Devotional: ‘The Handwriting on the Wall’


“King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.”  (Daniel 5:1-4) 

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to get an idea of what type of man Belshazzar was. His irreverence seems almost unimaginable, yet we often see similar displays in the world today. Romans chapter 1 reveals that often such sinfulness is not only a fulfillment of our lusts, but willful rebellion against God. ‘For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.’ (Romans 1:21-22)

As Belshazzar and his friends openly defied God, God began to declare His judgment. Suddenly a hand appeared and began to write on the wall: ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN.’  Though they were strange words, they were significant words.  From Daniel’s interpretation we learn that they meant:

God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

The Bible says – “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom…”  (Daniel 5:30-31) Belshazzar’s sin brought judgment upon the entire nation and as a result, Babylon fell to the hands of their enemies.

1 Timothy 2 encourages Christians to pray for all those in authority. Our prayer is not for prosperity or pleasure, but for an open door to share the gospel. (Read 1 Timothy 2:1-8)  Therefore, I encourage all Christians to be in special prayer at this time. Though God controls the times and seasons, He often does what He does in response to our prayers.



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