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« The Hiding Place | Main | The Three Days That Changed the World. »

How Much Do You Weigh?

Daniel 5:22-29 (KJV)
22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Nebuchaddnezzar ruled over Babylon and was largely responsible for making it one of the most powerful empires in history. He surrounded the city by two great walls. The outside wall was actually three smaller walls, the two at 21 feet thick and the third 9 feet. Around the outside walls were security towers and in front of it lay a trench.  Archaeologists have discovered that in his city the streets were laid out in straight lines that intersect approximately at right angles.

The most famous street was the “Processional Way” which ran along the eastern side of the southern palace, through the Ishtar gate and outside the inner town to a special festival house situated to the north. The way was lined with figures of some 120 lions, the symbol of Ishtar in molded glazed bricks.  The ancient historian, Herodotus, said that Babylon “surpasses in splendor any city of the known world.”

Belshazzar, the son of  Nebuchaddnazzar, rode atop this empire after his father died.  His pomp and arrogance surpassed even that of his father.

Daniel 5:1-6 (KJV)
1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

This is when Daniel was called for and gave the interpretation of the handwriting on the wall.

I want to focus on the word, TEKEL.  It meant “tried in the balances and found wanting.”  In other words, imagine a huge set of scales, large enough to hold the entire city of Babylon, with all of its gold, silver and precious stones on one side, and the favor of the Almighty God on the other.  The scale dipped sharply to the side of God.  Everything Babylon consisted of was not enough to outweigh God’s power and might.  That very night in which Belshazzar saw the handwriting on the wall, Babylon fell.  He lost his power, his kingdom and his life when it fell. 

Daniel 5:30-31  In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

What did God weigh in the balance?  He didn’t weigh the great walls.  He didn’t weigh the wide streets.  He didn’t weigh the magnificent Ishtar Gate.  He didn’t weigh the Hanging Gardens which were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Not the king’s treasure house, not the standing armies, not the wealth of the famed merchants that lined the broad boulevards. 

God weighed none of these outward trappings that impressed the world and established Babylon as the greatest city and greatest empire of the day.  God weighed something far more valuable. 

Weighed in the Balance

Scales, or balances, were ancient ways to account for money.  Merchants weighed all the gold or silver used as currency to conduct business.  Since there was no uniformity among coins of the realm, it was necessary to weigh them to ensure that the right amount was transacted. 

Weighed in the balance and found wanting simply meant that the amount you were paying for an item or a commodity was not enough.  You short-changed the merchant or the person with whom you were doing business.

When this visual is projected into the twenty-first century culture—and to us, personally—it becomes something of a great concern.  It tells the story of the true value of your life.  Just as Belshazzar, many people look at the wrong things as their valuables.  I could go down the litany of the things we treasure—house, car, clothes, bank accounts, good looks, etc.—but these things do not tip the scale.  In fact, when we pay attention to these things in trying to better our lives, we actually do the opposite.  The more you accumulate, the less value you have.  The more you are worth in this life, chances are the more worthless you are in the life to come.  Jesus said,

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Matthew 6:19-21.

Whether you know it or not, you are on God’s scales.  He is not looking for the pound or two that you gained this morning when you stepped on the scales.  He is not counting calories or fat grams.  His scales are finely tuned to weigh commodities unseen by the naked eye.  God weighs attitude, humility, gratitude, obedience to His will, and faith in his being. 

Have you ever been in a situation where you were at the checkout desk and didn’t have enough money?  Or you forgot your checkbook?  Or the magnetic stripe on your credit or debit card didn’t work?  How about when the ATM keeps your card?  It’s so embarrassing and frustrating.  You can’t understand it.  Then, when you investigate the reason why you were rejected, you discover that it’s true.  Something went wrong in your check register.  You thought you had more money than you really had.

God’s Accounting

But, you say, this isn’t going to happen with God.  “God knows my heart.  He knows that I love Him.  He wouldn’t let anything happen to me.”

My friend, why do you think we have something called a Bible?  If God didn’t mean anything He wrote, why did He write it? Why would God go to the trouble of telling us exactly what he requires of us, and then say that it doesn’t really matter.

Why do we think that our value system trumps God’s system in critical matters of going to heaven and living with Him throughout all eternity?

Let me read a parable of Jesus to you.

Matthew 22:2-14
2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Paul wrote to the Romans:

Romans 16:25-27 (KJV)
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Taking Inventory


So, let’s take inventory. What kind of car do you have?  (How much is it worth in heaven’s currency?)  What valuable collection do you have?  House? Clothes? Gadgets?  Business equipment?

So far, we’ve concentrated on stuff, material possessions.

But there are intangibles that we place a great deal of value upon.

Good looks.  Good health.  Good mind.

Ever heard of these magazines?  Cosmopolitan; Vogue; Redbook; Iron Man; Good Housekeeping; House and Gardens; Architectural Digest; Car & Driver; Motor Trend; Health & Fitness; Sports Illustrated; Time; Newsweek; Atlantic; Harper’s; Forbes; Fortune; Popular Science; and on and on.  A huge industry exists based on the cravings of the mind of man. 

  • Education.  We deem education the most valuable thing we could obtain in this life.
  • Relationships.  Life is all about relationships, but we end up abusing and misusing most of them.
  • Associations with people.  Know the right people because this is the ticket to success.
  • Reputation.  Manage your reputation, not necessarily according to truth but perception.

Some of you could tell me in great detail about taking care of finger nails.  You could go on and on about dogs and cats, cars and trucks, boats and bikes, knives and guns, basketball, baseball, football, shoes, clothes and recipes.

You could take hours telling me about vitamins, minerals, organic health foods, lawn care, house décor, color schemes, stock market, politics, ad infinitum.

But, in God’s accounting system, these things carry no weight.  God is not impressed.

You can live in the temporary world if you want to.  But I’ve got some sad news for you.  The things that you may be spending all your money, time and energy on will be utterly and totally lost in the end.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Babylon the Great

Revelation 18:1-2 (KJV)
1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

Revelation 18:9-19 (KJV)
9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

I am proclaiming to you today that you need to start looking at life through the eyes of God.


The Bible warns us of the placing a high value on earthly things.  15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Revelation 3:14-18 (KJV)

What does God say you need?


  • Faith.  “For without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
  • Belief.  “He that cometh to God must believe that He is…”
  • Salvation:  “Except a man is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into…”
  • The Name of Jesus:  “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name…”
  • The Spirit of God:  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Romans 8:9 (KJV)
  • Holiness:  “Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.”
  • Truth:  24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

In fact, it is all summed up in the word, TRUTH!

When you are weighed, it is truth that counts.

Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

There is freedom in truth.  Freedom from peer pressure.  Freedom from society’s expectations.  Freedom from the flesh.  Freedom from the rat race of life.

But let me also introduce you to another thought:  Truth is also binding.

Listen carefully.

You are responsible for the truth you know.  From this point on, you cannot claim ignorance.  Your life is forever changed.  Your eternity is forever changed.  You have now come into the receipt of a treasure, a fortune, an eternal value that you cannot disown.

You may say, but I don’t believe it.  I believe it, but I don’t live it.  I’m only here because someone made me come.  This is not my choice.

It really doesn’t matter what reasoning you use to arrive at your present conclusion.  The fact is that you know something that will lead you to eternal life.  In this life, getting money is not everything; your temporal success also depends on how you spend the money you have.

Do you know that 70% of people who win the lottery are broke within three years?

What you have is one thing; what you do with what you have is entirely different.

Matthew 25:23-30 (KJV)
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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