August the 15th is a red letter day in high school athletics in Texasbecause that is the first day that football teams can have an organizedpractice session "in pads." The doctors are present and give physicalexaminations and have the "weigh-ins." Each boy comes forwardand steps upon the scales and his weight is carefully read and recorded.It is always an exciting time for both the coaches and players. The coachis always very interested to see how much the prospect has grown. You alwaysexpect the young man to be a little bigger after the summer break from school.The boy has watched his diet and exercised and steps upon the scales toreveal his size as if that were the full indication of his worth to theteam and full measure of expectation as to his contribution for the comingseason.
Spiritually, we each one must step upon the scales of mighty God to seeif we "make the team!" What a time of revelation and reckoningthat will be as our souls are laid bare before the recording angel and theresult of our "weigh-in" is made known to Almighty God and everyoneelse!
"TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanted."
In the fifth chapter of the book of Daniel, we read the history of aman by the name of Belshazzar. King Belshazzar was king over all the landof Babylon. Belshazzar just seems to burst upon the stage of time and thenhe disappears. One brief glace at him, and then he is gone. In fact, thisone chapter from God's holy Word is all that we know about this man fromeither Biblical or secular history. But we learn more than we would liketo know about him here in this chapter before us.
We learn that God had blessed him! God had given riches and honor andglory! Nothing wrong with that, I guess. God can bless anyone he choosesto bless! But right in the midst of all this blessing from God, he turnshis back upon God and begins to mock Him, and there is something drasticallyand desperately wrong with that. To me that is a picture of our day andgeneration. I don't know of anyone who has ever lived anywhere and anytimethat has been as wonderfully blessed as the people of our day here in America!Sure we have problems, but we have the whole world laid at our feet. Butinstead of us falling prostrate before God in gratitude and praise, manythat I meet from one end of this country to the other are haughty, arrogant,"puffed-up," conceited, and filled with airs.
Belshazzar had a party. Follow with me as we read the first few versesof Daniel, chapter five"
"Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, while 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 kind and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. 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 them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone."
It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see that sinful setting.Belshazzar sits at the head table. he is the "master of ceremonies."He is like a "toastmaster." He stands and lifts his glass highand says, "Let's drink a toast! Let's drink a toast to the gods!"And all of the subjects, the lords, and ladies on each side of the longtables stand and laugh. Belshazzar says "Let's drink a toast to thegods of gold and silver, iron and wood!" They all click their glassestogether. And they are laughing in the face of Almighty God! There are manypeople like that today. Listen, you can't get by with that. The Bible says,"Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweththat shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7) You may laugh at Godif you want to, but someday God is going to laugh. The Bible says, "Hewill laugh at them in their derision." (Psalms 2:4) Someonehas said, "He that laughs last, laughs best!" The Bible is clearthat God Himself will have the last laugh!
Suddenly, about the hour of midnight, a strange things happens - a handappears! It looks like a man's hand, but inn reality it is God's! It movesaround and about the assembly, over their heads and then against the walland it writes, in broad sweeping strokes, four mysterious words, "MENE,MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN!" (vs. 25) Belshazzar turns deathlypale. His knees begin to knock against one another in fear. His hair standson end. He trembles from head to feet. He doesn't know the meaning of thosewords anymore than you probably do, unless you have made a careful studyof them before. But his heard smites him. He knows that he has laughed atGod his last time. He turns to everyone around that banquet table and heasks them, "Can anyone read this writing for me? Can anyone tell mewhat God is trying to say to my heart? If anyone can read this writing forme and give me the meaning and interpretation of this thing, I'll make himthe third ruler in the kingdom; I'll put a golden chain about his neck andhe shall be clothed in royal purple!" But you see, the subjects inthis kingdom are just as deceived and deluded as their leader and they say,"Oh King, we don't know what God is trying to say to you! Why don'tyou call for all the 'clergy'? If those men are form God, they ought tobe able to read the handwriting of God!" Doesn't that figure? God'sman can read His Word and get a message from Him. So Belshazzar calls forall the priests, magicians, soothsayers and astrologers. Belshazzar feltthat these men were from God. He makes the same proposition to them. "Ifyou can read this writing for me, I'll make you the third ruler in the kingdom,the golden chain of authority shall be around your neck and you shall beclothed in scarlet." But these men were not from God, and they hungtheir heads and said, "Oh King, we do not know what God's message is!"
About that time the queen comes through the room. It seems that it istime for the "lady of the house" to speak her peace now. She says,"I know one man who can read that writing for you; his name is Daniel.If you will remember, many years ago, your father, Nebuchadnezzer, had adream. None of his priests and magicians and paid prophets could interpretthe dream, but there was a young man sent from God whose name was Daniel.He told him exactly what was going to happen and it all came to pass, justas he said." It is spoken of in the chapter just before this on, Danielchapter four. "Bring Daniel here!" The signal was given and thesoldiers rush out into the night. Before morning they bring Daniel in. Iwish I could show you Daniel. He is not the young, straight, stalwart manof yester-year. Now he is old and gray, bent and worn. But the Bible says,"Though the outward perish, the inward man is renewed day byday." (II Corinthians 4:16) He has never been as strong in hisheart and spirit as he is at this moment before Belshazzar.
Belshazzar gives the same deal to Daniel. "If you can read thismessage of God to me, I'll make you the third ruler in my kingdom, you willwear the golden chain about your neck and you shall be clothed in find purple."But in so many words, Daniel says, "You can keep your reward, I don'tneed it!" And that is the way I feel, when I stand with His message.No one buys me off, but I have something to say from God, to those who willlisten.
Daniel moves closer almost reaching out to touch the letters upon thewall. He read and interprets: "MENE:God hath numbered they kingdom, and finished it." (vs.26) Twice for emphasis, "MENE! MENE!"In other words, "You have had it! You have laughed at God your lasttime! The party is over!
The third word, we've taken as our text, "TEKEL;Thou are weighted in the balances and art found wanting."What does that mean? It means that when he stepped upon the scales of God'sdiscernment, he was too light! He did not satisfy the basic requirementof God. He did not measure up! He came up short!
I understand that in some of the major universities you have to be acertain size to come out for football or at least be so big to play a particularposition on their team. The story is told that when Adolph Rupp was coachingbasketball and winning national championships at the University of Kentuckythat he had a sigh over his office door which read, "UNLESS YOUSTOOP TO COME IN, DON'T!" And the door stood about six feet, sixinches tall! That is how tall you had to be to just come out for the sport.Then you had to make his great squad.
The forth word is "PERES; Thykingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and the Persians."(vs. 28). So the trail was over! The verdict was rendered! The sentencewas brought out! That night the army of Darius, which had been encampedon the outskirts of the city, came hurdling those 70 feet walls. Archaeologytells us that the walls about Babylon were seventy feet tall and so thickat the top that horses could pull chariots and race abreast about the city.Belshazzar felt very secure behind those walls. Some today have their wallup! They have up all their defenses and nothing or anyone is going to reachthem. But if you had been there in that sinful banquet nearly three thousandyears ago, you would have heard the shouts of war! You would have heardthe clanging of armor and you would have see the blood of Belshazzar mixedand mingled with the wine around that table. What had happened? TEKEL!
"TEKEL; Thou art weighed inthe balances, and art found wanting."
It was weigh-in time and he didn't make it! Suppose that sentence fellupon you today, are you ready to be weighed in the balances of God? Youmight say, "Well, I wouldn't be weighed like Belshazzar was. He livedin a different dispensation; in a different era. He lived under the lawand we have Jesus now and the Sermon on the Mount." I would remindyou that it was Jesus Christ himself in that great Sermon on the Mount whosaid,
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill"
That little word, "fulfill," in the Greek literally means to"fill full" the law. There is a sense in which the Ten Commandmentsare just as binding now as when they were first inscribed upon the tabletsof stone by the finger of Almighty God Himself.
The Ten Commandments are not ten different laws at all. They are justone law. Suppose I am being held in the air by a chain with ten links, andone of those links snap. Down I come! Just as surely as if every link hadbroken. Or if we are being held inside a wall or great enclosure, do youthink it matters very much at what point you break out?
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in (just) one point, he is guilty of all."
You see, the golden chain of obedience is broken if there is just onelink missing. Suppose the scales of God are lowered right before you atthis moment. Are you ready to stop into the scales of God? Now the questionis, have you fulfilled the whole requirement of the law? For even if youare like the famous Ivory soap, 99 & 44/100% pure, that won't get itwith God! Jesus said, "Be yd holy, even as my Father which isin heaven is holy." (Matthew 5:48)
I don't know for sure what God's scales look like, but for the simplesake of interpreting the message, let's agree as to how they may look. Theyare only imaginary scales right now, but one day they will be the most realisticones your eyes have ever beheld and then you will have no choice as to whetheryou step upon them or not. Do you remember the old flat-top, table-top scalesthat you can still find in feed stores and in gyms and athletic departments?They had a long arm on the side. They had weights of varying amounts andyou would put the weight upon the arm of the scale and the boy or whateverupon the table and when everything was alright the arm would balance. Butif there was not enough weight there, there was no way that arm could balance.If you want to see the basis upon which you will be weighed turn back inyour bibles to Exodus, chapter twenty. Upon each of these weights we arewriting one of the commandments of God.
Upon the first weight, we write the first commandment in verse three:
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
You say, "I don't know where all you have been and where all youmay have preached, but we just have one God here!" According to theBible, anything that comes between you and the will of the heavenly fatherhas indeed become a little god. Many people have made entertainment theirgod. Some have made pleasure their god! Some time ago I saw a "god-Evinrude"being pulled by. That is what came first for them, and it was on a Sunday!Some have made their family their god. Some are workaholics and have madetheir job their god. We are "Polydeist" today. We have more godsthan we have people. We may not bow before a doll or an idol, but we havemade things, gadgets and ideals our god. What is your god like? "TEKEL- Thou are weighed in the balances and art found wanting."You don't make the team!
Upon the second weight we write commandment number two, in verse four:
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image"
You may say, "That is easy, I would not mind being weighed againstthis one! You can go to some far away land like Africa or India and findgraven images. Or you might turn back into the pages of ancient historyand find a time when the Indians had graven images, but not in America andnot this year."
Many have their images now and today - here! Let me tell you about oneof them. The dollar sign, $. Your image may not be made out of fold or silveror stone or wood, like those before whom Belshazzar bowed, but there areimages of the heart. Many fall daily before the god of Almighty Dollar!People have told me, You can have your 'pie in the sky, bye & bye,'but give me mine, here and now, where I can really enjoy it! Idolater! Hesays "TEKEL - You are weighed andyou don't make it either!"
The third commandment is in verse seven. Write it upon the weight, placeit on the arm of God's scale, and step aboard. How much do you weigh againstthis one? "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God invain." And then He adds this important little footnote: "TheLord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
I have never heard anyone swear by their mother or father or husbandor children, but to show the rebelliousness of their heard before God, theytake His holy name and twist it and bend it and make it slang! But one says,"I don't swear very often. I only swear when I get mad and I am a verymild mannered, even tempered fellow." Don't you think if you swearonce in a week, year or lifetime you show the baseness of your heart beforeGod!
In a church sometime ago, the youth had been out to a "fellowship."When they came in, they thought they were in the building all by themselves.You have never heard such "blasphemy" in all your life. Everyother word, they tool God's name and they damned this and that and the otherwith God's holy and righteous name in the sanctuary. I don't know whetherit is any worse to swear in a religious building or not. I do know this,you are like a feather in the balances. He reads the scales and says, "TEKEL."Blasphemers can not be on the same team with Jesus!
The fourth commandment is in verse eight.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
You probably are a professed believer, but you'll give an account ofhow you spend your Sundays. The children of Israel were taken into Babyloniancaptivity and held for 70 long years because they disobeyed the injunctionof God about cultivating their land on the Sabbath. Traveling on a Sundayto another Revival I saw what I thought were little tornadoes or "dusters"out in the fields. When I got close enough to make it out, I found it wasthe farmers all plowing on Sunday. France, Spain and Mexico were all greatpowers at one time, but they forgot what God said about keeping the Sabbathday holy, and they fell apart at the seams. Our country is sick right nowand you know it. Our problem is not parity for the farmers, nor labor unionsfor the farmers. A real-estate man in Oklahoma City told me, "I wouldhave to go out of business if it were not for my Sunday sales!" Canyou imagine! The biggest investment you will probably ever make is a houseor property and nine times out of ten the deal is settled and signed onSunday.
There used to be a time, I am told, when the women would cook enoughon Saturday that they did not even have to go into the kitchen on Sunday.We don't think anything about working on Sunday or causing someone elseto, especially if we make time and a half or double time. Someway if justdoesn't seem nearly as bad if we can get good pay for it. You could notsend our nation to destruction any quicker by renouncing Christianity andjoining a Communist front organization, than by continuing to sing, "Ohhow I love Jesus, but don't tell me what to do, I'll do my own thing onSunday." You cannot tell Sunday from any other day today. We go onSunday, travel on Sunday, buy on Sunday. We do our own thing!On Sunday!
The fifth commandment in verse twelve says,
"Honor thy father and thy mother."
I've lived a great while now, but I've never seen anyone yet that amountedto very much who was always treating disrespectfully the teachings of agodly father or mother. And yet the Bible says in the last days that therewill be all this family disharmony. There will be father against son; motheragainst daughter; mother-in-law against daughter-in-law. We must be livingin those days. This is not the only solitary commandment, but there arelittle children that could not step onto the scales against this commandmentafter the way they have talked back to their parents and been disrespectfulto teachers in school and to those who are their elders.
The sixth commandment is in verse thirteen,
"Thou shalt not kill!"
Someone may draw a deep sigh and say, "Whew! I have never done that!Some of these others I may have slightly fractured, but I never killed anyone.I don't have a gun, and I would be afraid to use a knife or poison."Look back to that Sermon on the Mount, which most people highly regard.Jesus said, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is a man."(see Proverbs 23:7) Have you ever wished anyone was dead? Come onnow! You are speeding down the interstate and some "clown" pullsout in front of you. You stomp your brakes and clench your fist and youscream, "I wish I had run over you!" You are guilty of murder!I didn't make that up. Jesus said, "You have heard how it hathbeen said, 'Thou shalt not kill but I say unto you, whosoever is angry withhis brother without a cause is a murderer.'" (Matthew 5:21-22)
The seventh commandment is the "X-rated stuff." In verse fourteenit says,
"Thou shalt not commit adultery."
Uh-oh! You are reading along and you come to this one and you just skiplightly and hurry right on! How many young people would crowd into the houseof God, but they can not look God in the face after spending last nightin the fall of vice with a harlot, or equally as bad, parked along someroadside with an immoral "pet". You can fool some people, butGod knows about it.
I wish they made the walls in these motels a little thicker, since Ihave spent the biggest part of my ministry in them. I was in a tent revivalin Brownwood, Texas, and was staying in one of the cheaper motels, nearthe tent. One night they had a "party" in the next room all nightlong. The next morning the girl was feeling guilty. I don't know why theyyoung man did not feel the same way. The girl began to cry because of theguilt. The young man tried to comfort her and he said, "It's okay honey,I don't think anyone knows we're here!" The music evangelist, BillSky-Eagle, was there and he cleared his big 300 pound bass voice and said,"GOD KNOWS YOU ARE HERE!" It got so quiet nextdoor you could hear a pin drop! You can food your parents, but God knows.He saw the whole filthy mess. You can fool your husband or your wife. Youcan fool the pastor and the people at church, but God knows!
Jesus carried this a step further also. He said, "Whosoeverlooketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery wither heralready within his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28) The way that somedress these days, it is hard to keep from seeing some of the things we werejust not supposed to. But it is that "double-take" that will getyou into trouble every time. You can not help the first glance, but neverlook back. David just looked too long from that palace porch. It is alwayscommitted first in the mind before the bedroom, and if you have ever plannedit, entertained it, enjoyed it in your mind, you are just as guilty beforeGod as if you had gone through with it.
The eighth commandment is in verse fifteen,
"Thou shalt not steal."
You probably would not consider yourself a thief, but if you have takena pencil from someone else's desk in school, you are just as guilty in God'ssight as if you had robbed the First National Bank. Because it is not thesize of the theft that made you a law breaker in the first place, but itwas the intent and purpose behind it. I'd rather go to heaven from the poorhousethan to go through this world in stolen riches and come to the end of theway and hear God pronounce, "TEKEL, Inever knew you thief!" You are not going to get much joy andsatisfaction out of those things you have take wrongly anyway.
The ninth commandment is in verse sixteen,
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor."
Let me paraphrase this one. He says, "You had better not get caughtlying!" Do you tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but thetruth, so help you God? I know many people who will lie to you when it wouldbe easier to tell the truth. They just seem to enjoy fooling you or something.And it may start out as a seed of truth, but it is exaggerated and blownout of proportion.
Very few people would not enter into court tomorrow and tell "alittle white lie" for a bribe of several hundred dollars. And the "gossipers"and tale-bearers are going to be weighed against this commandment. I havebeen in one church for a revival where this is the way they get rid of theirpastor. The deacon's wives hang over the back fence and their old long tonguesgo to wagging like a serpent's fangs. "Do you know what I saw the pastordo?" "No! What?" The next thing you know the pastor is packinghis bags, loading his trailer and they have destroyed more than one man'sministry that way. You did not know whether it was true or not, it justmade a good story. Pass it on! We laugh at gossip, but God puts it rightin behind murder, adultery and stealing! TEKEL!
Then in verse number seventeen we come to the tenth commandment,
"Thou shalt not covet they neighbor's 'goods.'"
Isn't that one of the greatest sins amount use today, covetousness? Haveyou never felt that little "green-headed monster of envy" stickhis head up in the back of your hear and say, "Don't you wish you hadhis..." and "He had a wart on his nose?" Don't you wish youhad his house, his car, his clothes, his personality, his wife? If you haveever wished you had what belonged to another, it is "TEKEL".You don't get in either!
That is ten commandments! How much do you weigh? But wait a minute; thereis an eleventh commandment. You may feel that ten is enough for anyone,but Jesus gave us the eleventh. In John 15:12 and several other places,He says,
"This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you."
Virtually a new commandment, and eleventh commandment, is given to usby Jesus! And it doesn't make any difference how moral and upstanding youmay be if the "love of God" is not in your heart. The scales won'tbalance. Do you love people? Do you love your neighbor? Jesus said, Loveyour neighbor as yourself." I asked a man that in Houston: "Doyou love your neighbor?" He said, "I have not met them yet...theyhave only been living over there about ten years!" I think we are goingto have to be in heaven about a hundred years being introduced to peoplewho sat on the same pew with us at church.
Jesus said to even "Love your enemies!" Do you love the FidelCastro's and the Ayatollah Ruhellah Khomeini's? No, you do not have to lovetheir atheistic, godless philosophies. God doesn't even do that. But hesaid, "but this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,that ye love on another." (John 13:35) Does love, God's love,reign your hearts?
Well, that is eleven commandments. How much do you weigh, spiritually?"TEKEL - Thou art weighed in thebalances and art found wanting." Remember in James 2:10, "Whosoevershall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point is guilty of all."You may say, "Well, that preacher has really weighed us. I would liketo see what would happen if he got onto these scale of God." I'll tellyou exactly what happens if I get on these scales of justice. That old armbegins to move and it balances! That's right! I don't say this in any spiritof self-righteousness or boastfulness. You say, Have you kept the law?"Let me tell you, I have not broken one of the commandments,I have broken every one of the commandments! At least in attitudeand spirit. But the scales balance!!! "Why do you think the scaleswill balance for you?" God help me say it, and God help you to hearit. When I step onto these scales of law that we have lowered here, theblessed Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ steps onto these scaleswith me, and they balance!!! He makes up for all my lack,all my inadequacies, all my limitations, all my failures, all my SIN! "Wheresin did abound, Grace did much more abound." (Romans 5:20) "Grace,Grace, God's Grace, Grace that is greater than all our sins."
Look at your sins. Stack them to the stars. How are you going to makeit? Grace! That's it, God's Grace.
O knew a friend in the pastorate in West Texas, and he told me aboutthis. He would always go on Saturday afternoon to visit the elderly andthe shut-ins. On occasion, he had just bought a new car, and his littleboy came running out to the car to go visiting with him. But like littleboys will do sometimes, he had jelly and dirt all over him. He could havesaid, "You can not go with me looking like that." But how do youexplain dirt to a little boy, four or five years old? Here is what my frienddid. He just reached inside and took the rear-view mirror and pointed itright down into the little boy's face. His first comment was, "I dirty!I dirty, but I know what to do. I'll go into the house and get Mommy toclean me up, and then I can go visiting with you!" What do we havethe law for? You have not lived it, nor I.
"There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not!"
"All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God."
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
(I John 1:8)
"If we say that we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and His Word is not in us."
(I John 1:10)
There was one who kept the commandments. That was Jesus,God's only son! "And He who knew no sin, became sin for us."(II Corinthians 5:21) The law is the looking glass. It is the mirror andwhen we look in we say, "I've missed it! I've failed! I've sinned!"but I know what to do. I will tear out for a hill called Calvary!"And there is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins,and sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains."
There is a song that says, "I'll go with Him through the Garden!"The last stanza says, I'll go with Him through the judgement!" If youwant Jesus to go with you into the judgement scales of almighty God, youmust come to the mercy seat! If you will meet him right now, where you are,He will go with you to stand before God someday!
I'm so glad, "I won't have to cross the Jordan alone!" I won'thave to wade into the chilly ice waters of death alone! Jesus says, "I'llnever leave you nor forsake you." If Jesus goes with me, I'll go, anywhere!With Jesus by your side the scales of justice balance!