Bible Study Guides – Weighed in the Balances

October 25, 2009 – October 31, 2009

Key Text

“Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord [is] a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” I Samuel 2:3.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 522–538; Testimonies, vol. 8, 247–251.


“God judges every man according to his work. Not only does He judge, but He sums up, day by day and hour by hour, our progress in welldoing.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 987.

1 When Belshazzar inherited the Babylonian throne at a young age, what traits were readily seen in his character? Daniel 5:1.

Note: “Belshazzar gloried in his power and lifted up his heart against the God of heaven. Many had been his opportunities to know the divine will and to understand his responsibility of rendering obedience thereto. He had known of his grandfather’s banishment, by the decree of God, from the society of men; and he was familiar with Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion and miraculous restoration. But Belshazzar allowed the love of pleasure and self-glorification to efface the lessons that he should never have forgotten. He wasted the opportunities graciously granted him, and neglected to use the means within his reach for becoming more fully acquainted with truth. That which Nebuchadnezzar had finally gained at the cost of untold suffering and humiliation, Belshazzar passed by with indifference.” Prophets and Kings, 522, 523.

2 How did Belshazzar blatantly display his irreverence for the sacred vessels of God? Daniel 5:2–4. Explain how still greater profanations occur today, even among professed believers.

Note: “It is a truth which should make every one of us weep, that those living in these last days, upon whom the ends of the world are come, are far more guilty than was Belshazzar. This is possible in many ways. When men have taken upon themselves the vows of consecration, to devote all their powers to the sacred service of God; when they occupy the position of expositors of Bible truth, and have received the solemn charge; when God and angels are summoned as witnesses to the solemn dedication of soul, body, and spirit to God’s service—then shall these men who minister in a most holy office desecrate their God-given powers to unholy purposes? Shall the sacred vessel, whom God is to use for a high and holy work, be dragged from its lofty, controlling sphere to administer to debasing lust? Is not this idol worship of the most degrading kind?—the lips uttering praises and adoring a sinful human being, pouring forth expressions of ravishing tenderness and adulation which belong alone to God—the powers given to God in solemn consecration administering to a harlot; for any woman who will allow the addresses of another man than her husband, who will listen to his advances, and whose ears will be pleased with the outpouring of lavish words of affection, of adoration, of endearment, is an adulteress and a harlot.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 434, 435.

3 What amazing sight stopped the party? Daniel 5:5.

Note: “In the midst of the revelry, Belshazzar saw the bloodless hand of an uninvited guest tracing upon the wall of the palace words that gleamed like fire,—words which, though unknown to that vast throng, were a portent of doom to the new conscience-stricken revelers. The boisterous mirth was hushed, and they shook with a nameless terror as their eyes fastened upon the wall. Where but a few moments before had been hilarity and blasphemous witticism, were pallid faces and cries of fear.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 20, 21.

“If they could not understand the writing, why were they so troubled? The writing on the wall gave evidence that there was a witness to their evil deeds, a guest not invited or welcome to their idolatrous feast, and his presence convicted of sin, and foretold doom and disaster. Before them passed, as in panoramic view, the deeds of their evil lives, and they seemed to be arraigned before the Judgment, of which they had been warned.” The Signs of the Times, July 20, 1891.

4 How did Belshazzar react? Daniel 5:6. Why should this impress us to reexamine our own lives? Ecclesiastes 11:9.

Note: “Belshazzar was the most terrified of them all. He it was who above all others had been responsible for the rebellion against God which that night had reached its height in the Babylonian realm. In the presence of the unseen Watcher, the representative of Him whose power had been challenged and whose name had been blasphemed, the king was paralyzed with fear. Conscience was awakened.” Prophets and Kings, 524, 527.

“The same Witness that recorded the profanity of Belshazzar is present with us wherever we go. … You may feel that you are at liberty to act out the impulses of the natural heart, that you may indulge in lightness and trifling, but for all these things you must give an account. As you sow, you will reap, and if you are taking the foundation from your house, robbing your brain of its nutriment, and your nerves of their power by dissipation and indulgence of appetite and passion, you will have an account to render to him who says, ‘I know thy works.’ [Revelation 3:15.]” The Review and Herald, March 29, 1892.

5 What was the frantic desire of Belshazzar? Daniel 5:7–9.

Note: “In vain the king tried to read the burning letters. But here was a secret he could not fathom, a power he could neither understand nor gainsay. In despair he turned to the wise men of his realm for help. His wild cry rang out in the assembly, calling upon the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers to read the writing. … But of no avail was his appeal to his trusted advisers, with offers of rich awards. Heavenly wisdom cannot be bought or sold. … They were no more able to read the mysterious characters than had been the wise men of a former generation to interpret the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar.” Prophets and Kings, 527.

6 How was Daniel’s name brought up during this crisis? Daniel 5:10–12. What was known about him? Daniel 5:13, 14.

Note: “There was in the palace a woman who was wiser than them all,—the queen of Belshazzar’s grandfather. In this emergency she addressed the king in language that sent a ray of light into the darkness.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 26, 1898.

7 Describe the prophet’s introduction to the king. What should the prophet’s warning make us realize? Daniel 5:15–28.

Note: “Before that terror-stricken throng, Daniel, unmoved by the promises of the king, stood in the quiet dignity of a servant of the Most High, not to speak words of flattery, but to interpret a message of doom.” Prophets and Kings, 529.

“When Daniel was brought in before Belshazzar, as the king and his nobles sat at their sacrilegious feast, he plainly told the king that the calamity to come upon Babylon was the result of a disregard of heaven-sent light. He disregarded the light given to Nebuchadnezzar, and thereby lost the benefits he might have received had he been obedient to the light. God gives His people lessons to instruct them and lead them to reform. If they do not receive and practice these lessons, their neglect will surely bring judgments upon them.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 98, 99.

8 How did God’s judgment affect the king and the entire nation? Daniel 5:29–31.

Note: “Belshazzar was without excuse, for abundant light had been given him to reform his life. …

“His great sin was that, notwithstanding God had given him light, he refused to walk in the paths of righteousness.” The Signs of the Times, July 20, 1891.

“God ascribes the fall of Babylon to her gluttony and drunkenness. Indulgence of appetite and passion was the foundation of all their sins.” Counsels on Health, 110.

9 What must we take into serious consideration if we do not want to be found wanting? I Samuel 2:3.

Note: “The fact that you conscientiously believe a lie will not save you from ruin, when the truth might have been yours.” The Signs of the Times, July 27, 1891.

“Those who are ‘do-nothings’ now will have the superscription upon them, ‘Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.’ [Daniel 5:27.] They knew their Master’s will, but did it not. They had the light of truth, they had every advantage, but chose their own selfish interests, and they will be left with those whom they did not try to save.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 237.

10 What may keep us out of the kingdom? Proverbs 16:2; Hebrews 4:13; James 4:17.

Note: “The church cannot measure herself by the world nor by the opinion of men nor by what she once was. Her faith and her position in the world as they now are must be compared with what they would have been if her course had been continually onward and upward. The church will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. If her moral character and spiritual state do not correspond with the benefits and blessings God has conferred upon her, she will be found wanting.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 83.

“Men are weighed in the balance and found wanting when they are living in the practice of any known sin. It is the privilege of every son of God to be a true Christian moment by moment; then he has all heaven enlisted on his side.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 440, 441.

Additional Reading

“‘If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ [Matthew 19:17.] Very many who profess to be Christ’s disciples will apparently pass along smoothly in this world, and will be regarded as upright, godly men, when they have a plague spot at the core, which taints their whole character and corrupts their religious experience. ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ [Matthew 22:39.] This forbids us to take advantage of our fellow men in order to advantage ourselves. We are forbidden to wrong our neighbor in anything. We should not view the matter from the worldling’s standpoint. To deal with our fellow men in every instance just as we should wish them to deal with us is a rule which we should apply to ourselves practically. God’s laws are to be obeyed to the letter. In all our intercourse and deal with our fellow men, whether believers or unbelievers, this rule is to be applied: ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’

“Here many who profess to be Christians will not bear the measurement of God; when weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, they will be found wanting. Dear brother, ‘come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ [II Corinthians 6:17, 18.] What a promise is this! But we are not to lose sight of the fact that it is based upon obedience to the command. God calls you to separate from the world. You are not to follow their practices, nor conform to them in your course of action in any respect. …

“God calls for separation from the world. Will you obey? Will you come out from among them, and remain separate and distinct from them? ‘For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?’ [II Corinthians 6:14.] You cannot mingle with worldlings, and partake of their spirit, and follow their example, and be at the same time a child of God. The Creator of the universe addresses you as an affectionate Father. If you separate from the world in your affections, and remain free from its contamination, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust, God will be your Father, He will adopt you into His family, and you will be His heir. In place of the world, He will give you, for a life of obedience, the kingdom under the whole heavens. He will give you an eternal weight of glory and a life that is as enduring as eternity.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 43, 44.

“God is weighing our characters, our conduct, and our motives in the balances of the sanctuary. It will be a fearful thing to be pronounced wanting in love and obedience by our Redeemer, who died upon the cross to draw our hearts unto Him.…To be weighed in the balance and found wanting in the day of final settlement and rewards will be a fearful thing, a terrible mistake which can never be corrected.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 370.

© Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.