By Danielle Jones
Recently in my home country there has been a surge of sudden, unexpected deaths. Autopsies revealed undiagnosed or untreated non-communicable diseases (NCDs). However, it seems like sudden death is common worldwide; perhaps not because of NCDs but through shootings, terrorist attacks, wars, natural disasters and hunger.
None of those people saw Mr. Death coming with his army, his sickle or his wrestling clothes, like Troy did in August Wilson’s Fences. They were simply here one day and gone the next.
Recently, I studied the story of King Belshazzar in Daniel chapter 5. He was the son of Nebuchadnezzar, the conceited king who God cut down to size by making him live like an animal until he acknowledged that God was the Most High.
However, like his father, Belshazzar thought that he was the greatest and seemed to have learnt nothing from his father’s punishment. So in this chapter he had a party and used the sacred goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, to drink wine while praising pagan gods.
So God sent him a message which appeared on his wall, and when the prophet Daniel interpreted it, it was a warning of his days coming to an end and his kingdom being divided because of his disobedience.
The chapter goes on to say that God had Belshazzar killed that very night.
My first reaction to
this was “Woah, that’s cruel.” However, as I thought about the two major warnings he had received - his father’s testimony and the writing on the wall - I wondered why he had not simply asked God to forgive his sins.
Perhaps Belshazzar was too busy. But what could be more important than heeding a life or death warning from the God of the universe?
Many of us are more similar to Belshazzar than we may think. Perhaps none of us have ever received writings in an ancient language by a ghostly hand on our dining room wall; but, we have all seen the news and heard the testimonies of others.
Thus, wouldn’t it be accurate to say that we are being warned every day?
The fact is we could be killed because of the colour of our skin, our wealth or lack thereof, the uniform we wear, or from a stroke or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Therefore, how do we not see that tomorrow may be too late?
Today is the right time to pray for our souls, to forgive, to pray for our friends, family and enemies, to make an eff ort to spend time talking to God and reading his Word (the Bible), and to savour every moment that we have been given.
This reality has made me a lot more conscious and intentional about the way that I love people. More importantly, it has made me more intentional about the priority that I give to God in my everyday life.
As the Bible says: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
The Bible also says: “For, all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24)
It is a fact, 100% of us will die. Have you prepared for eternity?•