Sermon and Bible Study Database
Author: Kent Berghuis
The Handwriting on Your Wall Daniel 5 Hebrews 10:30-31--"For we know him who said, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' and again, 'The Lord will judge his people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Introduction: Have you ever been scared? I mean hair-raising, spine-tingling, knee-knocking scared? [A visit to Hazel Green cemetery] What if you were to die tonight? If 3 words would be written as your epitaph, what would they be? Our main character faced that question--and he saw the handwriting on the wall. I. Belshazzar's drunken feast (1-9). A. Belshazzar profaned God's holiness (1-4). Who is Belshazzar? --Grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. Neb dies old, son Evel-Merodach takes over. His brother kills him, takes over. In a conspiracy an outsider, Nabonidus, gains the throne, marries Neb's daughter, moves to Arabia, and gives his son Belshazzar control of Babylon. The Medes and Persians under Cyrus are closing in. They have camped outside the city wall for several weeks. Inside Babylon there is enough provision for years of siege if necessary. The date is Saturday, October 12, 539 BC. B. God interrupted Belshazzar's revelry (5-9). App: I'd like to suggest 3 words today that could be chiseled on your tombstone to the glory of God. They will represent the opposite of what Belshazzar received in judgment. The first is: REVERENCE. [This is the age. . .] How can we learn to revere God? 1. Intense worship. 2. Careful speech. --"name in vain" 3. High personal standards. 4. Humble approach to life. II. Daniel's confrontation with Belshazzar (10-24). A. Daniel's reputation (10-16). --Daniel is about 81 years old by now. B. Daniel's integrity (17-24). 1. Daniel refuses reward (17)--some people can't be bought. 2. Daniel reviews Nebuchadnezzar's story (18-21). 3. Daniel rebukes Belshazzar (22-24). --False gods are no gods at all. --The true God holds your very existence in his hand, the hand that judges, or the hand that can uphold you. App: Like Daniel, we must pursue a RELATIONSHIP with God. How? Admit your need of him. Believe in his forgiveness and presence. Commit to following him. It's like a marriage relationship. III. Belshazzar's message from God (25-31). A. The inscription's meaning (25-28). --These are words for money in their language. There are 50 shekels in a mina, So it's like saying "$100, $2, $50." But the words are also in use in the language, and mean something like "number, weigh, and divide." The last word, "PRS", is also has the same consonants as the word for "Persia," the empire that was about to conquer Babylon. B. The issuing of the proclamation (29). C. The invasion of Babylon (30-31). App: We must demonstrate REALITY before God. This is the sum of the other two words, reverence and relationship. Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Belshazzar represents the practicing atheist who cannot face the reality of his own impotence in the face of greater forces, and he can only brace himself with the help of alcohol to block out the stark truth. Conclusion [Elegy] What would be your inscription, your epitaph, the handwriting on your wall?