The Handwriting on the Wall

Joseph Holbrook, Jr.

READ : Daniel 5:1-12

Many years have passed since Nebuchadnezzar ate grass like an ox. Daniel is now an old man in his eighties. He is apparently called out of retirement to deal with another crisis.

The time has come for Jeremiah’s prediction of 70 years of Exile (Jer. 25:11) to be fulfilled. In an act of both arrogance and folly, Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon, calls for the vessels of gold and silver that Nebuchadnezzar had plundered from Jerusalem. Then he lifted them in a toast and “praised their gods of gold, silver, brass, iron and stone.”

Belshazzar didn’t know it, but he was playing with disaster. The armies of the Medes and the Persians had diverted the Euphrates River around the city. At that exact moment they were marching under its walls on the now dry, former riverbed. Did Belshazzar learn nothing from the shameful blunders of his father? Did Nebuchadnezzar fail to teach him what he learned from the extraordinary insights of Daniel?

It is so easy for us to be in awe of power and success. When the devil tempted Jesus, he turned them down. It is still true, “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.”


Gracious God, help us to see that you alone hold all power in heaven and earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.