Daniel In The Den of Lions (Daniel 6)

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Daniel 6

1. Share a time when you were done-in by having the rug pulled out from under you? How were you set up, betrayed or falsely accused?

2. When have you felt really good about something you did, only to have someone else be jealous or unhappy?

3. What stirs up the jealousy of the administrators and satraps? When their jealous fault-finding campaign (or special investigative unit) runs free of any ethical guidelines, where does it stop (verses 1 – 5)?

4. What trap do the satraps set for Daniel? Why has Daniel’s private life become an issue for public policy and the public’s right to know?

5. How would you describe Daniel’s response to the edict?

  • rebellion
  • perseverance
  • a plea for help
  • faithfulness
  • disregard

6. How did the satraps manage to get their way with the king (verses 6, 7, 12, 13, 15)? Why are appeals to vanity so powerful?

7. Why is the king so distressed (verses 14 – 18)? Is he just favoring whoever he happens to be with at the moment? Or is he sincerely siding with Daniel and his God? Why do you think so?

8. What do you think really happened in the lion’s den to Daniel? To the lions? To the satraps and their families? What about this do you have a problem with?

9. What role does the “laws of the Medes and the Persians” play here (verses 8, 12, 15, 17, 24)? The law of God (verses 5, 10; see 2 Chronicles 6:38, 39; Psalm 55:17)? The faith of Daniel (verses 4, 11, 16, 20 – 23; see Hebrews 11:33)?

10. As part of Daniel’s complete vindication, his accusers receive the same punishment they had demanded that the accused receive (verse 24). Is this Persian custom of vindication and limited (“eye for eye”, “life for life”) retribution supported anywhere in the Bible (see Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 21: Matthew 5:8)? But when, if ever, might it be okay to punish innocent family members of false accusers?

11. How does King Darius respond to all this? Has he become a believer? Why do you think so?

12. Besides jealousy, what might cause people to be interested in the private lives of public figures, especially incorruptible ones?

13. What stirs up your jealousy?

  • the success of others?
  • the desire for material things?
  • the devil?
  • when someone gets whats coming to you?
  • other?

14. Does having strong principles and values cause you to be more or less vulnerable to others? Why?

15. Daniel shows us that the law of God supersedes the law of the land. How do you reconcile what Daniel did with Romans 13:1? How does this square with your view of church and state issues? (see also Matthew 22:1;  Luke 20:25; Acts 5:29)?

16. What parallels do you see between Daniel’s betrayal (verses 3 – 18) and Jesus’ betrayal? Between Daniel’s vindication (verses 19 – 28) and Jesus’ vindication? What do you make of those obvious parallels?

17. When in your life have you experienced God in the midst of a “lion’s den” of skeptics, critics, etc.? How has God alone been your life line?

18. What often keeps you from standing up for something you believe in? Apathy? Consequences? Time? Fear? Peer Pressure? Ignorance?

19. If you were on trial for being a Christian, what verdict would the evidence most likely require?

  • not guilty
  • guilty in the second degree
  • guilty in the first degree
  • deserving of capital punishment

20. Where is the most difficult place for you to maintain your identity as a Christian?

  • at home?
  • at work?
  • at school?
  • at play (ball games, etc.)?
  • among my non-Christian friends?
  • other?

Additional Comment:

Darius’ enthusiasm for the “God of Daniel” is evidently not long-lived. There is no evidence that Babylon did in fact turn to God. On the contrary, it seems that Darius’ character is so unaffected that he betrays his own nation. Realizing Babylonia’s now-weakened condition against the power of Persia, Darius deserts to Cyrus and helps bring about the final overthrow of the very nation he has ruled. Since Nadonidus has gotten into such a drunken state while in exile that he cannot raise a defense, Cyrus walks into Babylon without any opposition and is hailed as King of Babylonia. So ends the power of the great Babylonian Empire, just as the prophets had foretold. Never again will it rise to a position of great power.

Concurrent with the change of rule in Babylon, Daniel leaves the palace and his position of government prominence (Daniel 1:21).. Yet, as indicated in chapter 6:28, he finds favor under the new Persian government. What he does from this point on is unknown, but presumably he remains in Babylon. He will be heard from once again after a period of two or three years.

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Daniel, Gabriel and the Seventy “Sevens” (Daniel 9:20 – 27)

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Daniel 9:20 – 27

 

1. What is it like to do a jigsaw puzzle that has missing pieces? Whose handwriting do you find near impossible to decipher?

2. What does this enigma imply about God’s “answering service” (verses 20 – 23)?

3. What six things happen within “seventy sevens”? Which events may refer to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (appx 458 – 430 BC)? Which to Jesus as the Anointed One? Which results seem yet to be? (Hint: What  do the “seven sevens”, the “62 sevens,” the “one seven” mean?)

4. What is the “abomination that causes desolation” (verse 27; chapter 11:31; chapter 12:11): Idol-making? State-church war? Armageddon? In the Gospels, what is it (see Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)?

5. For Daniel and Jesus, is the emphasis on what the future holds? Or on who holds the future?

6. For you, what is the Gospel in this passage?

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Daniel’s Prayer (Daniel 9:1 – 19)

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Daniel 9:1 – 19

Daniel was favored by God and kings. In this chapter he is comforted by the words of another prophet, Jeremiah. Evidently copies of Jeremiah’s prophecies have be circulating among the exiles ever since Baruch penned the last words on the third scroll 20 years earlier. It is now 542 BC: 63 years since Daniel and other exiles were taken in the first deportation. Realizing Jeremiah’s prophecy indicates still another seven years before the promised restoration is to begin, Daniel turns to God in prayer.

Daniel’s response shows that despite his government service to two enemy empires (Persia and Babylon), his loyalty to his homeland never faltered. The remarkable prayer in today’s study expresses well his intimate relationship with God. In fact, God cited Daniel as a sterling example of faith, along with Noah and Job (Ezekiel 14:20).

1. What’s the longest prayer you have ever timed? Who first said prayer with you at night and taught you how to pray? When did prayer become your own conversation with God?

2. What moves Daniel to pray as he does? What clues do Jeremiah 25:1 – 14 and Jeremiah 29:10 – 14 provide?

3. How does Daniel prepare himself for this divine encounter? Who is Daniel speaking for as he prays? What elements of common prayer do you see here?

4. How does each aspect of God prompt a round of Daniel’s confession:

  • God is great and awesome?
  • God is faithful to His covenant?
  • God is righteous in bringing judgment?
  • God is merciful and forgiving?
  • God is jealous for His Name?

5. Why will God answer his prayer (verses 16 – 19)?

6. What does this prayer say about God’s covenant: Based on grace or works, His character or ours? Conveys love or justice? Forever binding or always able to be renegotiated?

7. Daniel’s study of Scripture drove him to pray a prayer filled with Scripture. How could you use Scripture in your prayers?

8. Judging from the content of your recent prayers, what concerns you most these days?

9. Daniel humbled himself before God in prayer (verse 3). How do you prepare to meet your God? How do you keep from viewing God as a celestial butler?

10. What aspects of God move you to pray? Why? Who do you pray for most frequently? What prayer agenda for you does Daniel chapter 9 suggest? Try it.

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