Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Handwriting on the Wall

God created each one of us with different personalities, talents and abilities. Although none of us are exactly the same we all have the same purpose in this life: God created every man, woman, boy and girl to glorify Him.

People have a choice to glorify/honor God or glorify/honor self. To glorify/honor self is pride.  Pride is thinking you are better than you really are. It’s also thinking that you had something to do with whatever you feel that you are good at. Pride ignores the truth that God has given us everything we have. Pride is the reason that Satan was kicked out of heaven. He wanted to be God.  God could not allow sin in His presence so Satan was not allowed to live in heaven any longer.  Ever since Satan has been kicked out of heaven he has done everything he can to keep people from the purpose God created them for. Satan doesn’t want people to know how great and awesome the God of this universe is.

As we talk about today's lesson, think about your life. Are you living a life that allows God to be in control and where you please Him or one where you please yourself?

Daniel was a Godly man who served King Nebuchadnezzar for many years. When Nebuchadnezzar died his grandson Belshazzar became king. Belshazzar did not believe in the true God but instead worshiped many idols. He chose to get wisdom from magicians and astrologers instead of Daniel.

At the time of our story, Belshazzar is inside Babylon surrounded by walls that were supposed to protect the people from enemies. Enemies were surrounding Babylon and certainly Belshazzar knew about this. He wasn’t afraid. His confidence was in himself. He didn’t think anyone could climb the high, thick walls of his kingdom. He kept the gates to the city closed and had everything the people needed to survive inside. They had a river that ran through the city so there was plenty of water to drink.

Since Belshazzar wasn’t afraid of the enemies that were surrounding the walls, he threw a big banquet. He invited 1000 of his important officials. At this banquet the king and his guests were drinking wine. As Belshazzar drank wine his mind was not thinking clearly and he came up with an idea. He commanded that someone go to the treasury where his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar kept the things that were brought home when he had captured the Jewish people in Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar’s army had attacked Jerusalem and gone into God’s temple, taking many of the holy items the priests used to worship God. Some of those items that Nebuchadnezzar took were gold and silver goblets that are used to drink from. Belshazzar commanded that the goblets be brought to him so that they could use them at his banquet.

When the goblets were brought to the king, wine was poured in them and the guests at the banquet began to toast each other and praise the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. As Belshazzar and his guests were praising their false gods with these holy items, fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall near the lamp stand. Belshazzar froze as he watched this hand write a message on his palace wall. What he saw frightened him.

In a loud voice he cried out, “Send for my magicians and astrologers!” 

When his ‘wise men’ were brought before him he said, “Whoever can tell me what this message on my wall says, I will clothe you in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck. You will be promoted to the third highest ruler in my kingdom.”

Belshazzar’s wise men went over to the wall and studied the writing. They looked at the words and didn’t know what the message said. The queen heard all kinds of noise coming from the banquet hall and found out what happened. She came before the king and said, “O king live forever! Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! There is a man in your kingdom that has the Spirit of the Holy God. In the days of your grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar made him his top wise man because he had such knowledge and understanding and also the ability to interpret dreams and explain riddles. You should call for this Daniel to help you with this problem.”

Daniel was brought before Belshazzar. He offered Daniel the same reward that he offered to his wise men.
Daniel wasn’t interested in the king’s reward and he told him that he could keep his gifts, but he agreed to read the writing on the wall and tell him what it meant. 

First, Daniel reminded Belshazzar that at one time Nebuchadnezzar also became full of pride and was punished by God, and that it wasn't until he turned away from his pride that God gave back the kingdom to him.

Daniel looked at Belshazzar and said, “You are his grandson. You know all about this and yet you have become very prideful. You have set yourself up against the Lord of Heaven...That is why He sent this writing on the wall.”

Daniel said, “This is what the message means: God has measured your life and you do not meet His standards, so your kingdom will be taken away from you and given to someone else.”

Remember at the beginning of our story I told you that Belshazzar felt confident no one could penetrate the large walls surrounding Babylon? Well, the river that brought water into their city had to come from outside the walls. The enemy soldiers outside the walls dug a trench that drained the river water into a lake so the water was turned away from the city, then they entered the walls of Babylon through the dry riverbed.
That very night after Daniel gave God’s message to the king, the enemies entered Babylon and took over Belshazzar’s kingdom. Belshazzar was killed and a new king reigned in Babylon.  God punished Belshazzar for his sin against Him.

Sin brings all of us down. None of us have measured up to God’s standards because, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God wants us to turn away from our sin so our lives will be a true reflection of Jesus to others. He wants others to know that Jesus is real and they can come to Him to be saved too.  Let’s make it our goal to live our lives to honor God by living a life that pleases Him and shows others how great He is.

This lesson is excerpted from from Ministry-to-children. You can find the entire lesson, including the lesson objective, memory verse, and activity at

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