C.A.C Sunday School Manual For April 4 and 11, 2021, Lesson Six : Topic – GOD IN BABYLON
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH WORLDWIDE
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
THEME: GOD IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF MAN (II)
Unit Two : Gentile Administration In The Exilic And Post Exilic Periods
Date – April 4 & 11, 2021
Lesson – SIX
TOPIC – GOD IN BABYLON
Memory Scripture : “And I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have done in Zion in your sight,” says the LORD (Jeremiah 51:24).
God proved Himself as the Governor of all nations, in Babylon, by silencing lions before Daniel and turning King Nebuchadnezzar into a beast. He is Lord of all!
Babylon was a city located on the bank of the Euphrates’ River in Mesopotamia. She was known for her expertise in astronomy, culture, religious beliefs and law; she was rich in wealth, and became great. She was brutal, proud and thought she would reign forever. Indeed, she was used as an agent of discipline in God’s hand for His erring children who rebelled against Him, through indulging in idolatry and all manners of ungodliness. The Lord who is God alone (Isa. 45:22c) prompted the exilic journey of His children into the land of Babylon by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar who went farther than His intent for their sin. They had mishandled their earthly relationship, and had no regard for the sovereignty of Yahweh. God, on two significant situations, showed up to be known in Babylon as God for His people, and Governor of the universe. The powerful God who intervens, interrupts, interjects and interferes anyhow, anywhere, showed up in Babylon to prove Himself and preserve His faithful and committed people, Daniel and so. Just as God promised to repay Babylon far all the evil they did, God would rise to fight for all His children who are currently being oppressed and afflicted by wicked oppressors.
Devotional Bible Reading For Week One
Mon. Mar. 29: God Shows A Lion-Like Beast (Dan. 7:1-4)
Tue. Mar. 30: God Reveals A Bear-Like Beast (Dan. 7:5)
Wed. Mar. 31: God Reveals Known Leopard-Like Beast (Dan. 7:6)
Thur. Apr. 1: God And Ten-Horned Beast (Dan. 7:7-8)
Fri. Apr. 2: God, The Ancient One (Dan. 7:9-12)
Sat. Apr. 3: God And The Son Of Man (Dan. 7:13-14)
1. God rules without apology and reservation in the affairs of men.
2. He is God: that is His sovereignty (Psa. 115:3). He can never appease anyone to be allowed to do His eternal good will. Nothing restricts His power to act. Nothing is strong enough to stop His movement. He fills the heavens and the earth at the same time, all the time. How can such an ultimately indescribably powerful Being be expected to contact, agree with, or seek the approval of any person (in the actual fact, those He created) before doing His will?
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: 2 Timothy 4:9-18
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
AIM: To show that whatever privilege you enjoy, it is to appreciate God and not to counter His intents.
OBJECTIVES: At the end of this lesson, each reader should be:
i. showing signs of having understood that one can’t do farther than the intents of God without God measuring ones intents and actions;
ii. able to prove that God knows how to bring His intent to pass, no matter the situation;
iii. able to explain that God wouldn’t act emotionally or compromise His will, but deals with individuals accordingly; and
iv. showing signs of having been more convinced that no matter what, we must always recognise God for Who He is, unto His glory.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: DANIEL 2-6
All glory to God Almighty, the One who made us have a wonderful revelation of His dealing with His loving people — how He made them suffer for disobeying His instructions. We saw, and must have better understood how God could move enemy nations to conquer His own people (the apple of His eyes), because of their disloyalty. May the lessons learnt be a shield for us enabling us to obey God and His rules. Amen.
In this current lesson, we shall examine God’s feat in another dimension; His revelation to the heathen kings in the land of Babylon as the Supreme God is everywhere and owns the whole universe. But He only becomes real and visible wherever He is acknowledged.
Heathen kings eventually acknowledged God as the Most High, above their man-made gods, through His judgment on them. The great King Nebuchadnezzar and his son after him, Belshazzar, both despised God, but unfortunately for Belshazzar, he died without repenting, while Nebuchadnezzar on his part, had opportunity to repent, amend his ways, and also glorify God.
May the Holy Spirit help us to that we can fully appropriate God’s blessings for us in this lesson, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION
This lesson is divided into two sections, I and II of the sections is further divided into A and B, respectively.
DIVISION I: NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S REIGN
The division one of this lesson shows God’s intervention in Babylon, turning things around for His glory and the fulfilment of His purpose for, and promise to His people, regarding their restoration. He unmistakably revealed His supremacy through the lives of some Hebrew boys (Daniel and his colleagues) for the restoration of His people in the Babylonian kingdom. His sanction upon King Nebuchadnezzar made Him to discover and declare the God of the Jews as most superior. He still does that in miraculous ways, today.
DIVISION II: BELSHAZZAR’S AND DARIUS’ REGN
This second division has two kings in view. One failed to learn from his father’s wrong deeds. He saw the other side of God’s writing about Him. The other king rashly and mistakenly consented to the wicked plans against God and His servant, Daniel. In the end, God used the situation to prove His supremacy in the affairs of men, even on gentile soils. He is the Governor of all nations, Jews and Gentiles, alike.
I. IN NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S REGN
A. SHOWS NEBUCHADNEZZAR FUTURE GOVERNMENTS
B. SHOWS SUPREMACY OVER NEBUCHADNEZZAR
II. IN BELSHAZZAR’S AND DARIUS’ REIGNS
A. SHOWS SOVEREIGNTY ON BELSHAZZAR
B. HELPS THE DECEIVED DARIUS
I. IN NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S REGN (Daniel 2-4)
That one is not seeing God physically doesn’t mean He is not available to do and undo. God works in mysterious ways and uses anything and anyone to execute His tasks. Endeavors to see God in all situations around you. Nebuchadnezzar should have seen God through some of the situations around him, but he failed.
A. SHOWS NEBUCHADNEZZAR FUTURE GOVERNMENT (2:1-48)
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (v. 44).
i. vv. 1-13: The all-powerful God affirmed His authority over the dreaded king Nebuchadnezzar by making him to have a disturbing dream that he could not even remember, thus causing him fear and frustration (Gen. 12:3; Jer. 51:25; Rom. 1:18ff).
ii. vv. 14-19: As sovereign in the affairs of men, God revealed both the dream and its interpretation to His servants, in order to prove to the proud heathen king that there is none like unto the Most High (cf. 1 Sam. 2:3).
iii. vv. 24-33: Divine information on the timeline of world government beginning from Nebuchadnezzar’s reign till the second coming of Jesus Christ was given in the form of a status with its body parts being of different gems. God initiates and approves the reign of governments.
iv. vv. 44-55: God’s own Kingdom, which will one day destroy pagan powers is represented with a stone supernaturally cut out from a mountain. God determines the existence and extinction of mortals.
v. People may have been blindfold, and failed to recognise God’s manifestation or acts in their affairs. But God is ever at work willing and waiting for our loyal responses.
B. SHOWS SUPREMACY OVER NEBUCHADNEZZAR (chaps. 3 & 4)
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation (4:34).
i. 3:1-15: God never stops manifesting His sovereignty (cf. Exo. 8:9; 10). He allowed the flamboyant, proud king to put up an image for all to worship (cf. Psa. 115:4-8) on order to further reveal His own place and power (Psa. 115:9-11). Hope you are not trying to work against His Person?
ii. vv. 24-30: God, having dealt the proud Nebuchadnezzar a blow (vv. 16-18; cf. Josh. 24:15), also showed up as the fourth Man in the king’s fiery furnace (Dan. 3:24,25; cf. Exo. 3:3-4), delivered His servants, stirred the king to decree against anti-God activities, and got His faithful servants promoted (cf. Psa. 75:6-7).
iii. 4:4-27: The king, having earlier testified of God’s awesome power (vv. 2-3), became corrupted through vanity. Most mortals would not acknowledge God until they have first lost their sanity. Is God still going to be accorded His deserved honour in your life when you are moved to the next level of success?
iv. vv. 28-33: While the king remained arrogant and boastful, God proved His supremacy over him and stripped him of his sanity to become an animal in the bush for 7 seasons, according to God’s Word.
v. vv. 34-36: God is extolled and accorded His rightful place after (Acts 12:20-23). Don’t dare God! Give Him His due glory (2 Kgs. 5:15).
vii. Man is to blame for the consequence of his ignorance and foolishness. However, God has to be seen as One who condones no indulgence over anything. He reveals future events to put right the wrong motives for who would care be wise and manageable.
1. God who made us has the blueprint of our lives. We must not alter His design for our lives.
2. God’s dealing with Nebuchadnezzar show the fact that God is giving everyone privilege to know Him as the All-Powerful God.
WORK TO DO
Discuss why God had to deal with the “innocent Nebuchadnezzar” and his kingdom the way He did.
SUGGESTED ANSWER TO WORK TO DO
i. God is not a man, and never would He be, because He doesn’t fail in His promises. The respect He has for the Abrahamic covenant is constant, and never to be compromised.
ii. All that king Nebuchadnezzar became for the sake of His purpose (famous powerful, great wealth, etc.) are God’s initial dealings with and blessings on him.
iii. The abuse of power and pride were part of the reason God chose to deal with him ruthless. He needed to learn his lessons, even if it would be in the hardest way.
iv. Failure to see God as the power and strength behind his success and achievement coupled with his tendency to ascribe to himself the glory due God finished Nebuchadnezzar.
v. God had to deal with him so that he would know that there is no other God anywhere, except the Almighty God.
vi. God dealt with him to show to the nations and kingdom of the world that He reigns supreme, regardless of who is privileged to be the throne here on earth
II. IN BELSHAZZAR’S AND DARIUS REIGNS (Daniel 5 & 6)
God is not limited by time and distance. He is everywhere at the same time, all the time, fulfilling His good and eternal purpose. The wise would always acknowledge His presence in all circumstances, unlike the foolish ones who aren’t mindful of His acts. See how Belshazzar and Darius, Babylonian kings at different times responded differently to God’s manifestation in their different reigns.
A. SHOWS SOVEREIGNTY ON BELSHAZZAR (5:1-30)
In the same hour the finger of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote (v. 5).
i. v. 1: King Belshazzar treaded in his father’s arrogance and incurred Yahweh’s wrath upon himself and his kingdom (cf. 1 Kgs. 15:25-26). He failed to learn from how the sovereign God dealt with his father (4:31-33).
ii. vv. 2-4: Just like Jeshurun who grew fat and forgot God (Deut. 32:15-18), the king in his folly, ordered that the precious holy things of God be brought out for their merriment (cf. Isa. 52:11). What a desecration!
iii. vv. 5-9: Unexpectedly, Yahweh who can’t be stopped suddenly made King Belshazzar to see wonder — God’s handwriting on the wall! The king could neither read nor understand, neither could his wise men (cf. Job 12:22-25; Isa. 40:28).
iv. vv. 10-28: God troubled the king with this wonder, so much that it was His own faithful servant, Daniel, that He revealed the Interpretation to. Daniel boldly declared God’s matchless sovereign in His verdict on Belshazzar, that his kingdom had been taken away from him.
v. v. 30: That same night, God supervised Belshazzar’s death through Darius the Mede, putting an end to the Babylonian empire. What a God! (Psa. 28:5; Ezk. 13:14).
vi. Belshazzar replaced Nebuchadnezzar in the story line, but there was no improvement in leadership. The former didn’t learn from the latter’s mistake. Belshazzar’s story repeats the complacency and pride of his predecessor that he extended to such a terribly blasphemous height that infuriated Yahweh greatly.
vii. Few people learn from history and past experiences. But the danger is that, he who fails to learn from history is doomed to repeat the error and disaster of the past.
B. HELPS THE DECEIVED DARIUS (6:1-28)
Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God (v. 23).
i. vv. 1-5: Bringing Daniel to Babylon, and helping him rise in influence, on the part of God, aren’t coincidental. God deliberately wanted him in the king’s cabinet to fulfil His eternal purpose (cf. Gen. 41:41-42). God also knew that the promotion would come in its wake with some risks and opposition, but He prepared for him very well (see Amos 3:6)
ii. vv. 6-9: The Ruler of all nations permitted the conspirators to have their way with the king. He could have stopped them, but unknown to them, He would use them to promote the knowledge od His supremacy even on a gentile soil (cf. Exo. 14:17,18; Matt. 26:52-54).
iii. vv. 10-17: He could have stopped Daniel from being ‘stubborn’, but He stood as the great ‘Examiner’ who was at the background looking at how Daniel would face the situation — deny or stay with Him. The same God is monitoring whatever you are passing through today (Matt. 6:33; 1 Cor. 10:13; 15:57).
iv. vv. 18-23: How else can we explain trained lion not being able to either touch or consume a man thrown to them for dinner? God in action, ensuring that only His purposes stood fulfilled.
v. vv 24-28: This is what God wants to achieve among all; He must be glorified among all nations and nationalities. Don’t try to stop Him from being glorified wherever you are.
vi. Daniel was involved in the affairs of the kingdom. He was made one of the 3 supervisors of the 120 appointed leaders in the kingdom. We see God in actions, working behind the scene to make sure the plot against His servant (Daniel) turned to be an avenue for the gentile king to encounter the King of kings.
vii. How often and well do you see God’s hand in your situation, regardless of whether palatable or not?
1. Unlike the foolish king Belshazzar, we must always learn from history that God sovereignty rules in the affairs of man.
2. As believers, we can bring the whole world to bow at Jesus’ feet, if we act as His faithful witnesses.
1. Discuss God’s sovereignty over king Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon.
2. The Babylonians were not Jews (God’s people), why did God continue to ‘intervene’ in their administration?
SUGGESTED ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
ANSWER TO QUESTION 1
i. See part I A and B.
ii. Aside God, there was no king or kingdom greater than Babylon when it held sway worldwide as an empire.
iii. God Himself arranged approved and executed the exile of His people to Babylon, because of their recalcitrance. He allowed and helped king Nebuchadnezzar to capture them.
iv. God’s sovereignty began to show from the wisdom of Daniel and his friends who did not because of the king’s delicacies forsake God.
v. God demonstrated His sovereignty over Nebuchadnezzar by making him go Sabbatical in the bush, among the animals for 7 seasons without anyone talking over his kingdom until he returned.
vi. God showed His sovereignty in the fulfilment of the dream He gave Nebuchadnezzar that Daniel interpreted in the Lord.
vii. Finally, the king’s confession of the Son of God in the fiery furnace was enough proof to him that God is all in all.
ANSWER TO QUESTION 2
i. The earth is the Lord’s and its fullness thereof (Psa. 24:1ff).
ii. He rules in all the earth. There is no where He cannot be found. He is omnipresent.
iii. Since the export of the Jews was programmed by Him, He remained faithful to His Word that He would be with them. Therefore, He was with them in the land.
iv. God intervened in the administration to boost the hope of His people for total restoration.
v. He did that so that the kings and the kingdom would be assisted to recognise Him as the Governor of the universe
vi. In doing all of these, He has the coming kingdom of Christ in mind.
The Jews’ destiny could have been changed from going to exile, to sojourning in a land that put God to a test. But because of their sins and rebellion, they became rigid to listen to God’s warning through the prophets. Thus, God engineered their enemies to capture them for slavery. However, the infinitely merciful and omniscient God turned their living in Babylon to a chance to visit the land ruled by brutal, cruel, selfish and complacent kings to reveal His supremacy as the Governor of all nations, who doesn’t need any invitation to do His will in any part of the world.
This is the end of lesson 6. We have been enabled by God to consider how God manifested in faraway Babylon to intervene on behalf of His people Come what may, God does not neglect or abandon His people totally in the land of their enemies, especially when they know and correct their mistakes.
DEVOTIONAL BIBLE READING FOR WEEK TWO
Mon. 5: God Would Permit Kingdom To Rise (Dan. 7:15-18)
Tue. 6: God’s Glorious Eternal Kingdom Would Come (Dan. 7:18)
Wed. 7: God Would Crush The Proud Beast (Dan. 7:19-27)
Thur. 8: God Likens Earthly Kings To Animals (Dan. 8:1-5)
Fri. 9: God Would Permit A Goat’s Reign (Dan. 8:6-12)
Sat. 10: God Is The One Supervising All (Dan. 8:13-14)