Weighed and Found Wanting

KEY VERSE: “TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” —Daniel 5:27

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Daniel 5:1-7, 25-31

THE EXPRESSION “THE handwriting is on the wall,” based upon Daniel 5:5, is a saying well known by many in the world, and means that a final judgment has been made from which there is no turning back. In chapter 5 of Daniel, we learn that Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar (vs. 11), prepared a state banquet where more than a thousand guests attended. In preparation for the feast he had set out on the tables the sacred golden and silver vessels stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem prior to its destruction.—II Kings 24:13

These cups, and other accessories dedicated for use in God’s holy house, were now profaned by the revelers who used them as they worshipped false gods. Belshazzar had gone too far. He lacked moral character and respect for the things of God. He flaunted his own ignorance by presuming that God would take no action in response to this sacrilege while he and his nobles, his wives and concubines partied shamelessly. In the same hour, however, the fingers of a man’s hand came forth and wrote on the wall before him four words in the Aramaic, or ancient Hebrew language, saying, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin; thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”—Dan. 5:25,27

God took notice of Belshazzar’s actions. And he continues to take notice of us. What we do is important to God, and we are accountable for our actions. We should ask how we can become more accountable for our actions so that God will not find us wanting? Am I doing things that are not pleasing to God?

Seeing the letters on the wall which he could not read, Belshazzar called for all his ‘wise men’, who were unable to read the writing nor to interpret it for the king. Previously they had been unable to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image, and now they could make no sense of a four word message written in Aramaic. Help was needed to unravel this puzzle.

The queen convinced Belshazzar to call for Daniel. (vss. 10-12) She recounted how this Israelite had miraculously helped Nebuchadnezzar when his court staff of soothsayers were stymied. Although they had apparently never met, Belshazzar was willing to consult anyone who could make sense of this terrifying situation.

After telling of Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling by God (vss. 17-22), Daniel observed that Belshazzar, although knowing about it, had himself not been humbled. Daniel proceeded to interpret the words on the wall, and to announce to all that Belshazzar had been ‘weighed in the balances and had been found wanting’. That very night King Belshazzar was slain. The once mighty Babylonian empire was conquered by the Medes and Persians.—vss. 30,31

All our actions have consequences. While we continue to fall short as imperfect humans, we have a model to follow. God’s Word is meant to be interpreted harmoniously. “All Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”—II Tim. 3:16,17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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