November 20, 2022 – Pastor Mark Albrecht
Message Big Idea – One of King Nebuchadnezzar’s successors and the last ruler of Babylon, King Belshazzar, arrogantly partied in the face of real, existential threat, the Persian Empire. Not only did he wrongly place his security in the things of this world, but he refused to wisely learn from his predecessor’s mistakes. Worst of all, he trivialized the sacred, disdaining the true source of power in the universe, the one true God. It was at this time that the truth of past prophecies concerning Babylon’s fall was fully realized, showing who was truly in control over this world.
- Take a moment to reflect (if you are going through this on your own) or share (if you are with others in a group setting): What are you grateful for today? What are you struggling with today?
- Have you ever interacted with someone, only to find out later something about them that might have changed the way you engaged with him or her? Perhaps he or she held a highly esteemed position or a lot of influence in a community. How did you feel about that interaction?
- Read Daniel 5 (Read twice – ESV and either NLT or Message)
- Go around the group and briefly retell the passage in your own words.
- What word or phrase “jumped off the page” and intrigued you the most? Why?
- In 5:22, Daniel calls out King Belshazzar for knowing of Nebuchadnezzar’s mistakes but not humbling himself in response. The King displayed an unwise attitude in not taking seriously what could be learned from the experiences of others. Do you think this attitude is common today? How do people typically listen to others’ mistakes? For it has been said that “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Yet, how many people practically respond to this axiom?
- It is quickly observed how irreverently King Belshazzar treats the sacred things from the Temple in Jerusalem. How have you observed the trivialization of the sacred in your context? In the secular? In the Church?
- Reflect and consider a time when you grounded your security in the things of this world (i.e., money, comfort, national identity, etc.). Do you still seek security outside of the Lord? Please share what some of these sources have been/are. How have they failed to live up to your expectations?
- Has there been a time when you have learned from the mistakes of others, particularly in your Christian walk? Have you found learning from others’ experiences to be easy or is it more lasting when we learn from our own experiences? Why do you think that is?
- What does it mean for something or someone to be holy, sacred and worthy of reverence? What are some ways in which you may be treating the sacred things of God in a trivial, casual, or even indifferent manner? How can you address that going forward?
Live It Out:
- What is one thing God seems to be asking you to do in response to this passage? (i.e., “I will ….”)
- Who can you tell about this “I will” statement in the next 48 hours?
- Journal about your time in God’s Word this week. Stop to listen to what He might be telling you. Celebrate His presence through His Word!
- Spend some time in intentional prayer. Repent of any ways you have been grounding your security in anything besides God. Thank the Lord for opportunities to learn from others’ experiences. Prayerfully meditate on the holiness of our God. Spend a prolonged period of time worshiping, praising and revering the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!