Most lives run on two rails. There is the secular, and there is the sacred. The secular takes up most of our lives and our time. It involves everything that makes us what and who we are; my education, my friends, what I do for fun, to whom I am married, and my vocation. The secular is what makes me who I am. I have become identified with the secular side of my life.

The sacred part of my life is far different. I must admit that for some, there is no sacred side to their life. It is impossible to live without the secular rail, but it is possible to live without the sacred rail that runs the train of my life. While the secular side of life involves the tangible side of life, the sacred part of my life is usually unseen. When I speak of the sacred part of my life, I am not referring to attending church and other parts of my lifestyle that can be seen. I’m talking about issues of the heart, and my inner life, out of which will come habits and lifestyles that can be observed.

Our culture is quickly losing the sacred and replacing it with the secular. In some cases, we have allowed the secular to invade the sacred, so the two are mixed into a lifestyle that has lost all of its flavors.

The first time I visited an overseas mission, I was taken aside by the missionary and given a bit of advice that has stayed with me to this very day. He said, “never put your Bible on the floor. These people view that as not honoring God”, To this day, I never put my Bible on the floor because it is an indication that I value the significance of the Bible.

This issue of dishonoring the sacred can be seen in the life of an ancient King of the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar was the King that God used to discipline the Israelites. When he conquered the city of Jerusalem, he took the cream of the crop of intelligent men[think Daniel], but he also took the sacred objects from the temple, perhaps even the Ark of the Covenant, a box made of pure gold. A man by the name of Belshazzar, a nephew, was now King of these ancient people, the Babylonians. He was having a drunken feast for all of his important leaders. During the feast, he said, “bring all the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which is in Jerusalem in order that the Kings and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines may drink from them. Then, they brought the golden vessels that had been taken out of the house of God in Jerusalem, and the kings and his wives and his nobles drank from them”. (Daniel 5:1-4)

Does God have anything to say about this dishonoring of the sacred? With no warning, an armless hand appears and begins to write on a vacant wall. This act alarms the king. He becomes very alarmed, and “then the king’s face grew pale, and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip joints went slack, and knees began knocking together.” (Daniels 5:6)

The king was alarmed beyond description. Never had anything like this happened, an armless hand appearing and writing in an unknown language on the ballroom wall. The entire crowd in the banquet hall became amazed and fearful as the king stood there with knocking knees and ready to faint. The queen’s mother was called in to give advice to this young Godless, fun-seeking alcoholic crowd. She says to the king, “Please do not be fearful of this. Do not let your thoughts alarm you, and your face grow pale. There is a man in your kingdom who, in the days of your father, was able to give Godly advice and gave great counsel to the King. He was the chief of all of the king’s counselors. His name is Daniel. Call him to give you advice.”

Daniel, by this time, had to be 80 years old. He came to the banquet hall with a confident stride that said nothing was too hard for his God. Daniel looked at what had caused this godless king to become so fearful. He then looked at the king and told him how he had strayed from the past and that he was under the judgment of God. Daniel reminded the King of what he had done, taking the holy Jewish cups of Gold and drunkenly filling them with wine and dancing in a drunken state. They had dishonored God, and God saw it all.

Then Daniel looked at the armless hand. The words were “MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN”. Daniel then, looking at the fearful drunken King, interpreted the words. “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” In other words, what you have done, God has observed, and he has weighed you on His scales, and you are extremely underweight in your sacred life. Belshazzar had been brought up in the palace. He knew where these golden cups had come from. He understood the significance of the Jewish Temple and what these objects represent. Yet, arrogantly he called for them, and in his obnoxious state, he drank from them, convincing himself that they were secular, not sacred. What was holy, he lessened to the secular.
Those words have gripped me recently as I look out at our culture. It has caused me to ask, “is there anything that is sacred anymore”? Look at things around us. What do you find that holds our respect, that makes us stop and remember that makes me realize that there is a sacred place. Nadab and Abihu never thought that God would care. After all, they were sons of Levi, the great High Priest. They could enter the Holy Place and offer strange fire to God rather than off the altar. What difference would that make? They soon found out that God does observe. They were pulled from the Holy Place, dead because God would not receive the secular; He required the Holy.

We must come to a place where we respect God and His work. The sacred is so different than the secular. It is like trying to mix oil with water. It just does not work. I want to be aware of God’s scale and not found to be lighthearted. When it comes to my spiritual weight, I want to be overweight and always honor God.

My Bible is either in my hand or under my arm.

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