Monday, November 22, 2010

Divine Graffiti

"Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand.  The king was watching the hand as it wrote.  Then the king's face turned pale and his thoughts terrified him."
(Daniel 5:5-6)

Belshazzar, the Babylonian leader in power, threw a party.  A BIG PARTY!  Over 1,000 guests were invited - all nobility!  The wine was flowing freely.  On a whim, Belshazzar decided to bring out of storage the gold and silver vessels taken from the Jerusalem temple.  These were the holy objects used in the worship rituals of Jews.  Belshazzar passed them out and poured the wine!!!

Then something very strange happened.  A hand appeared (out of nowhere!) and began to graffiti the wall!  Belshazzar saw it and freaked out!  No one could read (or interpret) the writing.  So he called for Daniel... and after promising to give Daniel wealth & status (though it was politely declined), got his interpretation.

Daniel told the King that the Divine Graffiti said "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin."  The kings days were numbered (mene) and coming to an end; He had been weighted (tekel) and found wanting; and his kingdom would soon be divided (parsin).  That very night Belshazzar died.

First of all, I like this because it's just a cool story.  But more than that, I was struck by the "TEKEL" part of the graffiti.  Of course, it was the king's arrogance & lack of respect for holy object that led to the phantom fingers appearing... but I'm sure that was merely the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  He undoubtedly lived his life without regard for God's presence & power.

How scary to think that same sentence might be passed upon me.  "You have been weighed on (God's) scales, and found wanting."  Meaning, we don't "measure up" to the correct weight we should have (ie. the "gold standard").  In olden days, some were known to try and cheat the scales - to give dishonest weights. 

All have sinned & fall short of the glory of God, the New Testament tells us.  We're all "wanting" when set on God's scales of righteousness.  But the Good News is Jesus puts his hand on the scales with us to make us right!  It's by His grace we are found to be NOT WANTING!  (Just don't start partying with the Holy Communion goblets, if you know what's good for you!)  ;)

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