Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Mr. Peter Langbroek
Bible Stories Are Meant to Bring You Down

You're thinking, "What does he mean by that? I like Bible stories, like the story of the Flood, and the Crossing at the Red Sea. I really like the story of David and Goliath." I 'm glad you like them, as long as you know that they are more than fun to listen to. In fact, Bible stories have judged those who refused to learn from them. Remember what I just said, before you read or hear this Bible story.

That night, the ornate palace room in Babylon was full of merry people, eating and drinking--a thousand nobles with the king, and their wives and children too. The music played while they joked and laughed and danced. What more fun could they expect? What an honour being with the second most powerful man in the kingdom of Babylon--the great King Belshazzar!

In their hands were beautiful gold cups from Israel that Belshazzar had ordered from the temple of the gods. Its designs spoke of better times, when the cups were used to serve God at the feasts in the temple at Jerusalem. But the Israelite kingdom had fallen. Jerusalem was a heap of rubble and their God's temple was destroyed. Their gods had defeated Israel's God; so they thought. Belshazzar and his guests praised their gods with these cups.

Suddenly, the music, laughing, and praising stopped. With haunted looks, the men and women stared at the candlelit wall above the king. A giant hand! It is writing! They could hear the hand scrape into the plaster the words: Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. The king, as pale as a ghost, trembled. His knees knocked so much he could hardly stand up. What do those words mean?!

He called for the wise men, astrologers and magicians. When they could not interpret the words, his face became paler and his knees knocked harder. In came Daniel. The queen mother had told Belshazzar to send for him. "If you can interpret the writing,Ó Belshazzar told him, "I will make you the third ruler of the kingdom." Daniel refused the offer.

Children, what do you think Daniel told him first No, he didn't interpret the writing. He first accused him of not listening to a Bible story you have probably heard before.

Daniel reminded Belshazzar of Nebuchadnezzar who had dreamed about an enormous tree that had been chopped down. He had sent for Daniel who told him that he was that tree. Then he prophesied this warning: ÒGod will bring you down like that tree.Ó Daniel advised him to break off his sins by living righteously and by showing mercy to the poor. But Nebuchadnezzar didn't listen. One day, while he looked at the city of Babylon, he bragged about his power, honour and majesty, and the great kingdom he built in Babylon At that moment, a voice from the sky spoke to him and told him he would live like an animal. He then lost his mind and behaved like a farm animal for some time, until he came to his senses and he gave God the honour and glory.

Daniel reminded Belshazzar: "And thou, his son, 0 Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this: but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven" (Daniel 2:22,23). Then, Daniel interpreted and explained the words to him, which mean: Ònumbered, numbered, weighed, and found lacking.Ó

.Belshazzar was killed that night by the Medes and Persians and his kingdom was divided among the Medes and Persians. God judged Belshazzar because he had seen Nebuchadnezzar on his hands and legs, chewing grass like a cow, his hair long, matted and dirty. Belshazzar had seen his dirty fingernails grown like eagle's talons. And he had also seen how Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself before God and praised God instead of himself But, proud Belshazzar used God's holy cups to praise his lifeless gods.

Children, now you know this too! We stand judged if we fail or refuse to interpret the Bible storiesÕ meaning. Bible stories are meant to humble us. If we--who know the New Testament Bible stories of Jesus and his Church, besides the Old Testament stories--if we lift ourselves in pride against the God of heaven, we, like Belshazzar, will have the same words before our eyes. God judged Belshazzar, and Goliath and Pharaoh too. He judged the world with the flood, and He will judge the world with fire too. But remember, God showed mercy to Nebuchadnezzar who repented. Nebuchadnezzar praised, exalted and honoured the King of heaven, and he confessed: "those who walk in pride He is able to abase" (Daniel 5: 37).

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