Yesterday, I wrote about how it is really debatable if Nebuchadnezzar actually became a follower of the one true God. However, there is one potential strike against that theory in Daniel 5. Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, knew very little about God. He saw a hand writing on the wall, and he called Daniel because he knew he could interpret dreams, but he didn’t recognize the power of God.
Dan 5:22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
Dan 5:23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
As Nebuchadnezzar’s son, he knew about his insanity, and he would have known about his proclamation in the previous chapter. He could have at the very least understood, as his father did, that the God of the Bible was someone very special. You would have hoped that if his father truly become a believer that he would have passed to his son.
That does bring up a very interesting point about parenting though. Parents are certainly responsible to teach their children in the way that they should go. The world might say that that is indoctrination and cast this training in a negative light, but all that they can propose is a system where we indoctrinate with an alternative method. There is no value-neutral upbringing; it is a large responsibility for parents to determine what values they want their children to cultivate.
That being said, children do not always follow. In this chapter, Nebuchadnezzar’s son knew everything that happened, but he still turned his back on God. Therefore, we have kind of a dilemma. On one hand, parents need to communicate Biblical values to their children. That is true. It is simultaneously true that the children are individuals who might choose to ignore the things of God. That is not the parents’ fault. Individuals make individual decisions. Nevertheless, parents still have the responsibility to do what they can to train.
Again, we really don’t know if Nebuchadnezzar really became a follower of God, but it seems to be at least true that his son did not carry on his at least recognition of the power of God. As parents or future parents, we ought to do all that we can to raise children in the right way. This doesn’t mean absolute sheltering, but it does mean training and engaging.