Weighed in the Balance
Daniel 5:12 - Daniel 9:13
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to spend some time backstage of a theatre that was unlike any I have visited before. What made it unique was the writing on the wall. The walls backstage were made of reddish tan bricks that rose from floor to ceiling and spanned from left to right as far as the eye could see. Written on each individual brick was the name of a person who had performed on that stage, and the year that they performed there.
The bricks were numbered and signed and contained a message that each of the people would be remembered for. I found myself captivated by them.
I couldn't help but wonder what message I would have left as writing on the wall.
In the book of Daniel, Belshazzar the king had a great feast. He did not have a humble heart. He had lifted himself up against the Lord. On this particular evening he had poured wine for his guests into the vessels that had been stolen out of the house of the Lord.
In the midst of this great feast a hand sent from God left writing on the wall, "MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN." (Daniel 5:25)
A simple translation would read, "Numbered. Numbered. Weighed. Divided."
But the King felt that there was more behind the message than just those three words. He sent for his wise men, but none could translate.
So the Queen suggested he call for Daniel.
I love how she describes him:
There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. (Daniel 5:11)
In the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him. (Daniel 5:11)
An excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel. (Daniel 5:12)
So Daniel was brought before the King.
The first thing the King asked him was, "Art thou that Daniel...I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee...I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts." (Daniel 5:13-16)
Daniel agreed to make known the interpretation of the dream to the King. He spoke of the King's father, Nebuchadnezzar, and his weaknesses and his strengths. Then he spoke of King Belshazzar, and his mistakes and the places where he was lacking in righteousness.
He spoke with the Spirit of God.
He spoke wisdom and brought light and understanding.
He spoke hard sentences.
He spoke knowledge.
And then, dissolving doubt, he interpreted the dream.
Each of the three words written on the wall had a different interpretation, but it is the middle word that catches my full attention.
"TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." (Daniel 5:27)
There is an important lesson contained within this chapter ––if you look carefully you will see that two men were weighed in the balance.
One was known for his drinking, his praise for the gods of gold, his prideful heart ––he was known as a man who did not glorify God.
The other was known for his excellent spirit, his light and understanding, his wisdom, his knowledge, his ability to shew hard sentences and dissolve doubt.
Both were weighed in the balances, but only one was found wanting.
I love the six words King Belshazzar said of Daniel, "I have even heard of thee..."
I can't help but think to myself if people were to begin a sentence, "Oh, I have heard of you..." How would they describe me? When weighed in the balances would words such as those used to describe Daniel come to mind? What would I have to change in my life so that those were the words that would describe me?
Sometimes, at the end of the day, I find myself going over all of the decisions, and errands, and tasks that have filled up each hour. Looking back at the whole of the day I often find myself wondering, when it is weighed in the balances, if there are parts of it that are found wanting.
On those days I try to learn from my mistakes. To ask for an increase of the spirit. To seek for more light, understanding, and knowledge.
To ask myself the hard sentences.
Sometimes I find myself wanting in my abilities as a mother, a wife, a friend. They are days I do not want to be remembered for. In those moments there is always one thing that dissolves my doubt.
It is a scripture found in Isaiah 40:12-13. Speaking of the Savior it asks, "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?"
I love to picture the Savior with the water of the earth cupped in one hand while the other hand spans the expanse of heaven. He knows instantly how to measure out the dust and to balance the mountains and hills.
If the Savior can handle all of that, I know that He can help me. He can bring my life into balance.
If I turn to Him, He can add to my life ...understanding, light, knowledge, and wisdom.
Then hopefully, when people say, "Oh, I have heard of you..."
I will not be found wanting.