Summary: The handwriting on the wall episode with Belshazzar reveals more of the character of God. Daniel made a difference for God as he interpreted the writing. Each of us can make a difference in our settings.
Review of Series:
Culture’s Greatest Goal -- Changed their names to supporting their gods; culture today wants to change us and give us a different mindset;
Culture’s Greatest Test – Bow to their god; Not to your God; places in world where can’t read parts of bible – hate crime
Culture’s Greatest Sin – Nebuchadnezzar refused to bow to God and was humbled; our choice – humility or humiliation; sin of pride, thinking we know more than God
Today – Culture’s Greatest Need – The People of God
1. On March 19, 2003, Saddam Hussein and his sons Udah and Kusah invited a few of their close friends and advisors to have dinner with them in an exclusive restaurant in downtown Baghdad. They did this despite the fact that an invasion seemed imminent from the U.S. forces that were amassing across the border in Kuwait. Saddam and his sons were used to the good life, and they weren’t about to let the threat of war ruin an opportunity to party with their friends. But someone tipped off some of our Special Forces troops who were already operating in the area and President Bush ordered a strategic strike. Saddam’s dinner party came to an abrupt end when cruise missiles slammed into the building and completely demolished it. Saddam and his sons survived this initial attack, but it was the beginning of the end for a brutal dictator who had ruled Iraq for 30 years.
2. Daniel 5 tells of a similar event with Belshazzar
a. Daniel served under four major kings
b. Between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar were some minor kings
c. It is possible that Belshazzar is co-regent with Nabonidus and (grand)son of Nebuchadnezzar
3. Babylon was thought to be indestructible –
a. Babylon was 12 square miles with walls 80’ high and 330’ wide – who could breach these walls?
[USA? Aren’t we invincible? No one could possibly take us down – right?
b. Belshazzar may have put on the banquet white the Medes and Persians were beginning their assault on the city
4. In the midst of the party the hand of God appeared and wrote His message on the wall – only Daniel was able to interpret
5. 3 aspects to this message:
I. This Message was a Demonstration of God – Daniel 5.5-6
5 Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. 6 Then the king's color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.
A. God Finds Ways to Get Our Attention
1. Moses had a burning bush experience
2. We sometimes have trials to get our attention – James 1.2-3 (NLT)
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
B. This was a Fearful Experience (5.5-6)
1. Appropriate Fear produces respect for God
2. Frightful Fear – Hebrews 10.31 31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.