Two human kings are forced to recognise the ultimate kingship of God.
We all enjoy listening to people’s testimonies, well here’s one from the most powerful man of his day, written for our instruction (v.1). He’s got a simple point he wants to make, which like a good preacher he states at the beginning (v.3), in his conclusion (v.34), and repeats three times in the body of his address (vv.17, 25, 32).
The simple but crucial lesson is “Heaven Rules” (v.26). Nebuchadnezzar had seemed quite close to a profession of faith by the end of ch.3, but he still needs to be humbled. Pride is the antithesis of faith. And there’s a warning to us – “Those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (v.37).
God seems to have been very patient with Nebuchadnezzar, but Belshazzar appears to be given a harsher deal. He though sinned against the light (v.22), and deliberately set himself against the God of heaven, profaning the sacred objects from the temple.
Again there is a simple message about the need to humble ourselves and acknowledge the God who holds our life and all our ways in his hands. Daniel is wonderful testimony to the truth of that as we see his gracious, but bold and uncompromising faithfulness vindicated; whilst Belshazzar demonstrates the folly of rejecting it. God’s grace in the past cannot be presumed upon.
As in study 3, there isn’t time to read both chapters during the study, so people need to be encouraged to read them through before the study. A homework question could perhaps be given:
Read Daniel 4 and 5. What similarities and contrasts do you see between the two chapters?
It would probably be best to focus on just one chapter for the study itself. Chapter 4 would seem the obvious one.
Let’s see how he learnt it:
Unpack the lessons he has learnt about God.