5:25-28, "And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom,
and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."
This morning, the world seems to be waxing worse and worse with things happening at an even more advanced pace than before. Looking at the many revolutions that took place in the twentieth century from industry, to electricity, to social degeneration, etc, man's pace for expanding technology coupled with waxing worse and worse in a manifest sense seems to be gaining speed. Too many times, we have a tendency to cast our heads down in despair, throw up our hands, and say, "What's the point?" How often have we heard it said - or said ourselves - that there is nothing we can do? How often has despair, terror, and anxious worrying gained the high ground in our mind to view, or skew, our thoughts and focus? The point is not to dwell on what is going to happen, even if we were to know, point blank, what will happen. The point is that regardless of what comes or happens our course should remain as fixed, ordered, and reckoned as it can based on the
course of perfection set as a high mark by Jesus Christ.
The passage above shows the marked end of the Babylonian empire. As a backdrop to this lesson, Nebuchadnezzar'
kingdom and the reason for it.
As the writing declares, the reason the kingdom was going to another nation and people was that they were weighed in the balance and found wanting. The finishing of this world empire had come, and due to the declaration of God (back in chapter 2), this succession of rising and falling world empires would happen 4 times (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome). Daniel produces the interpretation on this occasion that marks the first fulfillment of that chain of progression down through time. What is interesting about this writing is that even though the Lord had declared through the dream to Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2 that this progression would take place, He placed no time stipulations upon it.
One of the hang-ups that some folks get into is the thought that everything is fixed and unchangeable. Due to this mindset, an aimless wandering sometimes manifests itself with the "What's the point?" statement or question. While God prophesied that this would be the course of the world powers understanding when and where it will all happen, He did not speak of the time, for our course here (while known of God) does have conditions with associated blessings and cursings. In Jeremiah 18, the Lord specifically says that if a nation He purposes to bless turns from Him, then He will turn from the intent to bless and honour them. In like manner, if He purposes to bring evil upon a nation and they turn unto Him again, then He will withhold from the evil that He intended to bring upon them (much like in the case of Nineveh in Jonah's day). Therefore, the time of the successive empire's rising and falling is not given, for a lengthy period of Godly rule by one of the rulers would merit favour or a period of ungodly rule could cut it short and finish it based on the language of Jeremiah 18.
However, Daniel's interpretation of God's word is plain. The time has come, and this kingdom is finished. While God could have justly delivered Babylon into the Medes' and Persian's hands back in chapter 4 when Nebuchadnezzar made his blasphemous statement of creating this magnificent Babylon, He withheld the evil until this night in his grandson's day. Further, the king is told by Daniel that in conjunction with the finishing of the kingdom and being found wanting as the cause behind it the people are specifically mentioned. As the chapter continues, we read that this very night all this came upon Belshazzar and his kingdom. Babylon, as it was then, ceased forever. So was the end of this great world empire.
Today, folks are concerned in this great land in which we live about what may be happening or in store for us. Perhaps the writing for us as well is, MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN. Perhaps this great nation of America that has been our home with freedoms and liberties for so long has been finished. There is certainly much that we are found wanting in when the balance and scales are brought forth. Some have predicted who our kingdom will go to: China and Japan. I am not a prophet, nor do I claim to be, but I will admit that such is a definite growing possibility. However, noting the parallels between Babylon then and us today - with the exception being that they had direct revelation of what was coming - the course for us is no different than it was for Daniel.
When he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar'
Perhaps this country will fall, and perhaps our very eyes will behold its ruin and demise. Perhaps we will fall into servitude to another kingdom inferior to ours with heathen ways and without the liberty and freedom that we have today. I really do not know. What I do know is that wherever our lot is found to be, our steps should be reckoned and ordered to serve God and obey those that have the rule over us. Daniel did not use this opportunity of a crumbling empire to flee, seek his own devices, or reject the new rule. Rather, he obeyed the laws of those that governed over him, except where specifically violating a higher law to obey God. May our course be same. Is the handwriting on the wall for us today? Are we numbered up and finished, weighed in the balance and found wanting, with our kingdom, land, and nation going to another? God knows. We should be looking to Him.
Physically speaking, it is always easier to let the head hang down and droop. It takes effort of muscle to keep it raised and even more effort to keep it lifted to an angle to look upward. More muscles in the face are used to smile than frown. Things worthwhile and worthy to be done always take effort. How easy it is to become downcast at what we see and look around us (downward) at all the problems. How much easier to frown about our "poor pitiful condition." May we be found looking upward and homeward with cheerful disposition to the hills from whence cometh our help. No matter the ruler over us, may we be found in thanksgiving for the Ruler that we have that will never leave us nor forsake us and is worthy of our best and all that we can give to Him.