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The Writing is on the Wall: Filled with Regret

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 7, 2021 3:00 am

The Writing is on the Wall: Filled with Regret

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 7, 2021 3:00 am

“If I had only known.” It’s a sentence filled with regret. “If I had only known that would be the last time I’d see my mom.” “If I’d only known the house wasn’t safe to live in . . . or, the water wasn’t safe to drink, or the car wasn’t safe to drive.” Many may have a similar regret when they one day stand before the Lord. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us face to face with the regret that enveloped a certain Old Testament king. It serves as a strong warning to all of us.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Thanks for listening this Truth Network Podcast. If I had only known, it's a sentence filled with regret. If I'd only known that would be the last time I'd seen my mom.

If I'd only known the house wasn't safe to live in, or the water wasn't safe to drink, or the car wasn't safe to drive. Many may have a similar regret when they one day stand before the Lord. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us face to face with the regret that enveloped a certain Old Testament king. It serves as a strong warning to all of us. This is the day, the day when life begins. So we're going to look at a story now that you've probably heard before, and some of you maybe haven't, about a young man who happened to be the king of Babylon who was weighed on God's scales.

And this guy was the lightest of lightweights. And this is a story where God wrote on the wall of the palace. You've heard that expression.

The writing is on the wall, right? This is where that expression came from. This is the story of Belshazzar, who was the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar. So this king, we're going to look at in a moment, went out of his way to mock and attack God, and he faced the consequences.

Listen to this. It's never a good idea to mock God. Because the Bible says, Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap.

Let's see how that went for him. Daniel 5, starting in verse 1, I'm reading from the New Living Translation. King Belshazzar had a great feast for a thousand of his nobles. He drank wine with them. And while Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the temple in Jerusalem.

I'll just throw in a little detail. These cups and such were used for the worship of God. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines, and he brought these gold cups taken from the temple, the house of God, along with his kings and nobles, and they drank from them.

And when they drank from them, they praised their idols made of gold, silver, and stone. So he's going out of his way to laugh at that which God had set apart. Suddenly they saw the fingers of a human hand riding on the wall of the king's palace near the lampstand.

The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright, and his knees knocked together in fear, and his legs gave way beneath him. So it all starts when Belshazzar said, I'm gonna have a big party, and I'm gonna show off all my cool stuff, kind of like what guys do when another guy comes over to visit. Come out in the garage and look at my stuff. So that's Belshazzar. Check out all of my stuff.

Look at what we took from Israel. Look at all of these things. So he's going out of his way to make fun of God, and then the drinking begins.

You know, when you drink and you come under the influence of alcohol, this can really lead to some bad things, as it did in this story. They're worshiping these false gods, and they're breaking God's very law, and now they see a hand riding on the wall. Verse five, at that very moment, they saw the fingers of a human hand riding on the plaster wall of the king's palace.

So check it out. They're looking at the wall. There's a lamp lighting it, and they see this hand. They don't see the arm. They just see a hand riding this heavenly graffiti up on the wall.

What is that? And they read it, and those mysterious words, many, many, Tekel, Pharsen. So here's a man who had reached all of his goals. This is a man who had checked all the boxes for success. He climbed to the top, and he found there was nothing there. Belshazzar was the most powerful and famous and wealthy man in all of the world, and he is terrified as he sees this writing on the wall.

The smirk is gone. The defiance of God is gone, and now he is sobering up quickly, and he doesn't know what to do. And what does it say? It says you've been weighed in God's balances. Loose paraphrase. You are a spiritual lightweight. The Bible says he turned pale, and his knees started knocking. It's implied in the original language he defecated.

I mean, think about it. You'd see this hand riding on a wall. Man, this guy sobered up so quickly. And so enter the queen mother. It's time for grandma to show up. This is the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, and she comes into her foolish grandson, and she says, you know what? You need to call for the prophet Daniel. Now, Daniel had been there through the life and career of Nebuchadnezzar. He didn't have much to say to evil Miradot.

He had kind of gone off the grid, shut down his social media accounts. He's 90 years old. You say, Daniel, you need to go see the king right now, so Daniel sort of comes out of mothballs and walks there into the court of Belshazzar and sees what is happening. And Belshazzar didn't know a thing about Daniel. It's almost like he was intentionally ignorant. He didn't want to know about his grandfather and his conversion.

He wanted to live his life the way that he wanted to live, and that's how some people are. You tell them about Jesus and say, I don't want to hear about it. I don't want to talk about it. I remember for years I talked to my mom about my faith in Christ. She said, I don't want to talk about that. I don't want to talk about that.

Over and over, I don't want to talk about that. One day, I felt directed by the Lord to go to her and say, we're going to talk about this today. And thankfully, that conversation resulted in my mom finally coming around to Christ and following him, but it took a long time because the hardest people to reach are members of your own family. And so you might know somebody like this, but God wants to reach him, and he doesn't want you to give up on them. So the prophet Daniel tells Belshazzar about his grandfather's conversion. He says in 22, Belshazzar, you knew all of this, but you have not humbled yourself. You knew it.

You didn't do anything about it. Sometimes the question is asked, what about the person who has never heard the gospel? Will God send them to hell if they live in the middle of a jungle or in the middle of a desert?

They're always in a desert or a jungle. God send them to hell. Listen, you will be judged according to the light you have received.

But here's the bottom line. You have heard the gospel. You say, what do you mean gospel? The gospel is a word that simply means good news. And the good news is that there is a God in heaven who loves you. The bad news is you've broken his commandments and fallen short of his glory, but Christ died on the cross for your sin, and if you'll turn from your sin and put your faith in Jesus as your Savior and Lord, he'll forgive you and you can go to heaven when you die and find the meaning of life right here and now. That's the gospel.

So don't say I've never heard it. You just heard it, and God will hold you accountable. So Daniel says, you were willfully ignorant of this.

You didn't want to hear it. And now God has said, your days are numbered. That's what many means. Many, your days are numbered. Your number is up. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment, right after a quick look at the way a new beginning touches the lives of listeners. Dear Greg Laurie, I'm 10 years old and I've been a Christian since I was age three or four. My family started listening to you as COVID hit last year. I really like your services and hope that when Jesus comes back that I can take my favorite cats with me.

I watched A Rush of Hope and loved it. I also love seeing your Bradley Brown and watching you on Harvest at Home. I hope you will preach on Matthew 4, 1 through 11 as it's my favorite story. Love you lots. Wow. That's a great little letter, isn't it? Ten years old. She wants to take her cat to heaven.

I don't know what I can say about that, but I'll tell you this much. I'm so glad that she's watching and it's getting through to her that she left A Rush of Hope. I'm always thrilled when I get a letter from a kid. I have to tell you, I have a soft spot in my heart for little ones.

I love to engage them because, you know, you never know, they might sow a little seed in their heart that will break ground later. But we love children and we're so thankful children are watching our ministry that we put out there online and on radio. And if you're a little kid and you're listening right now, I'm so thankful you're listening. And I know a lot of times you tell me you love the jokes.

So the jokes are going to keep coming, kids, and keep listening. You know, these daily studies connect with people of all ages and connect with people all over the world. And it's only possible through the partnership of our listeners. Thank you for your support of A New Beginning. And you can send a generous year-end gift today by going to harvest.org. Well today, Pastor Greg is pointing out how we all will one day stand before the Lord.

Today's message is titled, The Writing is on the Wall. Psalm 90 verse 10 says, Seventy years are given to us, some may even reach 80. You don't know how long you're going to live. I am 68 years old right now.

Hard to believe, isn't it? I'll be 69 by the end of this year. I'm just one year shy of 70.

So it's real. I understand that, but I'm not afraid. God gives me 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. Every day is a gift to me from God.

And I want to live it for His glory, and I want to reach people with the gospel. You cannot extend your life. You know, you think if I just have a healthy diet and I exercise more, it seems like every time you turn around, it's a person who's out jogging who drops dead and has a heart attack. Meanwhile, the random person that eats all the wrong foods lives longer. I remember watching a show on television, the news program, and they said, we have a man who's over 100 years old, and he's going to reveal the secret of his longevity. So I watched a whole dumb program just to find out what this guy did.

Finally, they reveal it. He's this old dude, and he says, every day I eat a hot dog. I'm like, seriously? And it showed him in the market buying these really random hot dogs, not like Hebrew National.

These are the kind that it's questionable what they're made from. He ate one of these hot dogs every day. He lived past 100 years old. Well, the billionaires are trying to crack the code. You know, when you're a billionaire, you can do all kinds of stuff.

Flight outer space. And so this is something that, you know, I've got all this money, and now the billionaires are trying to figure out how to extend their lives through technology. They want to find a cure for aging. One well-known billionaire wants to have a computer chip strapped to his brain.

I'm not making this up. One Silicon Valley billionaire is investing in a startup that promises to upload your brain into a computer to grant eternal life to you, to your consciousness. Uh, no. Technology is not going to give you eternal life. Technology is not going to extend your life, and it's certainly not going to save your soul. Only God can do that. Here's another thing.

I'm not making any of this up. The billionaires are getting blood transfusions from healthy young people between ages 16 and 25, feeling this could reverse aging. It had an unexpected side effect. They found a strong desire to move back into their parents' homes and play video games all day long.

That they didn't plan on that. But he says you've been weighed in the balances, and you've been found lacking. You have weight in your life as a follower of God. Well, Belshazzar was saying, Oh, you know, thank you for revealing this to me. I want to reward you. I want to lay some bling on you. I'm going to give you a gold chain. See, they're wearing gold chains even back then. And it says that, verse 29, He dressed Daniel in purple robes, and a gold chain was put around Daniel's neck, and he was proclaimed the highest ruler in the kingdom.

But that night, King Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, was killed. It's too late. He went too far. You know, there is a point of no return. Where you reject something, you reject the gospel, you say no to God, and your heart can be irreparably hardened. Every time you hear the gospel and you say no to it, your heart can become harder.

Your conscience can become more seared. And then before you know it, you're going to have your last night, you're going to have your last meal, and you're going to give your last statement. And you may not even necessarily know it's your last statement. Michael Jackson was trying to make a comeback, and he was rehearsing for a world tour. And his final words were, This is it.

This is really it. And he died shortly after making that statement. Nostradamus, who's known for predicting the future, predicted it right at least one time. He said, Tomorrow I shall no longer be here.

And he wasn't. The famous artist Pablo Picasso gave his last words, Drink to me, drink to my health, because I can't drink anymore. A leader of a famous rock band took his own life, and on a note clipped on his shirt, he wrote his final words, I am a lonely soul.

Are you a lonely soul? It was too late for Belshazzar. He went too far, but it's not too late for you. You want to be ready. You want to get right with God. And so all he had to do was admit his sin.

But he was unwilling to do that. This is not the only time God has written. God wrote on a wall in our story before us, but there's another time God wrote. It's when Jesus walked this earth. And you remember there was a woman caught in sexual sin, and they brought her before Jesus, and they threw her on the ground. And they said, the law says she should be put to death.

What do you say? And Jesus looked around at these self-righteous, sanctimonious hypocrites. And the Bible says he reached down and started to write in the sand. I'm wondering, what did he write?

Was it a tic-tac-toe game? Here's it, I'm X, you're zero, go. I don't know what he wrote. But then he stood up and said, Let him that is without sin among you and cast the first stone.

And the Bible says they left from the oldest to the youngest. Then he turned to this woman and he said, Woman, where are your accusers? She said, I have none, Lord.

He said, Neither do I accuse you. Go and sin no more. He wrote on the sand, and he forgave her, just as God wrote on the wall. And I wonder if there's somebody right here that's been running from God. Maybe you've gone out of your way to make fun of Christians. But you're realizing you need God right now because listen to me, one day your number's gonna be up. One of these days you're gonna have your last meal and you're gonna make your last statement and then you're gonna enter eternity. And the thing you wanna be sure of is that you will go to heaven and be right with God. And I wonder right now, as you hear me, I wonder if you could say, I know I will go to heaven when I die.

Or maybe that's something that has a big question mark over it. I was talking to a guy not long ago, we're out riding motorcycles and we're watching this guy fish and we started to chat with him and I started talking to him about Christ and I asked him a question. Do you think you'll go to heaven when you die? And he said, I think so. And I said, Why? He says, Because I'm a good person. And I said, I'm sure you're a very good person. But unfortunately you're not good enough to get to heaven in your own ability because we've all sinned and we've all broken God's commandments and that's why God sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross.

But it's not just enough to know that intellectually. I have to respond to it and the Bible says, I need to repent of my sin. The word repent means to hang a U-turn.

It's a military term that means turn around and about face. So instead of running from God, you run to God and then you need to receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord and that's why I wanna close this message for you right now. This is your moment to ask Christ into your life and be forgiven of all of your sin so you can know with certainty you'll go to heaven when you die.

If you haven't done that, do it now. You say, Well, I'll do it when I'm older, like you. I wait till I'm like 80.

Okay, here's the problem with that. If you hear the gospel over and over again and say no to it, you're gonna be set in your ways. It won't be that God doesn't wanna forgive you.

He's always willing to forgive but there could come a point where you would go beyond the point of no return and actually you would not want to be forgiven. So don't put it off. And then, how do you know you're gonna make it to 80? How do you know you're gonna make it to 70?

Belshazzar was a very young man when his life came to an end. This could be the last night for somebody that I'm talking to right now but if you're a Christian, you don't have to be afraid because the Bible says to live is Christ and to die is gain. I'll know going to God's presence but if you're not a Christian, you should be scared. You should be worried.

But that can all change. Right now for you, if you'll say, Lord, forgive me of my sin, come and live in my life, I wanna be ready to meet you one day. If you've not done that yet, you can do it right here, right now. I'm gonna close with a prayer and I'm gonna ask you, if you don't have Christ living in your life, if you're not sure your sin is forgiven, I'm gonna ask you to respond to this invitation. I'm going to extend to you right now. So let's all bow our heads and everybody pray. Father, thank you for your love for us. Thank you so much for sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sin and to rise again from the dead. Now I pray for everyone here and everyone that's watching and listening wherever they are. If they don't know you yet, let this be the moment they believe. Let this be the moment they come to put their faith in Jesus Christ. We commit them to you now. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

available for you and your family. Have you heard of the television series called The Chosen? It's the first multi-season series about the life of Christ, and it's also, get this, the highest crowd-funded TV series or film project of all time. It's a series that portrays Christ through the eyes of those who met him and walked with him, and it's powerful.

The cinematography is stunning, and the acting is really first-rate. And how accurate is it to what we read in Scripture? Well, the show has biblical scholars from a variety of denominations reviewing scripts to ensure historical and biblical accuracy. The Chosen helps you see what it's like to live life side by side with Jesus as he encounters needy people who need a touch of the Master's hand. Pastor Greg says this is the best portrayal of the life of Christ he's ever seen on film.

And we want to make season 1 of the critically acclaimed series called The Chosen available to you on DVD. What a great Christmas present, especially for those who need to meet Christ personally. It can be a Christmas gift with an eternal purpose. It's our thank-you gift for your donation right now. That's an investment in changed lives through a new beginning and through our large evangelistic events.

We heard this from someone who just attended SoCal Harvest a few weeks ago. I listened with my heart instead of my ears, and it became clear, I need Jesus in my life. Not tomorrow, not 5 minutes from now, but right now. Well, your investment helps people have a moment of decision like that. So we hope you'll make a donation today. You can donate securely online at harvest.org or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call anytime around the clock 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Well, Pastor Greg, a few moments ago you spoke of how someone can accept God's offer of eternal life.

Yeah. Could you help the person who wants to do that very thing right now? Yes, I'd be delighted to. Listen, as you've listened to this program today, maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing, I need to do this personally, but how do I do it and what do I do? Let me help you. It's very simple.

In fact, it's so simple you may be shocked. God, this relationship with him is just a prayer away. The Bible says, if you will call upon the name of the Lord, you'll be saved. So I'd like to lead you in a prayer where you do just that. You call on the name of the Lord. This can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead.

Jesus, I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In your name I pray. Amen. I know. It's such a simple, short prayer, but you just called on the name of the Lord.

And you know what? He heard that prayer. And if you meant that prayer in your heart, he answered that prayer. Now let me help you to get started on the right foot in your new life in Jesus Christ. The greatest adventure awaits you, the life of walking with God. I want to send you what we call a New Believers' Growth Path that includes the New Believers' Bible and a whole lot more.

And let me be the first to say to you, congratulations and welcome to the family of God. And to get that free New Believers' Growth Pack, just ask for it if you prayed along with Pastor Greg to receive Christ today. We'll be glad to send one your way. Write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300.

Call us anytime, again at 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to Harvest.org and click Know God. Well, next time, Pastor Greg brings us a fascinating message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self. Personal, practical wisdom coming our way. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-12 20:08:50 / 2023-07-12 20:19:37 / 11

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