From the Pastor: Proverbial Texts I
"The writing's on the wall."|
"MENE: God has numbered your kingdom and finished it." Daniel 5:26
You will often hear the above expression with reference to the most
diverse situations. A sporting commentator will say this about a losing
football team when there's only 15 minutes remaining; a politician may
use it to indicate the fate of his political opponents; or a doctor may,
with sadness, thus sum up the outlook for his terminally ill patient.
In all these situations the Biblical proverb portends one thing: certain
doom! This is surely correct according to the story in Daniel 5. There
the writing on the wall was indeed an announcement of doom - both on the
Babylonian empire, and on the profligate king personally. It announced
moreover the end of an era which had lasted nearly 1500 years: the rule
by Semites over the civilized world.
Would that those who use this expression knew the context in which the writing first came! A disembodied hand silently wrote a cryptic message on a plastered feature wall in the palace throne-room. The riotous and sacreligious orgy of wine, women, and song suddenly stopped dead. The writing on the wall sent out another message too: "the party's over!" Our world is partying on in a godless and God-defying obsession with everything sordid and ultimately trivial. The time is coming when the God of Heaven will intervene directly and declare, "the party's over!" For multitudes it will be too late. Heed the warning now: turn from revelry to reverence of the living God, from sacrilege to salvation in Christ, or 'the writing's on the wall' for you!