Jump Start # 2653
Daniel 5:30 “That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain.”
I’ve been teaching Daniel on Sunday videos. Our verse today concludes the Babylonian empire. While the Medes and Persians were surrounding the city and preparing an attack, Belshazzar was throwing a drunken, blasphemous party on the inside. He invited a thousand people. The vessels of God, that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple were brought in and used to toast the gods of Babylon. Disrespectful, godless, blasphemous, mocking, this Babylonian king never learned a thing from recent Babylonian history and their great king Nebuchadnezzar. A hand suddenly appeared. Words were written on the wall. Everyone could see it and no one knew what it meant. Nearly passing out in fear, the king offered riches and a position of third highest in the kingdom if an explanation could be given. The wise men of Babylon couldn’t. Daniel is brought in. He understood that this was a divine message from God. Before he interprets, he preaches. Daniel’s tone is serious, stern and to the point. This foolish king has learned nothing from the past.
The kingdom was coming to an end. The fulfillment of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue was beginning to take place. Another kingdom was going to rule. The Babylonians had served the purpose God had for them. God is moving kings and kingdoms as He wills. And, now it was time for Babylon to be removed from the game board and be put away in a box.
And, as our verse indicates, it doesn’t take God long to do things. “That same night,” it all happened. That same night that the hand appeared. That same night that Daniel told the meaning. That same night that reality hit the arrogant king. That same night he was slain and Babylon fell. As the king was partying, the Medes and Persians were nearly inside the city.
God didn’t give Belshazzar time to think things over. There was no time to repent. The curtain fell. That very night he was slain. That very night it all changed. The Lord would use a similar thought in His parable about the rich foolish farmer. He had plans to tear down barns and build larger barns. It was all planned out. His future looked good. He failed to include God, thank God, or follow God. That very night his soul was required of him. That very night he died. Belshazzar and the rich farmer both died “that very night.”
From this we ought to see some lessons:
First, not everyone lives happily ever after. Belshazzar didn’t. The rich farmer didn’t. Their time was up. They didn’t have another day. That night—immediately, their souls were required. Life is made up of choices and if one spends a lifetime making the wrong choices, the outcome will not be pleasant in eternity.
Second, God’s time table is set to Heaven’s clock and not ours. When God is ready, things happen. They happen quickly. They happen without notice. They happen whether we are ready or not. That same night. Immediately, we might say.
Third, some run out of opportunities to change. Belshazzar did. The rich farmer did. There was no invitation song for them. There was no going home and thinking things out for them. God called their souls and they died. They died unprepared. They died in disobedience. They died and they were not ready to meet God.
Fourth, not everyone is going to Heaven. The Bible specifically shows that the way to destruction is broad and crowded with people. Yet, the way so many think, you’d get the impression that just about everyone is going to make it. God is too good and too loving some preachers present it, to allow anyone to be lost. Belshazzar’s story didn’t end well for him. The rich farmer’s story didn’t end well for him. And, ignoring God will not end well for us.
Fifth, we often do not know when our last day will be. In the movies, death is so dramatic. The music plays, there are final words and it’s very moving. That’s the movies. I’ve seen far too many take that final breath. It’s not like that. They simply stop and that’s it. Had Belshazzar known that he was going to die in an invasion that night, he likely would have skipped the banquet. He would have done things differently. Had the farmer, in the Lord’s story, known that he was to die that night, he would have done things differently. Neither knew. Death came. Ready or not, it comes. It comes when we are busy. It comes when we are needed by others. It comes at a time that is not convenient. It comes.
What if today was your last day? According to the stats, 7,000 people will die today. For a few, their families knew it would be soon. Sickness and disease made them realize that death was soon. But for others, today will be their last day and they, like Belshazzar and the rich farmer, had no clue. They expect to be here tomorrow, but they won’t. They were busy making plans and filling schedules for the rest of the week, month and year. But those things won’t happen. Funerals will be planned. Everything has stopped. Their souls were required. They passed through that door of death and ready or not, they will stand before God.
Now all of this leads to a couple of concluding thoughts:
First, one can become paranoid and scared and fail to live. Knowing that one day will be our last day, we can live in a perpetual state of mourning and fear and not make any plans and not do anything and just sit and wait for death to come. That’s a terrible way to exist. That’s not healthy, productive, nor what God wants.
Second, we can walk by faith and live with the hope that God has before us. Rather than being fixated upon death, we fill each day with the glory of God knowing that when our day comes, we are ready. Build a foundation upon Christ. Make a difference in the lives around you. Make worship meaningful and significant. Put the kingdom first in your life. Make plans but keep your eyes on Heaven. This isn’t our home, but Heaven is. Know that some day Heaven will send angels to carry you to your Lord. Believe. Trust. Obey. Walk. Drive out fear and worry. Make it your ambition to please the Lord. And, when it is our last day here, whether it’s today, tomorrow or down the road, we’ll be ready because we’ve longed to see the Lord all of our life.
That very night—live well. Live godly. Live righteously. The Lord will take good care of you.