Mene: God has numbered the days of your rule and they don't add up.
Teqel: You have been weighed on the scales and you don't weigh much.
Peres: Your kingdom has been divided up and handed over to the Medes and Persians."
There once was a man who built a business from ground up. He worked from dawn to dusk and often into the night. Through the blood, sweat, and toil of his efforts the business yielded a tidy fortune. After many years, the man died suddenly and the business was handed over to his children, who had grown up in the ease of their father's fortune. In their privileged upbringing, the children refused to learn or appreciate the principles of hard work, faithful stewardship and shrewd business practices on which their father built his business. Under their leadership the business quickly failed and their fortunes were squandered.
This parable is actually a common tale, and we see it again in today's chapter. Nebuchadnezzar was a great king who learned his lessons the hard way, but did learn his lessons. His son, Belshazzar, was a spoiled brat who did not learn from the lessons of his father. The "handwriting was on the wall," and it cost him the kingdom.
Living wisely and living well requires us to learn, not only from our own mistakes, but also the mistakes and successes of others. Seeing the patterns and principles of success and failure at work all around us, and adopting the lessons learned in our own lives is crucial. By doing so, God provides us with insights and wisdom we might not otherwise learn if we remain singularly focused on ourselves.