9th June 2024

The Writing on the Wall: A Call to Return to God

Passage: Daniel 5
Service Type:

This sermon explores the biblical account of Daniel and the writing on the wall, drawing parallels to contemporary times. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing God's sovereignty and the dangers of pride and displacing God with worldly pursuits. The speaker calls for a revival of Christian values and a return to God, warning that nations that fail to honour God may face divine judgment. Through the example of Daniel, the sermon encourages Christians to stand firm in their faith and be a witness to God's truth in all circumstances.

Automatically Generated Transcript

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And their representative Daniel is one of the people taken as a young man and made... taken away to captivity in Babylon. And this is now where he's an old man. And the story is of a king who is probably a grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, but he's not the direct son but when Nebuchadnezzar passed on to the nextE Bod, the next Pod was a fella who had, scientific if you want to call it that back then, One fellow I saw that back then, that interested in doing things very similarly to being an archeologist.

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He shifted himself away from the capital and left the kingship to his own son. That's the grandson, I guess. That fellow was young, and boastful. He is the one northwest that we are talking about here. I don't know how to say his name either. Bell Shazar, or whatever. You see it here in verse 2. he was a young upstart, who had no care for the fact that his grandfather could have left him a legacy if he took any notice of it,

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of how even though you may be a foreign kingdom, away from God, but the God of Heaven is still your god, and he had to get humbled. He's the one Nibbetanesser, who God took away his brains, and he walked like an animal without any clothes on eating grass, or several years, until he came to respect the god of heaven when God gave him back his Kingdom. And if such a thing happened to you and it was in your legacy from grandfather telling you down, you are a bit of an idiot not to simply disregard the holiness of the god of heaven. But what happens when people don't regard the god of heaven

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who's sovereign over all things, is what this story exhibits And that is when God decides that the rulership of that v Wellington, as it comes to a sudden and abrupt end, and that's what the writing on the wall was telling him that is about to happen. Now it's become a bit of a saying in our culture of the writing on the wall as for this or for that or if someone has a project to do something and the factors all turn against it and at last they realize there is no hope ever succeeding P they say the writing is on the wall And often that saying is said also of kingdoms today,

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so that in the Communist era, when they had much power and strength in the KGB and those who were being terrible opponents of those who were representative similar in the West, there came a moment when it was recognisable, those who studied international politics, that the writing was on the wall for the Soviet bloc and all that they had attempted on this question of nuclear opposition to the West, and because of John F. Kennedy, I think it's...

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an American President who stood against them, there was a great victory of the West against the threat of the East, because their era had come to an end, maybe another era, involving different nations, Chinese and Russians together perhaps, Or maybe around Israel, those nations that are seeking to get together – the Bible actually predicts some of those nations coming together in a strategic plan against Israel, which Jesus puts down when he returns. So we may be close to another writing on the Wall.

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And I've been thinking about this in about Australia. The first question in my mind to answer, that is the wall that would be similar to or parallel about back then. And the writing on the wall was the thing that represented the boasting of the people of Babylon where they had all the great important persons coming to be feast which turned out to be a great orgy and drunkenness. That coming together of a king who didn't care for what cost and expense it was and who had just blazoned his shameful boasting

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of being the chief bunny who led his kingdom. Mrs. Bell shares what I'm talking about. Formed there to be on the place where he had these sorts of big gatherings of all of his lords and ladies and people who were the other ones of his kingdom. On the wall of that gathering place where there were thousands to gather, that was the wall for them, that caused me looking at this story to ask the question what would be the wall on which God might write for us today

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if he were to be fed up with our trusting in everything but him. In previous services we've been going into what is the heart of sin, and actually the theologians investigate what they think is the very core of sinfulness, And pride is being a very often given suggestion that it is our pride that is the core of sin. But the textbooks that we would use at college when I was lecturing there suggest that the Heart of Sin is better described as displacement of God

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and there can be all sorts of different things with which we put in God's place and worship those man-made items or things or behaviors or beliefs instead of God himself. And what is that which represents that best today? What's the wall is the question. And I'm sure that we may have a number of different ideas and I'm not going to propose necessarily this or that because I'm not sure of what would be the wall for us that God would put his writing on

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and give us a warning. But what we can do is look back and see in Western history some of the things that have happened to the West which has been given by West, I mean the nations of Britain and America and Australia included in and those that basically won World Wars I and II from other isms that wanted to take control of the world. And what would be the writing on our wall has been something that interests me to know how to interpret

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what happened back then to Daniel and to fear what might happen to us. So, to understand that we look back a little bit in history and see if there were any walls that turned out to be somewhat of an equivalent. And there was one that happened to the west as represented by the with the fervency and the increase of economy and the growth of the United States. And then England in conjunction with them. But there was a new trading route and traffic that started because of the vastness of the US and its economic growth

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that caused there to be a wall. I wonder whether anybody here can guess what I'm going to suggest. what is the wall that came about because of the explosive growth of the United States and there was something that we would call a wall, in fact it has that name. And it became a writing on the Wall for a few generations back. Nobody knows if I have a guess. I won't berate you if you get not the same one I have

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because it's a bit of a guess on my part, too. Well, I'll talk a little bit and see if you can cottonon, that when this great trading thing happened, it happened from Europe, which is called the old world and the new world, which is the Americas, you know, Canada and United States. And the new world was very expansive in terms of opportunity, and that advancement, an opportunity, economically became very much at a taking point because of the development of all the companies

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that were bringing goodies over from the old world by ship and setting up these trading companies for the new world. And these new companies were called Canal Companies because they're talking about The Atlantic Ocean as a canal, and when they come over with all of their goodies, then they'd be traded. And of course, the chief American city was New York so I'm giving you a hint now, narrow it down in your guessing thinking, to New York and how there are companies that are trading

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with all the goods being unloaded from the ships in New York. As a consequence, in about the 1920soor, 1927 around that date, they had to set up some sort of mechanism whereby all the un-humped goods from the ships and could be shared around and traded with each other and somehow the evaluation of one compared to other. That idea is what was the beginning of there being a stock exchange. And the New York Stock Exchange, sometimes referred to as NYSE,

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became quite an entity, an expansion of the economics of America. But there was a further development on the 1800's. One that had a lot of steam. There is a hint! And that was the invention of the steam train and the setting up of the connection of a lot of the American places at a distance by the railway lines. And when the railway lines got sending goods out, which they could do economically and quickly,

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then the whole value of the NYSE New York Stock Exchange took off. And it developed all sorts of little rules they gave themselves as to how the money exchange and stock exchange could be made and kept legal and kept, you know, in abeyance to good principles. And that stock exchange became a wall if you like where the success of the West was being written. And what happened in the expansion of the Americas was that there was a great Christian movement with revivals happening whereby many people became Christians and so the church Church also got set up very well in the west, and American churches became a lot stronger than some of the older streams of churches in Europe from which they had been fathered. And that new horizon pushed ahead with Christianity in America and became probably the most Christian

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country. In fact, the best test of such an idea is that mission organizations that previously had at their centers in England, in London, indeed, would shift to America. And indeed, the thrust of evangelizing the world was very much centered for a season in the US. Anyway, what happened in the US was, nonetheless, that there was a struggle as to who they'd go on worshiping, and the worship of gold and silver, and the turning aside from Christian values was also happening as well. And so that was a year, of course, when we had, on top of all that I'm reciting,

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the history of World Wars I and II. And World War I particularly sapped the good upsurge of Christian belief and practice in both England and in America. Returning people from the wars sometimes had been involved in too much for them to forget that Christianity was what suffered. And so in the finish of World War I 1919, beginning of the 1920s, there was quite a movement in America toward more behavior that was a slip away from Christianity. And there came a moment when their war, which was a success that they had written in their stock exchange, in all of the

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the surgency of the economy of all that trade that had happened that made United States the leading nation with resources and with monies to do all sorts of things, even including missions. On that wall, was written a warning from God because of the roaring twenties Then the lack of Christian behaviors that came back from World War One and the facts that they lost some of the leadership Christian-wise because of the behavior of the so-called Christians caused there to be what I think was the actual explanation of the great, shocking and terribly effective Wall Street Crash. Wall Street crash comes because the stock is changed, it was on Wall Street in New York,

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and crash, because somehow or other all the handling of the money didn't work out and there was too much borrowing and not enough putting it to use in good things, and there was a crash. Now why would we have tried any of that to do with Australia because we were not immune from the effect of the Wall Street crash in the Northern hemisphere. have, because it caused an economic slide in Australia, which happened to us as well. We had some version of a stock exchange, and it went into problems, and monies that were borrowed could not be paid back, and governments were trying to get out of their debts to England that they owed lots of money to for loans. They were trying to find ways out of it. But But there was a real economic slide that happened in the 1920s in Australia

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and part of that was that the old Christian religion that lay beneath our cultures, both ours and in Britain and America, and for a good part in Europe, which had been where Christianity had started so strongly, but about these times if you went to Europe, the types of behavior that you'd see in churches wouldn't necessarily resemble what the Bible teaches for proper behavior. And there was this terrible economic slide in the 1920s as a Prime Minister that we had at that time and Stanley Bruce who thought that he could solve all the problems of everybody being out of work

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and about 30 percent of the people were out of work and somewhere around the 30s, a percentage of people were not having enough money to pay their bills and it was a terrible time. At that time my grandfather on my mother's side was a businessman and his daughter, which was my mother, got yanked out of school at a primary school age and she had to help him run one of his shoe shops that he had around the country. And there was this, I remember all the stories my mother told me of how even though I was working like slaves in a number of shoe shops in different strategic places,

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but somehow the way that the salaries all had to go backwards who had to find more money to do normal things. It was a terrible time in Australia, a real depression. And every now and then in the politics, as you listen, you see that Australia as a nation can sometimes look like it might be approaching another depression, where the value of money is such that people can't get enough of it to buy enough of what's needed. I am probably not wording what a time of depression is but it's a difficult time, and it happened in my mother's time,

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and in that particular time, Christian religion also suffered, and people who have returned, then this time from later on when you get through to the 1940s to the World War II, people returned from that warfare of the 1930s and 40s came back very disillusioned with their own behavior, often in the war, the crimes they saw and the lack of wrongful things happening that they couldn't change. And there was a decided in the Northern Hemisphere, in particular, a movement of people away from going to church.

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They didn't stop believing about God but they didn't have much faith in him. And that happened back then. There was a writing on the wall that happened, I think in the wall of economics. And I think that if we were to find a way to interpret this Old Testament passage of Daniel in his day. There wouldn't be just a simplistic one where there's a heathen King who's boasting about all that he can do, and he goes and calls for the vessels of the Temple to be bought so they can celebrate getting drunk on wine, drunk from all the golden vessels of the Jerusalem Temple. Americans, a couple of generations back, had raided Jerusalem and taken away captives, Daniel being one. A whole scene of what has happened to the temple worship in Israel

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was now being put into practice by heathen people saluting the gods of gold and silver, as they had a big common orgy. A very stupid one, because the enemies of Babylon were a set of kingdoms – The Medes and Persians – who were becoming close to the capital city in order to overtake it. a prince, and this silly king, this young man who thought it was all at his feet and everybody thought he was wonderful, he and his drunkard crowd didn't care but they had a big celebration and they celebrated and gave praise to their gods, gold and silver

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and king, silver and whatever. That is the moment when there came the writing on the wall and I suggest to us that we watch Whatever might be the wall in our days? If suddenly we see God stepping in and is not stepping in with a very favorable message, that we better be aware. I'll tell you a few suggestions that I have in the back of my mind as to what might be a wall to watch. Let's go to the story, and we'll go to the second of the three readings please,

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where we read of what actually occured in this great time with a great time when he's having a great shindig at the expense of praising the true God. And if we look there, if you look at the screen at verse 13, Then Daniel was brought in before the king Now why was Daniel brought in? Because suddenly the writing appeared on the wall. And when the writing appeared on the wall the king got scared because it was a supernatural event interfering with his great time of celebration.

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and so they had called for all of the local experts he had to interpret things and none of them could interpret the writing. Probably some form of Hebrew or some earlier precedent to Hebrew, but it was a writing that he couldn't read and nor could any of these special people who were experts. And that's generally what you find when something begins to happen in a nation where there are these great depressions, discussions, as in the 1920s, where all sorts of experts or people who think they'll have a try at being an expert give their opinions, this is what we should do, or we should start

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this idea, or we should limit the migration, or we should somehow build more houses, these are all good things to say that they might be done, but none of them are going to stop the real cause of the writing being on the wall. The only thing that will do that is turn back to God. And that's why we who are Christians have got a role to play. To call our nation to come back to God, we desperately need that there might be a revival movement of Christianity in Australia, and more and more of those who go to Canberra to make decisions will do so because they have the Holy Spirit tapping on their shoulders. We need there to be people who stand up for Christ in all sorts of careers and are people who say, No, I'm a Christian, I'm not ashamed of it.

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People who don't back down from flying the flag. People who say, I'm prepared to be counted for Jesus even though I may not know every answer to every question. I want you to know that I belong to him. You asked me what I did on the weekend. I'm telling you I really enjoyed going to church. Because of the fellowship, I find with people who know the Lord as well. I think it's one of the greatest excitements of life when you have a secular job and you're the only Christian there,

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which was amazing for me, because I was a fairly shy young lad, but I didn't know how to talk to people, but getting a proper job and being amidst folk who weren't Christians brings a joy, brought a joy, I didn't know existed. And especially when God begins to move in those people and they come and talk to you privately. They often don't admit much when they're in the crowd but then they come up on their own and say, you know, I was thinking of what you said. Or they come and say, what it is you've got

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that makes you prepared to be so unpopular? I have one lad at school say that to me. He said there's two boys in this school who are the lowest of the low. One is the chaplain's son and the poor thing can't help, He keeps trying to swear and do things to get out of being looked at as the chaplain's son. He doesn't seem to have wanted even the wrong, but you look like you don't care. He told me he couldn't explain why I didn't make any different from doing the things that have been annoyed at me. And he privately was giving me information that the witness was working. And there came that day at knuckle

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when the father of the son who used to do the swearing. He had a communion service, and he announced it because he used to do his board announcement on Monday, he announced there'll be, on a certain day of the week, communion service in a beautiful chapel or school of builds with a sun shone down at lunch time and all the boys waiting for the one o'clock bell to release them to go and do what they like I'll be watching in that he says at one o'clock were having a communion service and to get in the door he had to walk up those steps in front of the whole watching eyes of the school

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And I thought what a silly chap. And I thought to myself because no one's gonna be wanting to walk up those steps with everybody watching. But I felt I had to go. So I stepped out when the bell rang and walked from where I was, I had my lunch, towards the steps and out from another spot, around the thing was a Chinese fella where I was in the final used for school and he stepped up and he'd been boarding in a Christian home and they had led him to Christ. but he never raised the flag, and he stepped out

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and walked with me up the steps, with everybody watching. And that started something in our church, of people being interested about Christianity. Anyway, that's what God needs us to do. He needs us to be a Daniel, you know, they used to teach you... Sometimes you dare to be Daniel, as a song or something, But to be a Daniel you just need to belong to God and be prepared not to compromise and to keep your witness, hold the flag high,

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and anyway that's what Daniel had done. But interestingly when you look through those who are invited to this big shindig, this great big celebration, this time of everybody getting drunk, thousands, they only invited the peoples on side with the King and they didn't invite Daniel, though he'd been a leading light in the light for quite a number of generations. He wouldn't have come anyway but he didn't need to come because God stepped in. We're going to read what happens here.

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And the hand has appeared, and the King is afraid. So he says to Daniel verse 13... I'm reading on the screen. You are that, Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah whom the King, my father his ancestors really brought from Judah. I have heard of you, that the Spirit of the Gods is in you and that light and understanding the excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the enchanters have been brought in and before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation. But they could not show the interpretation of the matter. But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems.

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You know, it's a factor, among people who don't know the Lord that they don't have them. They pretend that they have their ideas, but underneath there's a lack of security. They don't really know how to interpret the times, or how they should be. But then they see you as a Christian and even though you're in a time of a lack of peace internationally, sometimes you're in a time when the non-Christian surroundings are not treating you very well, but when they sense you seem to have a security, nonetheless they get curious as to what it is. Why do you have the Spirit of the Living God saying, people saying back then that it was in Daniel?

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And so they think you've got something to say. And the king says, You shall be clothed with purple and have a gold chain of gold around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.' Then Daniel answered and said before the king, I love this bit because he could get killed for saying such things to the king back then, Let your gifts be for yourself and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation, Can you hear the courage of this man, he is an old man, but he is not caring.

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He is going to deliver the news from Heaven. OKing, the most high God, Now look and see how the Father has talked about. The most high God, gave Nebuchadnezzar, your father, kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him. All people, nations and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would he killed, whom he didn't want to kill he kept alive. live. And whom he would he raised up, and whom he wanted do, he humbled and demoted. He had all the power over everything this one fellow. He's just a young man his gone to his head.

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But when his heart was filled and lifted up, and he goes on next, the next slide, have some, and you have not humbled your heart. Though you knew all this but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of Heaven ... the Father is the Lord of Heaven ... he's never stopped being such by the way ... you've lifted up your heart against the Lord of Heaven and the vessels of his house have been brought in before you and you and your Lords, your wives, your confines have drunk wine from them and you've praised the gods of silver and gold and bronze and iron and wood and stone which do not see or hear or know but God in whose hand is your breath. Look at that, the God in whose hand is your breath. And just as that was true in Daniel's speech to that King, it's true to us. Every one of us. Your breath, could be taken like that, because it's in the hands of God. Whose are

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He watches all your ways. He watches all your ways. You have not honored and the displacement of God to put everything else as more important, is the heart of sin. You have way, and then he goes on, and then from His presence the hand was sent, the hand that wrote on the wall. I mean chopped off here just riding on the wall. And this riding was inscribed and this is the riding and this is what was meant. Mene mene, techil, and parson, there are the words, Mene mene, techil, parson. This is the interpretation of the matter.

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Mene. God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end. I think it being said twice, Mene, Mene, somehow, adds together that way. Tekel, you've been weighed in the balances and found wanting. Perez, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians. Wow. God spoke. And when we give the metaphor of the writing on the wall, The metaphor of the writing in the wall, it's when Heaven has had enough and God speaks as to what he's going to do. And from this passage, we should always keep in mind that the Father is the Father...

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that he's the God in charge of all the world and all nations. That includes Russia, China. That includes all the countries, the Philippines. It includes Australia. It doesn't matter what we think is in charge. But they do play, but overall God is the One who's in charge and His sovereignty is never lessened by any of the things that we do. Rather, it is that He is very graciously giving us room to come around and if we keep turning that opportunity against Him, we as a nation, eventually there will come the writing on the wall for us

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He gave some terrible results. And the proclamation. Anyway… And so, anyway, but when Belshazzo gave a command... This is a bit showing his stupidity because having Daniel said all that... he is trying to say, why I'm lying to him now, maybe he'll come and relent. I don't know whether that's what he is thinking or whether he is putting on an act for all the other people to see, but he promised to Daniel that he could interpret all these good things,

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so he calls for it to happen, were purple, a chain of gold around his neck. In proclamation, it made about him that he should be of the Third World of the Kingdom. The kingdom is about to fall. Now, unknown to the participants in this drama, the two nations that were combined together against Babylon have been conspiring about how to get into the city. They had a river that ran through the city and all they did was re-divert the river. So it ran drier and on the drier bed of them the river they came in under the walls

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and came and took over the city. And that night, pollution was called and king was killed. And Darius, the Mede, received the kingdom being about 62 years old. So God has his hands on who was the king who was the leader, who is the prime minister. It doesn't all happen just because of political reasoning... There are factors that do apply and I'm not, sort of, ruling out the need to have the political persons who try and explain why things go as they do when the vote is passed,

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but there is a God of Heaven in whose hands our very breath and who's the person in charge and who he allows to be King or not King, it is in his hands. And that God is Sovereign overall. And Darius, who was about 62 years old. That was the end of the Babylonian kingdom, because God was the one who put it down. And there could come a time when the peace that we in the West have had, because of Christianity,

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afar from Christians being the cause of all sorts of problems. According to some of our interpreters, because Christianity is the reason for why we've had. I think Australia deserves the descriptor as the lucky country, not only because we have no borders, which is one reason, because you get less problems at neighboring nations, border disputes. Not only because of that, but because of what we had decreed from Britain in a system of government that recognized God. And we have had a government that would, once upon a time, I don't know whether they stopped it yet, but begun with a prayer,

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a recognition. And when you don't honor God as a nation, when they succeed in getting that prayer taken away from Parliament, look out, see if you can spot a wall. Maybe your hand will appear in it Because the failure to honor God, the sin of the human pride to take God out and put somebody else in its place, whether it be our personal ambitions or whether it be our honoring of the people who do well, being stupid on TV. Or whether it be our politicians whoever can pull the rug from out of the other

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and get to be prime minister. of the Prime Minister whether we keep thinking that they're the ones who are achieving and leading. And we dishonour God by failing to recognise he's the One, who is ruler overall. When we get to that point then look to what are the walls. And then there may come some hand writings that at least we will recognise, actually going into the prophecies of the New Testament about what will happen when Christ returns. Tell us some of the things that will happen in the end days.

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The Book of Revelation. It's pretty hard to fully understand that God is giving us a bit of a hint that he doesn't take rebellious nations forever, he has his hand on the tiller of history and he will steer that ship into the port he wants it to go in his proper time. That's our message from the handwriting on the wall. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, I thank you for the story of Daniel. I thank you first of all,

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for your looking after him as a young lad who was taken as a prisoner to Babylon in early days, and how he stuck up for his values that he learned to be a child that belonged to the King of Heaven. and how you honoured him and used him many times in dangerous moments like being thrown in the lion's den. But Lord, I thank you for in his old age, he was someone still sticking to his beliefs, staying to be someone who's a mighty prophet, really, about God's perspective on things.

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Thank you for helping him have the interpretation to give to Bal Shazza, and how true it rang How true it came. Lord, help us to be people who don't despise prophesies, the bible tells us don't despise prophesies. It also tells us not to pour cold water, as it were, it is don't quench the spirit. Don't be a person who fails to value the working of the Holy Spirit. to be people who seek to be moved by the Holy Spirit and to be led of him. Father we pray that there might come a revival in our time. would you move in our Church Lord to continue there to be the uplift, excuse me of the Holy Spirit and that there be many people through this Church who come to Christ And through us people we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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