by Tad Lindley
Could you imagine if Jesus was able to access Facebook and Jesus could post on your wall? Not a message just to you, but right on your wall, out in the open where everyone could read it. What do you think God would write? What language would God write in? How long would his post be?
About 2,500 years ago, before Facebook even existed, God wrote on a man’s wall. In the land of Babylon, there was a man named Belshazzar. He was the king. And because he was king, he was able to throw a party for a thousand of the leaders of Babylon. At the party, the alcoholic beverages were flowing freely. In his drunkenness the king had a great idea: bring in the gold cups that the Babylonians had captured at the Temple in Jerusalem. The partygoers desecrated the holy objects in their drunken spree. Imagine a huge hall in Babylon filled with the shouts of a thousand people talking louder and louder. Then suddenly something happens that causes a hush to spread quickly across the great room.
God writes on Belshazzar’s wall
God was not at all pleased with what was happening. In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished. (Daniel 5:5-9 NKJV)
The writing on the wall
God had written on Belshazzar’s wall, but he had written in a language that neither the king nor his advisors could understand. The king was panicked. He was desperate to know what God had written on his wall. The queen suggested he call for Daniel. Daniel, being a godly man, was not at the drunken party.
Lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven
Daniel arrived in the great hall, and before he even read the post on the wall, he spoke to the king. “But you … Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart … And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.” (Daniel 5:22-23 NKJV) Then Daniel turned and began to decipher God’s post on Belshazzar’s wall.
It turns out it was a simple four word post, and (at least in my Bible) the Lord wrote in all capital letters: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. Now back to Daniel: This is the interpretation of each word.
MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;
TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;
PERES [root word of upharsin]: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. (Daniel 5:26-28 NKJV)
Before the sun ever rose again, the Medes and Persians captured the city of Babylon and Belshazzar was dead. He died lost.
What if God posted on our walls?
Think about that a moment. If God was going to interrupt your life by sending a hand to write upon the wall of your house, or your qasgiq, or your workplace, would you be afraid to read what he wrote? Belshazzar was terrified, because deep down he knew that he could not expect to be receiving good news from God. Would you be afraid? If the answer is yes, then it is time to make things right with God. I guarantee you that if Belshazzar could be given the opportunity to relive that last day of his life, he would have been stone cold sober, and instead of profaning the things of God he would have been crying out to God in repentance. Think about it again, what if God posted on your wall?
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.