Are You Painting Over the Handwriting On The Wall?
Receiving bad news is nothing about which to smile, especially when it involves one’s own guilt or fault. I remember as a child the feeling of despair when my mother approached me, having learned of something I had done. With the look on my mother’s face, I saw the writing on the wall. Facing my mother’s disappointment, as well as the following consequences, would cause any day to go from bad to worse. However, I always knew that, following the consequences, if I learned my lesson, things would be better and the sun would shine again.
There are times, however, when stubbornness exists so strongly that we are tempted to ignore the handwriting on the wall. We are tempted to reason and justify our actions in an attempt to extinguish the flames of guilt. While the handwriting on the wall is telling us our house is burning down and the consequences of our actions are eminent, we are tempted to continue with the same attitudes and deeds which are destroying us. If we give in to these temptations, thinking we can ignore the handwriting on the wall by putting on a fresh coat of paint with every excuse, then in the end, we will discover the handwriting is still there and God will hold us accountable.
When does the handwriting on the wall appear? In order to answer this question, let us consider the case of Belshazzar. For Belshazzar, the handwriting appeared just hours before the fall of Babylon. With clarity, the hand warned Belshazzar that God had brought to an end the days of Belshazzar’s kingdom. God had weighed Belshazzar in the balance and found him wanting. As a result, God was going to divide Belshazzar among the Medes and the Persians. Belshazzar had not humbled himself before the Lord. Instead, Belshazzar had chosen to honor the gods of silver and gold (Daniel 5:13-23). However, as we look closer at the text, we see God’s warning to Belshazzar beginning before the handwriting on the wall was fully formed. Regarding Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel said to Belshazzar, “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.” (Daniel 5:20-22) Belshazzar had seen God’s warning in the lesson God taught Nebuchadnezzar. However, Belshazzar chose to ignore the warning and to continue on his stubborn and prideful path.
I would encourage you not to wait until the handwriting is fully written on the wall. Begin looking for the early formation of the handwriting by looking at your life and the way you are living. The apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
What are some signs the handwriting on the wall is beginning to form within your life? Consider the following suggestions:
- If you are apathetic regarding the work of the local church, then the handwriting is forming on the wall.
- If you are apathetic regarding worshiping the Lord and studying His word, then the handwriting is forming on the wall.
- If you, as a married person, are not treating your spouse in a godly manner, then the handwriting is forming on the wall.
- If you are unwilling to forgive a person, then the handwriting is forming on the wall.
- If you do not love your brother or sister in Christ, then the handwriting is forming on the wall.
- If you are allowing yourself to indulge in sexual immorality, then the handwriting is forming on the wall.
- If you are continuing in any type of sin, then the handwriting is forming on the wall.
Do you see the point? If you are continuing to allow any type of sinful attitude or action to exist within your life, then you are no different than Belshazzar. As long as you or I walk in sin, the handwriting on the wall will continue to form, becoming more and more obvious with each passing day. If we do not stop persisting in sinful attitudes and deeds, then a time will come when the handwriting on the wall will be fulfilled and we will face the judgment of God (cf. 2 Peter 2:9-11).
Sadly, far too often, people attempt to paint over the handwriting on the wall. They are unwilling to live with the constant warnings in their lives. As a result, they attempt to mask or hide the warnings by either denying the truth of God’s word or lying to themselves about their sins (cf. 1 John 1:8; James 1:22). However, no matter how much paint we may use in coving God’s warnings, in time, the handwriting on the wall will always shine through with undeniable clarity.
Please take a long look at the way you are living. Seek the way of the Lord in every aspect of your life. Faithfully follow Him and His word. God will reward such faithful obedience with eternal life in heaven. However, if you are seeing the warning, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23) forming on the walls of your life, then repent today by turning back to the way of the Lord.