Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
Historical Background: Welcome to the book of Daniel. In 605 BC Nebuchadnezzar took Daniel and other captives to Babylon. Written in context of the exile, this book seeks to evoke a commitment to God’s law among the people of God who are suffering persecution. Daniel beckons them to awaken and to prepare for the unexpected intervention of God into world affairs.
1. What is the story behind the name you were given by your parents?
2. What nicknames have you picked up along the way? Any given to you at school, camp or college?
3. Recall the first days at college, camp or other away-from-home training. What were you feeling?
4. How were these Israelites chosen and trained for the king’s special service (verses 3 – 7)? How did the king seek to capture their mind? Their body? Their loyalty?
5. What is conveyed by giving a new name to another person?
6. Why does Daniel resist these attempts by the foreign king (verse 8)? To whom and on what grounds does Daniel make his appeals for an exception to the king’s edict (verses 8 – 14)?
7. Why does Daniel end up passing his first “entrance exam” with “flying colors” (verses 15 – 21)? How does Daniel end up showing his true loyalty is to God? And to his three fellow believers?
8. If you ate or were served nothing but vegetables for 10 consecutive days, what results would you see? Ill health? Good health? No change? Why?
9. What would be an equivalent choice between God’s way and the “royal food” of the world today? What’s at stake for you in that choice?
10. When your loyalty is tested, what are you most likely to do? Why?
11. How has God’s mercy favored you this year (for instance, in your efforts towards excellence or in your service to others)?