Have you ever heard someone use this phrase? Or have you used it?
I will often use it when I’m talking about a situation where what’s coming next is pretty obvious. I can see the handwriting on the wall.
King Belshazzar was having a party with all of his friends. He ordered his slaves to take out the gold goblets that his armies had taken from the Temple of God when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem. Then everyone at the party used the goblets to drink their wine.
Suddenly, the fingers of a hand appeared and wrote on the wall near the king. The king turned pale and was scared.
But the king couldn’t understand what the message said and neither could any of his enchanters, astrologers or diviners.
The queen finally remembered that Daniel had interpreted these kinds of things before so they called for him. When Daniel arrived, he bravely told the king that the writing said that God had judged how he was ruling the people as king and found him not acceptable. He had learned nothing from his father – Nebuchadnezzar – who had constant issues until he acknowledged the most High God, who is sovereign over all. King Belshazzar’s misuse of the temple goblets was the last straw. So God was bringing the king’s reign to an end.
And King Belshazzar died that night.
What handwriting on the wall do we see for us through this story? We don’t need an interpreter to understand that God expects us to learn from others’ experience. In the first chapter of James, God offers to give wisdom to everyone who asks. He expects us to use this wisdom so we don’t have to make the same mistakes as others have made. He wants us to learn from their mistakes.
God expected this from King Belshazzar and he expects it from us.
Please give us your wisdom, dear Father.