The amount of what you might call party animals that you see and even hear of these days is quite staggering, especially in this part of the world in the UK. You just see so many people just rolling down a hill and drinking and becoming pretty verbal with it and the interesting thing about a lot of these people that drink is that they have a way of talking and perhaps for some of them this kind of gives the game away. Our daughter was on a train the other week full of drunks and she heard one of them what you might call going on about religion, and they have a kind of way of singling out Jesus and Christianity for some kind of rough justice, it kind of reminds you of the saying of Shakespeare when he said, “me thinks thou doth protest too much” or it reminds you of Belshazzar.
Belshazzar appears to have been some kind of a drinking man in that he loved to party and have banquets. Belshazzar makes his appearance in the book of Daniel (Bible) and quite clearly, he wished to mock God in front of all of his guests and to do this, he ordered his servants to bring him the sacred cups from the temple of God in Jerusalem and then he had wine poured into all of those cups and he then blatantly mocked God in front of all of his guests by praising every other god but God Himself. By every other God it says he “…praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” (Daniel 5:4) But of course he didn’t praise the One True God here and so you read on and it says “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” So you get the impression here that Belshazzar’s sins had kind of found him out because deep down he knew of God and he knew the real truth because Daniel, God’s prophet, was called and spelt this out to him in no uncertain terms.
It turns out that there was a man of God in Belshazzar’s life and that man of God just so happens to have been his own father Nebuchadnezzar (grandfather). Nebuchadnezzar was a man, or better said, a king that had become proud and was humbled by God in that he went mad because he was given a beast’s heart by God and so he ended up on all fours like a beast eating grass, this happening to him to bring him to his senses and to humble him and to show him that without God we are like brute beasts. Fortunately for Nebuchadnezzar he came to his senses and faced up to the awful truth that without God he was nothing and nothing more than a brute beast but it appears that Belshazzar had gone way beyond all of this and had seriously hardened his heart against God, so much so that he’d gone beyond the point of no return and so Daniel told him what the handwriting on the wall said and meant. The hand had written on the wall “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.” Daniel then gives the interpretation of this. “MENE, MENE” meant that God had numbered his kingdom and finished it. “TEKEL” meant that Belshazzar had been weighed in the balances and was found wanting (hadn’t done anything right). “UPHARSIN” or in other words “PERES” as Daniel put it meant that his kingdom would be divided and given to the Medes and Persians. And so Belshazzar lost everything, that same night God had stripped him of everything, he lost all his wealth, he lost his Great World Empire of Babylon, his kingdom, and on top of all this he lost his life because the Medes and the Persians attacked that night and took over the whole kingdom and killed him.
So quite a stark warning here to those who know the truth and choose to run away from it and perhaps some of these people deep down think they are like the Prodigal Son and maybe one day they will come to their senses but then there are others who choose to be like Belshazzar in that they have no intention of ever coming to their senses and so they are in danger of going beyond the point of no return, unlike the Prodigal Son who did return. It reminds you of what Jesus and St Peter said , “For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the truth.”