This is the material our Tuesday morning group will use next week in its reflections on Daniel. Maybe there is something here for others.
Our passage is Daniel chapters 4 & 5.
What do you see as the central point of these two chapters? What passage(s) captures the central point?
How would you contrast Nebuchadnezzar with Belshazzar?
Thinking about Chapter 4, is there anything here we can relate to? Has our pride ever needed to be knocked down a few pegs? Have we ever acted like “dumb beasts” and forgotten who we really are in Christ? Have we taken credit for success and not given God the glory?
“Eating grass like cattle” can be a picture of feeding on that “which passes away” – grass is used in the Bible as an image of the temporal. Do we feed on the eternal things of God or the temporal things of this age which are passing away? Who, or what, is our source of life?
In Daniel 1:2 we saw that Nebuchadnezzar brought vessels from the House of God (the Temple) in Jerusalem back to Babylon and put them in the treasury of a pagan god; now in Daniel Chapter 5 (verses 2 – 4, and verse 23) prominence is given to what Belshazzar does with these vessels. Why do you think we see this emphasis?
In thinking about the vessels of the Temple, what lessons can we draw from this for our lives today, and for the life of the Church? Who is the Temple of God?
How might 2 Timothy 3:20 – 21 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1 – 8 help us think about this?
How can we help others think about this?
What do you see in Daniel’s response (5:17) to the king? What can we (and the Church) learn from this?
Chapter 5 is, of course, where we get the saying, “The handwriting on the wall.” However, notice that the handwriting was not easily understood, it was quite the opposite. When a man or woman, or a society, is drunk with arrogance it cannot discern its situation.
Thoughts: In Revelation 2:12 – 29 Christ indicates that He will judge the churches of Pergamum and Thyatira, in part, due to their tolerance and promotion of teaching encouraging sexual immorality. Romans Chapter One portrays the downward spiral of a society when “God gives it up” - and while that descent into the abyss contains a number of elements which are all evil (Romans 1:28 – 32), we cannot miss the dark picture of Romans 1:24 – 27 in which sexual sin is shown to be a result of rejecting the image of God. When we reject the image of God (Romans 1:22 – 23) we end up with a perverse view of the image of man. Note Romans 1:32, “…they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
God does not take lightly how the vessels of His Temple are abused and polluted. If Belshazzar’s sin was great when it was related to physical vessels of the Temple of Jerusalem, how much greater was the sin of the churches of Revelation Chapter Two? And…of course…what about today?