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The Writing Is on the Wall

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
March 15, 2022 9:00 am

The Writing Is on the Wall

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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March 15, 2022 9:00 am

Today on Summit Life, we come to another story of God taking down a prideful, rebellious, selfish king. We’re going to see that this problem is much bigger than just one king.

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Today on Summit life Judy Greer political and educational wise men as helpful as they are unable to cure any large-scale problems of the human race at their source or hearts, but to cure what's going on in the human heart.

Money can do it education can do it. Politics can do it so I can do it they can't give us solutions of the ultimate problems. Now think it was meaning for the Bible teaching ministry pastor, author and theologian Jeannie Greer. I'm your host Molly, but a batch today on Senate life we come to another story of God taking down a prideful, rebellious, selfish king, you're like, wait, did we just hear the story on the program will hang on.

Sadly, today we come to Belshazzar the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar you think you might have learned a lesson from the old granddad but no were going to see that this problem of pride and arrogance is much bigger than just one king, so grab your Bible turn to Daniel chapter 5 and let's see what we can learn from the word today Bible Bible Daniel chapter 5 yesterday at your Bible is not just one three-way morning started we would help if you have a Bible you will open the truck along with me, you can turn it on if that's your thing to look at it on your phone but I would love to see the things about Daniel chapter 5. How many of you have heard the phrase the writing is on the wall.

The writing is on the wall. Put your hand up yet. It usually means that something bad is about to happen, that your faith has been you'll that phrase. Many people don't know this without phrase actually comes from Daniel chapter 5 year year is 539 BC nearly 70 years have passed since Daniel and his teenage aged friends were brought in change to Babylon 70 years between Dana one were started. Daniel five where we are today. Daniel is an old man now. He was well over 80. Nebuchadnezzar, his king the Babylonian king is friend is dead has been out for about 23 years and Belshazzar who is Nebuchadnezzar's privileged very spoiled grandson is on the throne.

Belshazzar is hosting a party is Daniel five opens an all out rage are in our terms hundred Tiger we know that because the Aramaic word that is useful why in verse one is literally lots of why this little translator lots of beer lots of why suddenly as they are partying it up, mysterious, disembodied, floating hand, appears and begins to carve the message of the plaster on the wall. Talk about terrifying freaky even right. I mean imagine what that moment would have been like to party and you see a severed floating hand appear and begin to etch three mysterious words you do not understand into the wall and then it just disappears.

The three words are numbered, weighed and divided people start screaming and the party descends into chaos. The Babylonian wisemen or are summoned into the room, but none of them can tell the king what these words mean when the elderly, quaint, elderly, Queen Daniel five says you would be Nebuchadnezzar's widow, Belshazzar's grandmother says I once knew a man who could interpret messages like this one. She tells them about Daniel. Evidently Daniel has long since retired from public life. Or maybe, maybe he's just been put out to pasture it away. They simply Daniel and he comes in he reads the message on the wall and he says many MMA verse 26. Many, many, that word means number that means Belshazzar that God is number the days of your kingdom and Babylon's kingdom is brought it to an end title verse 27 tackle that word means wave that means a juvenile wave on the balance on God's balance and you have been found efficient. See, unlike his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar had never humbled himself before God. Parsing is the next were the final word that means. Daniel says divided and that means your kingdom has been divided given to the Medes and the Persians. Sure enough that very night less than 50 miles away. The armies of the Medes and the Persians have coalesce to mount an attack of joint attack against Babylon and that very night Babylon will be overthrown and Belshazzar and all the royal family will die this story in Daniel five is is ultimately about how God ultimately brings down the prideful, rebellious, unjust Babylonian empire and keeps his promise to restore his people to their promised land. That's what it's it's primarily about, but it also gives us a picture into how God deals with prideful rebellious people in all times and all places.

So I want us to look at this story this morning through two lenses want to look firstly at what it meant for Babylon and secondly I want to show you what it means for us to give you primarily for things to that in Reno. Talk about partying in the face of death really talk about number two. The failure of our wisemen number three talk about the writing on the wall for all of us in the number for you to talk about how God's finger has appeared to you and submit by the way, before we jump into it. I just share a quick little historical tidbit. I'm just rivalry it started for years and years and years and years.

Religion 101 classes at secular universities always took this story about Belshazzar.

Daniel five as proof that you could not trust the Bible literally because every historian knew they said that the last king raining in Babylon before it was overthrown by the Medes and the Persians was a guy named Nevin Midas. In fact, they said there was no historical proof that anything they Belshazzar had ever lived.

The boat one evidence.

These Bibles made up is not truth a bunch of made up myths then just a few years ago some archaeologist dog up an inscription in the Iraqi desert right outside were Babylon's palace would've been.

And guess what that inscription revealed revealed that Nevin Midas had just a couple years before this event moved out into the desert and left his son, Belshazzar in charge as acting king of Babylon, so boom back edge of the Bible is historically reliable. After all that is locked.

By the way, in this story Belshazzar offers Daniel the third-highest place in the kingdom.

Because technically, his dad Nevin.

I this is the first and he Belshazzar was second.

That would mean the only next spot available. Would've insert my point here is not to disrespect secular historians or to imply that most of them do not do very good and trustworthy work is simply to say that when somebody tells you that history or science has proven the Bible wrong. What I have found after many years of experience is just give it a little time just give it a little time and you will see that the apparent contradiction usually clears up.

When we gain a little more information little more understanding on what the author was actually trying to say okay right not sure that your role to different morning. Poor thing from what was thought about partying in the face of death party in the face of death.

What is unusual about this party is that we know that Belshazzar knew that the combined armies of the Medes and the Persians were less than 50 miles away. Everybody in Babylon knew that everybody was on edge. This was not the first time that the city had been attacked course but but this one seemed different. This was a humongous and well organized, and seemingly very determined Army and enemy so why we would have to ask in the face of this kind of danger. Why is Belshazzar throwing a party was his own apart if we don't know maybe try to put on a brave face. Maybe he's trying to inspire everyone else by his brazen courage. Maybe he's trying to drown his own fears out in amusement or alcohol. Maybe he's just so arrogant that he thinks Babylon can never fall many of you are not old enough to remember this but for those of you who are do you remember all the wacky ways that people responded to the turning of the millennium. At the end of 1999 that you knows you were young will not remember this at all, but there were also beast doomsday theories about about Y2K and Y2K computer bug that would cause a global computer crash that would bring civilization as we knew it to a screeching halt power grids would fail and supply chain to break down money would just somehow evaporate from our banks. There would be gas shortages and you know how that goes right.

People were genuinely worried some people responded to that word by stockpiling a lot of Christians were in that category that looked around the room. A lot of you.

I know that category. About five or six years ago should be about five or six years after Y2K. I was at the home of our very first church planter regarding Josh Shank and I open up one of his closest to get something and it was stacked floor to ceiling with nonperishable food items like 5 gallon buckets of rice and MRAs and potted meats and such else I Josh what what is this the kind that were inserted sheepishly is a check this out and it took me to every single closet in his house, which were all packed floor to ceiling with nonperishable food items, Josh, what on earth he was like yeah number Y2K thing a little bit of technologies and allotting end times prophecy and you end up with $25,000 worth of food supply right to respond by stockpiling the some people responded to the fear by partying it even became Frey's right party like it's 1999 and I was asked how many of you just be honest as you literally nothing to this question. How many of you were a little scared when the clock actually slept that night Ray drank like I was a little bit scared how many of you were at a party. Anyway, Granda heard about one guy I want got your story got a bunch of people over to his house on New Year's Eve 1999 when the countdown was at 30 seconds, quietly slipped down to the basement. They could hear everybody up in the main room found them. 543 and when he hit one right as the clock struck midnight he killed all the power in the house, so people started screaming and freaking out. He said it took a full minute before somebody went outside and figured out the rest of the neighborhood still had power. So that was pretty awesome. Belshazzar 40s not exactly like the APPC party to the face of death party with my sale. It was 539 BC. We asked what he will do this. Why do people. Why is this not that uncommon. Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher that quote sometimes of the 17th century, said the most consistent human reaction to unpleasant thoughts about their mortality is to distract themselves with amusement uses a couple of analogies on what I use a lot the other ways of life is like being in a stagecoach that is barreling toward a cliff. You know the cliff is coming.

You know you cannot stop a stagecoach or get out of it. You know your death is coming, but instead of thinking about your coming death and what it means for you. You choose to deal with that by distracting yourself with observations about the beautiful scenery along the road or you engage in pleasant conversation and witty banter with fellow passengers in the stagecoach you are distracting yourself so that you're not thinking about the ultimate questions or the fear that all of us have we think about death, the Jewish atheist philosopher Ernst Becker and he's an atheist, says in his book the denial of death, but in the face of our own mortality. Humans almost always turn to one of three things to console themselves. All three of which you see right here in the story Belshazzar fascinated verses that we boast about our accomplishments as it goes. Accomplishments can give us some kind of immortality. We try to tell ourselves that what we've done we've done something significant that's added meaning to human history are significant. Therefore, therefore, our significance is gonna last forever. We really help advance our career field.

We control ourselves. We left a legacy to our children. Or maybe up a pile of resources that will help future generations of our family lived well you see Belshazzar doing that here he brings out all the gold and silver they had conquered and collected from other kingdoms to show that Babylon is special. It's a unique empire the world never be the same after Babylon second Ernst Becker said, we turn to romance returned to romance we find meaning in the frills of sex or the feeling of being treasured by someone just listen to modern music. He says about how we talk about romance you give meaning to me. I find not everything in you. Your love justifies me, gives me a reason to live. While we see Belshazzar party fillable guns, wives and concubines of sex.

Finally, Becker said, we turn to religion and religion to show that that that whatever is out there were worthy of we use religion and virtue to console ourselves that were the best of all people and that, for whatever snacks will be counted worthy you see that in Belshazzar with his extravagant hosting of the Babylonian gods Becker, who again was an atheist, said human simply human being simply cannot live in full honest awareness of the meaning of death.

He says even if you are one of those rare people that others still talk about 10 years after you're gone is when they are sunning itself are issuing is gonna burn up and then there will be no trace to any of us ever even existed. Becker Becker said he said when we die were gone and nothing matters unless unless it's done for God, for the kingdom of God out last time and whose rule extends beyond the grave. Steve jobs it was Apple's legendary founder and CEO was asked on 60 minutes an interview shortly before he died, whether he believed in God or not estimating my watch it I will YouTube clip of any kind of positive said you know throughout my life.

Sometimes I believe you gotta sometimes I haven't is a bit after I was diagnosed with liquid cancer stage IV cancer and told I did not have that long to live is that I found myself increasingly wanting to believe. Interviewer said Weiser because it just can't be that when we die, but it just all fades to black is in all the wisdom that we've accumulated as a race all of our accomplishments. Somehow those things have to live on. Incidentally, he said in that interview. That's why he never like to put on off switch is on Apple devices is that like the idea of being able to flip a switch and shut something off, which explain some of your frustration with you like II want to turn it off is that you like on all switches like I just I don't like that idea that we flip something and it almost dark friend. What is your life. Have you thought about ultimate questions.

If eternity is real. That's the most important question you will ever consider your Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die, is appointed unto you the day of your death is appointed to you. The only difference between Belshazzar and you would me is that he was told the day that he would die. You and I may not know the exact day like Belshazzar did, but the certainty of that day for us is just as inevitable, only one life to live, only one life to live will soon be passed only what's done for Christ will last. Are you prepared to meet God not only met the only question only question that eternally matters the one party in the face of death. Her second and we see the failure of our wisemen failure of our wisemen.

Daniel repeated theme in the book of Daniel is the failure Babylon's wisemen to deliver the questions really matter not receive his wisemen contributed something to Babylonian knowledge or or Nebuchadnezzar, the king would not have kept them around, but consistently in the book of Daniel, when it really matters when there is a really important dream are really important vision or really pressing question in those moments, they let the king down in each of those times. Daniel appears and reveals that there is a God in heaven who can do what the wisemen cannot do to comes a point at which the wise men of every age and every culture will fail is not to say they played a role in society or they do not contribute a lot they do. But there comes a time when it relates to the ultimate and most difficult questions of our life that the wisemen of every age fail Consider here for a moment. Who would qualify as our wisemen in our culture today.

My first say scientists and let me be very clear, science and scientists are wonderful gifts of God. They are to be revered and celebrated and trusted in their spheres of authority shall we see places today were science fails us right or at least it is proven unable to answer questions that we really need answers to. Somebody tells me which I hear from time to time on college campuses, especially I only believe in science.

Science is all that I mean and I want to say really consigns tell you what's right and wrong didn't tell you what your purpose is no.

As soon as a scientist, stop looking through a microscope and starts philosophizing about the meaning of life. They left science and now there now engaging in superstition or philosophy foundation must pontifications about the unknown science can tell us the what and the how but it cannot tell us the why only the Creator can give us the why only something that is before the material world and beyond the material world can give us meaning.

So science is awesome but it fails us on the ultimate questions of life, right, I might add to my next list of our culture's wisemen was put politicians and educators politicians and educators.

Again, I respect them and revere them. Many of you serve in this field and you were worthy of respect but have not those groups also proven unable to solve humanity's primary problems has any political philosophy proved able to correct. For example, the human impulse toward corruption, greed, or the abuse of power.

The right. For example the right talks about the importance of family and traditional values and integrity in leadership and then puts up Donald Trump as their champion.

The left talks about ending discrimination but then leaked emails from elites in Hollywood reveal that racism is as much a problem. There is anywhere left talks about caring for the poor, but then it's revealed that most of them are not personally involved. Statistically they have less the poverty relief than their counterparts on the right pastor Brian Moritz who is part of our team now moved here from San Francisco from the Bay Area. He said you know if you really want to disabuse yourself of the myth that all the thought leaders on the left here about the poor. Just go to San Francisco or a lot of them live and watch how they deal with the homeless. There their main strategy out there is to give the homeless vouchers to incentivize them to be homeless somewhere else on the outskirts of town. He says you will see rows and rows and rows of tents of homeless people literally shipped out of town so they can be out of sight out of mind and not mess up the San Francisco young, single and wealthy by the point of this not take on the right or the left and I don't sound like I'm doing both Norma try to say that nobody on the right really cares about morality or nobody on the left cares about the poor, and I'm definitely not saying that there's never a wiser choice in politics and she could save your emails not saying that my point is simply that our political and educational wisemen as helpful as they are proven unable to cure on any large-scale problems of the human race at their source, our hearts, they can't cure what's going on in the human heart. Money can't do it education can do it.

Politics can do it. Science can do it. It can't give us solutions of the ultimate problems now, and to give us meaning for the future. Just like Babylon when it comes to our ultimate questions are wisemen from Stephen Hawking to Steve Jobs party leaders on the left and right have failed us, just like Belshazzar. We need a word from God. That's why Daniel by the way, will let Belshazzar pay him to provide this interpretation December 17 for seven things I can keep your gifts, you didn't reward somebody else. I will read the inscription for the king and make the interpretation known to him, free of charge numbers, words, Belshazzar campaigning for you can't buy for me it's God's word. Your offering me money is if this message come from me or belongs to me, but that's not how this works.

All I can do all I must do is tell you the truth, and I will tell you the same thing.

You need a word from God.

That word does not come from me. I can deliver to you.

I sit here and tell you what it says but it doesn't come from me, that should be paying me for it comes from God and what you do with it is between you and God or not you and me see the failure of our wisemen. By the way, don't forget the wisemen when they saw the star in the sky traveled from the East to see the baby Jesus from this region.

Babylon of course by that point was long since fallen but the traditions of the writings of the wisemen had remained fascinating that somehow in their traditions that they handed down. They had been taught to look toward heaven for a clue about how the world would ultimately be saved to three chills encounters like this when they were taught that the ultimate answers for human purpose for those kind answers you had to look beyond the earth and you have a look toward heaven and so one day. There are looking toward heaven. God puts star there and said here's your answer. 500 years later, Agrippa wisemen show up see the baby Jesus in the shower the baby Jesus because of incidents like this on them.

You will find it here. We are given a message just as serious as what Belshazzar received. The question is are you paying attention and are you going to listen your listening to Summit life with pastor JD Greer pastor, JD, what are we helping our listeners will take away from this new teaching series that wherein called Daniel shining in Babylon were hoping to show people what it looks like to shine for Jesus in the midst of a dark and hostile culture right were supposed to be like Daniel part of Babylon's life in in in in in her business structures, and in her government even and were supposed to be. There is a part of the city in this cultural loving it and embracing it willing to be different in all the ways that the Bible calls us to be different, which means ultimately we live for a different kingdom. We worship a different God and we participate by different set of values we want to be different so that we can make a difference. That's what this book will give you a roadmap to show you how to be different in Babylon, and how to shine for Jesus.

We want to give you a Bible study that goes along with the teaching that you're getting here that will take you even deeper into these passages, and maybe help you see some things that that I wasn't able to cover the messages it teaches you the principles of inductive Bible study how to study the Bible on your own and to get every bit of goodness in life out of God wants to give this a nine session Bible study take you into these passages. If you go to JD right now it'll show you how you can reserve your copy today when you get today to support this ministry will express our gratitude to work but after Jeannie mentioned the book of Daniel shining in Babylon yours with your donation. $35 or more.

Want to request a copy right now by calling 85 24.

Give online Emily Witt events join us tomorrow as we continue this message titled, the writing on the wall Wednesday on Senate Jeannie

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