GETTIN THE MESSAGE/The atoning sacrifice for sinners

GETTIN THE MESSAGE/The atoning sacrifice for sinners


The “handwriting on the wall” is used as a cliché for something bad is about to happen and you can see it coming. Someone may say I still have my job, but the company is in bad shape, so you can see the handwriting on the wall. The origin of that saying comes from Daniel chapter five. 

 King Belshazzar of Babylon is shaken to the core at the sudden appearance of the fingers of a human hand, which proceed to write a message on the wall behind the king’s dais. The fingers had interrupted a party the king was having with all his lords and wives. 

The king had decided to enhance the party by ordering that the golden vessels from the temple of Jerusalem be brought out to drink from. This was a deliberate act of mocking the God of Israel, who is the Most High God. It is at that point God intervenes, and the fingers appear.

Daniel is eventually called upon to interpret the writing on the wall. The words on the wall were MENE, which meant God has numbered your days; TEKEL, which meant you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; and PERES, which meant your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. That very night King Belshazzar died, and the kingdom was lost (Daniel 5:31).

One of the things we are reminded of here is the shortness of our lives. God knows the number of our days. King Belshazzar’s life ended unexpectedly. Daniel told the king that God had humbled King Nebuchadnezzar until he had learned that the Most High God rules the kingdoms of men. King Belshazzar had mocked God despite his knowledge of these things. 

Sin hardens the heart and causes men to resist God, even though God gives them convictions and evidences of His majesty. Two men who were especially close to the Lord God, Moses and David, both prayed that God would teach them to number their days so they would have a heart of wisdom. 

They knew how brief life is and that God knew the number of their days. Wisdom gives a fear of the Lord and the realization that soon we will appear before God. Today is not the time to party and mock God. Now is the time to humble ourselves before the Lord and seek peace with Him. 

The Lord Jesus often warned people of the shortness and uncertain nature of men’s days. In Luke 12, He tells the story of a rich man who was at ease because he had much. He had no worries because of his wealth. That very night, his life ended and he lost his soul.

In Luke 13, the Lord speaks of a tower that fell and killed 18 people. He asks, “Do you think that these were worse sinners than all others that lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Again we see people who died unexpectedly and lost their souls. The Lord is directing us to seek salvation above all. 

We need saving, and it’s a great thing to be convinced of it. The fingers that wrote on the wall left an indelible message. It couldn’t be erased. It came from heaven, from God. Once the sentence is given, there is no place for repentance left. A man reaps what he sows.

 Moses says the law was written on the tablets by the “finger of God,” an expression pointing to the unchanging, holy nature of God. The law stands against sinners. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest was to use his fingers to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice seven times on the mercy seat, an emblem of complete atoning of sin, which Christ would accomplish for sinners. What Christ accomplished is an indelible work. The finger of God works in the favor of those who believe in Christ.

Jesus, the Savior, was weighed in the balances of God and found to be complete in obedience to God. His atoning sacrifice for sinners was acceptable to God. David, convicted of his sin, said, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Jesus washed the disciple’s feet with His own hands. It’s a blessed thing to be washed by the Lord and be made clean.

 Is there anything of greater worth? To have the Son of God cleanse you and give you eternal life? Eternity is an everlasting now. Now is the day to look to the Lord. King Belshazzar should have known better. Let not that be said of us

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