For parents or teachers, this works for both!
Christmas and Easter get all the attention in the religious world, and Halloween gets a bad rep (for obvious reasons). Keep in mind that the bible has something for everything! Our God is brilliant! Take time to share a scary story from God’s word with your children. It shows your kids that the bible is not some boring old book we make them read, but one that is exciting. There are lots of “scary” stories. Several examples: The Witch of Endor summons Samuel’s spirit, King Jeroboam’s hand shrivels, The Valley of Dry Bones, and the one I’m sharing today… the Writing on the Wall. There are so many. These are just a few of my favorites.
This is a scary story so make it fun and spooky. Grab the sheets and flashlights. Use the sheets to build an indoor tent. Climb inside and hold the flashlight under your chin to give it that scary face. Let the kids each have a turn too. Better yet, let them have their own little flashlights. Oh, and don’t forget the popcorn! Now you are ready to show your kids just how fun God’s word really is. Make sure they know that this isn’t just a made up story, but it actually happened! I like to use one of the easy reader versions because they are on a child’s level, making them easy to understand. You can read straight from the bible or modify it (I pulled out a few verses for times sake.)
Use your spooky voice:
King Belshazzar gave a huge party with thousands of noblemen. He drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to his servants to bring in some gold and silver cups. They were the cups his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. Belshazzar had them brought in so everyone could drink from them. So the servants brought in the gold cups. The cups had been taken from God’s temple in Jerusalem. The king and his nobles drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised their gods. The statues of those gods were made out of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood or stone.
Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared. They wrote something on the plaster of the palace wall. It happened near the lampstand. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale. He was so afraid that his legs became weak. And his knees were knocking together.
The king sent for those who try to figure things out by using magic. He also sent for those who study the heavens. All of them were wise men in Babylon. Then the king spoke to them. He said, “I want one of you to read this writing. I want you to tell me what it means. Whoever does this will be dressed in purple clothes. A gold chain will be put around his neck. And he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
Then all the king’s wise men came in. But they couldn’t read the writing. They couldn’t tell him what it meant. So King Belshazzar became even more terrified. His face grew more pale. And his nobles were bewildered.
The queen heard the king and his nobles talking. So she came into the dining hall. “King Belshazzar, may you live forever!” she said. “Don’t be afraid! Don’t look so pale! I know a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. This man’s name is Daniel. Your father called him Belteshazzar. He has a clever mind and knowledge and understanding. He is also able to tell what dreams mean. He can explain riddles and solve hard problems. Send for him. He’ll tell you what the writing means.”
So Daniel was brought to the king. The king said to him, “Are you Daniel? Are you one of the prisoners my father the king brought here from Judah? I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you. I hope you can read this writing and tell me what it means. If you can, you will be dressed in purple clothes. A gold chain will be put around your neck. And you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
Then Daniel answered the king. He said, “You can keep your gifts for yourself. You can give your rewards to someone else. But I will read the writing for you. I’ll tell you what it means.
“Your Majesty, the Most High God was good to your father Nebuchadnezzar. But his heart became very stubborn and proud. So he was removed from his royal throne. He was driven away from people. He was given the mind of an animal. He lived with the wild donkeys. He ate grass just as an ox does. He stayed that way until he recognized that the Most High God rules over all kingdoms on earth. He puts anyone he wants to in charge of them.
“But you knew all that, Belshazzar. After all, you are Nebuchadnezzar’s son. In spite of that, you are still proud. You have taken your stand against the Lord of heaven. You had your servants bring cups from his temple to you. You and your nobles drank wine from them. You praised your gods. You didn’t honor God, so he sent the hand that wrote on the wall.
“Here is what was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin
“And here is what these words mean.
Mene means that God has limited the time of your rule. He has brought it to an end.
Tekel means that you have been weighed on scales. And you haven’t measured up to God’s standard.
The word Peres means that your authority over your kingdom will be taken away from you. It will be given to the Medes and Persians.”
That very night Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, was killed.
Imagine a large hand, like a giant ghost, wrote on the castle wall. Spooky!