What?!

A human hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall.

What?!

Daniel tells us this actually happened in the middle of King Belshazzar’s huge banquet!  If I saw it today, it would definitely get my attention.

This is where we get the saying, ‘I can read the writing on the wall’.  Many of us don’t know that this comes from the Bible.

King Belshazzar could not understand the handwriting on the wall so he consulted with Daniel who was well-known for being able to interpret things when no one else could.  Daniel read the writing and told the king that God was bringing his reign to an end because the king had not acknowledged God as sovereign over all the kingdoms on earth.

That very night, the message on the wall was fulfilled and Belshazzar was killed.

One part of the message on the wall was ‘Tekel’ which means you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

The bad news for all of us is – our scales don’t look any better.  Our rebellion.  Our need for control.  Our self-centeredness.  Our busyness which causes us to ignore God.

The writing on our wall would have the same message…..

except for the fact that God loved us so much that he gave us an ‘out’.

He sent his perfect son, Jesus, to save us from the eternal separation from God.  The entire Bible is a love story about how God created us in his image and desires to have a close, personal relationship with us.

Jesus offers a gift of grace to each one of us – that’s his part.  Our part is accepting his free gift which makes the scales move in our favor.

Through Christ’s sacrifice, we can become precious children of God who are never ‘found wanting’ because Jesus did it all for us….

for all time,

for all who will believe and receive.

It is finished.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

What Does It Mean?

It all connects.

Choices I make today result in consequences I have to deal with tomorrow….

and 10 years from now….

and 20 years from now.

My decisions are important.  I have to figure out ahead of time if my choices are going to take me to a place I want to be.

I need wisdom, right?  Some of this stuff is hard to decide.  So I go to God.  In James 1, God has promised to give me generous amounts of wisdom whenever I ask.  I just have to believe I have received it.  I need to trust him and get rid of any doubts.

How can I be so sure that it’s God talking to me and guiding instead of myself or  – even worse – Satan?  I have studied God’s word for many years and, when I am listening, I recognize his voice.  I know what he would say.  I know his truth and that’s what he uses to guide me.

It’s so much different that the lies of this world.  It’s easy to discern.

I love the story in Daniel of the human hand that appeared and wrote a message to King Belshazzar on the wall in the middle of his big party.  It was a warning.  The bad consequences of his choices had piled up and the King was going to pay the price with his life.  He died that night.

I obviously want to make better choices that King Belshazzar did.  So I go to God early on in my decision-making.  And – sometimes – he writes a warning on the wall in my mind.  “Don’t go there, you won’t like what happens.”  “Don’t do that, you won’t like the consequences.”

I love these warnings because he is always right (of course).  I really don’t want to go there.  I definitely don’t want to do that.  I need to make a better decision now so that I don’t end up in a place I never wanted to be.

It all connects.

Please give us your wisdom, Abba Father.

The Writing On the Wall

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.

Several years ago I discovered that this phrase comes from book of Daniel.Sept 21 2014 The writing 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.