Daniel – In the Fire Introduction & Invitation

You’re invited to our brand new series:

In the Fire – Daniel – 6 weeks

 Description: When the heat gets turned up in our lives, we have a choice to make. Will we choose the path of least resistance or will we remain faithful to God and live with courage?  Our six-week series explores the key themes in the book of Daniel: surviving change, living for God in hostile culture, God’s redemptive plan for his people, the sovereignty of God, and future prophecy.  We’ll see Daniel and his friends remain faithful as they are tested and tempted to compromise to the world’s pressure.  We gain a powerful picture of a faithful person and his challenges living In the Fire. We hope you can join us!

 Dates           Titles            Scriptures

Sep. 11 –      Surviving Change (Daniel 1)                             

Sep. 18 –      Living on a Prayer (Dan 2)
Sep. 25 –      In the Fire (Dan 3)
Oct. 2 –        Living Humbly (Dan 4-5)

Oct. 9 –        Surviving the Lion’s Den (Dan 6)

Oct. 16–        Profiting from Prophecy (Dan 7-12)

Hope you can join us!

Introduction 

An earthquake shakes the foundation of our security; a tornado blows away a lifetime of treasures; an assassin’s bullet changes national history; a drunk driver claims an innocent victim; a divorce shatters a home; terrorism frightens a nation. International and personal tragedies make our world seem a fearful place, overflowing with evil and seemingly out of control. And the litany of bombings, coups, murders, and natural disasters could cause us to think that God is absent or impotent. “Where is God?” we cry, engulfed by sorrow and despair.

Twenty-five centuries ago, Daniel could have despaired. He and thousands of his countrymen had been deported to a foreign land after Judah was conquered. Daniel found himself facing an egocentric despot and surrounded by idolaters. Instead of giving in or giving up, this courageous young man held fast to his faith in his God. Daniel knew that despite the circumstances, God was sovereign and was working out his plan for nations and individuals. The book of Daniel centers around this profound truth—the sovereignty of God.

After a brief account of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege and defeat of Jerusalem, the scene quickly shifts to Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). These men held prominent positions within the Babylonian government. Daniel, in particular, held such a position because of his ability to interpret the king’s dreams that tell of God’s unfolding plan (chapters 2 and 4). Sandwiched between the dreams is the fascinating account of Daniel’s three friends and the furnace (chapter 3). Because they refused to bow down to an image of gold, they were condemned to a fiery death. But God intervened and spared their lives.

Belshazzar ruled Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar, and chapter 5 tells of his encounter with God’s message written on a wall. Daniel, who was summoned to interpret the message, predicted Babylon’s fall to the Medes and Persians. This prediction came true that very night, and Darius the Mede conquered the Babylonian kingdom.

Daniel became one of Darius’s most trusted advisers. His privileged position angered other administrators, who plotted his death by convincing the king to outlaw prayer. In spite of the law, Daniel continued to pray to his sovereign Lord. As a result, he was condemned to die in a den of hungry lions. Again, God intervened, saving him, and shutting the mouths of the lions (chapter 6).

The book concludes with a series of visions that Daniel had during the reigns of Belshazzar (chapters 7-8), Darius (chapter 9), and Cyrus (chapters 10-12). These dreams dramatically outline God’s future plans, beginning with Babylon and continuing to the end of the age. They give a preview of God’s redemption and have been called the key to all biblical prophecy.

God is sovereign. He was in control in Babylon, and he has been moving in history, controlling the destinies of people ever since. And he is here now! Despite news reports or personal stress, we can be confident that God is in control. As you read Daniel, watch God work and find your security in his sovereignty.

Vital Statistics

Purpose: To give a historical account of the faithful Jews who lived in captivity and to show how God is in control of heaven and earth, directing the forces of nature, the destiny of nations, and the care of his people

Author: Daniel

Original Audience: The other captives in Babylon

Date Written: Approximately 536 B.C., recording events that occurred from about 605-536 B.C.

Setting: Daniel had been taken captive and deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. There he served in the government for about 70 years during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.

Key Verse: “He [God] reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light” (2:22).

Key People: Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Belshazzar, Darius

Key Places: Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, the blazing furnace, Belshazzar’s feast, the den of lions

Special Features: Daniel’s apocalyptic visions (chapters 7-12) give a glimpse of God’s plan for the ages, including a direct prediction of the Messiah.

The Blueprint

  1. DANIEL’S LIFE (1:1-6:28)
    Daniel and his three friends chose not to eat the king’s food. They did not bow down to the king’s image, even under penalty of death. Daniel continued to pray even though he knew he might be noticed and sentenced to death. These men are inspiring examples for us of how to live godly lives in a sinful world. When we face trials, we can expect God to also be with us through them. May God grant us similar courage to remain faithful under pressure.
  2. DANIEL’S VISIONS (7:1-12:13)
    These visions gave the captives added confidence that God is in control of history. They were to wait patiently in faith and not worship the gods of Babylon or accept that society’s way of life. God still rules over human activities. Evil will be overcome, so we should wait patiently and not give in to the temptations and pressures of the sinful way of life around us.
MEGATHEMES
THEME EXPLANATION IMPORTANCE
God Is in Control God is all-knowing, and he is in charge of world events. God overrules and removes rebellious leaders who defy him. God will overcome evil; no one is exempt. But he will deliver the faithful who follow him. Although nations vie for world control now, one day Christ’s Kingdom will replace and surpass the kingdoms of this world. Our faith is sure because our future is secure in Christ. We must have courage and put our faith in God, who controls everything.
Purpose in Life Daniel and his three friends are examples of dedication and commitment. They determined to serve God regardless of the consequences. They did not give in to pressures from an ungodly society because they had a clear purpose in life. It is wise to make trusting and obeying God alone our true purpose in life. This will give us direction and peace in spite of the circumstances or consequences. We should disobey anyone who asks us to disobey God. Our first allegiance must be to God.
Perseverance Daniel served for 70 years in a foreign land that was hostile to God, yet he did not compromise his faith in God. He was truthful, persistent in prayer, and disinterested in power for personal glory. In order to fulfill your life’s purpose, you need staying power. Don’t let your Christian distinctness become blurred. Be relentless in your prayers, maintain your integrity, and be content to serve God wherever he puts you.
God’s Faithfulness God was faithful in Daniel’s life. He delivered him from execution, from a den of lions, and from enemies who hated him. God cares for his people and deals patiently with them. We can trust God to be with us through any trial. Because he has been faithful to us, we should remain faithful to him.

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Source: Life Application Study Bible, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1374-1375.

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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