Here is our Big Idea this past Sunday at Cityvew: Seek to honour Jesus today by learning wisdom from the stories of Scripture. We were camped out in Daniel 5 building on what it means to Live Like Strangers in our culture but not of it. Belshazzar knew the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation and exaltation, but he failed to grasp the wisdom to be found in the story; Daniel had to re-tell the story for Belshazzar now that B. had seen the writing on the wall.
Unfortunately, like Belshazzar we can be the same way about history–we don’t learn from our mistakes or the mistakes of others. The Christian worldview presses us to learn from other people–particularly their stories in the Scripture–without having to learn solely from experiences. There is great benefit in godliness, holiness, righteousness, in living an undivided life from relationship with Jesus; and that benefit can be ours if we learn wisdom from the stories of Scripture. We don’t have to go out and experience ALL THIS WORLD HAS TO OFFER in order to be a whole person. Belshazzar was literally living the last day of the Babylonian Empire in a party of bravado and drunkenness. Devastation was at his doorstep, yet to the end he never humbled himself and declared himself dependent on God as Nebuchadnezzar had done. So… how can we avoid the same mistakes. We can learn wisdom from the stories of Scripture.
1. Listen to the stories of Scripture to enlarge your view of God. Daniel tells a story that Belshazzar knew but had been unable to access the wisdom in it. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
2. Put the story in its context. This was easy for Daniel to do and sometimes more difficult for us. But the context is often where the story begins to show us the HOPE we can have for today and tomorrow. The Apostle Paul highlights gift of Scripture in Romans 15:4; “For everything that was written in the past was written to encourage us, so that through the endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
3. Pay attention to the warnings that illustrate the consequence of being consumed by your culture’s independence from God. Every culture has aspects of it that seek to move us toward independence from Jesus Christ. Nebuchadnezzar’s personally testimony in Daniel 4 was a proclamation of God’s sovereignty and grace: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” Belshazzar missed the warning. In one of his letters to the church in Corinth, Paul seeks to help them grasp God’s purpose for the stories of Israel for them: “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11
4. Adjust your belief and behaviour accordingly. A genuine change of heart and is reflected in a change of behaviour. When we change our allegiance from self to Jesus our beliefs and behaviours should reflect His exclusive claim to our lives. The stories of Scripture are used by the Holy Spirit to heal us and to move us into the way and mission of God. Paul reminds his mentee, Timothy, that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Learn wisdom from the stories of Scripture. Hey try it yourself as we get ready for this coming Sunday’s message, by reading and reflecting on Daniel 6.