A Study of Daniel – Week 1 – “Have you got what it takes?”

Daniel 1:1-21

 

Background Information:

·              The book is known for the Lion’s Den and the Fiery Furnace. But the story of Daniel delivers numerous lessons on how to live a spiritual life in a secular world.

  • We enter the book learning the timeframe of Daniel.  We see that Israel was already reporting to Egypt under the Kingship of Jehoiakim.  He was the firstborn of Good King Josiah.  Daniel could have blood relations with King Josiah.  Also a good chance that Josiah as his grandfather or great uncle had an influence on Daniel.
  • The Babylon Empire after the defeat of Pharaoh Neco, extended from Turkey, to the Persian Gulf to the heart of Egypt.
  • Israel was in captivity due to its Idolatry. 
  • Show the timeline of Daniel and Jeremiah, explain how the first 6 chapters are factual stories, and then last half of the book deals with prophecy but is via dreams earlier in his life.
  • Show the dateline of different topics for each week.

 

Straight Talk from the Word:

  • Daniel and his friends were 12 – 13 years old when they got taken away from their family to go to a foreign land.  What would you place into your kids if you knew at the age of 13 you lose control of your influence?  How can you develop a Daniel and be done at 13?
  • V. 4 Shows that Nebuchadnezzar wanted the good looking, smart, athletic kids to come work for him.  It might not be much consolation, but even people who seem to have it all together on the outside can have problems.
  • In v. 6-7 we see that they Daniel and his friends (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego).  All Godly names were changed to Names that contained names of the gods of Babylon. ( I always remember the three as Shadrach, Meshach and To Bed We Go)
  • V 8 Daniel makes up his mind to make a difference.  A lot of our problems today can be traced on us not making up our mind to be obedient. V 9 – God granted, and then in V 12 we see that Daniel had a plan.  What is your plan when sin comes?  Struggle with thoughts?, Struggle with the Tongue?, Struggle with Mercy?  What’s the plan?
  • V 16 – Might help with your never ending fight to get your kids to eat their vegetables.

 

Main Message – Rising Above The Level of Mediocrity Starts With the Mind

  • Soaring like Eagles just doesn’t happen. Some people, even Christians are quite content to sit on the bank of the river and watch life passing by, never attempting to make a difference.  Those who do, start by making their mind up.  Just like Daniel did.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt, known for his fighting in the Spanish American War, and his work setting up the National Park system, had to go thru a time when he got tested with fire.  One night, as his wife was preparing to give birth to his little girl, woke from a light sleep to hear the sound of a baby crying.  He knew that the hours of labor with the mid-wife were now over.  What he didn’t know that his wife’s life was now over, having died in childbirth.  It that wasn’t enough to temper steel, he had his mom living with them, and the very next night she came down with a fever and died.  In the span of 24 hours, the trap door of life had opened and he had no footing.
  • Teddy Roosevelt had all the right in the world to become a drunk, or pull up a chair on the bank of life and sit till his death.  He chose not to, he made up his mind to make a difference.  He went on to become a great fighter, environmentalist and eventually President.  In fact, he ran for re-election under the independent party and came in second.  Roosevelt had made up his mind.

 

  • Proverbs 23:7 – “For as he thinks within himself, so he is”
  • Ephesians 6:11 – “Stand firm against the schemes of the devil”. The word schemes in the GREEK is METHODIA, it is where we get the English word “method”. Paul’s point is that we be aware that Satan’s methods are against the mind.  Struggle with pure thoughts, controlling the tongue, the wallet, .. all of them start with the mind.
  • II Cor 4:3 – “ Blinded the minds of the unbelieving”
  • II Cor.  10:3-:5 – “We are taking every thought captive” – How does that manifest itself in your life? This verse shows the three strategies that God uses to conquer the mind.  No different that warfare in this day.  They are as follows:

1.          Destruction of fortresses is the first step to taking a city, and first step that God does is invade the walls of the mind.

2.          Next, he takes out the towers, or the “lofty things”.  The old programming that we run to when the times get tough.  The “I can’t do that”, or “Its OK, I am not hurting anyone”.

3.          Finally, and in war you take out the leadership and the soldiers are then easy.  God does the same by taking EVERY thought captive.

·              The real question becomes one of HOW?  How do we move from caterpillar and living a life of mediocrity to that of a butterfly enjoying the sweet nectar of God’s creation? It comes down to three commitments:

1.          Memorize – To win the fight of mediocrity, we have to push bad thoughts out, and to do that you have to push new thoughts in.  This comes from the Word.  Read the 16 verses on page 27.

2.          Personalize – As you replace old thoughts with new ones from the Word, put the words I, Me, Mine as you come across meaningful statements. Reread II Cor. 10:3-5 inserting the personalized statements. Do this to Phil 4:6-8.

3.          Analyze – Ask yourself the thought provoking questions.  If you are a perfectionist, why do you demand that of your family?  If you struggle with impure thoughts, what is that inner hurt that makes you think that it is OK to invite that thought or image in?  If you can’t control the wallet, what drives you to spend every time there is a dime in your pocket?

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Inner conviction can overcome any outer pressure to compromise.
  • God-Honoring convictions yield God-Given rewards.

 

Small Group Questions:

  1. Trace Daniel’s emotions through this chapter.  How would Daniel feel in verse 3? In verse 8? In verse 15? And in verse 20?
  2. We see that Babylon used an extensive orientation to brainwash Daniel and his friends.  How do these tactics parallel the pressures Christians face today in a secular society?
  3. We see Daniel didn’t want to eat the diet that had food offered to idols.  How can Christians today determine which activities we will engage in and which we won’t?
  4. What steps did Daniel take to provide a creative alternative to the king’s plan. (11-14)
  5. What can you learn from Daniel’s attitude and actions about  how to respond when your biblical values are challenged?

Closure:

  • What would you write to your kids if this was your last communication to them? 
  • Read your letter to Jake.
  • Have the class take time to pray for their kids, play the song “I want to be Just Like You” by Phillips, Craig and Dean.

Daniel Lessons: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Next and gt;

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