Daniel 5:1-12 (NRSV)
A hand writing on the wall
King Belshazzar made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.
Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring in the vessels of gold and silver that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the vessels of gold and silver that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand. The king was watching the hand as it wrote. Then the king's face turned pale, and his thoughts terrified him. His limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king cried aloud to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners; and the king said to the wise men of Babylon, "Whoever can read this writing and tell me its interpretation shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around his neck, and rank third in the kingdom." Then all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar became greatly terrified and his face turned pale, and his lords were perplexed.
The queen, when she heard the discussion of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall. The queen said, "O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you or your face grow pale. There is a man in your kingdom who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father he was found to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners, because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation."
Every time I read this scripture I giggle. Truly this is an example of "seeing the writing on the wall."
We use this expression in English vernacular to mean that we see what is coming, or what is going on ahead of time...
In King Belshazaar's time, he learned that one should not worship idol gods or trifle with the things of God.
In our time, we too should see the writing on the wall.
We live in the shadow of the cross. We have seen the glorious power of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. We ought to be able to "see the writing on the wall" and remember the same things Belshazaar learned--don't worship idol gods and don't trifle with the things of God!
God, and God alone, is worthy of our worship and adoration. No one and no thing should come before our love relationship with him.
All too often, we bow down before the gods of money, power, prestige, cars, boats, cabins, 401ks, and the like. In 2010, these are our idols of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.
But, these idols will pass away! And the only god left standing will be the Almighty God, who is Alpha & Omega. It is this God who was in the beginning and will be in the end. It is this God who heals, saves, and delivers. It is this God who made and sustains all things. It is this God who is coming back again to establish a new heaven and a new earth!
Today, I ask you, do you see the writing on the wall? If so, let us turn to God with our whole hearts in worship, praise, and adoration!
Let us pray: Oh God, worthy are you to receive all of the honor, glory, and praise! You are all victorious and I worship you today. Please help me to "see the writing on the wall" and to remember that you are the only GOD that is. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.