Introduction

Tonight is the last night of year 2013. Since the year 2011, I have begin to write a sharing on the last night of the year. I started this habit because i feel that it is a good habit to use the last night of the year to review and to think about God before the new year arrives.

For we know that not every one had the chance to see the new year coming. We know that December this year is marred by many air disasters, and just a few days ago, hundred of souls perished on Airasia flight QZ8501 . The incident saddens me as I am a frequent flier of the airline and I hope that God would bring comfort to the bereaved families from the  incident.

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes we do not know when the last night of our lives is coming. Sometime ago I was sharing about Daniel chapter 5, and how it recorded the last night of a particular king .

“That very night Belshazzar, king
   of the Chaldeans, was slain.”- Daniel (Dan 5:30)

King Belshazzar did not know that he would be slain on that very night when he saw the finger of God writing on the wall. That was also the night where the kingdom of Babylon had fallen. Sometimes we wonder why did his judgement came so swiftly.

The Reason 1 : King Belshazzar Did Not Give Glory To God

Daniel gave the reason why judgement came before King Belshazzar

“And you have lifted yourself
  up against the Lord of heaven.
  They have brought the vessels
  of His house before you, and you
  and your lords, your wives and
  your concubines, have  drunk wine
  from them. And you have  praised
  the gods of silver and gold, bronze
  and iron, wood and stone, which
  do not see or hear or know; and the
  God who holds your   breath in His
  hand and owns all your ways, you
  have not glorified.”- Daniel (Dan 5:23)

Daniel gave 2 reason why King Belshazzar had sinned against God. The first reason was that King Belshazzar did not give glory to the God who had given him life. For God is the reason why he continues living

Man ought to give thanks to the Lord who created life, but King Belshazzar chose to praise the idols.  But the true God is the one who govern our ways and he is a judge, one day everyone had to be judged by him. But the king choose not to believe in that God, instead he chose to mock God by taking the vessels of the temple of God for his pleasure. His action did not glorify God

One of a main reason why man will not give God the glory is because he did not believe that all that he had came from God. Man tends to think that his achievements, talents and wealth were a result of is own effort. that is why they rather give glory to himself than to give glory to God.

That is why God once spoke true Moses

 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord
  your God by not keeping His commandments,
  His judgments, and His statutes which I
  command you today, lest—when you have
  eaten and are full, and have built beautiful
  houses and dwell in them;  and when your herds
  and your flocks multiply, and your silver and
  your gold are multiplied, and all that you have
  is multiplied;  when your heart is lifted up, and
  you forget the Lord your God who brought you
  out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; “- Moses (Deut 8:11-14)

Moses knew the heart of man, so he warn the Israelites not to be proud and haughty when they achieve success. He wanted them to know that all these came from God. Indeed man had to struggle and put in effort to achieve riches, but if God did not provide the time and life, how can man put in any effort?

Since it is God who gave us life so that we can achieve our success, let us learn to thank God and give glory to God. For a man who knows that will never be proud, for he knows that all that he had came from God. Without God his effort will amount to nothing.

So let us ask ourselves, do we give glory to God? Do we acknowledge  that all that we receive came from God? If we understand it, we will come to worship and thank God, we will chose to serve him. Let us not be like King Belshazzar, for he achieved nothing at the end of his life.

 The Reason 2: King Belshazzar Did Not Humble His Heart

“But you his son, Belshazzar, have
  not humbled your heart, although
  you knew all this.” – Daniel (Dan 5:22)

Daniel was referring to the incident of King Nebuchadnezzar his grandfather. King Nebuchadnezzar was haughty at a point in his life, and he felt as if the kingdom of Babylon was built by him. Before he can finish saying , the judgement of God came and he was stripped of his kingship. He became insane and he ate grass like an ox.

King Nebuchadnezzar became well later on when he repented and he received the grace from God. As the result, he humbled himself and praise God

 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and
  extol and honor the King of heaven,
  all of whose works are truth, and His
  ways justice. And those who walk in
  pride He is able to put down.”- Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:37)

The incident of King Nebuchadnezzar is known all over the palace, even though Belshazzar his grandson heard of it, he did not humble before God. God had already given him a model and an example, but he choose to make the same mistake, to mock God and to continue sinning. That is why God chose to judge him that night.

Why Did God show Partiality?

But as we read the bible we cant help but wonder “Since Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar are all proud and haughty. Why did God choose to treat them differently? Why is Belshazzar killed that very night and King Nebuchadnezzar is punish 1 year later (CF: Dan 4:28-29) ?

When King Nebuchadnezzar saw the vision, God chose not to punish him as he took the advice of Daniel

“Therefore, O king, let my advice
  be acceptable to you; break off your
  sins by being righteous, and your
  iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.
  Perhaps there may be a lengthening of
  your prosperity.”- Daniel (Dan 4:27)

When the king took the advice of Daniel, his prosperity is lengthened, but unfortunately King Nebuchadnezzar forgot it by the end of 12 month and he chose t glorify himself once again. That is when God chose to execute his judgement. From this incident we can see that God indeed love sinners and he wanted to give them chance to repent. But sadly not everyone cherish the opportunity.

Some will wonder, why did Daniel not give the same advice to King Belshazzar? Daniel must have seen that Belshazzar is worst and more wicked than his grandfather. Even though both are haughtily, but King Nebuchadnezzar could still see that God is stronger than him. He never dared to use the vessels that he took from the house of God in Jerusalem, he left them locked out in the treasury of his temple. But Belshazzar was different, he think he is stronger than God.

He knew that the articles belong to the temple of God, but he chose to use them to drink and make merry. He thought that God did not exist, for he did not stop him from using the vessels.  Since he deny the existing of God, God decided to deny him of his existence.

Just as he think that God was powerless before him, his finger appear and wrote on the war. The bible describe his reaction vividly.

“Then the king’s countenance changed,
  and his thoughts troubled him, so that
  the joints of his hips were loosened and
  his knees knocked against each other”- Daniel (Dan 5:6)

That was the night he was slain, it was his last night on earth. It was too late for regrets, even though God had given him ample time to repent, but he did not seize the chance to repent.

The words that God has written is not just for King Belshazzar, it is for all to see. Let us learn from the warning from God, and consider the meaning of the writing on the wall. For God had recorded them in the bible for us to read.

The words are written in Dan 5:25-28

MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;

Mene is a word that means “To Count”. As humans we often spend our lives counting, but have we learn to count our own days? Moses once taught us

“The days of our lives are seventy years;
  And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
  Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
  For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
  Who knows the power of Your anger?
  For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
   So teach us to number our days,
  That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Ps 90:10-12)

Our lives are actually short. Sometimes we forget to number our days and we spend all our time counting the achievements we made. As the result, we cannot see the true gain and loss within our own lives.

For when we gain something we lose something in return. we need to ask ourselves a the end of the day if we have really gained something or lose something. We often sacrifice our health our relationship to gain wealth, as the result we are too busy  for our family and loved ones. Even though we may end up with wealth and fame, but can they be used to get back lost relationship?

There are something in life that we can never gain back, and they became regrets and pain within our lives. Therefore Moses here reminds us to have the wisdom to number our days. For we need to pursue after the real thing that are with our effort. For our lives on earth is limited, we need to know what is really critical in our lives.

Usually when a man reach the last stage of his life, he will realise that there are many things are no longer important. that is when he will see those that are  really important.

So if tonight is our last night on earth what can we give in exchange of our life? What can bring us up to heaven in the end? Let us learn to pursue after the things that are important and cannot be done away with.

Paul reminds us

“See then that you walk circumspectly,
   not as fools but as wise, redeeming the
   time, because the days are evil.
  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand
  what the will of the Lord is.” – Paul (Eph 5:15-16)

Indeed, when year 2014 pass, we can never return to it, that is why Paul remind us to walk circumspectly, redeeming the time, we need to cherish our time and life must not be wasted. Let us not be unwise and understand the will of God.

For a fool will believe that there is no judgement, he will eat drink and be merry, for he thinks that after his death, there is no judgement. The wise will use his time to pursue and worship God, he will spiritually nurture himself and repent.

TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;

Tekel means “To Weight”. King Belshazzar was weight no the balances in heaven, he was found wanting. The Psalmist once used the same expression

“Surely men of low degree are a vapor,
  Men of high degree are a lie;
  If they are weighed on the scales,
  They are altogether lighter than vapor.”- Psalmist (Ps 62:9)

During his time, the society was divided between the higher and the lower class. The man in the high society are people with power and authority they had the power to shape the world and do many thing. People in the world feels that they are VIPs.

But in the scale of God, even such man are found to be lighter than vapour. So today when we enjoy power and authority, let us remember the teaching of Tekel. Let us not be found to be like vapour before the scales of God. For God is severe to those who are found wanting

“‘You wicked servant! I forgave
   you all that debt because you 
   begged me.  Should you not also
   have had compassion on your fellow
   servant, just as I had pity on you?”- Jesus (Mat 18:32-33)

We are all familiar with the parable of the unforgiving servant. He forgot the fact that his master had forgiven him of debts, and he only remember what the other servants owe him. As the result of his unwillingness to forgive his fellow servant. The master came to settle his score with him.. In the end he is delivered to the torturers until he can pay his debts.

Christian often think that this is regarding master and servant, but Jesus said this

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven
  is like a certain king who wanted
  to settle accounts with his servants.”- Jesus (Matt 18:23(

God indeed wants to settle account with all his servant, and he want to weight us on his scale. He wants to know if we are found wanting in the eyes of God or man.

Year 2014 is just like a book of account. We may have gain a lot, but we also found wanting in many areas, We may have owed others but we all owe God. If tonight is to be our last night we can never repay all that we owe.

Let us thank God for allowing us to live, for tonight is only the last night of the year, God has still given us a chance to make atonement and to make right the wrongs that we have done. Let us learn to seize this opportunity.

Most importantly let us be willing to come before God to confess and repent from our sins. Let us be willing to nurture ourselves spiritually and uphold the teaching of God. Let us not be like Belshazzar who lose his chance to turn back. Let us emulate king David

“Have mercy upon me, O God,
  According to Your lovingkindness;
  According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
  Blot out my transgressions.
   Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
  And cleanse me from my sin.
  For I acknowledge my transgressions,
  And my sin is always before me.”- David (Ps 51:1-3)

David knew his weakness before God and he ask God to forgive him of his sin. For He knew he can never repay the debts. But let us learn to go beyond just asking God for forgiveness. For there are many who stop there.

If one were to continue to sin after Gods forgiveness, it will result to a greater punishment. Let us consider (PS 51:9-10)

“Hide Your face from my sins,
  And blot out all my iniquities.
  Create in me a clean heart, O God,
  And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”- David (Ps 51:9-10)

Beside asking Got to forgive our sins, let us resolve to follow his words, let us ask the Holy Spirit to cleanse us to help us. To cleanse our hearts and to renew a steadfast spirit within me.

This is something we all must pursue

PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

UPHARSIN is also Aramaic for Paras. That word means “To Separate”. For that night the kingdom of Babylon is divided between the Medes and the Persian. When Jesus comes again, man will also be divided between right and left.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory,
  and all the holy angels with Him,
  then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
 
All the nations will be gathered before Him,
  and He will separate them one from another,
  as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
 
And He will set the sheep on His right hand,
  but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say
  to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of
  My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you
  from the foundation of the world:”-Jesus (Matt 25:31-34)

Will we be on the left or on the right. That depend on which side we choose to take.  If one repents and walk on the path together with God, we will be on his side. And those who choose to walk on their own path will be on the other.

Let is be on the side of God when he comes again, for the last night will come surely. Let us be sure where we are standing on.

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