The Writing on the Wall

Daniel 5-6

     The kingdom of God is political.  It is political because it begs the question, “Who or what will rule over you.”  Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord’s prayer: “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  God Himself is moving history to an inevitable conclusion.  A day is coming when the kingdoms of this world will be overwhelmed by the sudden arrival of the kingdom of God.  Remember, God has ultimate control.  In the meantime, however, God gives the authority to govern to various kings, presidents, and prime ministers.  However, all politicians beware.  You will be judged by the God of the universe.  You will be measured according to the LORD’s standard.  God has given you authority and He also can take it away.

     Consider the case of the foolish King Belshazzar.  Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, but he was nothing like his grandfather.  The Babylonian Empire had declined because Belshazzar lacked wisdom and the talent to rule effectively.  Above all, Belshazzar did not fear the God of Israel.  Belshazzar threw a huge blow-out party for all his nobles.  It was a night of drinking and frivolity.  It is believed these events took place in 539 B.C.  At the time, a huge Persian army surrounded the city of Babylon.  Belshazzar was not worried for he believed himself to be safe behind the imposing walls of the city.  Ignoring the threat outside, Belshazzar threw this huge party.  In fact, it is believed that whole city was in the midst of a huge festival. 

When Belshazzar was feeling his wine, he ordered that the vessels that had been taken from the LORD’s temple in Jerusalem be brought to this feast.  They used these sacred cups to drink toasts to the idols of Babylon.  Those in the banquet hall were shocked to see a hand writing a message on the wall.  Belshazzar’s knees knocked together with fright.  Daniel was summoned to interpret the message for it was somewhat mysterious.  Daniel informed Belshazzar of a very simple truth in Daniel 5:21: “…the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes….”   Also, Daniel openly chastised Belshazzar.  Belshazzar had toasted the dumb idols, but “….the God in whose hand are your life breath and all your ways, you have not glorified….”(Daniel 5:23).  King Belshazzar, in his arrogance, had insulted the King of the universe.  The rulers of this earth cannot ignore God without serious consequences.

What about the message on the wall?   It was a short message from the LORD Himself to Belshazzar: “MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN.”  The words themselves are common words that might be heard in the marketplaces of Babylon.  MENE means count.  TEKEL means weigh.  UPHARSIN or its other verb form PERES mean divide (make change).  The message to Belshazzar is that God has judged him.  God has counted his every deed.  God has weighed him in the balance and Belshazzar has come up short.  God has taken the kingdom from him and given it to the Persians.  History tells us that the Persian army, on that very night, had diverted the Euphrates River which flowed through the city of Babylon.  The Persians entered the city undetected.  Belshazzar was killed that night.   Even the rulers of this world are subject to the God of the universe.  Those who rule in defiance of the ways of righteousness will eventually face the consequences while God will bless those who honor Him.

-Scott Deane

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading plan passages at BibleGateway.com here – Daniel 5-6 and Psalm 142-144

One thought on “The Writing on the Wall”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: