Writing on the Wall
Summary of Lesson Activities:
At the end of the Rotation, kids should be able to…
- Summarize the story of the writing on the wall.
- Know who Daniel was.
- Understand that God is always in control.
Note: Also see our Drama Workshop – Teaches the lesson through the use of a skit.
- Read Daniel 1-6, focusing on chapter five
- Gather the materials
- Make a sample “hand of God” glove
- Write the words “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin” with white crayon on card stock (one for each child) in advance
- cheap garden gloves (one for each child)
- fabric paint
- something to stick the gloves on while they dry
- card stock
- white crayons
- watercolor paints
- drop cloth
- containers for water
The nation of Israel has been captured by Babylon and exiled from their homeland. Daniel is one of many young men who have been taken into royal service. He is faithful to God, and God blesses him with great wisdom. The point of the story is that while it appears that Babylon is in control, it is really God who is in charge. The kings of Babylon are merely the people He is using to fulfill His purposes.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and introduce yourself.
Open with a prayer.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Begin by telling them the story.
King Belshazzar had become king of Babylon. His father, Nebuchadnezzar, had conquered the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people. When he did, he took silver and gold goblets from the temple and put them in his treasury. He also took some of the best young men and trained them to serve him. One of these young men was Daniel.
One day, when King Belshazzar was feasting with his nobles, he told his servants to bring out the gold and silver goblets from the royal treasury. The king and his nobles used these goblets to toast the gods of Babylon, false gods made from wood and stone.
Suddenly, a hand appeared in the room. With its finger it wrote on the wall. The king was really frightened. He was so scared that his legs shook, and he could not stand up.
He called for his magicians and wise men to tell him what the writing said and what it meant. He promised great riches and power to the man who could tell him what it said. However, none of the magicians and wise men could figure out what it meant.
The king was despairing when his wife, the queen, entered the room. She told him about a man named Daniel. He was very wise and had served his father, King Nebuchadnezzar. She was sure that Daniel could figure it out.
The king had Daniel come in. He promised Daniel riches and power if he could explain the writing.
Daniel told the king: “You can keep your riches and power. I don’t want them. But I will tell you what the writing says. God was good to your father, King Nebuchadnezzar. He gave him this great kingdom of Babylon.
But your father forgot that. Instead, he thought that he did it himself. So God struck him and made him act like an animal until King Nebuchadnezzar realized that God was in charge.
You knew all of this, King Belshazzar, but you did not learn from it. Instead, you dishonored God by using His cups to praise false gods that don’t even exist!
This is what the writing says: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin. Mene means that God is ending your rule. Tekel means you have been weighed and haven’t measured up. Parsin means that your authority will be taken away from you.”
The king ordered that Daniel be given riches and power, but Daniel’s words were true. That very night, Belshazzar was killed, and another man became king.
To remind us of the story, we are going to make two different activities.
“A Hand of God” glove.
Show them your sample glove.
- Pass out one glove to each child.
- Make sure that everyone has a smock and fabric paints.
- Have the kids decorate their glove anyway that they choose, but remind them that the glove should reflect God in some way.
- When they have finished, place the gloves somewhere to dry.
“A Hidden Message”
(Original Idea from crafts-kaboose-secret-message-writing-html - link now dead.)
- Pass out watercolors, paintbrushes, water, and one of the prepped card stocks to each child.
- Tell them that there is a hidden message on the paper and show them how to brush watercolor over the paper to find the message. (Darker colors work better.)
- The words “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin” should appear.
- After they have found the message, pass out blank card stock and white crayons.
- Show them how to make their own hidden message.
- draw messages in a white (NOT washable) crayon. (Younger children can draw pictures and shapes.)
- to magically reveal the secret message--draw all over it with markers, watercolors, or finger paints. (It does not work with other crayons).
Questions for Discussion:
- Why do you think God chose such a strange way to send a message to the king?
- How would you feel if a floating hand appeared in your room?
- What are other ways that God sends His messages?
- What do you think that God wants us to learn from this story?
- Often we may think that we are in charge of our lives, but who really is in control?
- How does life go better when we recognize that God is in control?
What message do you think God is trying to send YOU right now? Make it into a "secret message" for your own reminder.
A lesson set written by Deborah Ward from: Williams Lake Church of the Nazarene
Copyright 2010 Williams Lake Church of the Nazarene, Waterford, MI
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.
Added by member Luanne Payne (2022):
In advance: prepare the following Hidden Message Clue Cards, by writing and/or drawing the following items, one per card. Then hide them around the room (make note of where you hid them.) If you have a large group make doubles.
Clue Card suggestions:
- Crown - to be raised anytime they hear Belshazzar or Nebuchadnezzar
- Daniel - can just be a stick man or stick man in robe
- Mene (make 2) - an X or the word rule with an x through it
- Tekel - set of scales - one side lower than the other
- Parsin - gavel hammering
As students arrive (show them a sample clue card) ask them to search the room until they find "one" clue card , then sit down and take a marker to reveal what's hidden on the card.
After everyone has found a Clue Card if there are still more cards hidden, let them find the rest (if needed, give clues where to look).
Before reading the script go over meaning of each Clue Card, and then tell them to listen for their word(s) and hold up that card anytime they hear it.
A PDF copy of the above script, with Clue Words underlined, is attached to this lesson.