Friday, October 29, 2004
Weighed and found wanting
A few thousand years ago, a Greek King ordered some craftsmen to make him
a crown of gold. The craftsmen were paid handsomely and delivered a beautiful golden crown worthy of royalty. The King had a gut feeling that the craftsmen had cheated him, so he went to the wisest man in his kingdom for help. The name of the man was Archimedes. Archimedes accepted the project, admitted it was a challenge, and requested the King for time to determine
whether the crown had been made of pure gold. Archimedes thought for days, the problem riddling him, and absorbing his life. One day he filled his tub with water to its normal level, he was preparing to bathe. upon entering the tub, Archimedes realized that the water level rose a few inches. His weight had displaced the water and raised the volume in the tub. Archimedes found what he was looking for. Running out of the tub, he yelled, "Eureka! Eureka! I found it!' Archimedes discovered that to determine whether the crown was pure gold
all he had to do was determine the amount of gold the crown was supposed to weigh, place it in a tub of water, and mark the water displacement. Afterwards, the same process would be repeated with the crown. If the craftsmen made the crown out of pure gold, it would displace the same amount water as the pure gold. If, however, the crown was not made out of pure gold, the amount of water displaced would differ. In the end, it was determined that the King had been
cheated. The gold in the crown was weighed, and found wanting.
We use the _expression, "the writing is on the wall," to mean the signs are obvious. In the biblical passage for this week-- Daniel 5 --it means that you have crossed the point of no return, and judgment has been rendered. If Belshazzar were a crown, Archimedes would have found him lacking gold. Belshazzar was at best gold plated. What type of Christians are we? Are we pure gold or gold
plated? Pure gold will not tarnish and become purified in the fire. Gold plated will tarnish and completely melt in the flames. How can we become pure gold Christians?
The author of Hebrews says that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6). So to become pure gold Christians, we need faith. Where do we get faith? Roman 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." But it is not just any faith or belief in God. James 2:19 says, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." The faith we are talking about here it is humanly impossible to develop. Human faith is corrupted by sin, imperfect,
and finite. Revelation 14:12 describes the multitude that God saves as having the faith of Jesus. This is pure gold faith. Human faith is gold plated faith.
Belshazzar lacked this faith of Jesus. His problem got worse because he had opportunities to acquire it, but chose not to, against the convictions of his heart, despite all the evidence God had given him. Daniel points this out to Belshazazar as he interprets the writing on the wall:
Daniel 5:18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
Daniel 5:19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before Him: whom He would He slew; and whom He would He kept alive; and whom He would He set up; and whom He would He put down.
Daniel 5:20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
Daniel 5:21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
Daniel 5:22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
Daniel 5:23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
Sister White concerning Daniel and Belshazzar,
Daniel did not swerve from his duty. He held the king's sin before him, showing him the lessons he might have learned but did not. Belshazzar had not heeded the events so significant to him. He had not read his grandfather's history correctly. The responsibility of knowing truth had been laid upon him, but the practical lesson he might have learned and acted upon had not been taken to heart; and his course of action brought the sure result. (Ellen G. White Notes, 36)
Those, who like Belshazzar reject the opportunities that God grants them will also be found wanting. They are gold plated Christians. 2 Timothy 3:5 describes them as, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." Revelation 3 calls them Laodicean--
Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Sister White explains regarding those who follow the steps of Belshazzar,
In the history of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, God speaks to the people of today. The condemnation that will fall upon the inhabitants of the earth in this day will be because of their rejection of light. Our condemnation in the judgment will not result from the fact that we have lived in error, but from the fact that we have neglected Heaven-sent opportunities for discovering truth. The means of becoming conversant with the truth are within the reach of all; but, like the indulgent, selfish king, we give more attention to the things that charm the ear, and please the eye, and gratify the palate, than to the things that enrich the mind, the divine treasures of truth. It is through the truth that we may answer the great question, "What must I do to be saved?" (E. G. White Notes, p. 33)
God offers us-- Laodiceans, an opportunity to become pure gold faith Christians. He says to us in Revelation 3:18,
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Will we accept His invitation?
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