You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. We want to be a spiritual lightweight. We want to be people of substance, heavy in integrity and righteousness. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie provides some help. And we will be weighed in God's divine scales.
Don't be a lightweight. The Bible says, From dust you came and to dust you will return. And yet between our dust cycles, we humans can get a little full of ourselves. We build a few things and call them the seven wonders of the world. I'm sure God is very impressed as he looks out on the vast universe he created with the power of his word.
Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points to one ancient king who let his ego get the best of him and how God humbled him. I was in the gym the other day. Yes, it's hard to believe I go to the gym occasionally. And I was walking out and they had one of those fancy machines that will weigh you and test your body weight and all this. And I asked about it and they said, well, it costs this much to do it. And I said, well, that's okay. And they said, I'll tell you what, we'll do it for free. So I climbed up on the scale.
I'll be honest, I wasn't excited by what I saw. It's a little more than I wanted to weigh. And then he asked me what my height was and I said, I'm 5'10 and a half. And he said, let me measure you. And he measured me. He said, actually you're 5'9 and a half. Listen, I used to be 5'10 and a half. Now I'm shrinking. I've heard it happens when you get older. Great. So now I'm bald, fat, and I'm shrinking.
What next? And I think I know why this is happening to me. I think it's a chip I've been eating. I found these chips are called Chica chips.
And so I thought, well, I'll try these out. And boy, I tell you what, once you open a bag up, you can't stop eating them. And I'll go through a whole bag. And they're not that expensive.
They're very affordable. So I'll grab a couple bags and they go to the market and it's becoming a problem. And so I said to my wife the other day, I said, you know, these are becoming the evil chips for me. They're a problem. And I was in the market the other day and I saw them and I put a bag of them in my basket.
And my granddaughter was with me. She said, Papa, why are you buying the evil chips? So I took a picture of the display of these Chica chips and I said what I'm saying right now. I said, I love these chips. They're great.
But they are like the evil chips to me. And then I got a letter from Chica chips. They saw my post and they were very excited. And I was talking about them on social media. And then something I didn't know about them.
It's a family that owns a company and it's a Christian family. So they thanked me for it and they pointed out that they put John 3.16 on every bag. And then they sent me a free box of Chica. I did not need that box of Chica chips. So we're working through the chips and my wife says, you're eating the evil chips again. I said, no.
They're Christian chips. Yeah, well, a lot of us when we get on the scale weigh more than we want to weigh. But God is a scale too. And he sees things differently than we see them. On God's scales you don't want to weigh less.
You actually want to weigh more. You don't want to be a spiritual lightweight. Well, I bring this up because this is a story of a man who stood on God's scales.
I'll tell you why I say that in a few moments. But this is the very familiar story of King Belshazzar and the writing on the wall. Now we've heard that expression. The writing is on the wall.
This is where that statement came from. Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. He was the final ruler of Babylon. He was an evil young man that went out of his way to mock and attack God. And he reaped the very heavy consequences of doing that. He actually saw the very hand of God writing on the wall of his palace with a very specific warning. The writing was on the wall.
And I think the writing is on the wall for us all right now. It's on the front pages of our newspapers. It's on the covers of news magazines. It's on the news. It's on the internet.
It's on Twitter. Everywhere you look the writing is on the wall. We're seeing Bible prophecies fulfilled before our very eyes.
The Bible tells us that in the last days there would be unhinged violence. Another sign of the times is probably in your pocket, in your purse, or quite possibly in your hand right now. I'm talking about your cell phone. The explosion of technology is significant.
And now with artificial intelligence added to it. And we talk to these devices in our homes. You know Google Home or Siri or whatever device you use. You know you talk to it. It gives you an answer. It probably gives you more information than your husband gives you when you talk to him. Another inanimate object. But you know now these things drive our cars and they have this information.
And if you buy one thing you know these ads sort of follow you around on different websites. There is coming a day when a man will harness his technology for evil and no one will be able to buy or sell without his mark. And that man is called the beast and the anti-Christ in the Bible.
And we will talk about him later in our studies in the book of Daniel. This conflict in the Middle East. Violence breaks out.
Conflict breaks out. And what does it remind us of? The Bible tells us that Jerusalem would be the epicenter of end times events. Jerusalem. Why Jerusalem?
This tiny little city and this tiny little sliver of land being the very center of all of our attention. Scripture is very specific. Insane. It would be. And we are seeing that happen. I think you can make a case for China who is now an economic and military super power.
And they are flexing their muscle like never before. I think you can make a pretty good case for them being spoken of in Scripture. I think certainly the emergence of Iran as a nuclear nation. As a nation hell bent on the destruction of Israel. It is clearly spoken of in Scripture. Here is my point.
I could go on. All around us are signs of the times. The writing is on the wall.
And here is what the writing is saying folks. Jesus Christ is coming back again. Well here before us now in Daniel 5 is the story of the fall of mighty Babylon. The Babylonians felt that their city and their nation, well it was impregnable. No one could defeat them. After all Babylon was surrounded by a complex series of walls.
Some as high as 300 feet. The mighty river Euphrates came right to the center of the city so water was plentiful. They had enough food stored up to feed their population for the next 20 years. So they weren't really afraid of anyone. And the fact is right outside of the walls of Babylon at this moment historically were the Medo-Persian forces under the command of Cyrus. And this was the moment when God said to King Belshazzar, your number is up.
Because listen to this. Every nation has a shelf life. Ancient Babylon lasted around 86 years. The powerful Persian empire did better 208 years. The glory of Greece was eclipsed after 268 years. Mighty Rome ruled for nine centuries so there is a beginning, a middle, and an end of a nation.
And so we have to be very careful and prayerful about our own nation as we look at our future. Now what was going on historically? Well Nebuchadnezzar the king has died. Remember prior to his death he had a dramatic conversion after a bout of insanity that lasted a long period of time. He returned to his senses and he put out a decree to the whole kingdom telling everyone that he was now a believer in the Lord God.
Everyone knew the story of the conversion of the mighty Nebuchadnezzar. But apparently this message was not passed on to his son who he named Evil Merodach. Who names their kid Evil Merodach?
I mean really? Evil Merodach. And the kid was like he fulfilled his name. He was a wicked king. And so Evil, not Knievel, Evil Merodach had a son named Belshazzar who was named after the god Bel. See the Babylonians worshiped the god Bel. They had a temple to him there in the city of Babylon. So here is this young boy king ruling over the kingdom named after a false god. And this boy went out of his way to mock God. He went out of his way to insult God. He knew the story of his grandfather. He knew how his grandfather had proclaimed his faith.
But this boy wanted to challenge God openly and that will never go well. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. At Harvest Ministries we hear from people all around the country and in places that are sometimes hard to reach. Dear Pastor Greg, we live out in the wilds of Idaho but are able to enjoy your Harvest at Home broadcast. We call it our home church away and our 13 year old son even gave his heart to Jesus while watching Harvest at Home. Praise the Lord and blessings to you. It's so great to know that the Harvest at Home broadcast has impacted this family in this way.
Do you have a story to tell? If so would you let Pastor Greg know? Just drop him an email.
Greg at Harvest dot org. Again that's Greg at Harvest dot o-r-g. Well today we're examining the biblical story where we get the phrase the hand writing on the wall. Pastor Greg continues his message.
The writing is on the wall. Let's read about what happened in Daniel chapter 5. I'm reading verses 1 to 6.
I'm reading from the New Living Translation. Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for a thousand of his nobles and he drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking the wine to give orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, wives, and concubines. He brought these gold cups taken from the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem. And the king and his nobles and his wives and concubines drank from them.
Now let me just stop for a moment. These are vessels, instruments that are used for the worship of God. So this guy goes out of his way to say, oh these are for God? Well let's fill them with wine and let's worship the false gods of Babylon. Verse 4.
While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold and silver and so forth. Suddenly they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the wall of the king's palace near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it rode. His face turned pale with fright.
His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him. We will stop there. Is this not an amazing story?
So vivid you can see it. These ancient kings they loved to throw big feasts to show off all their cool stuff. And of course Belshazzar was no exception. Remember when we looked at the story of Esther.
King Artaxerxes threw a feast or a party that actually lasted for six months. So these people are all drinking which never ends well. Can we all agree on the simple fact that when you get drunk you say and do really stupid things? I just read about a four year study that determined the following. And I quote, Young adults who binge drink frequently are more likely to show disadvantageous decision making patterns than their peers who don't drink. Wow. You needed a four year study to figure that out? My response to that is duh.
So we don't need a study to figure this out but here is the thing. This wasn't as much of a drinking problem as it is a pride problem. This young man had basically ignored everything he had learned from his grandfather. And you know I think we have a problem today in our culture where we are so fixated on youth. We look to youth for style cues, for our slang, sometimes even for our world view. And in reality when you are older you need to be imparting wisdom to people who are younger.
Listen to me. If you are a young person you need an older person in your life who has some wisdom who can help you. And so if you are a younger person find someone who is older and mature in their faith to mentor and disciple you. And if you are an older person find someone who is younger than you who you can mentor and disciple. Because there are not that many advantages of getting old are there? But one of the advantages hopefully you have learned a few things.
Nothing is more pathetic than a dirty old man or the female equivalent a cougar. So as we have grown in our faith we can pass these things on to the next generation. And that is something that was not happening in the life of Belshazzar. Now here is what is interesting. He is having this giant party. This big feast in honor of his false god. And while this was taking place judgment was literally at the door and he had fair warning. Because the prophet Jeremiah had told him exactly how it would come years before. In Jeremiah 27 it says, All nations will serve Nebuchadnezzar and his son and his son's son. So his son we already talked about his son's son is Belshazzar and then the end will come. Not only did God tell Belshazzar and Babylon that the kingdom was going to end with Belshazzar as king. But he even told them who was going to lead the invasion.
A hundred and seventy-five years before this man was born. Because you read in Isaiah 44, 28, Cyrus he is my shepherd and he will fulfill my purpose. God said a guy named Cyrus is going to do it.
So you would have thought that Belshazzar would have said, Ok let's see they say it is going to end with me. And there is a large army outside of the walls. Who is leading that army? His name is Cyrus.
Cyrus? Hmmm. You would have thought that he would have said maybe we should pay attention. But no they just carried on with their drunken feast. He didn't listen to what God had warned him about. And now God's hand is going to give him a specific warning on the wall of the palace. First right at that very moment they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king's palace near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote.
Wow. The finger of God writing on the wall. That same finger wrote ten commandments on the front and the back. And one of the things that finger wrote was you shall have no other gods before me.
What are these people doing? They are worshiping false gods. They are going out of their way to mock God. And the Bible issues this warning. Do not be deceived. God does not mock whatsoever a man sows.
That shall he also reap. And Belshazzar was mocking God. He was terrified when he saw this. Gone was the smirk.
The defiance of God. I don't think anyone has ever sobered up faster than Belshazzar. Suddenly this young man realizes his life is coming to an end. His banquet hall has been turned into a courtroom. And he is about to be declared guilty.
And there are these writings on the wall. And he completely freaked out. You know the scripture says his knees were knocking together.
You have probably heard it said when your knees start knocking kneel on them. When something scares you pray. Call out to God. Did he call out to God?
No. He called out to his astrologers and his fortune tellers and his soothsayers and all the rest of them. It said explain this to me.
They said King we cannot explain this to you. Enter the queen mother. The grandmother. Grandma is here. She walks in and says boy you need to talk to the prophet Daniel. He was a great help to your grandfather. And he would be of great help to you right now.
Go talk to the man of God. Now Daniel had pretty much been off the grid for ten years at this point. He shut down all his social media accounts. No posts on Facebook. Instagram. No tweets.
Nothing. But he was ready for action. And he was called on and he immediately comes in. He is ready to deliver the word of the Lord. And he comes with a very direct approach to the king. And here is the thing with Belshazzar. He was intentionally ignorant.
I think you can make a pretty good case for the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was just an ignorant pagan guy. He didn't know. He captured the people of Israel. He passed his laws.
He built the statues. But when he was finally confronted with the facts though he was powerful this king came to his senses and turned to God and believed. Belshazzar knew better. He knew what happened to his grandfather but he ignored it. He was deliberately ignoring what was said. Now do you know that a sign of the end times is that people will be willfully ignorant? 1 Peter 3 says, understand this, in the last days scoffers will come mocking and following their own evil desires and they will say, where is this coming he has promised? But they deliberately forgot that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.
By this they deliberately forgot. And there are people today that will say, I don't want to hear it. You'll say, well you know Jesus. Don't say Jesus to me. They're so open minded until Jesus comes up. They're ready to talk about spirituality and whatever path you follow until you dare to mention the Bible. And man if you pull a Bible out they will literally recoil. You ever see it happen? You say, well you know you mentioned the Bible. It happened.
It happened. And they're just like, what are you doing with that thing? Put it away. There's no power in this book.
It's made of leather and paper and a couple of ribbons on the bottom. But there's power in the words in this book. And when you hold up the very Bible people react visibly to it. I don't want to hear that. Why don't they want to hear it? If it's not true what do you care if I quote it or not? Because deep down inside they know it's true. They know it's alive and they know it's powerful and they're afraid of it.
That's why. So you say, so what should we do? Not quote the Bible?
Oh no. Quote the Bible. But here's the cool thing. You don't have to carry around a 50 pound Bible with you. And sometimes you can just quote it from memory and they won't even know it's happening until they've been stabbed like 20 times with the sword of the Spirit. You share it conversationally. I think we think when we have to preach the gospel we have to elevate our voice and we have to yell. Or when we quote the Bible we have to quote it in a weird way. Like, well let me just say to you the Bible says it. Why are you talking that way? Keep it conversational.
Keep it real. And engage your person. And you see, Belshazzar did not want to hear the Bible. Pastor Greg Laurie pointing out that what was true with King Belshazzar is true with many people today. But of course there's more to the story. And Pastor Greg will have more of this presentation called The Writing is on the Wall next time here on A New Beginning. Have you heard about Pastor Greg's new book? It's called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus.
It examines the way so many of the top music artists had it made. But their lives soon unraveled. And you know Pastor Greg, I've tried to imagine what it must be like to be extremely famous. You know, where you can't even go to the grocery store without a mob developing. You know, you can't even open your window blinds for fear of paparazzi with telephoto lenses.
And that's the point you make in the book. These music stars have a lot of stuff. But they have a lot of stress, too. Yes, they really do. I mean, it's been said, careful what you wish for. You might get it. And these are people that got what they wished for and then it even went beyond their wildest dreams.
But the problem is that dreams, in many cases, has turned into a horrible nightmare. You know, when you look at the founders of rock, if you will, they called them the millionaire quartet. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins.
They were all produced by a man named Sam Phillips who had Sun Records. These guys came from abject poverty, in some cases. They were just country boys. All of them was sort of a gospel foundation. All of them were taken to church as young men and of course, they all rebelled against it.
But interestingly, every one of those founders ultimately came to realize they needed to turn to Jesus. Elvis struggled through the years. He often sang gospel songs. There's a lot of fascinating revelations about Elvis Presley in this book. Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus.
Jerry Lee Lewis is the only one alive still of the four. But in recent interviews, he's talked about his need to get right with God. And of course, Johnny Cash became very strong in his faith. I wrote a whole book about him, as a matter of fact, called Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. And then finally, Carl Perkins who wrote Blue Suede Shoes and other great songs.
He was a raging alcoholic and actually came to the Lord while he was on tour with Johnny Cash and took his bottle of booze and threw it into the ocean and committed his life to Christ and served the Lord for the final years of his life. So yeah, these guys experienced it and in some cases, girls experienced it and saw the emptiness of it. So this is a very honest book. So I start the book with these words. There'll be three surprises when we get to heaven. Number one, some of the people we thought would be there won't be there. Number two, some of the people we never thought would be there will be there. Surprise number three, you'll be there. So these are some of the people you never thought would be there who will be there because no one is beyond the reach of God.
Yeah, yeah, that's right. Well, we hope you'll contact us for your own copy of Pastor Greg's new book, Lenin, Dylan, Alice and Jesus. The subtitle is The Spiritual Biography of Rock and Roll.
There are so many lessons to be learned from the lives of dozens of artists who show us where the pursuit of fame and fortune ultimately leads. And we'll send this book your way to thank you for your partnership. It's only through the investments of listeners that we can continue to bring Pastor Greg's insights your way each day. So thanks for prayerfully considering how you can help.
And we'll thank you with the book, Lenin, Dylan, Alice and Jesus. And we won't be mentioning this much longer, so contact us soon. Just call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514.
Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg completes his look at the alarming sight seen by the sinful King Belshazzar. More from Pastor Greg's series called End of Days. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.
This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
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