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Daniel 5:1-31
Memorial Day is a time each year when we pause to remember those who laid down their lives for family, friends and freedom.
One week after the Pearl Harbor attack President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who long enjoy such privileges that we enjoy forget in time that others have died to win them.”
Freedom is never really free; it’s almost always bought with the blood of patriots.
The biggest battle we, as Americans, are facing today is the battle for the very soul of our nation.
We see it all around us every day.
The erosion of our society has been a slow process, but we’ve seen it accelerate rapidly in the just the past few decades.
It really doesn’t matter whether there’s a Democrat or a Republican sitting in the Oval Office, this nation that we’ve all come to know and love continues to erode.
The position we’re in today is because of what we tolerated yesterday.
And, the position we’ll be in tomorrow will be because of what we tolerate today.
Well, history has a way of repeating itself down through the centuries.
In Daniel’s day, he saw a lot of what we’re seeing today.
But, his situation was much worse.
The fifth chapter of Daniel describes the collapse of a culture.
They became so comfortable and secure within the confines of their strong walls, but they crumbled from within.
Babylon made four huge mistakes.
They lost all sense of remembrance.
They lost all sense of reality.
They lost all sense of restraint.
And, they lost all sense of respect.
On this Memorial Day, my prayer is that we would be challenged to be a people of repentance and that we would acknowledge that anything we do is vanity without the presence of the Holy Spirit living and working in our lives.
Let’s talk briefly about the...
The Danger of Losing All Sense of Remembrance (Daniel 5:18-23)
Belshazzar’s problem was the same many people have today.
He had forgotten some of the valuable lessons from the past.
Lessons like his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had learned the hard way.
Lessons like, “Those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Dan.
In most cases, pride always comes before destruction.
Daniel gives us an important insight when he challenges the king with the accusation that “you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of Heaven.”
That’s what Belshazzar was doing, boasting about himself.
He picked up right where King Nebuchadnezzar left off, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty (Daniel 4:30)?”
Pride always leads to a fall.
It’s right up there at the top of the list of those things which God despises.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, just ask Satan.
Ask Adam and Eve.
Ask King David.
Ask Simon Peter.
Yes, “Those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:37).
America used to honor God unashamed and openly.
It’s etched in numerous monuments all over the nation’s capital.
It’s carved in granite on many of the government buildings we hold dear.
It’s printed on our currency.
There was a time when we credited Him with our blessings and our successes and turned to Him in our trials and our losses.
But today, like Babylon, we seem to have lost a sense of remembrance.
President Woodrow Wilson said it best, “A nation that does not remember what it was yesterday does not know what it is today, or what it is trying to do.
We are about a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.”
In many ways, we’ve forgotten our past.
What was it about America that made us so great and caused men and women from nations all around the world to risk their lives and fortunes to come here?
Is there something about America that distinguishes us from our neighbors to the north and south?
Canada was settled by French explorers who were looking for gold.
Mexico was settled by Spanish explorers who were also looking for gold.
America was settled by men and women who came here primarily looking for God.
They came searching for a home where God could be exalted and worshiped in spirit, freedom and truth.
We’ve fallen a long way from where we once were.
We’ve gotten so far off our founders’ path that it’s not uncommon to see the federal courts repeatedly doing things such as restricting manger scenes from city squares and removing ten commandment displays from government buildings.
Unfortunately, there are some sobering similarities between ancient Babylon and modern day America.
And just like Babylon, there’s an expensive price to pay when a nation loses all sense of remembrance of who they are and where the’ve come from.
But not only is do we see a danger in losing all sense of remembrance, there is also...
The Danger of Losing All Sense of Reality (Daniel 5:1)
In order to understand how the king had lost all sense of reality around him, we need to remember that outside the city walls of Babylon, the Medes and the Persians surrounded the city.
But inside, Belshazzar is partying.
The Babylonians thought that because of their history of dominance and their strong walls they were invincible and indestructible.
Those walls stretched for sixty miles in circumference.
But everywhere you looked beyond them you could see the enemy surrounding the city.
But, no problem, they thought.
After all, the walls were so high and thick they were impossible to penetrate and a twenty-year supply of rations lay inside.
So, what did Belshazzar do?
He lost all sense of reality.
He threw a big party and invited thousands of guests when destruction was at his door.
When we begin to feel secure in our own strength, danger is just on the other side of the wall.
Many people today think that just because they got away with something before, they’ll get away with it again.
This king was too blind and drunk on his own success to realize that the strength of a kingdom, or an individual, is never on the outside but on the inside.
Babylon soon fell because they had become corrupt on the inside with no more sense of remembrance or reality.
Some people today foolishly think that somehow God needs America to carry out His plan on earth.
After all, we’ve won all the world wars, the cold war is over, and we seem to be the only real superpower still standing in the world today.
But, I believe God is saying to us today, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he also fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Like those in ancient Babylon, we too, think that we’re invincible.
But remember, there was a time when Israel was the world’s only superpower.
They were one nation under God.
Their motto was “In God we trust.”
Three thousand years later, God gave birth to another nation.
God gave America a law built and based on Israel’s ancient commandments.
Why should we think we are invincible?
I think that now, more than ever, it’s time for us to remember who we are where we’ve come from.
I think it’s time for us to look at the reality of what’s going around us and truly pray, “God forgive us and turn back to God in repentance for I believe only then will God bless America”.
Now there is a third danger I see...
The Danger of Losing all Sense of Restraint (Daniel 5:2)
When a nation, or an individual, loses all sense of remembrance and reality, they also lose all sense of restraint.
The Babylonians were too blind to see any connection between moral decay and national decline.
Sound familiar?
This verse describes what the Old Testament politely calls “concubines.”
These were women who were kept for the king’s pleasure for the purpose of sexual gratification and additional procreation.
Our nation, like Babylon, has been virtually given over to sexual permissiveness and perversions of all types.
I don’t have enough time here this morning to describe all the various forms of sexual perversion that bombard our society through movies, television, media and the Internet.
Men have stopped leading their families in spiritual and moral development.
They’ve neglected their wives and children in pursuit of material wealth and power.
They’ve become so busy with their jobs that they ignore their wives and become involved with other women outside the home.
As a result, their wives begin to seek their own worth and value outside the home.
Then, because male and female role models are no longer prominent in the home, children are developing identity problems of their own.
Many of them are neglected and, for the most part, undisciplined.
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