Every nation has a lifespan. The powerful Persian Empire continued for 208 years. The glory of Greece was eclipsed after 268 years. Mighty Rome ruled for nine centuries. The United States of America is 243 years old and counting.
Ancient Babylon lasted around 86 years. And in the fifth chapter of Daniel, we find the story of its fall.
The Babylonians felt their city and their nation were invincible. After all, they had a complex series of walls—some as high as 300 feet. Water was plentiful, because the mighty river Euphrates ran through the city. And they had stored up enough food to feed their population for the next twenty years.
But at this moment historically, they didn’t know the Medo-Persian forces, under the command of Cyrus, were right outside their walls.
King Belshazzar’s grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, had died. Prior to his death he had a dramatic conversion after a period of insanity. Belshazzar, on the other hand, went out of his way to mock God. And that never ends well.
While Belshazzar feasted and drank wine from vessels that were taken from the temple in Jerusalem, a hand appeared and wrote on the palace wall. This is the moment when the banquet hall became a courtroom. And God said to the king, in effect, “Your number is up.”
Judgment was at the door, literally. The Bible tells us, “That very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, was killed. And Darius the Mede took over the kingdom at the age of sixty-two” (Daniel 5:30 NLT).
There will be a last night for every person, a last night for every nation. There will be a last meal, a last statement, a last breath, and then . . . eternity. We need to live our lives wisely, because we don’t know how much time we have.
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