You Never Know How Much Time You Have

Daniel 5:24-31 – “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Perhaps 15,000 people packed into the palace in Babylon for the greatest party of the year. With the music blaring, drinks pouring, people dancing, and commandment breaking no one could have guessed that not only would the party end early that night, so would the nation. It just goes to show, you never know how much time you have. We’ve all lost someone we loved and were stunned that they were gone. The world pauses when someone like Kobe Bryant is taken from life without warning. These moments remind us of the frailty and mortality of humanity.

Today, like the days of Daniel, people will die without being ready to stand before God because they wrongly thought they had more time. God continually warns us that life is short, judgment is real, and heaven and hell are forever.

We see this same thing in the days of Daniel. Consider the following prophecies that were simply ignored:

  • 150 years before Daniel, Isaiah 13:1, 17-19 said, “The oracle concerning Babylon…Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them, who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold. Their bows will slaughter the young men; they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb; their eyes will not pity children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them… its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged.”
  • 50 years before Daniel, Jeremiah 27:4-7 said, “‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: ‘It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes. Then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.’”

The reason why they, and we, ignore warnings from God is because we build fortifications for our lives that allow us to think we are safe, having created our own heaven on earth without need for God. In Babylon, they had impenetrable fortified walls that kept them safe from invaders. Outside the walls were a moat. Inside the walls were years worth of food, massive wealth largely in gold, and a constant flow of fresh water from the mighty Euphrates river.

While the king threw a drunken party of deviancy among men and women that dishonored God, the joint armies of the Medo-Persian Empire had marched to the city walls as predicted decades prior in Daniel 2. The date was my birthday, October 11, 539 B.C. The ancient historian Herodotus reports that this was one of the most genius cases of military tactics in the ancient world. Unable to penetrate the city walls, they simply diverted the river upstream. Once the riverbed dried out, the invading army simply walked under the walls to seize the capital and nation as the king and his staff were getting drunk and being naughty. The prophecy written on the wall by the finger of God and interpreted by Daniel came to pass that very night. It just goes to show, you never know how much time you have, and you are never secure unless God is your fortress.

Are you ready to die and stand before Jesus Christ to give an account for your life today? If not, spend some time praying to Him making sure you are ready today and every day.

In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.

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