We looked at the fact that the world is trying to define us to look like them, and the Lord is working for us to see where He desires us to look more like Him. The places where we are unlike Jesus is usually where there is confrontation, not so that He can punish us or defeat us…but so that He can love us and lead us. We are to be consecrated before the Lord, giving Him what He desires. Through that obedience He will transform us to look like Him!
-Do we have testimony of a confrontation with God that led to change that tells about God’s desire to transform us into His image?
-Daniel resolved to not go against God when given Babylonian food; in what way(s) do we wrestle with cultural challenges that do not align with the truth of God’s Word?
-What are some areas of life that need to be consecrated to God in order that we would find a greater relationship with Him?
-When we face crisis in our lives, how do we respond? Do we get busy trying to figure it out ourselves…rushing into it, or do we respond with wisdom and tact…taking time and allowing the Lord to give direction?
-Where do we go looking forward answers? Do we look for answers from the world like Nebuchadnezzar, or do we look for answers from the Lord like Daniel and his friends?
As we look at the culture around us, we see that it is a culture that is rooted in ‘SELF’ benefit. Hananiah , Mishael and Azariah did not give into that culture and modeled for us a culture of SELF-SACRIFICE. Let’s dive into together to see how we can either allow ourselves to be influenced by the culture, or discover how to influencers in the midst of a worldly culture.
-Are there areas of our lives where we have chosen to live like the culture around us that pushes us toward self-promotion and serving one’s self above others as pathways to a good life?
-When the self-serving culture around us meets the opportunity for a self-sacrificing culture to be chosen instead, a confrontation occurs within us. How can we choose to consecrate those times with the Lord’s help and be transformed by them? (Romans 12-1-2)
God revealed himself to King Nebuchadnezzar on several different occasions, and at each moment Nebuchadnezzar had time to reflect. He made a choice each time to continue following his own desires, and being prideful in his authority instead of submitting to the authority of the Most High God. Ultimately, he turned to God through his difficulties and received blessing through his submission.
-When we see God at work in our lives, there is always a moment to reflect and choose whether it will deepen our trust/faith/relationship with Him, or whether we will continue on the path of self-reliance. When is a time God revealed Himself in my life and I chose to allow a deeper relationship to develop? When is a time God revealed Himself and I chose to pass by the opportunity to know Him better?
-As I reflect on what I am seeking God for in this season of my life, what is He revealing to me about Himself? Have I let my pride determine how I respond to God’s invitation in this area of my life? If so, how can I respond differently to Him?
The Lord had a very specific message for King Belshazzar: Mene Mene Tekel Parsin (Peres/Upharsin)
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
With the corresponding verses in the New Testament, what can we see in God's master plan through what He told the king?
-What does this reveal to you about Jesus and His work on the cross for us?
-How does His work on the cross apply specifically to you? And to the world as a whole?
-What keeps us from sharing this with others?
As we look at Daniel’s character in chapter 6…we see that he clearly is not conforming to the norm of Babylonian society.
-How do we live different than the world today and live with character that is pleasing to the Lord?
-Are there times that we have experienced the victory that comes from consecration before the Lord? What does that do for our faith? Have we seen change in the people around us as a result of what God is doing?
In Daniel 7 we discovered that God revealed Himself to Daniel as the Ancient of Days: all authority belongs to Him and nothing escapes His notice. And Jesus is revealed as the Son of Man: He is given all authority and is establishing an eternal, universal Kingdom.
-Has the Ancient of Days shown you any kingdom you have constructed in your heart & life that in your eyes looks recognizable and shiny, but from His perspective is beastly and deadly? Ask Him to help you surrender that kingdom to His eternal and everlasting Kingdom.
-The Son of Man is establishing an eternal, universal kingdom…all other kingdoms will be brought down before His. How is this thought a comfort or a discomfort to you? How is it comforting or discomforting to consider that all authority is His? Why? How can you respond to these understandings?
As we see in Daniel 8…Daniel gets a vision of things that are to come. He is bothered by what he is shown, but also is given the understanding that the madness will come to an end.
-We live in troubling times, and even have understanding that the future may not look any better. How does our understanding that the madness will end, and Jesus is coming back shape our attitude in the current season?
-What is the work that the King is about, and how do we partner with Him in that work?
Daniel acknowledged his sinfulness along with his people’s in prayer. He also acknowledged that judgment is what we deserve from Him and He consistently shows us His mercy instead because of His Name’s sake. His prayer was rooted in the knowledge that God is Who He says He is and does what He says He will do.
-How far is our prayer motivated by a deep concern for the Name and reputation of the Lord?
-Are we in the habit of considering ourselves as part of the eternal Kingdom of God that He is establishing, a part of a “we” and not just an “I”?
-What does the fact that God took action as soon as Daniel began praying tell you about God and the work that He is accomplishing in establishing His eternal Kingdom?
-We believe that the Lord has the ability and the willingness to help us by strengthening us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. What are some of the ways that we can prepare ourselves to receive the help that He wants to give?
-Do we have a story (testimony) of the Lord’s help in any of those areas in our lives that others need to hear, and we get to give thanks and praise?
We learned that Daniel 11 is one of the most detailed historical prophecies in scripture about the kingdoms to come after Daniel. The Medes/Persians, Alexander the Great, and the kingdoms of the North (Syria) and the South (Egypt) and how they all fought of Israel. The prophecies after verse 20 are also repeating prophesies and will happen again in the end times. We learned about the king of the North, also known as the little horn in Daniel 8. He is describing the Antichrist in the end times in the same prophesy. We can learn a couple of different things from this.
-We all build our own kingdoms to our own detriment.
-Matt 6:33 says that if we "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
We have to be about building HIS kingdom and not ours. We are to seek His kingdom and His Righteousness (Jesus) because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He gave us his identity and his inheritance. There is no kingdom we can build on this earth that will compare to His kingdom.
What has Jesus done for you specifically? Who do you need to tell about what Jesus has done so they can join the kingdom?
-Satan even tempted Jesus to bow down before him so that he could have all the kingdoms of the earth, and Jesus, not so politely refused.
What kingdoms are you being tempted with and why should you choose God's kingdom instead?
-Can we, will we, how can we trust that God is in control?
-Since we understand what God has done for us…how does that understanding cause us to share our faith with others?