There was a King of Babylon named Belshazzar. Babylon was one of the richest and most powerful kingdoms around at that time. Inheriting the position of King made Belshazzar very powerful, but that power quickly went to his head. One day, to celebrate, he had a feast and invited a thousand of the world’s most prestigious people. They were drinking a lot of wine and soon became drunk.
Back when Belshazzars’ father, Nebuchadnezzar, was king, he took all the gold and silver cups from the temple of God in Jerusalem. These gold and silver goblets were God’s holy vessels. King Belshazzar decided this is the perfect moment for he and his friends to drink from these special vessels because he is so worthy of them. He has them brought out to the festival, and they not only drink from them, but they bow to the gods of gold, silver and wood. They mocked God by worshipping other gods while using God’s vessels from His temple. Immediately, a hand appeared. Just the hand! It took its finger and began scraping words into the wall. Silence fell all over the room while the finger of God wrote a valuable message to Belshazzar on the wall.
Terrified the King ends the feast and sends for his sorcerers and wise men and promises that whoever can tell him what the message means will be greatly rewarded, including holding the third highest position in this powerful kingdom. But, no one can read the writing on the wall because this message is straight from God Himself.
The Queen remembers that when Nebuchadnezzar was king, he called on a man named Daniel who was able to interpret dreams that the sorcerers and wise men could not. King Belshazzar calls for Daniel to be brought to him and offers him the same gifts he offered his sorcerers and wise men: a robe, a gold chain and the position of third in command of the greatest and wealthiest Kingdom around.
The bearer of bad news could be killed but unafraid Daniel warns the King that he has made God mad and proceeds to tell him to keep his gifts. Daniel could have been killed but doing what was right and truthful was more important. How many people turn down power, wealth and a great job to do God’s work. Daniel once again proved himself a courageous, truthful man of God. Daniel reminds Belshazzar that his father, the previous King, was a mighty man until he got full of pride, and God brought him down from his throne and stripped him of his glory. His father lost his mind and lived with the donkeys and ate grass like a cow. He lived like that until he learned that the one and only God rules over the world. Daniel reminded Belshazzar that he grew up seeing all that happen and yet he succeeded his father to the position of King and also became proud and did not humble himself. The message from God is then interpreted by Daniel. The message says that God has numbered King Belshazzar’s days and his kingdom will be divided.
That very night Belshazzar was killed. Darius the Mede took over the kingdom and does indeed divide it into 120 provinces. The whole story is in the Old Testament in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 5.
Today, the term “the writing on the wall” is still around and widely understood. Today, I think, mocking our Almighty God and the things that represent Him are still around also. I believe banning the display of the Ten Commandments and the nativity from public places are examples of mocking God. What do you think?