Summary: All of us have situations in life when we are filled with fear & fear can prevent us from doing the right thing. But faith in the God who saves will help us to have the courage we need to move forward in the face of fear.
Opening Question: When is a time when you had to make a really hard decision? What principle, rule or value did you use to make that decision?
Background: In 605 BC, after conquering Judah 3 years prior, the Babylonian Empire took some of Judah’s best and brightest people back to Babylon to serve the Empire there. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (renamed in Babylon as Belteshazar, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego respectively) were in this first group of exiles and the first six chapters of the Book of Daniel are about their experiences in Babylon. Ezekiel was part of a second group of exiles taken from Judah to Babylon in 597 BC, and a third group of exiles were taken when the Babylonian Empires destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BC.
In 539 BC, the Persians, under their king, Cyrus, conquered the Babylonian Empire, and Cyrus allowed the Jewish exiles to begin returning to Judah the following year (538 BC). (See the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah for more info.)
In Daniel, chapter 2, God enabled Daniel to reveal and interpret a dream had by King Nebuchadnezzar of a large statue. That dream foretold of future empires that would follow the Babylonian Empire after its fall. In appreciation for the interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel ruler over the province of Babylon and, at Daniel’s request, made Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators under Daniel.
Jealousy towards the Jewish exiles in the hearts of other Babylonian officials seems to be an important factor in chapter 3 (& chapter 6).
Daniel’s absence from the events of chapter 3 is probably because he was elsewhere on official business.
Read: Daniel 3:1-18
Observation: What does the passage say
1. What command did Nebuchadnezzar give?
2. What was Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego’s response?
Interpretation: What does the passage mean?
3. Why do you think Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego did not obey Nebuchadnezzar’s command?
4. Why was giving their ultimate loyalty to God so important to them?
5. What previous knowledge or experiences of God would have helped them in that moment?
Application: How does the meaning of this passage apply to me?
6. What are ways that we can build on our foundation of faith?
7. What are some ways that God has saved you in the past?
8. What are some challenges that you are facing right now?
9. How can your faith in the God who saves help you to have courageous faith like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?
This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Oct 13/19 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.