babylonian idolatry imagined gods after their own design. Likewise in Exodus 32, the Israelites created an image of a calf, which represented power and utility.
  12. Belshazzar saw the people under his rule as objects of power, to be used.
  13. God created man in His own image, and placed him in the world to work and tend it.  God made man able to respond to Him.
  14. Daniel models the true image of God as a man who serves and responds to God. His purity and perseverance define Daniel’s integrity.
  15. Daniel made his stand early in his days of captivity by not eating from the king’s table or drinking wine (Dan. 1:8-16). Daniel remained set apart from the feasting and luxury of Babylon.
  16. Daniel was not concerned about self-promotion or recognition. Because we’re called to be a holy people set apart from sin, we’re not likely to be found in the limelight of the world’s self-promoting parties.
  17. We’re to be like a tree planted by streams of water; Daniel is a fruit-bearing tree (cf. Ps. 1:3). Belshazzar, by contrast, is a lightweight, and blown away like chaff (cf. Ps. 1:4).
  18. Belshazzar is told of Daniel’s excellent spirit, but treats him presumptuously, as a captive. He fails to recognize what his father learned, that Daniel and the Israelites were God’s gift to Babylon (Dan. 1:2).
  19. We should be known for having an excellent spirit like Daniel, who was faithful in his position and duties.
  20. We’re to press on to attain the goal of our life in Christ. Don’t coast like Belshazzar. (cf. Hosea 6:1-3).
  21. By this time Daniel had been in Babylon 66 years, faithfully serving God, and keeping godly community with others like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Together as a church we’re to press on to fulfil our Christian duties (Heb. 6:1; 10:25).
  22. We’re called out of the world in order to be sent back into the world.
  23. Each Sunday we have a holy feast and a sacred vessel. The Lord Jesus is lifted up and we pledge allegiance to Him as our king.

Application Questions:

  1. Is there presumptuousness in our hearts?  Do we assume that whatever we want to do is right?
  2. Is there someone in your life who is giving you good counsel? Where can you seek good counsel?  Ask the Lord to help you repent where your life is in error.
  3. Do we imagine a god after our own design, rather than receiving the God of Scripture as he reveals himself?
  4. Leaders, do we use people for “the cause” of ministry?
  5. Do we make an idol of our own usefulness and service? Can we accept giving our position to another who may be better suited to serve?
  6. Are you known to neighbours and colleagues for having an excellent spirit like Daniel?