Weighed in the Balances

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Daniel 5-6

This section contains two stories which are both great literature and powerful lessons to us. Both show the sovereignty of the God whom we serve and therefore challenge us to be faithful and courageous.

The Babylonian king Belshazzar throws a drinking party for 1,000 of his officials. He gets the drunken idea that it would be fun to use the sacred vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem as drinking mugs.

Suddenly handwriting appears on the wall written by a disembodied hand. “The king’s color changed . . . and his knees knocked” (5:6). Daniel is asked to interpret the words, and they mean “weighed in the balances and found wanting” (5:27). That night the Babylonians are overthrown by Darius ushering in the Medo-Persian empire. God weighs each of us in the balances and we too are found wanting, but the righteousness of Christ is applied to those who trust in him and we are accepted by God.

Darius makes Daniel one of his chief officials. The others are jealous and pass a law that no one is to pray to anyone but to the king. Daniel courageously continues to pray to God before his open window. As a result he is thrown into the lions’ den, but is unharmed. The reason is given: “because he had trusted in his God” (6:23). Trust in God and remain faithful to him no matter how difficult it may be.


Father, we rejoice that although we fall short, we are accepted for Christ's sake. In his name. Amen.