Three seemingly unrelated passages will be used as the foundation for today’s devotional. They will be cited with minimal commentary and then a summary will tie them together for a needed spiritual lesson.

So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.” (Genesis 5.27). As you are probably aware, Methuselah was the oldest of the biblical patriarchs. His long lifespan has given rise to such clichés as “Older than Methuselah,” or, “He gets around like Methuselah’s grandpa!” By our standards today, Methuselah was ancient. However, by the standards of the day, he did not live many years beyond some of his contemporaries. For those who have a problem believing that man could live such a long time, just remember that the world was a vastly different place during the era of the patriarchs. The corruption of human gene pool and the detrimental effect of pollution had not taken place. Further, God occupied a different role in their everyday lives than He does in ours; it was a different time and place!

“And you [Belshazzar] have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written. And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5.23-28). This passage is taken from the narrative in which the great king of Babylon [circa. 540 BC] saw “the handwriting on the wall.” The text further states, “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.” (Daniel 5.30).

Finally, consider this passage: “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5.23-27). The Church of our Lord is a holy entity, not having spot or blemish. It was designed by the Grand Architect of the Universe, and not man; it was the rock hewn out of the mountain without hands (Daniel 2.45 & Mark 14.58). The Church has an earthly existence and mission as well as a heavenly existence (Hebrews 12.22-28). It is eternal in nature and has no place for petty politics or appetites of the flesh. It consists of an innumerable company of angels as well as the spirits of just men made perfect. The Church is of far greater power and significance than any man or group of men.

Methuselah lived nine hundred and sixty nine years and he died. Belshazzar reigned over one of the greatest kingdom in the world, but he was deposed and died in the same night. Neither age nor position kept either of these biblical characters from the fate of all men. After all, “…it is appointed for men to die once but after this the judgment.”(Hebrews 9.27). Only in and through the Church of the Living God can man attain unto the destiny for which he was created. Even Belshazzar in his greatness, was “weighed in the balances” of Divine Justice and found wanting. So shall we all be outside of Christ!

Questions:

1. What great lesson can we gain from the statement about Methuselah, “And he died”?

2. What sins had Belshazzar committed as mentioned by Daniel? Was he penitent?

3. Who designed the Church? Died for it? Sustains it? Blesses it? Adds men to it? Who “owns” the Church?

4. What singular hope do we have of eternal life and never having to fear the fate [death] of all men?