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Found Wanting!

A hand wrote on the wall ...


As God's children, we need to always please Him.

Bible Text:

Daniel 5.

Materials Needed:

A pair of simple balance scales (see plans below).
A set of paper squares with the words, "Disrespect," "Discourteous," "Despise,"
"Disobey," "Disloyal," and "Dislike" written on them (see pattern below).
Pieces of thick cardboard squares to act as weights.
A small cardboard box with the words, "God's Standards" printed on the lid.

Click here for "Found Wanting" Words Pattern

Click here for Plans to make a Balance


  1. Use the plan to make a pair of balance scales.
  2. Print out a copy of the words "Found Wanting" and paste then onto thick cardboard.
  3. Cut out the squares and place them on one pan of the balance.
  4. Find or make a small cardboard box with the words, "God's Standards" printed on the lid.
  5. Place the "God's Standards" box on the other balance pan.
  6. Add cardboard squares to the box and ensure that it is heavier than the set of "Found Wanting" cardboard words.


The Great Feast:

After the death of king Nebuchadnezzar, his son Belshazzar became king.   One day king Belshazzar gave a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine before them.  While he tasted the wine, he ordered that his servants bring in the gold and silver vessels which his father had taken from Israel's temple in Jerusalem.  The king and his princes, his wives, and the other women then drank wine from them.

Was this a good thing to do? (Let the chidren respond).  No!   The vessels had been dedicated to Israel's God and for use in the temple.  Now the heathen people were drinking and praising the idol gods of gold and silver, brass, iron, wood and of stone.

And what happened?  Within the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote on the wall of the king's palace.  When the king saw this, he became very fearful and his thoughts troubled him so much that his knees knocked together!

Bring the Wise Men!

Would you have been frightened? (Let the children respond).  Well, the king shouted for his servants to bring in the wise men of Babylon and said to them, "Whoever reads this writing and tells me the meaning of it will be clothed in scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and be the third ruler of the country."  But all of the king's wise men couldn't read the writing, and were unable to tell the the king what the words meant.

At that moment, the queen came into the banqueting hall as she had heard all the noise and shouting.  She said, "0 king, live for ever!  Do not let your thoughts trouble you, for there is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him.  Your father, king Nebuchadnezzar made him master of the wise men, because of his knowledge, understanding, and interpreting of dreams.  Now let Daniel be called and he will tell you the meaning of this writing."

Daniel is Called:

Then Daniel was brought in before the king, and the king said to him, "Are you that Daniel who is one of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom my father the king brought out of the land of the Jews?  I have heard of you, that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you."

"Yes, O King" answered Daniel and then the king said, "Now the wise men and astrologers have been brought in before me to read this writing and tell me the meaning of it, but they could not interpret it for me.  I have heard of you, and that you can give me the interpretation and clear meaning."

Daniel Interprets the Writing:

Then Daniel answered and said to the king, "0 king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar, your father, a kingdom and majesty and glory and honour.  And because of the majesty that He gave him, all people, nations and languages trembled and feared him.  But when his heart was lifted up and his mind hardened in pride, his kingly throne and glory were taken from him, until he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that God chooses whoever He wishes to rule over it."

Had the king learnt anything from what happened to his father? (Let the children respond).

Daniel went on, "And you his son, 0 Belshazzar, though you knew all this, You have lifted yourself up against the Lord of Heaven.  They brought you the vessels from God's house, and you and your lords, your wives, and other women have drunk wine in them, and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, brass, iron, wood and of stone, which do not see, nor hear, nor know."

The End of Belshazzar:

Daniel concluded, "And the God in whose hands your breath of life is, and whose ways should be yours, you have not praised Him.  This hand was sent and the writing was by His hand, and this was what was written:"


"And this is the meaning of the words:"

  1. MENE - God has judged your kingdom and finished it.
  2. TEKEL - You have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.
  3. UPHARSIN - Your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians."

Then Belshazzar commanded that they clothe Daniel in scarlet robes and put a chain of gold about his neck.  And he made an announcement that he was to be the third ruler in the kingdom.  But, that night Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans, was killed.  And Darius the Mede, who was about sixty-two years old took over his kingdom.

Belshazzar's Standards:

I have a pair of scales to show you what God meant when He said that King Belshazzar had been weighed in the scales and found wanting. (Display the scales and make sure that the two pans are level to each other).  I'm going to add this box labelled, "God's Standards" to one pan.  See, it has weight and the pan sinks.

What do you think king Belshazzar could have added to try and balance the scales and match up to God's standard? (Let the children respond).  I have a set of cardboard square weights with the words on them.  I see that these are the weights that King Belshazzar tried to match God's standard with.   They are all bad, but I will add them one-by-one to the other pan and we will see if they will balance the scales (Add the weights to the empty pan while you explain them):

  1. DISRESPECT - King Belshazzar had no respect for God.

  2. DESPISE - He used the temple vessels to worship and praise useless idols.

  3. DISOBEY - He knew that there was a most high God, but he was not prepared to honour and obey Him.

  4. DISLOYAL - He rejected God, although he knew his father had been humbled until he acknowledged God as the only true God.

  5. DISLIKE - He had no love for God and refused to worship Him.

I have added all King Belshazzar's weights, and as you can see they do not match God's standards.  In fact none of them were any good and led to God rejecting him as king, to his death, and to his replacement by the Medes and Persians.  And that's why God said that he was weighed in the scales and "FOUND WANTING".

His standards were all bad and could never match God's.  Notice that nearly all the weights begin with a "DIS-" and this tells us that King Belshazzar had a DIS-EASE.  Yes, he had a bad disease of sin in his soul, and as a result he never knew, nor obeyed, nor loved God.

God's Standards:

Isn't it good to know that Jesus has come into your hearts and is changing you day by day into children who want to please God in all you do and say.   It's Jesus' task to cleanse and change your lives meet God's standards.   And you can be sure that He has prepared a place for you in Heaven, and that you will live there for ever and ever one day!

God bless.


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