Grow Deep - Heroes Edition Volume 6 week 2
Week 2: July 29-August 4
The Prophet Daniel
“… Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from
the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver
us out of your hand.” Daniel 3:17
Working in the outdoor adventure business in Colorado, my daughter and son-in-law have often found themselves in the “lion’s den.” Many of their coworkers and neighbors are not Christian; moreover, they are hostile toward Christians. My kids made friends quickly and earned the favor of their coworkers at first, but once they were discovered to be Christians, things changed. They were cheated by their employers, abandoned by friends and discriminated against in many ways because they professed their faith in Jesus. Yet, my kids remained faithful and persistent in love, integrity and Christian witness. And now, they’re seeing God close the mouths of the lions, provide open doors to give testimony of their faith and give them influence with their neighbors.
Like my kids, this week’s Bible hero, Daniel, also found himself in a lion’s den. It happened the moment he stepped foot into Babylon! He was taken captive by a pagan king in a country hostile toward God and His followers. He was a slave, but that’s not how the Bible tells Daniel’s story. Daniel was free because he had God’s Word in his heart. God gave him the strength to stare down beasts attacking him (the human kind) and trust in the Lord rather than assimilate into an idolatress culture. Daniel remained persistent in love, integrity and allegiance to God even when his life was threatened. When thrown into the den of real lions (the ones with the sharp teeth), God proved His superior power in a tangible way. He not only shut the mouths of those furry, ferocious creatures, He also shut the mouths of the human “lions” who threatened Daniel. And God used Daniel as His instrument to change the hearts of pagan kings!
Do lions attack your faith? God has already shut their mouths! He sent Jesus into the “lion’s den” to defeat the beast, Satan, for us. Ask God to keep you strong in faith, love and integrity. In His perfect timing, He will shut the mouths of the lions on earth and will open doors for your faithful testimony of Jesus.
Sunday, July 29
Read: Daniel 1
Daniel faces his first lion: temptation to indulge in a pagan king’s feast. But Daniel will not defile himself. Instead, he trusts God and finds the opportunity to turn temptation into a testimony of God’s power and provision.
Reflect: What worldly temptations threaten to divert your attention from living a life holy to God? What opportunities is God showing you to turn temptation into Christian testimony?
For the Family: Is it hard to do what God wants you to do instead of what others want you to do? How did God help Daniel when he and his friends chose to obey God? How will God help you?
Monday, July 30
Read: Daniel 2:1-23
Cornered under the threat of execution, Daniel leads his friends to pray for mercy. God responds with even more. He tames Daniel’s fear and reveals the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, giving Daniel the opportunity to show the king God’s power, which is greater than any other.
Reflect: How do credible threats and fear challenge your faith in God? How can prayer tame your fear? What impossible situation do you face that requires God’s power to make possible?
For the Family: Daniel and his friends were in great danger. What did Daniel ask his friends to do? What can you do when you think you may be in danger or in a hard situation?
Tuesday, July 31
Read: Daniel 2:24-48
King Nebuchadnezzar is hungry for clarity and direction. He shows his teeth when nobody can provide him with answers. Then Daniel comes along. Daniel interprets the king’s dream and gives full credit to the one true God. In turn, the king acknowledges God’s power and even gives Daniel a high position in the kingdom.
Reflect: Can you identify someone who is hungry for answers the world cannot provide? How can you fill him/her with the truth of Jesus? How can you give credit to Christ when serving the needs of others?
For the Family: How did God work through Daniel? What was Daniel’s God-given special ability? Why was Daniel placed in a high position?
Wednesday, August 1
Read: Daniel 3
Once again, King Nebuchadnezzar roars, using his authority to scare his subjects into submission and leading the whole kingdom into idolatry. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are prepared to face the consequences rather than follow the crowd and dishonor God. But God is with them in the fire and uses their faithfulness to attest to His divine power.
Reflect: When have you been tempted to follow the crowd, even if it dishonored God? When have you “faced the fire” and stood up for your faith? How did you see God with you in the fire?
For the Family: Why were Daniel’s friends put into the fiery furnace? How were they protected and why? God rescues!
Thursday, August 2
Read: Daniel 4
Nebuchadnezzar is at the top of the food chain as a great king of Babylon. But his pride stands in the way of submitting to God in spite of his witnessing the Almighty’s power time and time again. God uses Daniel to interpret the king’s dream. When his dream comes true, and Nebuchadnezzar is cut down from his throne, he remembers God, repents of his sin and pays tribute to the King of the universe.
Reflect: Pride can be a stumbling block for earthly leaders. How can we pray for our leaders to come to repentance? How can we model Daniel’s humility and faithful service to his king as citizens of our land?
For the Family: What did King Nebuchadnezzar do after Daniel interpreted his dream? What lesson can we learn from this story?
Friday, August 3
Read: Daniel 5
The writing is on the wall. Nebuchadnezzar’s son is the new “king of the jungle,” but God will not tolerate King Belteshazzar’s rebellion and idolatry. Once again, Daniel is given the opportunity to interpret God’s message to a Babylonian king. Belteshazzar is soon slain, but not before promoting Daniel to a higher level of power, and more importantly, a higher level of influence as a witness to the one true God.
Reflect: What influential position(s) do you hold? How is your position sometimes a temptation for selfish gain? How can you use it to be a witness to Jesus?
For the Family: Why do you think King Belteshazzar failed to learn from his dad’s mistakes? Has there ever been a time you have repeated a mistake? What can you do to try to prevent this?
Saturday, August 4
Read: Daniel 6
Lions are everywhere—and not just in the den! Government leaders plot to turn Daniel’s faith against him and then hunt him down. King Darius falls prey to their clever schemes, realizing he is bound by law to carry out his own ruling against Daniel: throw into the lion’s den anyone who prays to any god but the king! Even when faced with a gruesome death, Daniel will not forsake God. And God shuts the mouths of the lions—all of them! And He proves Himself to be the only true God, worthy of everyone’s worship and praise.
Reflect: Has anyone ever used your Christian faith against you? Have laws ever hampered your freedom to express your faith? When have you seen God shut the mouths of the lions and open yours to honor Him?
For the Family: Why do you think Daniel risked his life to stand up for God? Why was Daniel saved from the lions? What happened to the men who tricked the king into throwing Daniel into the lion’s den? What lesson does that teach you?