The Handwriting is on The WallSubmitted by Dr Robert Owens on Sat, 07/10/2010 - 23:01
In a Bible passage so powerful even those who don’t believe the Bible unknowingly quote it an arrogant young ruler is so enamored with his exalted position he thinks he can disregard the traditions of his predecessors with impunity. In the midst of a celebration of his greatness the proud young man calls for the sacred vessels captured when his father conquered Judah so that he can drink toasts to himself. Suddenly before a stunned king and his smug courtiers a hand appears in mid-air writing on the wall of his palatial palace. Never having seen a teleprompter the king had no idea these words would come to define his reign. He called for the wisest man in his kingdom to tell him what they meant.
When Daniel arrived he told the haughty king, “The writing reads: ‘Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.’ The meaning of the words is this: Mene: God has measured your sovereignty and put an end to it; Tekel: you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting; Parsin: your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.” That same night through an unperceived chink left by neglect in their previously impregnable defenses Babylon was conquered, the king was overthrown, and the rest is history
If History doesn’t help us in the world today it’s useless. We might as well study tea leaves if we can’t learn from the past to live in the present and shape the future. There are numerous old sayings which attempt to pass this wisdom along to the oblivious young who always act as if youth was a new invention or something clever they have personally devised instead of a fleeting possession most of us squander. These sayings include; “Those who fail to learn from History are doomed to repeat it.” “The past may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.” Or, my personal favorite, “It's like déjà vu all over again.” However you say it if we fail to do it we’ve sown the wind and will reap the whirlwind.
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Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System.