On this day in the year 539 B.C.E., King Cyrus of Persia formally occupied the city of Babylon. This marked the end of the empire that, 47 years before, had destroyed Jerusalem and conquered the land of Judea. The book of Daniel records the final night of this empire and a fascinating event on that night. As is often the case, those who were about to rush to their demise did so while eating, drinking and being merry, except this time with a slight twist. They decided they would drink from the vessels that had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar from the Temple of God, in Jerusalem. This is recorded for us in Daniel 5:3-5:
Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lamp stand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
After this, the Bible records for us that Belshazzar was so frightened of this event that his knees began to knock together, and with good reason. The hand wrote the words, “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN,” signifying that Babylon’s time was up. The kingdom of Babylon ceased to exist that very night.
There is an expression we use today: “The hand writing’s on the wall.” This phrase is typically used when we observe things around us and sense that something is about to happen; that the logical conclusion of the events being observed are about to climax. Looking around today at things going on in the world, particularly here in America, we can conclude with confidence, “The hand writing’s on the wall.” Something very dramatic is about to happen. Therefore, let us not be attached to those things that will be found wanting but cling to the One who is eternal of whom Solomon said:
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
Be thankful that, through the Messiah, we are reconciled the One who will stick to us; One who is closer than a brother and faithful to us, even when we aren’t so faithful to Him. That being said, the times in which we live beckon to us to be faithful and committed to Him, because, “the hand writing’s on the wall.”