Writing On The Wall

Sermon Notes of Reverend Harvey Alford Matney
(1868 – 1951)
July 6, 1915 – Augusta, Texas


Pride has been the downfall of many. Starting with Satan, and throughout the Bible, we see that Proverbs 16:18 was accurate when it stated “pride goes before destruction.”

Belshazzar had heard how is ancestor Nebuchadnezzar had allowed pride to nearly destroy him. But even with this knowledge, Belshazzar flaunted his contempt for God. Even when God warned him that the end of his reign was approaching, there is no mention of repentance or a plea for mercy from Belshazzar. Had he shown remorse or honored God, just like Hezekiah did when he turned his face to the wall (2 Kings 20 & 2 Chronicles 32), Belshazzar may have remained king. Instead, he resigns himself to his fate.

When we step out of love and into pride or fear, we put ourselves squarely in the crosshairs of Satan whose mission in life is to steal, kill and destroy. But when we walk in love, our shield of faith blocks ALL the fiery darts of the enemy.

In this sermon, my Grandfather examines the writing on the wall story. — Harrison Woodard

Daniel 5:4-6 AMP

They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Immediately and suddenly there appeared the fingers of a man’s hand and wrote on the plaster of the wall opposite the candlestick [so exposed especially to the light] in the king’s palace, and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

Then the color and the [drunken] hilarious brightness of the king’s face was changed, and his [terrifying] thoughts troubled and alarmed him; the joints and muscles of his hips and back gave way and his knees smote together.

Writing On The Wall

It is a distinction of man that he can think. But he is troubled when he is forced to think.

Troubled thought is the voice of warning in the soul.

Let us think of Belshazzar and ourselves for it may be said of us; “his thoughts trouble him.”

One Would Think Belshazzar’s Thoughts Would Be No Trouble At All

An irresponsible reckless monarch of one of the fierce nations of the old world entertains 1,000 of his lords at a banquet after the fashion that would do honor to the name and station of a king. He was daring to abuse the sacred vessels of the Temple to show his contempt for Israel’s God. Drinking and rioting with such company is not conducive to sober thinking. No man is rendered wise or thoughtful by strong drink and riotous companions. Yet no man is out of reach of God.


Yet His Thoughts Troubled Him

What he saw was appalling, a hand writing on the wall. Just the hand, but where was the body? It was hid in mystery, behind the curtain.

It was not what he saw that troubled him, it was what he did not see and could not see. The moving of the unguided hand, the intelligent traces of its movement left on the wall in unreadable writing troubled him. His situation flashed before him, the great unknown and unseen forced them into his mind.

He had drunk a strange draft from those holy cups which left him trembling before Him, before who all (unsaved) men tremble. There is a hand writing on the wall now and some of us would tremble more if it was read to us.

Belshazzar was trifling with sacred vessels of the house of God. Men today trifle with the sacred blood-bought privileges, the vessels of mercy in God’s house.


The Reward of the Interpreter

He at once called for the wise men to read this message. He offered a reward that would do honor to his place, station and rank. For the one that could decipher the message, a purple robe, chain of gold and elevation to be third ruler in the kingdom.

Daniel succeeds in the interpretation and is rewarded. The prophet of God wore the robe of royalty and possessed the scepter of power.


But How Soon the World’s Rewards Are Gone

That night Belshazzar was slain. Darius took the kingdom and in the next chapter we read of Daniel in the lions’ den. The masters of the world change so fast.

Christ – God of love, the God of the skies, the one who does not change, be king of my being. Be master of my heart. For what God does abides forever. Riches can fail. Men of prominence can lose their rank, but God remains forever.

Christ Is the Only Thing That Makes a Promise for the Future World

The scorpion tongue of satire may pour contempt on God’s revelation. The enlightened atheist or skeptic may sneer at our faith. The anonymous hand always writes the sentence of doom, but Christ points to a bright beyond!


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