When Nebuchadnezzar has another dream, Daniel steps forward to deliver the interpretation. It’s not good news for a king whose pride has swelled so greatly that God will soon humble him as low as the beasts of the field.
1. Nebuchadnezzar announces that God’s work is both universal and personal. Do we sometimes gravitate towards focusing on God’s universal work over his personal work in our lives or vice versa? How to we balance those two?
2. How do we sing a song of praise to God when it seems (from our perspective) that everything is out of his control?
3. How do we serve God in the regular, mundane times of life?
4. Daniel seemed to care for Nebuchadnezzar despite the fact that the pagan king sacked Daniel’s homeland. How should this motivate our perspective and prayer for national leaders?
5. The tree, Nebuchadnezzar, will be chopped down, but a stump remains for the purpose of rebuilding him. How is this a small picture of our sanctification?
Daniel spoke God’s truth to Nebuchadnezzar even when it seemed he didn’t want to. Why is it so difficult to speak truth into someone’s life, especially those closest to us? How can we improve on speaking truth into one another’s lives?
Please pray for the current mission team in Eastern Europe as well as our mission team returning from Portland, Oregon.
The Book of Daniel
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship the golden image, King Nebuchadnezzar becomes enraged. Their obedience and steadfastness towards God deliver them over to the fiery furnace, but God (Immanuel) is present with them through this trial.
- How can our familiarity with this story work against us as we revisit it?
- In a hostile place, the “heroic” attribute to possess is not volume, but wisdom. How do you practice wisdom over volume when engaging with unbelievers about matters of faith?
- Biblical faith is not confidence in particular outcomes; it is confidence in a sovereign God. Why is it so difficult for us to trust God without all the details of his will?
- The three wisemen were saved by the presence of a representative of God. What does it mean that God is with us through our trials?
- Jewish tradition holds that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego sang a song of blessing to God before, during, and after the fire. How do we sing a song of blessing to God during adversity?
What are the ways in which we can remind ourselves of God’s presence during times of adversity? How can our community groups walk along side us during these times?
Please pray for the outgoing mission team to Eastern Europe as well as our current mission team in Portland, Oregon.
The Book of Daniel
King Nebuchadnezzar builds a giant statue made of gold and stands 90’ x 9’ in the middle of the dessert. At the sound of all the instruments everyone is commanded to bow in worship before this statue.
1. The Septuagint (LXX) records in Daniel 3:1 that these events took place in the eighteenth year when Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon. If this is correct, then approximately sixteen years have passed since the events of chapter 2. What does this tell us about Nebuchadnezzar’s change of heart at the end of chapter 2 to the beginning of chapter 3? In what ways are do you compare to Nebuchadnezzar as it relates to these two events? (i.e. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”)
2. Daniel tells us the statue is made of gold. Contrast this to the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. What are the differences? What was Nebuchadnezzar attempting to accomplish by constructing this statue completely of gold?
3. C.S. Lewis noted that Christians can often be guilty of “Chronological snobbery” where we presume these primitive minds were foolish for bowing to created things, and we, the modern persons, would never be so naive. But John Calvin noted, “From this we may gather that man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” What does this say about the human condition, and more specifically, about the human heart?
4. Sinclair Ferguson says, “When the masks are ripped away, behind every idol is the self.” How does this quote speak to the objects of our affections/idols?
5. Nebuchadnezzar was looking for outward expressions of worship. He simply wanted all people to bow to his image in an outward posture of worship. How does this differ from what God desires from his people? How does our outward posture of worship reflect the posture of our heart?
Continue to pray for the Mars Hill Summer Mission Teams in Portland, Chicago, and Eastern Europe.
The Book of Daniel
Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, speaking the truth about the temporary nature of human kingdoms. The foundation of human government is fundamentally flawed because is it built on fundamentally flawed beings. However, the good news found within Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is the stone that comes to crush all temporary kingdoms and replace it with the eternal kingdom of God.
- What are the pitfalls of ascribing meaning to every single detail in biblical apocalyptic literature?
- Nebuchadnezzar’s dream essentially demonstrated that God will replace humanity’s temporary kingdoms with an everlasting kingdom. With this in mind, why does humanity have a proclivity to trust in temporary governments?
- During Daniel’s day, the Babylonians believed that the gods could be manipulated to bend to human will. Do we treat God the same way?
- Daniel took a great risk in telling the king the hard truth about his dream, but he trusted that God’s will would be done. Do we exhibit this kind of trust in difficult circumstances?
- What does Nebuchadnezzar’s proclamation say about people who claim to know God, but act contrary to that claim?
What are ways we can keep ourselves from placing hope in temporary kingdoms, focusing instead on the eternal kingdom of God?
Please pray for the outgoing missions teams traveling to Portland and Chicago this week.