Weighed and Found Deficient

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Rembrandt van Rijn had a profound knowledge of the Bible. This great Dutch artist, born in 1606, frequently turned to the Bible for inspiration. He also sought to bring a fresh perspective to familiar stories.

In 1635, he turned to the story of Belshazzar’s feast. Historian Paul Johnson observed that Rembrandt invested his painting “with a breathless excitement that has eluded all other artists who have tackled this wonderful subject.” Instead of focusing on the masses attending the feast, Rembrandt brings us into the intimacy of the moment Belshazzar confronted God’s mysterious message, written by “the fingers of a man’s hand.” The king’s eyes are mesmerized. We feel his shock. What could the words mean? A handful of onlookers share his horrified puzzlement.

Rembrandt portrayed the king’s lavish wardrobe. A glorious crown. And vessels, perhaps taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. Scholar Simon Schama commented that Rembrandt, in particular focused on the gold “as a curse, a kind of leprous contamination.” This gold symbolized Belshazzar’s life. It was all for nothing!

The Bible tells us that no one knew the meaning of the words on the wall until the queen reminded Belshazzar about Daniel. He was summoned and gave the sobering interpretation: The king had been arrogant. And it was time to face God, to give an account of his life.

This painting reminds us that many people are like Belshazzar. Seeking power and wealth. Consumed by the pleasures of the moment. They do not realize that eventually they will face God. To be judged for what they do. How they spent their lives. What they did with their resources.

Today, make sure that you are ready to face God. Humble yourself before Him. Surrender your life to Him. And seek first His Kingdom.