September 06, 2020 Post

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GREETING

Greetings,

I hope this morning’s blog finds you and your family enjoying the holiday weekend and the last blast of summer.  It’s now time for scarecrows, bon-fires, apple cider and raking leaves!  For certain, each season brings with it a new set of joys and opportunities.

Let us all pray for a peaceful and united Fall.  While experiencing God’s magnificent changing creation, may we all be reminded of His awesome and limitless power.

I continue to miss you and to look forward to the day when we will gather together again.   Until then, take good care of one another and stay healthy and well.

Peace, Blessings and Love,

Pastor Schalm

 


 

THE STORY

Bible Lesson: Belshazzar’s Banquet

 

Prelude: Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king that many followed. However, he was full of pride and not of God.  So God of heaven punished him because he became proud and arrogant.  King Nebuchadnezzar was made to crawl around for seven years like a wild animal.

 

What lesson do you think you could take from this story and put into practice in your life?  (Acknowledge that the Lord God is ruler over all and he punishes pride and arrogance.)

Today in our story Daniel, a prophet of God is about 90 years old.  He had been living in Babylon for a very long time.  In all those years Daniel remained faithful to the Most High God.  He had an excellent reputation.

At this point in Daniel’s life Nebuchadnezzar was no longer living.  His grandson Belshazzar was ruling Babylon.  Belshazzar doesn’t worship the One, True God.  He is a very prideful and arrogant man.  He also knows about how the God of heaven punished his grandfather for pride and arrogance.  It didn’t seem to change the way Belshazzar lived his life though.

Belshazzar had built walls around his kingdom so enemies could not invade and attack.  The walls were about 8 stories high and they were wide enough to be a six lane high way.  Chariots could be ridden around on the top of these walls. Belshazzar had made a passage way under the wall for the Euphrates River to flow in to the city so the people could have water and be secure inside the closed walls.  He made sure that there was enough food inside the walls so his kingdom could stay inside the closed walls for a very long time.

Belshazzar was quite proud of himself.  He thought his plan to protect his kingdom from being invaded was perfect.  No one could ever defeat him and take away his kingdom.  He knew that there were enemies outside trying to invade and attack him but he was very confident they would never get to him or his kingdom.

King Belshazzar decided to throw a great feast or banquet to show how confident and relaxed he was that he was safe from his enemies.  He invited 1000 of his most important leaders.  He had lots of food and wine for all his party guests.  The more he and his guests drank the wine the more they became under the power of the alcohol.  Alcohol causes you to not be able to be in complete control of your thinking and actions.  Belshazzar and his guests were celebrating and drinking and were becoming drunk with wine.

If you are a follower of Christ we are told in God’s Word to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)  As believers we should never put anything into our bodies that doesn’t allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control over our actions.  Belshazzar was already proud and boastful before he was drinking.  As he became drunk with wine it made him even more arrogant.  He came up with what he thought would be a brilliant idea that would show the greatness and power of his kingdom.

He remembered the greatness of his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom and how he had invaded the land of Jerusalem and captured the Jewish people.  His soldiers had taken many of the very special articles that were in the temple where the Jews worshiped their God.
Belshazzar thought that on that special night when he believed he was safe from his enemies to have some of the special cups that had been taken from God’s temple brought to his party so they could fill them with wine and praise their gods.

God is holy.  That means He is completely perfect.  When the Jewish people built the temple God gave instructions how to build the temple.  He also gave instructions for all the items that were to be placed in the temple.  All the things that were made were to be treated special because they were made to worship a Holy God.
God does not allow anyone to treat the things He has made only to worship Him in a disrespectful way.  He punishes anyone even His own people if they try to go into the temple and disobey His instructions of how to properly worship Him.

The special cups were brought to Belshazzar and he had wine poured into them.  Belshazzar the prideful king lifted God’s special cup and began to praise gods that weren’t even god at all.  He praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.

Pride is sin because it causes a person to think they are great because of their own wisdom and power.  Pride focuses on self and not on the God who created all and has power over all.  Belshazzar did not learn from the punishment his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar experienced.  God would not allow this king to treat His special cups in such an arrogant prideful way.  As Belshazzar and all his guests are laughing and having a great time, a human hand appeared in the banquet hall.  On the wall a hand began to write a message near a lamp stand. Belshazzar saw the hand writing a message on his wall.

Belshazzar’s rosy pink cheeks drained of all color and his face was as white as snow.  His body began to tremble and he was so afraid that his knees began to knock together.  He said in a loud voice, “Quick bring someone to me that can tell me what the writing on the wall means!  Whoever tells me what this writing says, will receive a purple robe, a gold necklace and will be the third most important person in my kingdom!”

All of the king’s wise men were brought in.  They looked at the writing on the wall.  As they looked and looked at the writing they were puzzled.  They said the king, “We are sorry your majesty, but we have no idea what this says.”

This frightened Belshazzar even more.  He and all his party guests were very confused.  This was not an ordinary occurrence for anyone so they knew that this message written with a human hand was important. King Nebuchadnezzar’s wife was still living at this time and she had heard the chaos and confusion taking place and came to talk to Belshazzar her grandson.

She told him about a man named Daniel. “Belshazzar, this man has an excellent reputation.  He has the spirit of the gods in him.  He is able to tell people what their dreams mean.  You should call for him immediately so he can tell you what this writing means.”

Belshazzar sent for Daniel.  As Daniel stands before him he tells him of the awards he will receive if he can tell him what the writing means.  Daniel didn’t need awards from a wicked king to be obedient to God.  He told the king he could keep his awards and he would tell him the message on the wall. Before Daniel told Belshazzar what the writing meant he reminded him of how God had worked in his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar’s life.

Daniel said, “You have known all these things and yet you are full of pride.  You have not humbled yourself and worshiped and praised the Most High God.  You have bragged about your power and not thanked God for giving it to you.  If that wasn’t enough you used His special cups to worship and praise the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood and stone.  You cannot even see these gods because they aren’t gods at all.  They cannot hear you or understand you.  You have not worshiped the God who gave you your very life and all that you have.  The Most High God has sent you this message:
“Mene, Mene, Tekel, Peres.  Here are the meanings of these words:  Mene-God has numbered the days of your kingdom and has put an end to it.  Tekel-God has seen all that you have done and you are not righteous.  Peres-God has divided your kingdom and the Medes and Persians will take over your kingdom.”

This was not good news for Belshazzar.  God had seen his pride and arrogance and was going to punish him.  That very night the Medes and Persians had entered through the place where the Euphrates River came into the kingdom.  They attacked and invaded Belshazzar’s kingdom and killed him.

Belshazzar chose to ignore the lesson he heard about his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar.  He chose to live a prideful and arrogant life.  God punished his sin and he lost his life and his kingdom.
God is merciful and shows everyone kindness.  When we have been shown His truth and we do not turn from our sin we will be punished.  If we turn from our sins and ask God to forgive us He does.  When God forgives us for our sins He also gives us the power to live a life that pleases Him.

As we close let’s not ignore the lesson God has taught us from the life of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar.  Let’s live humbly before Him acknowledging that He is the ruler of all and deserves all our praise.

 

God’s Wonderful Words to You

 “But you his (Nebuchadnezzar) son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this…..But you did not honor the God who holds in His hand your life and all your ways.”
~Daniel 5:22, 23

 


 

MESSAGE

 

Discussion Questions:
1. What gods did King Belshazzar and his nobles praise? (They praised gods of gold and silver.)
2. While they were drinking, what did they see writing on the walls? (Fingers of a human hand.)
3. Why did the king ask Daniel to come to him? (He hoped Daniel could tell him what the writing meant.)
4. Why was the sin of Belshazzar even greater than his father? see verse 22-23. (Although he knew the truth, he chose not to humble himself, and even fought against the Lord.)
5. How did Daniel describe the things that the king was praising? (They couldn't see or hear or understand.)
6. What did the writing on the wall say? (The king's reign is at an end and his kingdom will be given away.)
7. What is the difference between being boastful and being humble? (Allow for discussion.)

 


 

LOVE LETTER FROM GOD

Dear___________________________, 

It makes me so happy to give you gifts and talents and good things.  Remember though, I give you these things and entrust you with these things so that you can share them with others.  While it pleases me greatly when you use and develop your talents and use the things I give you in good ways, it saddens me when you become boastful and conceited.  I love all my children and never want one of them to think that they are better than another.  You are so special to me, just like all my children are.

 

With So Much Love,

God

 


 

ACTIVITY

You will need : Paper plate, construction paper, paint, marker or ink pen.

Humble plates

Little kids love to color. Allow them to spark their creativity with paper plates. Provide little kids with plates, markers, paints, etc. On the plate, the kids should draw or create something that is more powerful than them.

Trash Mosaic

This is a craft that allows older kids to clean up the community. Have kids collect trash from around their house, community, park, etc. After washing the trash, they should use it to create a mosaic of a humble figure.

Humble Comic Book

Older kids love comic books. Allow them to create one on humility. Staple 5-10 pieces of paper in the center and fold them into a book. Children should use crayons and markers to create a story that shows humility. Little kids might create a superhero story.

 


 

WEEK’S CHALLENGE

 

  • To have a reputation for being humble, we must constantly honor and give thanks to God for all things. There will be many times in our lives that we will have more than someone else, have a newer toy than the kid down the street, or get a better grade than our friend, but we must never look down on someone else because they are less fortunate. Likewise, we should never think that whatever it is we have is because of something we did. All good things come from God, and He alone is worthy of our praise.  Write down your own short prayer. Your prayer should be one of humility, not boastful or proud. Write down what would be pleasing to God.

 

  • ADOPT A GRANDPARENT. Write a letter, or color a picture to one of our elderly church members twice a month.  That’s all you have to do to brighten someone’s day.  Have mom or dad email, call or text be for a name and address.

 

We can all do something to lighten the load of others during this time.  Be creative and share your ideas!

 

Pastor Schalm (734) 255-0935  / cschalm@stpaulucctaylor.org

 


CLOSING PRAYER

 

Dear God,

 We thank you for the stories in the Bible and for being taught them.  Please help us to learn from them.  Help us too to be humble and kind and not big-headed and mean.  Keep us and all your children safe this week and help us to reflect Your love and light.

~Amen