The Handwriting on the Wall


The Handwriting on the WallA medical intern was told by his instructor that there was only one thing to avoid in the practice of medicine: Death. No matter how forcibly we speak against the Grim Reaper or try to outrun him, he eventually catches us all.

A great king once threw a party for a thousand important guests. Together they ate and drank as if there was no tomorrow. As the party rolled into the night, the drunken king resolved to show off his wealth, parading his gold and silver to the awed praises of the crowd.

Suddenly a man’s hand appeared in dining  hall. It scrawled into the plaster the words, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. As the hand wrote, the king’s knees knocked together in fear. His advisers, astrologers, wizards, and wise men were stumped by the handwriting on the wall. Finally the king’s mother remembered a man named Daniel who had a gift for interpreting dreams and signs.

Daniel came into the palace as a young man, a Jewish hostage from battle. Upon seeing the words, Daniel immediately knew their meaning.

Mene means that God has numbered your days, and your number is up. Tekel means that you have been measured, and you’ve come up short. Parsin means that everything you have will be divided and given away when you die (Daniel 5:26-28).

That night, the King Belshazzar of Babylon was murdered and everything Daniel said came to pass.

Most of us will never experience an event so dramatic, but each of us must read, and one day face, the handwriting on the wall. One day your number will be up.  You will breathe your last and pass from this world into the next, entering either an eternity in the presence of God or an eternity deposed from Him in a place the Bible calls Hell.

Belshazzar spent the last hours of his life dismissing the future that confronted him. Since neither you nor I know the day or hour of our own death, we must heed the call of Jesus today. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

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