For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
Very startling was the vision which appeared to Belshazzar and his courtiers when their feasting and mirth were at their height. But not in terrible omens and supernatural visions alone do we see the Divine handwriting. To thoughtful men on every wall by the wayside appear mystic letters of profound significance. The hand itself is unseen behind the veil of nature, but the words are formed clear and distinct upon the stones of the wall, and they remain as if graven with a pen of iron. Botanists are familiar with a peculiar genus of lichen called Opegrapha, from the resemblance which the fructification of all its species bears to written characters. On the surface are numerous dark intricate lines, like Arabic, Hebrew, or Chinese letters. The likeness in some instances is remarkably close. Nature has thus mimicked in almost every wood, and on almost every rock and wall, the latest and highest result of man's civilisation; and in her humblest plant forms has written her wonderful runes. It can, indeed, be said in the highest sense of the whole family of lichens that they are God's handwriting on the wall. Lichens form the nebulae, so to speak, of the firmament of life. Lichens are in the ocean of air that covers the dry land what seaweeds are in the ocean of waters that covers the depths of the sea. They are as the pioneers of vegetation, climbing the bare crag, and penetrating into the lonely wilderness, and planting there the flag of life. As elements in the picturesque, lichens have long held a high place in the estimation of all lovers of nature. What would a ruin be without them? Lichens run through the whole chromatic scale, and show what striking effects nature can produce by an harmonious combination of a few simple lines and hues. Not less worthy of examination is the specialised organ with which the lichen decks itself than the blossom of the brightest flower. Nothing is lost in nature. God's hand. writing on the wayside wall and the weather-beaten rock writes no sentence — "Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting."
(Hugh Macmillan, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.