[Anabaptists: The Web's first conservative site introducing Mennonites, their history and their beliefs.] NewGuideHistoryDoctrineWritingsBookstore
EspañolChurch LocatorRSS
to the glory of God and the edification of people everywhere

The Fall of an Earthly Empire

(Daniel 5:1-7, 25-28)

Lesson 7 -- fourth quarter 1997
October 19, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

Humans value knowledge. We want to know. We want to be in the know. We want all kinds of intellectual tools to help us in our quest. Information has been one of the mainstay currencies of all time. Why? I don't know if I know enough of the answer to know how to compress it into something brief yet comprehensible! I imagine some issues involved are power, advantage, opportunity and self-image. Tragically, all the good knowledge in the world, unapplied, profits little in the broad scheme of things. Belshazar had that as one of the last lessons of his life. He had a lot of valuable knowledge...but it did him no good.

For the sake of discussion, let's consider this in a generational sort of way. Belshazar knew what had happened to his dad. Belshazar knew the valuable lesson his father had learned through a long, hard experience. But it made no difference for Belshazar. Maybe he thought he was an exception. Maybe he thought he could get his life together a little farther down the road. Maybe he thought it just didn't matter. Maybe he didn't care. Maybe he thought it was "cool" to disregard it. Maybe he wanted to prove he was his own man, unbound by the past and the experiences of others. Maybe he plumb forgot. The case is, knowing, he did not choose to live by that knowledge.

What do you know about the lessons learned by the previous generation? What do I know of the lessons learned by the generation preceding me? While those are important questions, more important is this one: am I living as though I know? Knowledge not translated into wisdom is deadly foolishness for all those living thus!

Now let's look at this from a slightly different angle. I'm sure you know many of the rules you must live by. Rules of the Word. Rules of the church. Rules of your home. Rules of society. Rules of employment. Rules of school. Rules of business. Do you ever think and then act as though bending, violating or ignoring any of these is pretty "neat"? OK, so maybe you don't think or act that way very often, but perhaps you have become quite adept at justifying disobedience. Or maybe you have just become lax. So much for knowing, huh? So much for making Belshazar look like a bad guy.

Who do you think loses? Hmmm. That makes not living according to godly knowledge a rather foolish proposition, eh? I wish I would have caught on sooner. And even so, I still fail. So what is the solution?

Let's learn from the words to Belshazar in our memory selection: "And thou...hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewst all this." Let's have the humility to learn the lessons and live according to them. Let's have the humility to recognize when we fall short, repenting, apologizing and moving on. We get discouraged with our failures, but discouragement has no virtue. Virtue and ultimate success lie in the humbled heart that continues to strive no matter what.

"When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom" (Proverbs 11:2). "A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit" (Proverbs 29:23). "The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility" (Proverbs 15:33). "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:6).

"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).

Return to Sunday School Comments index

[Anabaptists: The Web Page]