TEKEL; You are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting.
There is nothing which more clearly proves the truth of the prophet's words, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?" than that spirit of boastful impunity with which it inspires the guilty sons of men. Although "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men," yet they think they may live as they like, and that no harm will ensue notwithstanding. In Deuteronomy 29:18-20, we see the nature of this sin. It is no ordinary spirit of impiety. It is the proud, daring, impious thought, nestled and cherished in the heart, that, notwithstanding all a man's wickedness, and in opposition to all that the Lord hath spoken, there is nothing to be feared, because there will be no judgment executed at last. Striking, as this sin does, at the very root of the holiness, justice, and faithfulness of God, we need not be surprised at its solemn denunciation. In the days of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 28:1-13), characters of this description abounded in a most fearful manner, and carried their impieties to a most awful extent. Observe the long catalogue of aggravated crimes with which Belshazzar was charged. Obstinate impenitence; a proud, arrogant self-exaltation. A profane impiety. A marked insult cast upon the Majesty of Heaven. A studied deprivation of the honour and glory due unto God. In speaking of the judgment of God, with regard to men and nations, there is a distinction to be noticed, that is of no small importance. God judgeth nations as such; and their judgment generally takes place in this world. Individuals, too, are judged as such, but their judgment is reserved for its final execution to the last day. The judgment of nations as such is of a temporal nature; the judgment of individuals is everlasting.
1. It is utterly impossible for men or nations to stand before God in strict judgment. Belshazzar's doom extends much further than his own condemnation and Babylon's mighty fall. The words of the text, carried out to the full extent, embrace all nations and all people. There is not a man upon earth, be he who he may, upon the ground of what he is, or has done, that can ever stand before God in the strict process of trial. There is not a city or nation upon earth that can ever endure the just judgment of God. Brought to the test of His impartial decision, they would certainly be condemned; they would certainly fall. There is not any other judgment with God than that which is strictly just; nor any other method of procedure established by Him which is of a description otherwise than founded upon the surest integrity, and according to the most honourable requisitions of His truth and perfections.
2. What is the cause of their inevitable condemnation? It arises from the vast contratity of character brought into this judicial contact, and from the unequal position in which the respective parties stand to each other. Man must be condemned in the judgment, must fall, must perish, because he is such a creature as he is, and because God is such a being as His word and perfections proclaim Him to be. Standing on the ground of his own works, whether in whole or in part, whether bad or good, the real point to be decided is, not what we may have comparatively done, but whether he has done all that the law requires. Weighed in these balances he is found wanting. It will not avail to say, but God is merciful. God's mercy is justice. Nor can any extenuating excuse, or mitigating plea, be found.
3. This alarming truth speaks to our own nation, and to our own people. What are the positive duties incumbent on us as a professedly Christian nation and people?
(1) A strict adherence to God's word.
(2) A cordial devotion to His service.
(3) A firm resistance against all evil.
(4) A deep repentance for all our national and personal guilt.
(5) To set an inestimable value upon the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.
(6) Gratefully to record, and diligently to improve, our past mercies and deliverances.
(7) Firmly to maintain our peculiar character and institutions.
(8) Zealously to propagate the faith of Christ, and endeavour to bring others to the participation of our invaluable blessings.
(9) Steadily to uphold the worship and honour of God in all His ordinances and commandments.
(10) Unhesitatingly to discountenance and resist the inroads of infidelity, licentiousness, profaneness, and every other pernicious principle, and evil word and work.
2. What are the binding responsibilities under which we stand, both as a nation and as individuals? Are we under no obligation
(1) On the ground of our Christian character and protestant designation:
(2) For our secure and safe retreat:
(3) For our national greatness:
(4) For our national influence:
(5) For our widely-extending possessions:
(6) For all the means and opportunities we have for doing good:
(7) For all our internal advantages:
(8) For the proper use of the great institutions erected in this land.:
(9) For the right use of the facilities afforded for the religious instruction of all classes in this land:
(10) Far the sacred use of our wealth and possessions:
(11) For the invaluable blessing of pure worship:
(12) For the high and holy elevation on which we stand as the most highly distinguished, and most highly blessed nation upon earth.
3. Have we been faithful or unfaithful in the circumstances in which we are placed, and in the discharge of the duties which we owe, and are bound to perform?
Parallel VersesKJV: TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.