Yesterday, we talked about the phrase “his days are numbered,” and we discussed how, though it’s often used to infer that someone risks cutting their own life short, it’s a source of comfort to know that God alone holds the fullness of our future. Interestingly, like many other famous cliches, this one originates on the pages of Scripture. When the super-powerful and uber-wealthy Babylonian King Belshazzar, who was the son of Nebuchadnezzar, held a lavish and revelrous feast, he instructed his servants to bring out the silver goblets that were stolen from the temple in Israel. As he and his wives and concubines drank from them, they worshipped the pagan gods of silver and gold and continued to party away. However, while they were carrying on, the crowd suddenly screamed as a dismembered hand began writing the words “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” on the wall of the banquet hall. While the king stood there shaking in fear, he sent for his sourcers, fortune tellers, and wizards to see if they could decipher the meaning of the message. He became extremely frustrated when they couldn’t help him, and then his wife spoke up and suggested that he send for a very wise Jewish man named Daniel. He took her advice and summoned the prophet, to whom he promised to give purple robes and riches if he could interpret the strange phrase. While he kindly declined the king’s offer, he proceeded to explain exactly what the cryptic words meant. The inscription was translated “penny, penny, nickel, Persia,” and it was a reference to the king’s days being numbered, his life being found wanting, and an imminent attack by the Persian empire. In fact, the Bible says that on that very night, King Belshazzar was assassinated, and the kings of Meade and Persia came and took his kingdom. Though he had enjoyed every worldly delight, his existence was found empty before God, because he thought only of himself and not of the things that really mattered.
My friend, each minute, hour, and day of your life is numbered, so resolve to use your time wisely. Instead of wasting energy on earthly pursuits and vain pleasures, set your focus on what’s eternal. Draw closer to Jesus than ever before, and seek His Kingdom first as you set your course. Resist the temporary escapes offered by overindulgence, and press into His presence with all that you are. Christ is your soul’s deepest fulfillment and your spirit’s greatest power, so take hold of His hand, and He will make every moment matter!