There is a true story of a man who preached at the funeral service of a friend. The man spoke to the congregation that we do not know the time, place or circumstances of our death. It could be today, tomorrow, next week, next month or decades away. His point was that all of them had to be ready.
The moment he sat down from speaking he collapsed and died of a heart attack.
For him, it was minutes.
My question this evening for you is: Are you ready to meet God now? What would God say to you should you die tonight? What would you say to God if you faced him tonight? What would God write on the wall of your cabin if he showed up?
Only you (and God) can answer that question. Only you know truly where you stand with God.
We can fake it pretty well with our friends, family, youth leaders and youth pastors – we can do and say the right things which give us the image of knowing God. We can know in our heads all the right knowledge and we might even be able to pray out loud.
You may even genuinely believe that God exists – but as the Bible says, even the demons know God exists and they shudder. Belief IN God is not the issue. The issue is DO YOU BELIEVE GOD. Do you believe what he says, and what he has done and what he will do. That was why Abraham, in Genesis 12, is credited with righteousness – not because he believed in God but because he BELIEVED GOD.
Belief in God does not necessarily change your behavior or your heart – BELIEVING GOD, THAT EVERY WORD IN THE BIBLE WILL COME TRUE AND WILL HAPPEN, WILL CHANGE YOU, INSIDE AND OUT.
This is why your youth pastors desperately encourage you to read the Bible and pray. It is not a religious exercise that you have to do – it is the way you learn to draw near to God, to hear his voice so that your inside matches your outside appearance.
Belshazzar knew about Nebuchadnezzars encounter with the living God.
He knew about the 7 years Nebuchanezzar spent away from his throne, being humbled and cut down and he knew of Nebuchadnezzars restoration. He knew about the dreams which were interpreted and he knew about Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego.
And he ignored it.
It’s interesting that Belshazzar is condemned not so much for the drunkness or the great, sumptuous banquet he held in his own honor – he holds a party so that he can say look at me. The specific charge against him is the use of the goblets which were from the Jerusalem temple.
Belshazzar had used the things dedicated for God’s use, in a way which showed he had no respect or belief in God, his power or his authority.
This may have been a way of trying to show that he was a tough guy. Nebuchaddazzar had his reputation as a war king – he kept his officials loyal by being willing to execute anyone who disobeyed him – which one way of getting people to do what you want them to do. Nebuchanazzar had great accomplishments – yet he was also intelligent. After beating up Jerusalem he takes the holy things from the temple and puts them in the temple in Babylon. Nebuchadnazzar knew these things to be holy. He had respect for them.