The story goes that one day Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar and king of Babylon, was having a rocking party in his palace with 1,000 of his closest “friends”. Wine of the highest quality was flowing freely and Belshazzar decided to bring the finest wine glasses of the kingdom. These happened to be the gold cups taken by his father from the Temple, the house of God in Jerusalem.
And while they were celebrating and praised the “gods of gold, silver, bronze and iron, the king saw a human hand appear and began writing something on a lamp-illuminated whitewashed wall of the palace. No doubt that when the king saw the disembodied hand writing away he was creep out because the Bible tell us that “he went white as a ghost, scared out of his wits. His legs went limp and his knees knocked.” (Daniel 5:6)
Belshazzar called all his advisors -enchanters, the fortunetellers, and the diviners- but no one could interpret the writing in the wall. “One after the other they tried, but could make no sense of it. They could neither read what was written nor interpret it to the king. So now the king was really frightened. All the blood drained from his face. The nobles were in a panic.” (Daniel 5:8-9 The Message). That had to be quite a scene to watch. Talking about the ultimate party crasher!
The queen, his wife, heard the hysteria among the king and her husband, tried to comfort her husband and remembered that Daniel special God’s given gift to interpret dreams. He was summoned immediately.
Belshazzar offered Daniel great honor and the third highest position in the kingdom if he could interpret the writing in the wall. Daniel told him thanks, but no thanks, he didn’t wanted anything but that he would read the king the writing in the wall (Daniel 5:15-17).
“Daniel answered the king, “You can keep your gifts, or give them to someone else. But I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.” – Daniel 5:17 The Message
The Daniel told Belshazzar the story of his father. How God exalted Nebuchadnezzar among kingdoms and became famous with a glorious reputation until he developed a big head and a hard spirit. Then
“Then God knocked him off his high horse and stripped him of his fame. He was thrown out of human company, lost his mind, and lived like a wild animal. He ate grass like an ox and was soaked by heaven’s dew until he learned his lesson: that the High God rules human kingdoms and puts anyone he wants in charge.” – Daniel 5:21 The Message
Daniel then warns Belshazzar that he too has not humble his heart spite of knowing well the story of his father.
“You are his son and have known all this, yet you’re as arrogant as he ever was. Look at you, setting yourself up in competition against the Master of heaven! You had the sacred chalices from his Temple brought into your drunken party so that you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines, could drink from them. You used the sacred chalices to toast your gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone—blind, deaf, and imbecile gods. But you treat with contempt the living God who holds your entire life from birth to death in his hand.”
In modern terms, because of Nebuchadnezzar pride and hard heart he refused to acknowledge that God is in charge, to honor Him, Nebuchadnezzar lost his humanness. He stopped being who God created him to be and became slave to his sin.
God created us to be human. He created us with a purpose. He want us to honor Him with what and whom we become, with how we use those things He have entrusted us with.
So , what was written in the wall? The words “Mene”, “Teqel” and “Peres” which means:
- “Mene: God has numbered the days of your rule and they don’t add up.
- “Teqel: You have been weighed on the scales and you don’t weigh much.
- “Peres: Your kingdom has been divided up and handed over to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 24-28 The Message)
We too have writing on the wall warning us that demands us to make a choice, to take action, to take a stand.
Whoever you are, christian or not a christian, we all need to decide what we will do with Jesus and His Gospel. In Matthew 16 we are told that, just like today, there were many opinions of who Jesus was. Some said he was John the baptist reincarnated, others the prophet Elijah or Jeremiah who had come back to the dead, or one of the prophet. Sound familiar? There are many “Jesus” floating around out there. The Muslim have a “Jesus” so the Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses, and do not forget the New Age movement. Even the atheist have a “Jesus”.
Then Jesus asks his followers a direct question: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15).
And that is the question each of us must answer. The answer will define our existence and future. You can choose to refuse to acknowledge and honor God or you can choose to humble before Him.
But it is not a mere intellectual acknowledgement. It is not enough to just say “yes, I believe there was a Jesus, and he was a good holy man.” That is not enough, as the Bible tells us that the demons do that. It is much more than that.
We must acknowledge and honor Him for whom He truly is. God, the Lord, our Savior. We need to go to the source, to the book who claim total authority of whom God is, the Bible. There may be many great books and some may even point rightly to Him, but there is only one tho declare itself to be the final authority on God. That is why it is called His Word, the Bible.
Once we dig in into His word we will face our greatest challenge of our lives: to decide who we say Jesus is. We can either go the way of Nebuchadnezzar’s or Belshazzar’s pride or we can go the way of countless believer who, like Peter, declared “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matt. 16:16 (ESV)