Handwriting is on the wall

Do you know where the a popular adage,  “the handwriting on the wall,” comes from?  The phrase describes the evidence that accumulates that should convince a person that something bad is going to happen, that they are acting in a way that will produce negative results.  It used like this.  “He should have known that he was going to lose his job. The handwriting was on the wall.”  It comes straight from the Bible, from the book of Daniel.

Belshazzar, emperor in the Babylonian empire, had a party that turned into a drunken revel. In the middle of it all, he decided to mock the God of Jerusalem by bringing out the sacred objects that had been taken from the Temple in that city when the Assyrians sacked it. The mood changed in an instant. “At that very moment they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fear. Such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him.” Daniel 5:5-6 (NLT) 

The inscription read – Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin. 
(Numbered, Numbered, Weighed, Divided)  
Nobody in the room knew the meaning.

Then somebody remembered an old Jew named Daniel who had interpreted dreams for Belshazzar’s grandfather. So they called him to the room. Fearlessly he spoke to power! In spite of the example of your grandfather’s downfall because of pride “you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!” (Daniel 5.23 NLT)  Therefore, God has numbered your days, weighed you in the scales of His judgment, and divided your kingdom.

Belshazzar died at the hands of an invading army that very night.

There is another adage we use, not Biblical, that says – ‘ignorance is bliss.’  Many prefer that one! It is so inviting to ignore the warnings that come our way in life, to disregard the handwriting on the wall that comes before some not so pleasant development in life. 

A spouse walks out and files for divorce. It seems so sudden
but in reality the signs of a crumbling relationship
were there for a long time.  

Poor choices over time lead to a sick and weak body
and that person wonders how it happened but in truth
they ignored the handwriting on the wall sent by their body for years.  

Faith disappears, a relationship with God once vibrant and alive, gone. 
Did it happen in an instant? Not likely.
Rather it was a little compromise here,
a little neglect of spiritual disciplines there,
and the relationship with the Lord goes cold.

In the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews urges Christians to faithfulness. Inspired to write to us about the ‘better’ covenant of Christ Jesus that gives us life and hope, he warns of spiritual neglect asking “What makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation that was announced by the Lord Jesus himself?” (Hebrews 2:3, NLT)  That is sobering, isn’t it?  Later on, after alluding to the disobedience of the Israelites in their wilderness travels from Egypt to the Promised Land, the writer tells us that God sees us, knows us, and desires our devotion – “For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.” (Hebrews 4:12-13, NLT)

Does that all leave you fearful? Does it create a foreboding sense of doom as if the handwriting were on the wall of your life?

Let me finish the story! Ours is a great Savior and a wonderful salvation. If we will come to Him in faith, if we will hear the invitation of the Spirit, we find this true. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NIV)  We are not lost and helpless in the hand of fate.  He will heal us, forgive us, and give us strength to turn life around. 

This Monday morning’s thought has not been ‘sweetness and light.’  I speak of the need to let the Spirit of God speak to us about those places where we have become apathetic and indifferent to His love. But, I do so with the sure knowledge that there is hope and fullness of life as we turn to Him with open hearts and readiness to change.

The word from the Word for today is life-giving. Receive with faith and live in joyful hope. “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:21-25, NLT)

(Video of this blog at this link)


O Come To The Altar

Are you hurting and broken within
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well
Jesus is calling

O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling

Oh what a Savior
Isn’t he wonderful
Sing alleluia Christ is risen
Bow down before him
For he is Lord of all
Sing alleluia Christ is risen

Bear your cross as you wait for the crown
Tell the world of the treasure you’ve found

Chris Brown | Mack Brock | Steven Furtick | Wade Joye

© 2015 Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

CCLI License # 810055

One response to “Handwriting is on the wall”

  1. Amen


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