Summary: The biggest battle we, as Americans, are facing today is the battle for the very soul of our nation.
Memorial Day is a time each year when we pause to remember those who laid down their lives for family, friends and freedom. One week after the Pearl Harbor attack President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who long enjoy such privileges that we enjoy forget in time that others have died to win them.” Freedom is never really free; it’s almost always bought with the blood of patriots.
The biggest battle we, as Americans, are facing today is the battle for the very soul of our nation. We see it all around us every day. The erosion of our society has been a slow process, but we’ve seen it accelerate rapidly in the just the past few years. It really doesn’t matter whether there’s a Democrat or a Republican sitting in the Oval Office, this nation that we’ve all come to know and love continues to erode. The position we’re in today is because of what we tolerated yesterday. And, the position we’ll be in tomorrow will be because of what we tolerate today.
Well, history has a way of repeating itself down through the centuries. In Daniel’s day, he saw a lot of what we’re seeing today. But, his situation was much worse. The fifth chapter of Daniel describes the collapse of a culture. They became so comfortable and secure within the confines of their strong walls, but they crumbled from within. They way I see it, Babylon made four huge mistakes. They lost all sense of remembrance. They lost all sense of reality. They lost all sense of restraint. And, they lost all sense of respect. On this Memorial Day, my prayer is that we would be challenged to be a people of repentance and that we would acknowledge that anything we do is vanity without the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Danger of Losing All Sense of Remembrance (Daniel 5:18-23)
Belshazzar’s problem was the same many people have today. He had forgotten some of the valuable lessons from the past. Lessons like his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had learned the hard way. Lessons like, “Those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:37).
In most cases, pride always comes before destruction. Daniel gives us an important insight when he challenges the king with the accusation that “you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of Heaven.” That’s what Belshazzar was doing, boasting about himself. He picked up right where King Nebuchadnezzar left off, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty (Daniel 4:30)?”
Pride always leads to a fall. It’s right up there at the top of the list of those things which God despises. If you don’t want to take my word for it, just ask Satan. Ask Adam and Eve. Ask King David. Ask Simon Peter. Yes, “Those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:37).
America used to honor God unashamedly and openly. It’s etched in numerous monuments all over the nation’s capital. It’s carved in granite on many of the government buildings we hold dear. It’s printed on our currency. There was a time when we credited Him with our blessings and our successes and turned to Him in our trials and our losses. But today, like Babylon, we seem to have lost a sense of remembrance. President Woodrow Wilson said it best, “A nation that does not remember what it was yesterday does not know what it is today, or what it is trying to do. We are about a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.”
In many ways, we’ve forgotten our past. What was it about America that made us so great and caused men and women from nations all around the world to risk their lives and fortunes to come here? Is there something about America that distinguishes us from our neighbors to the north and south? Canada was settled by French explorers who were looking for gold. Mexico was settled by Spanish explorers who were also looking for gold. America was settled by men and women who came here primarily looking for God. They came searching for a home where God could be exalted and worshiped in spirit, freedom and truth.
We’ve fallen a long way from where we once were. We’ve gotten so far off our founders’ path that it’s not uncommon to see the federal courts repeatedly doing things such as restricting manger scenes from city squares and removing ten commandment displays from government buildings.
Unfortunately, there are some sobering similarities between ancient Babylon and modern day America. And just like Babylon, there’s an expensive price to pay when a nation loses all sense of remembrance of who they are and where the’ve come from.