“Your Number Is Up” is a common phrase meaning that your time on earth is done. People say that phrase when they have a near death experience or they say “I guess my number is not up”. One thing we are all guaranteed is that eventually our number will be called and our time on earth will be over. Everyone of us will leave this earth one day and what you believe about Jesus Christ will determine your eternity. No one likes to think about eternity and not many people think their number will be called this very hour. Do you think you are going to die in the next couple of hours? Maybe if you have been fighting a terminal illness and you knew your time was coming to an end on earth but the majority of us live our lives as if we will always have more time.
Belshazzar,who was the King over Babylon, felt confident that the armies that surrounded Babylon would not be able to overtake the city. For four months the armies of the Medes and Persians had Babylon surrounded but even that did not awaken Belshazzar to face the reality that death was literally at his door step. In his arrogance he threw a party for his nobles and their wives who were probably gathered in Babylon because the rest of the area had been conquered. Belshazzar then asked for the cups from the Jewish Temple to be brought so they could be used for the party and that is when God had enough and proclaimed His judgment in writing to Belshazzar on the wall of the banquet hall.
Read Daniel 5:16-32
3) We Must Speak the Truth Boldly
The King called the enchanters astrologers and diviners
Daniel 5:10-12 The queen,[a] because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods.[b] In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.”
It is amazing how the King knew nothing of Daniel even after all that Daniel had done for Nebuchadnezzar. They recognized that Daniel had the spirit of the gods which is our way of saying that Daniel was filled with the Holy Spirit or at least in tune with God Himself. Daniels life was so different and those around him could tell. They did not know exactly why or how he was different but his life was a reflection of Christ. The People of the world need to see the Holy Spirit living inside of us and that our lives are different and by that they will approach us with the questions of life that no one else can answer.
1 Peter 3:15-16 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
Many people think that an experience of the Holy Spirit leads you to have good feelings. Although some of that may happen (Acts 13:52) the reality is that when the Spirit of God moves then it causes us to proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ boldly. The Spirit of God has been made into a feeling but the Spirit of God will help us speak boldly the Words of God. The Spirit of God will lead us to speak the truth boldly as the Spirit proclaims the truth to us. (John 16:13)
When Daniel confronted Belshazzar he knew this was no time to back down from the truth. Daniel could have still lost his life talking to the King the way he did but he also knew that death was literally at the door and Daniel knew that God had predicted the Medes and the Persians would be the next world empire. (Daniel 2)
Daniel knew that God was declaring judgement on the Babylonians for their unrepentant hearts and so he spoke the truth boldly by preaching a mini sermon to them reminding them of things they should have known but ignored. Many people in our churches and Christian schools know the truth but it does not cause them to repent. Just like Belshazzar people have seen God move in the lives of their family members and we heard the truth of God proclaimed to them but they ignore it.
Colossians 4:3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—
A Door in the Bible meant an opportunity and so Paul in Colossians was praying for an opportunity. We need to pray for opportunities to talk to those around us about the truth of Jesus Christ. Daniel was not on the scene but when they could not answer the writing on the wall they knew they needed help.
The world does not have the answers that people need even though they try to silence Christians from sharing the truth. The ways of the world promise answers to the most perplexing problems of life but they always lead to a dead end. Where will people go for the answers if the people of God continually compromise their beliefs for the sake of unity with the world? Many people do not understand a God who would pay the penalty of sin for them instead of them having to earn it on their own.
Keep your gifts
Daniel could not be bought and he was not going to allow money or powers to keep him from speaking the truth boldly. We have to be careful that we do not allow money, prestige and power of this world make us lose focus as to why God has us here. God calls us to be light to a dark world (Matthew 5:16) and when we get our focus on the things of this world instead of the truth we are to proclaim.
But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all of this.
Nebuchadnezzar, with all of his accomplishments of building a world empire, had something to brag about but Belshazzar was really arrogant about being King of Babylon simply because he inherited the kingdom. It was not that God did not give Belshazzar a chance to humble himself, and it was not that Belshazzar did not know the truth, it was that he refused to humble himself under God. Nebuchadnezzar was proud but he repented and acknowledged that everything came from God. It is estimated that Belshazzar was around fourteen years old when Nebuchadnezzar died which means he would have heard what God had done in the life of Nebuchadnezzar from the king himself. The truth was told to Belshazzar but it had not impact on him because he refused to humble himself under God.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
You have set yourself up against the Lord of Heaven
Every sin goes against the nature and character of God and that is why we do not get to decide what is and what is not a sin because God does. Our world likes to act as if what they are doing is not that bad or that we get to compare our sins to other people. What we need to realize is every sin we commit is compared to the standard of purity and holiness which is God Himself.
Psalm 51:4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Tekel: you have been weighed and found lacking
The world has a concept that God is going to measure our good deeds against our bad deeds and if our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds then we can make it into Heaven. This was a belief among the Egyptians who believed that a scale would be set up and all our deeds would be weighed. Daniel is relating to Belshazzar in terms he would understand by using the scale analogy but Christians do not believe that we can earn our way into the presence of God.
Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.
We measure ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. One of the things our world does not understand is that Holiness is the requirement in order for us to be in the presence of God. There is only one way that we can measure up to the standard of God and that is through His Holy Spirit being placed in us when we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules
When God measures us it is going to be a pass or fail test. Holy or un-Holy is how we will be found and God does not grade on a curve. Either you can allow Jesus to take the test for you so that you measure up or you can try and earn it on your own and you will fail every time. Jesus already took the test for us and He passed and we get to accept the grade He got or we can try and earn it on our own.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
But what about the good people that do not accept Jesus Christ?
Romans 3:10,20-24 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; For by works of the law no human being[c] will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
We base if someone is good by our own standard and by our standards there are some really good people in this world. What if you could read every private thought of those people who you consider good? What if you knew what they really thought about people or some of the hidden things in their life no one knew about? If you took all those things and you were able to see them, would you still consider them to be good?
A right relationship with God is what we long for because that is what we were created to have. God created us to be in a relationship with Him but when sin got in the way God died for us so that we could have the relationship back with Him. The penalty of our sin has been paid through Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins but many people do not want to accept the free gift.
The Rest of The Story
Peres: your Kingdom has been divided.
It seems that Belshazzar believed Daniel because he gave Daniel the purple robe and the Gold Chain placed around his neck and for a couple of hours Daniel was the third highest ruler in the land. There is no record of Belshazzar humbling himself or making a last minute confession and the next words are the saddest which are “That very night Belshazzar, King of the Babylonians, was slain. His life ended on a night after he knew that this day would eventually come. Everything that he had was gone and he stood before God to be judged that very night.
When your number is up will your spirit be ready?
Have you accepted the free grace that Christ offers on our behalf?
If not there is a prayer that you can pray giving your life to God. Becoming a Christian is not so much about a prayer or being baptized or raising your hand in a service. Jesus made it clear what it meant to give your life to Him when He said, “Follow Me”. Although this prayer might be a time when you make your commitment the prayer itself will not save you but only if you fully give your life to Him. You maybe young and full of energy or you may be like the thief on the cross who was moments away from death. Either way God can save anyone who believes that Jesus Christ (God Himself) died on the cross for our sins making us Holy by taking the test that we could not pass on our own.
Dear God, I know I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my completer helplessness to forgive y own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross.
I believe that He did all that ever will be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank You that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures.
Father, I take You at Your word. I thank You that I can face death now that You are my Savior. Than You for the assurance that you will walk with me htrough the deep valley.
Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus name. Amen
Prayer Taken from Erwin Lutzer in his book “One Minute After You Die” PG. 185