It is a destination celebration. It is exclusive. It is a gathering of the who is who of the nation. The invitation is not for sale. No amount of lobbying can get you access. Those lucky enough to make the guest list prepare in earnest – the clothes, the shoes, the bags, the hats, the jewellery. Those invited to this manner of occasion do not travel economy class. Depending on your ranking amongst the high flyers, you may have come in a private jet. It is all part of the package. Welcome to the world of the rich, the famous and the wannabees.
Come the D-Day, guests begin to arrive in their choice vehicles – the Rolls Royces, the Bentleys, the Maseratis. The festivity begins in earnest. The big boys are strutting their stuff, the big girls have turned the floor to a catwalk. Each one is sizing the other up, they are putting a price tag one on another. Right there are women looking for a juicier catch of a man – someone to fund their high society lifestyle. The guys are also on the lookout for the next trophy girls to add to their list of conquests.
The wining and dining is in full gear. The music is provided by the king himself; he is causing grown up men and women to grin like little boys and girls who have just taken delivery of their first smart phone. As he serenades them, they rise from their seats and make their way to the dance floor, gyrating to the sound of his juju beat. Here we separate the men from the boys. The men are spraying in dollars o!
It is all pomp and pageantry. In this playful gathering of the high and mighty, serious decisions are made – business deals are struck, political alignments take place, influencers network. It is worth the investment in time and resources.
The king is the chief host. He is sprawled out like the lord he is, after all he holds the key of life and death for many. He is seated on his throne, taking in all that is going on while his retinue of aides are watching over him like hawks.
Suddenly there appears the fingers of a human hand and writes on the wall:
MENE MENE TEKEL PARSIN (Daniel 5:25, NLT)
The king sees this unbelievable occurrence and begins to tremble, causing the Dom Perignon in his crystal goblet to spill on the marble floor. Blood rushes to his face, his teeth chatter, his heart beats like wild fire. He is not a god after all. The music that brought guests to their feet now sends them back to their seats as it slowly becomes a dirge. The invitees watch in horror as the hand writes on the wall.
MENE MENE TEKEL PARSIN (Daniel 5:25, NLT)
The party is in panic. Men’s hearts are failing them. Women scamper for safety. What is going on? Who can make sense of this frightful development? When no one is able to unravel this mystery, the First Lady brings in the prophet Daniel to interpret ‘the handwriting on the wall’. And Daniel explains, it is a message from God to the King. This is what it means:
MENE – God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
TEKEL – You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting
PARSIN – Your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians
The day of reckoning for King Belshazzar had come. Over the years, God had cautioned him of abuse of office, injustice, arrogance, idolatry, but it all fell on deaf ears. God had raised voices to warn him but he did not repent. He had made life unbearable for his people, the people had raised a cry to heaven and God was responding.
Belshazzar was king over Babylon. You may be king over a nation, king over an establishment, king over a church, king over a family. It is God who puts people in position of authority and He requires accountability. Leaders are responsible to and for those they serve. God expects leaders to protect those under them and perform the duty their office confers on them, knowing that they too have a boss to whom they will ultimately give account.
And we have been assured that judgment will begin in the house of God. It will begin in the pulpit. Those of us who preach to others will be examined first. But it will flow to the pew so those of us throwing stones at the pulpit should get ready. It will eventually spill over to the public… King Belshazzar and his high society companions (those who are rich in earthly goods but poor in spirit) will not be spared.
One day, when the ovation is loudest, when the music is on full blast, when the dance is sweetest, when we least expect it, the handwriting on the wall will appear. The message in brief – the Game is over. Judgment day is here.