This is one of the most interesting stories in all of Scripture to me. Nowhere else in the Bible do you read about a human-hand writing on a wall! This is something I would expect to read in Goosebumps, but not the Bible.
Yet here we are, reading of King Belshazzar’s great feast for 1,000 of his nobles. He commands that the gold and silver cups that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem be brought to them, so they could drink wine from them, and while they drank from these cups they praised their own idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
The Jewish people had been in exile for quite some time now, and this was yet another slap in the face. They may have felt that their God was powerless because an earthly king was drinking from stolen cups worshiping other gods. King Belshazzar was trying to make a mockery of the Lord Most High.
But God showed his power and his faithfulness to his people in writing on the wall. Daniel revealed what the writing meant on the wall. Daniel tells Belshazzar about Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance and God’s Sovereignty. The message on the wall, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin,” meant that the Lord had “numbered” the days of Belshazzar’s reign and ended it. God “weighed” Belshazzar, sizing him up and seeing him as not being fit to rule. The Lord “divided” his kingdom and gave it to the Medes and Persians.
What Belshazzar failed to understand was that the God Most High that Daniel served was sovereign: he was in control and ruling over all Creation, including Babylonian kings. While Belshazzar worshiped idols and drank from the Temple cups, God was bringing up a different people to overthrow the Babylonians.
What can we take from this story?
First, we must realize the foolishness of worshiping idols. In the Old Testament, they worshiped carved images and statues of gold, silver, bronze, wood, and stone. Today, we often worship things like approval, power, money, sex, relationships, and anything that takes first place in our lives. We have to realize that God is the only one deserving of our adoration and praise.
Second, we must understand that God is sovereign. Since God rules over all creation, he has control of what goes on. He is mighty and powerful, yet loving and caring. Therefore, we can trust that in his goodness, God is working all things for our good. No matter what you go through you can trust that God is at work and cares for you.
Take some time today to confess to God any idols that you have been worshiping and thank God that in his sovereignty and goodness, he is working in your life.
By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice