The Ugliness and Impotence of the Pride of Man

Brent Aucoin September 18, 2016 Daniel 5:1-30

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  • In 1445 BC, God entered into a covenant with His people—the Mosaic Covenant
  • God had delivered His people from slavery in Egypt and asked them to be loyal to Him alone.
  • For 800 years, with few exceptions, God’s people chased after other gods.
  • God, as promised in the covenant, judged his people’s unfaithfulness by destroying the nation of Israel.
  • In 605 BC, the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, one of the greatest monarchs who ever lived, took control of Israel’s capital—Jerusalem. In 586 BC Jerusalem was completely destroyed.
  • Part of Nebuchadnezzar’s war philosophy was to take the upcoming leaders of an enemy nation captive and attempt to indoctrinate them with the ways of his kingdom.
  • Young Daniel and his friends (12-14 years of age) were among the exiles dwelling in the city that was called in Scripture the “mother of all harlotry”—Babylon.
  • While this exile of Israel was a judgment upon Israel that involved incredible suffering (see the book of Lamentations), God also promised that He would be with those in exile who followed Him (Isaiah 43:1-2). As a result, His loyal servants would be a blessing to the nations (Isaiah 55-56).
  • Daniel is an example of a servant of God who remained faithful to God alone and sought to be a blessing to the anti-God city in which he dwelled (Jeremiah 29:7). Consequently, God used Daniel to bring forth the message of the hope of the Kingdom of God that would destroy the anti-God kingdom of man.
  • While chapters 1-4 dealt with a younger Daniel, in chapters 5 & 6 Daniel is about 80 years old. He has been in Babylon about 66 years. King Nebuchadnezzar has been dead now for 22 years.
  • Historically, Daniel 5 takes place the night Babylon falls, October 12, 539 BC to the Persians. Babylon had been surrounded by the armies of Cyrus.
  • Cyrus will capture the seeming impenetrable and impregnable city by a stroke of genius. His armies had been working upstream to temporarily divert the flow of the Euphrates River that flowed through Babylon. His armies then walked in the river bed in knee deep water UNDER the walls of Babylon. Cyrus takes the mighty Babylon without a fight. 

4 ugly characteristics that will be on display when God unmasks the pride of man and brings an end to the anti-God kingdom of man.

I. Pride Will Be Feverishly Trying to Assure Itself of Earthly Security

In the midst of the pressure, notice what Belteshazzar lifts a toast to and praises, “The gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone”—Wealth of the Nations and Walls

Jeremiah 51:7-8 - Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord, intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are going mad. Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken…

II. Pride Will Be Fearfully Unable to Cope with Future Reality

Then the king’s face grew pale and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip joints went slack and his knees began knocking together.

Fear and Worry are:

  • Idolatry—worshipping earthly pleasures and treasures
  • Unbelief—Doubting that God is good and will work for the good of His people
  • Laziness—Letting your mind go instead of taking every thought captive into obedience to Christ

III. Pride Will Be Desperately Searching for Explanations

“The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers when there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under.”  C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters

Though God has given every proud soul sufficient warning and answers,

The down fall of Babylon was declared by God:

  • 180 years prior in Isaiah 44:27-45:3; 47, God calls out Cyrus by name before Cyrus is born and before Babylon is even a great “thing”
  • 70 years prior in Jeremiah 50-51
  • 25 years prior in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2
  • 20 years prior in Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation—“even though you knew all of this” Belteshazzar
  • Belteshazzar could have observed why the Jewish people were even in Babylon themselves—the discipline of God.  

The spirit-filled man of God with the Word of God from the finger of God had the answers

IV. God Will Bring the Pride of Man to a Surprisingly Quick End

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I am Pastor Brent Aucoin. I serve as the pastor of Seminary and Soul Care Ministries. On Sunday mornings I'm normally over on the West Side. It's good to see my old and new friends here on the East Side as well. For the East Siders, if you came this morning you may have seen our new [mot 00:00:18] that we're building around Faith Church. No, not really a [mot 00:00:23] but a third way to view the living nativity, Venetian style, right? Not really on that either. Faith Christian School has undertaken the task to build a side walk over here. They're paying for it, that's what I mean by undertaken. Not that [Scott Grass 00:00:43] is out there building it, but that is for just the safety of our neighborhood. We're so thankful for our Christian School. They remodeled the gym and now they're building a sidewalk there, so thankful for the school.

This week I had a young Christian individual, not from our church, tell me how envious he was of a particular kind of relationship that he saw another having, even though it's immoral. Maybe of thought something like this, "That person (insert person's name right there) is living however he or she wants, and they seem to be happy and prosperous. I'm here following God and I'm not having fun, or I'm suffering." If you want to read an example of that you can read Psalms 73. We won't take the time this morning, of a man who struggled in that way. Have you ever been in a position where you were wondering is living the Christian life worth it, or ... College students and maybe those at Faith West this morning, maybe you've thought something like this. Maybe you're a freshman. "There's a massive amounts of people at Purdue that don't know God out there and they seem to be doing just fine. Why am I living the way that I am?"

When we see the pleasures and powers, and treasures of this world being aggressively pursued by the people of this world, but without any seeming consequences. God's people may have too serious questions, "Why can't I participate?" Or "Will ever God do anything about it?" Friends, today we want to see what really is true about the prideful, self-absorbed pursuit of the pleasures and treasures of this world.

Today, God shows us in His word, not the beauty of that pursuit as something to be envied, but the ugly ends of that pursuit. He does this so that He can unmask for you, God's people, the true ugliness of that kind of endeavor. He does this so that he can unmask for you the kind of end of that lifestyle. He does this for you so that He can assure you that He will bring about an end in His timing and his ways. He wants to show you that living in His ways is best and beautiful for eternity.

With that in mind, please let me invite you to open your bibles to Daniel chapter 5, that is on page 632 in the front section of the bible under the chair in front of you. Daniel chapter 5. We've been studying through the book of Daniel verse by verse, chapter by chapter, and we're calling this, "loving our world by choosing to be different." This morning brings us to another fascinating story where we learn about having a different view of the pride of man. As you look out there and you see the world prosperous, don't envy that. Don't go after that. There's a different view that God wants you to have this morning.

As we go into the book of Daniel let me remind you of where we are in the history of redemption, just to help us to continue to understand what the book Daniel's all about. For my friends at Faith West, when I've been preaching over there on this they've heard what I'm about to say about 3 times. It may be new to you a little bit, but for my friends at Faith West they should be teaching this up here instead of me. Okay.

Number one, in 1445 BC God entered into a covenant with His people, called the Mosaic covenant. God had rescued His people from slavery in Egypt. He had delivered them at no cost to themselves. He asked them in the agreements, in the covenant, "I have loved you, will you simply love me in return and make me your one bride, your one spouse, your one God?" Israel struggled to do that for 800 years with few exceptions. God's people chased after other gods. His people were unfaithful. They committed adultery so to speak. They committed idolatry. God as promised in the covenant judged His people by destroying the nation of Israel. In 605 BC, the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, one of the greatest monarchs who ever lived, took control of Israel's capital Jerusalem. Finally, in 586 Jerusalem was completely destroyed.

Part of Nebuchadnezzar's strategy was this, that he would pick off the up and coming leaders and bring them to Babylon in order to indoctrinate them in the philosophy and the religion of Babylon. Young Daniel and his friends at that point in time were about 12 to 14 years old. Can you imagine being stripped from your family and hauled off to another nation, and attempted to be indoctrinated with the ways of that nation? Very difficult time. Young Daniel and his friends were among the exiles dwelling in that city. That city later is referred to as the mother of all harlotry, complete anti-God city.

While the exile of Israel was judgement upon Israel that involved incredible suffering, God also promised that he would be with His people in exile. As they followed Him and truly trusted in Him and not idols, that He would exalt them. He would get them through, and not only just get them through as if I'm just trying to survive, but thrive. They would be a blessing to the anti-God nations. Daniel was an example of that. We've seen over and over, of God raising up a faithful servant in the midst of an anti-God city. As a result, Daniel was going to be the one who would deliver some of the clearest visions, dreams, revelations about "The kingdom of man will be destroyed someday, but the kingdom of God will come and it will last forever, and it will have a true Godly king, the messiah Jesus Christ."

While chapters 1-4, which we've dealt with over the last weeks, dealt with a younger Daniel in his younger years, now we move into a slightly different section in chapters 5 and 6, Daniel is about ... Get ready for this. He's 80 years old now. From 12 to 14 to 80, okay big jump right there. He's 80 years old. He has been in Babylon now about 66 years, in chapter 5, and king Nebuchadnezzar has been dead now for 22 years, and his successors are on the throne. During those 66 years Daniel has been in Babylon, God has given Daniel dreams, more dreams about what would happen in the future. Daniel knows that Babylon's time is about up. We're actually going to study those dreams when we get into chapter 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. They will be more difficult than these passages, but those dreams are recorded later in the book of Daniel.

As we get into chapter 5 here historically ... By the way, did you know that in October 12th it is the 2555th year anniversary of an event? Are you prepared to celebrate it on October 12th? It's an anniversary of the fall of Babylon. Daniel 5 takes place, and we know exactly when Daniel 5 took place. We have historical records outside of the scripture about this. Daniel 5 takes place the night Babylon falls, October 12th, 539 BC. Babylon falls to the Persians.

In this chapter Babylon is surrounded by Cyrus the Persian's armies. Also we know this historically too, Cyrus will capture the seemingly impenetrable, and impregnable city by a stroke of genius. His armies have been working upstream for years in the Euphrates River to divert the flow of the Euphrates River. The Euphrates River flowed through Babylon. His armies then walked in the riverbed, about knee deep, and then walked under the walls of Babylon in order to take Babylon without a fight. A seemingly impenetrable fortress, Cyrus conquered without a fight.

With that in mind now let's read Daniel chapter 5 together, Okay? I'm going to read several passages, a lot of passages of scripture here. I will also skip around, so just follow me as I go here. "Belshazzar the king held a great feast for thousands of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousands." Verse 2, "When Belshazzar tasted the wine he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father," or otherwise predecessor, wasn't his physical father but his predecessor, "had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them." Look at verse 4, "They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, and wood, and stone. Suddenly the finger of a man's hand emerged and began writing opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace. The king saw the back of the hand that did the writing."

Folks it's amazing sometimes how biblical stories influence our culture and once ... You've heard the phrase, the handwriting on the wall, right? You've heard that phrase. Normally when people are telling you something bad, like you're about to lose your job, "The handwriting has been on the wall for a long time now, you're about to lose your job." That phrase came right here from Daniel chapter 5. Verse 6, "Then the king's face grew pale and his thoughts alarmed him and his hip joints went slack, and his knees began knocking." Complete humiliation here of the king. "The king called aloud to bring in the conjurers, the Chaldeans and the diviners," all that he could think of. The king spoke and said to the wise men of Babylon, "Any man who can read this inscription and explain its interpretation to me shall be clothed with purple and have a necklace of gold around his neck, and I'm going to give him the third place in the kingdom."

I'm going to make a reference to third place in just a moment. Just lock on to third place, that will be significant in just a moment. "Then all the King's wise men came in but they could not read the inscription or make it known." Verse 9, "Then King Belshazzar was even more alarmed, he didn't have answers." Verse 10, the queen entered the banquet hall because of the words of the king and his nobles and the queen spoke out and said, "Oh King live forever." Verse 11, "There is a man in your kingdom in who is the spirits of the holy gods." Then Daniel was summoned. Verse 13, "Then Daniel was brought in before the King." Verse 14, "I've heard about you," Belshazzar says, "that a spirit of gods is in you." Verse i6, "But I personally have heard about you, that you are able to give interpretations and solve difficult problems. Now if you're able to read the inscription and make its interpretation known to me, you will be clothed with purple and wear a necklace of gold around your neck, and you will have authority as a third person in the kingdom."

Then verse 18 Daniel says this, "Oh King, the Most High God has granted sovereignty, grandeur, glory, and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your predecessor. Because of the grandeur which he bestowed upon him, all the people's nations and men of every language feared and trembled before him. Whoever he wished, he killed; and whomever he wished, he spared alive; and whomever he wished, he elevated; and whomever he wished, he humbled." He was almost God-like. That's how this description, and he thought he was God-like too. That's why we read last week about the humbling of Nebuchadnezzar. Verse 20, "But his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly, and he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken from him in a big way. He started eating grass like a cow in the backyard for 7 years." That was a humbling of Nebuchadnezzar.

Verse 22, "Yet you, Belshazzar his son," or his descendant," you have not humbled your heart. You have seen all of this. Even though you knew this, you can't figure out what what's going on? You don't have answers? But you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven and you have brought these vessels from my house, and you and your nobles, and your wives, and your concubines have been drinking wine from them in a drunken orgy. And you have praised the gods of silver and bronze, and iron, wood, and stone, which do not see, hear, or understand. But the God in whose hand your life, breath, and all of your ways, and in whose you're holding His cups in your hands, you have not glorified Him."

"This is the inscription that was written out "MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN." "This is the interpretation of the message. Mene; God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. Tekel; You have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. Peres; Your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians." There's a lot there in Aramaic, not that you would know Aramaic, but in Aramaic each of these terms is related to a measure of money or currency. These words are being played upon in a pun or in a riddle, that Daniel is able to interpret through divine inspiration.

Theologian and historian, Bruce Gore gives this illustration. It would be like for you folks, a hand appearing on the wall, the wall over here, and writing "dollar dollar quarter nickel." Something like that. Say, "But what does that mean?" Exactly. What was Belshazzar think this means? He doesn't know. Here's what it's trying to say, in English terms, "Belshazzar you think your kingdom is worth a lot of dollars, but tonight you're going to be quartered, and tomorrow nobody will give a nickel for you."

Belshazzar is a lightweight. What's the world's smallest package? What's the world's smallest package? Old man wrapped up in himself. Verse 29, "Then Belshazzar gave orders and they clothed Daniel in purple and put necklace of gold on him, and issued a proclamation concerning that he has now authority as the third in the kingdom. That same night Belshazzar the king was slain. Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two."

Fascinating story, and the time that we have remaining for ugly characteristics that will be on display unmasks the pride of man. I want you to see the ugliness of this in order to help us not be attracted to this kind of living. There's an ugliness about it that we need to see very clearly in contrast to the beauty of God's ways. The last man standing here is not the man that is having all the parties. The last man standing here is Daniel.

I. Pride Will Be Feverishly Trying to Assure Itself of Earthly Security

Four characteristics, number one is this, pride when God unmasks it will be feverishly trying to assure itself and grasp earthly securities in a frenzied type of way. On this night Babylon was surrounded by the armies of Persia, and he's throwing a party? What is going there? Folks, when the pressure comes, what you have found your security in all of your life begins to be squeezed out of you. When you are squeezed ... When you squeeze oranges what comes out? Orange juice. When you are squeezed what has been in you comes out.

Belshazzar is throwing a massive sexual, alcohol-laden, sacrilegious party behind the seemingly impenetrable walls of Babylon. All of this is seemingly to bolster his confidence, "No worries, be happy we're okay. We're secure with our wealth, and our walls." He invites the officials to participate as this to say also, ""folks we're okay. Babylon the great is not gonna fall, and I'm the King. Don't worry, be happy." In the midst of the pressures of life notice what Belshazzar lifts a toast to and praises, the gods of gold, and silver, and bronze, and iron, wood, and stone; The wealth of the nations that king Nebuchadnezzar had originally stolen and the walls that he had built. "The gold, silver, iron, wood, stone, I praise. My security is in the wealth and the walls."

This folly is heightened even more when in Belshazzar's own hands are the vessels of God. The ones that his father Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from the temple, and now he's using them to praise the gods of gold and silver. Fascinating. Ironically Jeremiah 51:7-8 said this, "Babylon is the golden cup in the hands of the Lord; intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are going mad. But suddenly Babylon has fallen." The Lord was the one who had raised up Babylon. The Lord was the one who had given Babylon her power temporarily.

Belshazzar's grandfather had come to acknowledge this after he became that cow, eating grass in the backyard. Belshazzar not having read the previous handwriting on the wall through Nebuchadnezzar, through all of this is oblivious. Even though now he holds the utensils of the Lord's temple, instead of finding his security in the Lord, he praises the security of wealth and walls. It's a very sad scene, drunken orgy with folks hoping or resting in that the wealth and walls will protect them. Folks here's the question, is all of this attractive to us? Is this attractive? This is pride unmasked. Frenzied effort, drunken orgies in order to bolster my security and my confidence. When the pressure comes what's inside of us comes fully out for all to see.

Just for a second here though, contrast all of this with Daniel throughout his 66 years. If anybody over the last 66 years has issues to be concerned about was certainly Daniel. Daniel was taken to this anti-God city, taken from a home, threatened with loss of life multiple times, friends thrown into the fiery furnace, but throughout all of thus we see Daniel composed. Steady, calm, throughout all of this. Tell me again folks, which one is more attractive to you, as you consider the pursuits? When you get tempted to go out there after the world and say, "They never have any struggles."

Folks, the pressure will come, and when it comes what will come out of you? Futile frenzied activity to try to hang on to the earthly securities, or calm, composed, steady perseverance through the trials? What came out of you this past week through your own trials? Look over the past week, what came out of you as you were squeezed this past week? Indicative of some form of pride as you were trying to grasp for whatever you might lose this past week, or steady calmness?

II. Pride Will Be Fearfully Unable to Cope with Future Reality

The second ugly characteristic that will be on display when God unmasks the pride of man is this, pride will be fearfully unable to cope. Pride will not be able to cope. In fact, you will see stark terror. I'm not saying that if a hand suddenly appeared on the wall here that I wouldn't have to go change my pants, right? You too. The king's face grew pale and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip-joints were slack, and his knees began knocking together, while the Persian army was seemingly ... In Belshazzar's mind while the Persian army was seemingly well contained behind the Babylonian walls, there was something that penetrated the Babylonian walls, the finger of God. In an instant he knows that that was not a good sign. His walls were not impenetrable. All of his earthly security was gone. The man who thought that he was standing sure cannot even physically stand right now.

Again, see the contrast here behind the seemingly confident, boastful, mask or veneer of the pride of man out there is not only a frenzied man trying to grasp his security, but a weak, trembling man who cannot even stand now. In the Wizard of Oz ... The Wizard of Oz, classic in our society. The Wizard of Oz is this great and powerful wizard that everybody feared, and has amassed some kind of Emerald City, but when the curtain is pulled back he is a very small, weak man.

Pride has no real stability, has no real confidence or boldness in the face of reality or the future. Pride cannot handle economic downturn because it clings to economic security, and when it doesn't get it, it is terrified. Pride cannot handle the hard times because it has to continually be assured that I will get my comfort someday, and when I don't, I fear, and I'm terrified. Pride cannot handle difficult in relationship because it finds it's security in them, therefore problems in relationships are terrifying to it. Pride cannot handle the loss of power and influence because it was built on lording it over people, and when it begins to sense a threat to its power, it is fearful.

Pride because it has to constantly be striving for more and more earthly securities the wear threat of a loss of one of these takes away my confidence and it brings stark terror. When God works to unmask and humble the proud you'll see not just only frenzied activity, but you will see terror as well. Let me ask you for just a second. Pastoral moment here, let's pause and ask is your life regularly characterized by fear and anxiety regarding the future? If so, that is speaking to an element of pride in your life. I'm not saying that your day of destruction like Belshazzar's is going to be today, but you fear, your fear and your worry could be indicative of Belshazzar-like problems that if left undealt with God will bring it to ahead someday. During that time when God brings it to ahead you will probably experience fear and terror.

One way to gauge that is how are you handling the realities of today? What are you doing with your problems? Relationship problems, are you fearful and worried them? Marriage problems, are you fearfully and worried about them? Parenting problems, fearful and worried? Is fear and worry a characteristic of you? Over the years if I have one besetting soon, and I probably have ... I have many. Fear and worry has been one that has characterized me, and I've learned how what fear and worry are. This is what fear and worry is. Fear and worry are the following, idolatry, worshiping earthly pleasures and treasures, because when they're threatened to be lost I fear and worry. Idolatry. We clearly see that Belshazzar was an idolater. Worry is also this, unbelief. Doubting that God is good and will work for the good of his people. A person who is fearing and worrying is a person who is struggling with unbelief.

Number 3, fear is also laziness. Letting my mind [goat 00:27:09] instead of taking every thought captive, and to obedience to Christ. You can begin to see the solution to fear and worry by just taking those in the opposite way. Opposite of idolatry is worship God alone. Fear Him alone. Don't fear the loss of earthly securities. Fear God alone. The opposite of unbelief, what's the opposite of unbelief? Easy one there, belief. The opposite of laziness, get busy about solving today's problems within the power that God has given you to solve. Don't just get them mobilized. Go and do what you can with the strength that God has given you. Pride is unable to cope with reality and a manifestation will be stark fear. How are you doing at this my friends?

III. Pride Will Be Desperately Searching for Explanations

The third ugly characteristic is that pride will be desperately searching for explanations. If we have seen anything in Daniel it has been this. The world will not have answers for what is going on in the world. The world will not have answers for what is going on in the world. It will take the spirit-filled man of God to bring answers to this world. If we've seen anything in Daniel, we've seen that. Make no mistake about it, the earth seems to have wisdom. Evolution seems right, psychology seems right, the [political 00:28:44] establishments seems right, the liberal arts, they seem right. It may seem as if the world has answers for time, but when God acts to unmask the pride of man, the world scrambles for its experts trying to explain what is happening.

Belshazzar calls for his wise men. They cannot interpret the handwriting on the wall. Certainly they can read it, they speak the same language. It's not a foreign language. They can't get it though. They don't understand what's happening. The world calls for his wise men. Here in our culture when mass shootings happen, or bombings ... I just saw the news this morning that there were some bombings in Manhattan. I don't know if you've checked your news sources this morning, and I don't know but pray for Manhattan as well. The world calls for its soothsayers when a terrorist attack happens as well. The world calls for its magicians when political unrest occurs. The world calls for its diviners when men and women cannot determine their gender identities anymore, and I'm not trying to be facetious. These experts are paraded in front of the world and they are talking heads that have no light of dawn in them.

As Screwtape speaks Wormwood in C. S. Lewis's classic, Screwtape Letters, "The game is to have all of them running about with fire extinguishers when there's a flood, or a crowding to that side of the boat which is already underneath the water." Their answers will take them further and further down. Even though this, God has given us answers. For Belshazzar the downfall of Babylon had been declared 180 years before it fell. Read some of these passages about the downfall of Babylon. It was going to be coming. 70 years prior, in Jeremiah, it was warned about. 25 years earlier in Nebuchadnezzar's dream that Daniel interpreted, "Your kingdom's not gonna last oh Babylon." 20 years prior when Nebuchadnezzar was humbled, Belshazzar should have known this was coming. Belshazzar could have observed even, "Why are there Jews here in my city?" Because God humbled the Jews at one point in time and brought them there.

Belshazzar, though now searching for answers was ... He could have known what was happening. This time unlike Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar did not have another chance. God has sufficiently warned Belshazzar and screamed out to Belshazzar, "Look at all of these things that I have done before." This time Belshazzar did not have another chance to repent that night. Now Daniel, the man of God, comes to give the final answer to the king. The spirit-filled man of God, with the word of God from the finger of God had the answers. God had the answers, man does not.

Folks, I don't know where you are in your life. Are you scrambling? Frenzied activity because you're sensing some loss of earthly securities and you're not sure what's going on. Has God been regularly placing answers all around you? Here is an answer, this church body, the word of God. When will we turn to God's answers? This scrambling of man is not a pretty sight, it's sad. Frenzied activity, trying to clamor for security, terrified fear, and now just searching for answers. It's not a pretty sight. When God unmasks the pride of man that's what you see. Don't envy that. Don't go after that.

Folks, here is a huge, ironic point that goes along with this, about Daniel chapter 5 as well. For most of the 19th and 20th century Daniel chapter 5 has been criticized as being fiction. Nobody in modern scholarly history had ever heard of a King by the name of Belshazzar. Everybody knew that the last king of Babylon was Nabonidus, not Belshazzar. Everybody knew that. Daniel chapter 5 must be fiction, just like the Jesus story or anything else. Generations of theological students were taught that this chapter, Daniel chapter 5 was not true, and therefore you cannot trust the bible. One day however, one day God humbled the pride of man. God brought an artifact out of the dirt in history and it was called The Nabonidus Chronicles. On that inscription, Nabonidus mentions that he gave temporary custody of his charge of the kingdom of Babylon to his son. Do you know what his son's name was? Let's guess. Let's guess. It was Belshazzar. That was written not in the scriptures, but on external documents.

In one small move, digging up the dirt, the bible was proven true. Even one of the minute details, why could Belshazzar only give Daniel the third place in the kingdom, why? Because he was second. For years, for centuries, "The bible's not true," "the bible's not true," and bam! There it is. The bible was true all along. Man's wisdom was not. That's pretty ugly. God used this chapter about Belshazzar to humble generations of theologians, so-called theologians.

IV. God Will Bring the Pride of Man to a Surprisingly Quick End

Number four is this, God will bring the pride of man to a quick and surprisingly ... No, surprisingly quick end. Not that God will be surprised us with bringing this. Notice who outlasts Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar and the Babylon anti-God city. Who outlasts all of them? Daniel does. When all is said and done in eternity those who put their trust in the Lord will be left standing. That head of gold that Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about in Daniel chapter 2, that was resting on feet of clay. The kingdoms of men will come to an end.

The armies of Cyrus dried up the waters, and this is really fascinating. If you read Isaiah 44, mentions Cyrus by name 180 years before, and it even has this peculiar verse, "Your waters will be dried up oh Babylon." This was stated 180 years before. Most people probably took that as metaphorical. Okay, a city that is thriving is going to be going away, but literally "Your waters will be dried up oh Babylon." Cyrus the Persian comes in and diverts the river. Diverts, that's a pretty massive undertaking. Go out and try to divert the [Wabash 00:36:47] for a little bit, okay. Try it. He did it.

Great and mighty party of Belshazzar with drunken toasts to the gods of wealth and walls proved impotent to protect, as all false gods are. They cannot protect you. Surprised? Belshazzar was executed on the night that he thought he was standing. Do you get that? Belshazzar was executed on the night that he thought he was standing. The end came quickly and mightily for those confirmed in their proud stance against God. Right now folks if you are tempted, struggling to go after the world, or if you are living like the world. In your proud state when God puts His pressure on you we'll begin to see, all of us, scrambling for ... Clamoring to go after those things we find our security in, terrified because we're losing some of them, scrambling for answers, but the end might come quickly as God humbles the proud.

We have seen one kingdom of man fall, Babylon. The head of gold, but God brought down the head of gold. At the end of the story amazingly enough even though Daniel has brought bad news to Belshazzar, he probably didn't interpret it as bad news he was drunk. Everything looked good to him. He died that night and Daniel was saved and clothed in a purple robe.

Where's the hope in all this? Friends, it's been ugly. That was my point. Let me give you some of the beauty now. There was another one who was clothed in purple, do you know that? There was another one who was clothed in purple, but this was blood-stained purple. The handwriting on the wall, or the voice from heaven for him was "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." He was not found lacking. He was not a lightweight as Belshazzar was. Every one of us has been as well. He did not live for the kingdom of man, although he was sentenced to death as the kingdom of man has been. He did not fear though he would lose his earthly life. He did not scramble for the answers of man, and call in all of the wise men, because he was the answer for man. He was clothed in blood-soaked purple royalty so that you could be in spotless purple royalty.

He took the penalty of the destruction up for the kingdom of man so that you could live eternally in the never ending kingdom of God. The handwriting on the wall for you today is good news. Good news. The handwriting of judgement was taken by our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the handwriting on the wall for you. That in Jesus Christ the unmasking or pride, and the destruction that deserved had its full force manifested in Jesus Christ on the cross as he took your destruction for you. If you're not a believer today in Jesus Christ, why on earth not? Your kingdom of man will come down as Belshazzar's did. It will. Don't lust after it. Don't go after it. Stop, turn to the one who took the penalty of destruction for you so that you could be in an everlasting kingdom by faith.

For those of you who are believers today, yes, we all still struggle with pride. I've confessed to you I struggle with fear and worry, that's a pride manifestation in my life as well. As we grow in Jesus Christ and learn to handle life like he did, now that we are in him, we can handle life without scrambling for earthly securities, as unattractive as that is. We can handle life without fear. We have the answers, and the end will not ultimately come for you. Even Paul says this, "You are God's handwriting on the wall for others." Listen to this, 2 Corinthians 3, "You are our letters written in our hearts, known and read by all men being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us. Written not with ink, but the spirit of the living God. Not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts," for all to see. As you, Faith Church family, grow and resting in your savior.

Let's pray. Father God, we come before you today, and we thank you for the handwriting on the wall. We thank you for the lessons of judgement here, but we also thank you for the ultimate fulfillment of that in Jesus Christ. May our hearts rest in him. Father we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Brent Aucoin

M.S. - Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Central Baptist Seminary
Th.M. - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Ph.D. - Baptist Bible Seminary

Pastor Brent Aucoin and his wife, Janet, came on staff in July of 1998.  Pastor Aucoin serves as overseer of Faith Seminary and Soul Care Ministries at Faith Church.

View Pastor Aucoin's Salvation Testmony Video