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Writing on the Wall

Scripture Passage: 
Daniel 5:1-31
Attached audio files: 

INTRODUCTION: God will judge sin and defend His honour. Though God often delays to judge man for sin (Ecclesiastes 8:11), this should never be taken as weakness or lack of conviction. God delays punishment in order to give men a longer time in which to repent. The goodness of His forbearance should lead to repentance (Romans 2:4).

God will not always delay judgment and when He acts, He does so swiftly. 2 Peter 2:1 teaches that those who deny Him bring upon themselves “swift destruction.” We must know God will indeed judge sins and will bring sudden destruction on the guilty (1 Thessalonians 5:3). We must make sure that our sins are under the blood of Christ as concerning our salvation and that we repent of and confess our daily sins.

  1. THE VESSELS OF GOD (Daniel 5:1-4)
    1. Dedicated to the Service of God (Daniel 5:1-2)
      1. The great feast of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1)
      2. The command to bring the vessels (Daniel 5:2)
        1. That had been dedicated to the Lord (Exodus 40:9-10)
        2. That had been carried away (2 Chronicles 36:7; Daniel 1:1-2)
    2. Desecrated in Praise to False Gods (Daniel 5:3-4)
      1. Taken from the temple in Jerusalem (Daniel 5:3)
      2. Brought to the feast of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:3)
      3. Used to drink the wine of the feast (Daniel 5:3)
      4. Used to praise the gods of Babylon (Daniel 5:4)
  2. THE WRITING OF GOD (Daniel 5:5-16)
    1. Bringing Fear to the King (Daniel 5:5-6)
      1. The fingers of a man’s hand (Daniel 5:5)
        1. They appeared in the same hour the king was misusing the vessels.
        2. They wrote over against the candlestick. Note: God wants man to be able to read what He writes.
        3. They wrote on the plaster of the wall of the palace.
        4. They wrote in the viewing of the king.
      2. Note: other times the hand of God wrote for man to see
        1. The two tables of testimony (Exodus 31:18)
        2. The writing of Jesus on the ground (John 8:6)
      3. The reaction of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:6)
        1. His countenance changed.
        2. His thoughts troubled him.
        3. His joints of his loins were loosed.
        4. His knees smote together.
    2. Bringing Confusion to the Wise Men (Daniel 5:7-9)
      1. The wise men were called (Daniel 5:7).
        1. The astrologers
        2. The Chaldeans
        3. The soothsayers
      2. The wise men were promised rewards (Daniel 5:7).
        1. The requirements for reward
          1. To read the writing
          2. To shew the interpretation
        2. The rewards promised
          1. To be clothed in scarlet
          2. To have a golden necklace
          3. To be the third ruler in the kingdom
      3. The wise men could not accomplish the task (Daniel 5:8).
        1. They could not read the writing.
        2. Or provide the interpretation thereof
      4. The people were troubled (Daniel 5:9).
        1. The king was troubled and his countenance was changed.
        2. The lords were astonied.
    3. Bringing Remembrance to the Queen (Daniel 5:10-12)
      1. She came into the banquet house (Daniel 5:10).
      2. She spoke to calm the king (Daniel 5:10).
        1. Let not thy thoughts trouble thee.
        2. Let not thy countenance be changed.
      3. She told him of Daniel (Daniel 5:11).
        1. A man in whom “is the spirit of the holy gods”; Note: This is not a true statement, but was the way Daniel was perceived by the queen.
        2. A man in whom was found great wisdom
        3. A man who was made the master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers
      4. She encouraged him to call Daniel (Daniel 5:12).
        1. Because of his past abilities
          1. His excellent spirit
          2. His knowledge
          3. His understanding
          4. His interpretation of dreams
          5. His shewing of hard sentences
          6. His dissolving of doubts
        2. Because of his present ability – “he will shew the interpretation.”
    4. Bringing Opportunity to the Man of God (Daniel 5:13-16)
      1. Daniel brought before the king (Daniel 5:13)
      2. Daniel’s reputation preceded him (Daniel 5:13-14).
        1. Art thou the Daniel that my father brought out of Jewry (Daniel 5:13)?
        2. I have heard of thee (Daniel 5:14).
          1. That the spirit of the gods is in thee
          2. That light, understanding, and excellent wisdom is found in thee
      3. Daniel told of the failure of others (Daniel 5:15)
        1. The identity of those who failed
        2. The failure
          1. To read the writing
          2. To shew the interpretation
      4. Daniel given the same promise of reward (Daniel 5:16)
  3. THE WORD OF GOD (Daniel 5:17-23)
    1. The Rewards of Man (Daniel 5:17)
      1. The king encouraged to keep his rewards
        1. Let thy gifts be to thyself.
        2. Give thy rewards to another.
      2. Daniel will read the writing, and make known the interpretation.
    2. The Pride of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 5:18-21)
      1. The glory of his kingdom (Daniel 5:18-19)
        1. God gave him a kingdom, majesty, glory, and honour (Daniel 5:18).
        2. The most high God gave him great power (Daniel 5:19).
          1. All people, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him.
          2. Whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive.
          3. Whom he would he set up, and whom he would he put down.
      2. The pride of his heart (Daniel 5:20)
        1. His heart was lifted up.
        2. His mind was hardened.
      3. The loss of his kingdom (Daniel 5:20)
        1. He was deposed from his kingly throne.
        2. His glory was taken from him.
      4. The lesson of humility (Daniel 5:21)
        1. He was driven from the sons of men.
        2. His heart was made like the beasts.
        3. His dwelling was with the wild asses.
        4. He ate grass like oxen.
        5. His body was wet with the dew of heaven.
    3. The Pride of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:22-23)
      1. Belshazzar’s rejection of the lesson of humility (Daniel 5:22)
        1. Thou hast not humbled thine heart.
        2. Though thou knewest all this
      2. Belshazzar’s reaction of pride (Daniel 5:23)
        1. He had lifted himself against the Lord of heaven.
        2. He had defiled the vessels from the Lord’s house.
        3. He praised the gods of silver, gold, brass, iron, wood, and stone.
        4. He glorified not the one true and living God.
  4. THE JUDGMENT OF GOD (Daniel 5:24-31)
    1. The Meaning of the Writing (Daniel 5:24-28)
      1. The writing in full: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN (Daniel 5:24-25)
      2. The interpretation of the writing (Daniel 5:26-28)
        1. MENE (Daniel 5:26)
          1. God hath numbered thy kingdom.
          2. God hath finished thy kingdom.
        2. TEKEL (Daniel 5:27)
          1. Thou art weighed in the balances.
          2. Thou art found wanting.
        3. PERES (Daniel 5:28); PERES is another form of UPHARSIN
          1. Thy kingdom is divided.
          2. Thy kingdom is given to the Medes and Persians.
    2. The Promotion of Daniel (Daniel 5:29)
      1. He was clothed with scarlet.
      2. A chain of gold was placed about his neck.
      3. He was made the third ruler in the kingdom.
    3. The Destruction of Babylon (Daniel 5:30-31)
      1. Belshazzar slain that night (Daniel 5:30)
      2. Darius the Median took the kingdom (Daniel 5:31).

CONCLUSION: Are you disobeying God and thinking that nothing will ever come of it? Be sure to know that judgment will someday come. How much better to repent of your sin and seek the forgiveness and cleansing of God! Will you turn to Him right now?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 2:13

Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;