8. Daniel's Friends - Walking Despite Opposition
Step into the Story
1. How did Daniel and his friends come to live in Babylon? According to Daniel 1:4, what kind of young men were they?
2. What kind of education did they receive and how long did it last? (v.4-5) What happened to their Hebrew names? (v.6-7)
3. Try to picture yourself being taken involuntarily to another country, given a new name, taught a new language, and put into an education program to teach you your new culture. Would you be bitter toward God for allowing this to happen? How hard do you think it would be to hold fast to the principles you had been taught and to the God you worshipped?
1. What did King Nebuchadnezzar make and what did he require all the people to do? (v.1-5) What would happen to someone who refused to worship the golden image? (v.6)
2. To what positions had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego been appointed? (v.12)
3. How did King Nebuchadnezzar react to the report that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had not followed the order to worship the golden image?
4, What rhetorical question did Nebuchadnezzar ask in v.15? What was the expected and implied answer to his question?
5. What did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego affirm about God in v.16-18?
6. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused the his order, what actions did the king take? (v.19-21) What happened to the men who put Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace? (v.22)
7. Why was Nebuchadnezzar astonished as he looked into the furnace? (v.24-25)
8. After Nebuchadnezzar ordered the men out of the fire, the officials gathered around them. What did they observe? (v.27)
9. What did Nebuchadnezzar say about the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in v.28-29? Notice the last words of v.29, “there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.”
10. Have you ever been in a situation where doing right was a cause for ridicule or punishment? How did you handle the pressure to give in to the demands of others to conform?
"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us
from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
But even if He does not,
let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods
or worship the golden image that you have set up."
Daniel 3:17-18 NASB
Journey through the Principle
Are you surprised when you are following God and doing what is right yet encountering opposition? Jesus told His disciples, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:33 NASB). James also anticipated trials for believers when he stated, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (Jas 1:2-3 NASB).
1. Look up the following verses and write down every instruction or command to those who are suffering because of their righteousness.
1 Peter 3:14-17
1 Peter 4:19
1 Peter 5:6-9
2. 1 Peter 5:6-9 is followed by a wonderful promise in v.10.
After you have suffered for a little while,
the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ,
will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
1 Peter 4:10 NASB
Write a prayer thanking the God of all grace for His promise to perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Walk It Out in Life
If we are walking in spite of opposition, we must know what the Bible says about our strategy against our enemies. The Bible identifies three enemies we face as believers while we live in this present world. These enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are instructed to fight the temptations we face based on their source. We need to know when to flee and when to stand firm since these commands are opposites.10
Look up the following verses to determine how to deal with each type of opposition. Copy down key words or phrases that give instructions or commands.
1 John 2:15-17
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
2 Timothy 2:22
1 Peter 5:8-9
What are the repeated commands to us as believers in dealing with Satan? Ask God to help you follow these instructions in order to stand against the opposition you face as a believer in Christ.
Walk It Out in Parenting
How do we teach our children to walk with the Lord despite opposition? Daniel and his friends were able to stand firm in their faith and to obey God because they knew Him and they knew His Word. When we teach our children about God and His Word, we are putting the truth in their minds and hearts. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, the only weapon of offense found in the passage on spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6. The Word is what Jesus used when He was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4. The Holy Spirit can call to mind specific verses and promises that are recorded in our children’s hearts.
How are you helping your child learn and memorize God’s Word? What are some creative ways to learn Scripture? (Note: You can learn along with your child!) Discuss some ideas in your small group. Bring a favorite resource or idea for teaching the Bible to your children to share with your group. Books, videos, games, and music are all great ways to teach your child the Word of God.
Hold His Hand
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had already experienced God’s deliverance in Babylon (see Daniel 2). They had seen God accomplish the impossible when their lives were spared after Daniel not only interpreted the king’s dream but also described the dream. In Daniel 3, Daniel’s friends looked to God for deliverance and He honored their faith and obedience.
Notice again how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego responded to the king. "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up" (Dan 3:17-18 NASB). Daniel’s friends believed that God was able, but they did not know if He would deliver them. They prayed for deliverance, but their obedience was already determined.
In vv 16-18 we see the proper response to a crisis by these three faithful men. They reiterate their faith in [Yahweh], claiming his ability to deliver them from Nebuchadnezzar, though denying a knowledge of his will. Such, of course, is the attitude all believers should have about personal crises. We simply do not know if God will heal a certain person or bring someone to salvation. But we do know that he is able!11
10 Dr. Stanley D. Toussaint, Unpublished Class Notes on Hebrews, General Epistles, and Revelation, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 2005.
11 Daniel B. Wallace, “To Bow or Not to Bow,” online: http://bible.org/article/bow-or-not-bow-essay-daniel-3, accessed 26 July 2005.
Related Topics: Curriculum