The Writing Is On The Wall (Daniel 5:25-28)
Daniel 5:25-28, “And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Most of us have either used or heard the expression “the writing is on the wall”. The expression “the writing is on the wall” is used whenever an inevitable result or imminent danger has become apparent. While many have used this saying, some have no idea where it comes from. It comes from the Book of Daniel, found in the Bible, God’s Word.
Have you ever tried to tell someone that what they are doing is wrong? It is not easy, especially when it is someone in authority over you. Daniel interprets the writing on the wall. It was a message of impending doom. Daniel told the king the truth with boldness and courage. God was patient and longsuffering with this king, yet the king refused to worship the LORD.
1. MENE. Means "to number." God had tested the kingdom of Babylon and found it lacking. God had numbered the duration of the days of Belshazzar's kingdom and was about to bring it to an end. Belshazzar's number was up! At that very moment the Persians were entering the city. Babylon was finished, it was all done.
a) The Decree was Prophetic: Though these intelligent men understood the words that were written, they were clueless on any spiritual application (I Corinthians 2:14). Without spiritual discernment, no one can properly apply the Word of God (Hebrews 5:14). The decree about the length of time the Babylonian Empire had already been determined by God. We see that the faithful prophet Jeremiah prophesized this event before it happened (Jeremiah 25:11-12). The accuracy of prophecy shows the divine and infallible nature of the Word of God. There is a day when the nation of America will expire as a world power. I hope it is not in my lifetime, but we have no guarantee of that. Every believer needs to be serious about serving God and doing it with all their heart.
2. TEKEL. Means "to weigh." The word "tekel" indicates the dearth or deficit of the king. The king had been evaluated by God, weighed in a balance, found wanting, and had come up short. That is to say, Belshazzar was seriously deficient according to God’s standards.
b) The Determination was Piercing: God had weighed Belshazzar in the balances and examined him thoroughly. This examination found Belshazzar to be deficient in his moral character, depraved in his sensual living, and deplorable in his idolatrous practices. God knows everything and will evaluate every life with 100% accuracy (Proverbs 5:21). This king could not hide any of his sin from God and now he was fully exposed. We must remember, as Christians, that all of our works we have done since we have been saved will be evaluated (I Corinthians 3:13-14).
3. UPHARSIN. This is from a combination of two words. Means "to divide" and the word pharsin which means "the Persians." It indicates the division and destruction of Babylon. The kingdom was to be broken up, or divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Persia was represented in the image of Daniel 2 by the silver chest and arms.
c) The Division was Powerful: The time of Babylon was done and now a new world power would rise up. This was all prophesized before it ever happened and it followed the dream that Daniel interpreted for Nebuchadnezzar perfectly in Daniel 2. This new power, with the help of God, successfully took down the kingdom that no one thought could be conquered. God can take down the proud no matter how strong they are in their military (Obadiah 3).
The writing on the wall was the announcement that judgment day had come for Babylon. The mighty empire, which had conquered and ravaged peoples and nations, and had taken captive the Israelites in 586 BC, would now fall. God changes times and seasons, and he removes and sets up kings (Daniel 2:21). Near the end of Daniel 5, God was changing the times and shifting empires. Nebuchadnezzar once said of God that “none can stay his hand” (Daniel 4:35). And God’s hand had written on the banquet wall what would come for Babylon.
What then did God mean when He told Belshazzar he had been "weighed in the balances, and art found wanting"? The answer is really very simple. Belshazzar had neglected the knowledge he had received. He knew about his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar's faith in Daniel's God following his years of living like an animal. Belshazzar rejected that truth and refused to believe in the one true God. God had weighed Belshazzar in the balances and examined him thoroughly. This examination found Belshazzar to be deficient in his moral character, depraved in his sensual living, and deplorable in his idolatrous practices. God knows everything and will evaluate every life with 100% accuracy (Proverbs 5:21). This king could not hide any of his sin from God and was fully exposed. We must remember, as Christians, that all of our works we have done since we have been saved will be evaluated (I Corinthians 3:13-14). The accuracy of prophecy shows the divine and infallible nature of the Word of God. Every believer needs to be serious about serving God and doing it with all their heart.
All of us have been "weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." The apostle Paul made this point very clear in his letter to the Romans. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23). We've all missed the mark in terms of measuring up to God's perfect standard. The Lord Jesus Christ was the exception. Jesus is sinless (I Peter 2:22; I John 3:5; II Corinthians 5:21). He is the God-man. God is His heavenly Father and Mary His earthly mother. Being without sin, He became " The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. " (John 1:29). He sacrificed His life on the cross to pay for our sins and to provide eternal life to all who receive Him as personal Saviour (John 1:12; Romans 6:23).
Prayer, Father in Heaven, thank You for being patient with me when I chose not to prioritize You. You put up with my mistakes while the whole time passionately seeing that I become more like Christ. Help me to be more patient and longsuffering with others. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.