NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passage: Daniel 3:12-20, 24-25
Discussion Questions: What consequences have you faced as a result of your faith-driven convictions? Why is it hard for many believers to draw that “not now, not ever” line in the sand?
Food for Thought:
When the road you’re walking is smooth, things like standing up for your convictions and remaining faithful don’t seem so hard. When your world is clicking on all cylinders with no troubles, you probably feel at ease. But then circumstances come along that suddenly make you feel like you’re walking along the edge of a rocky cliff. In Daniel 3, three guys named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found themselves in just such a place. To follow God in their circumstance meant choosing to stand right there on the edge and not walk away to be safe.
Daniel, who was a captive of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s meat or wine. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, also Jewish captives, joined Daniel in this courageous stand. God blessed and favored the three to the extent that the king appointed them over the affairs of the province of Babylon (Dan. 1). Now, however, the three faced the greatest challenge of their faith.
Nebuchadnezzar ordered a huge gold statue to be erected on the plain of Dura (Dan. 3:1). The statue must have been incredible. To refuse to bow before it meant immediate death. The consequences had been made clear (v. 6). However, while others bowed down to the statue, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood up for what they believed. The king was furious!
In Daniel 3, God performed an undisputable miracle to save those who were faithful to Him. Many other stories in the Bible tell how He acted in similar ways. And still other accounts show where God chose not to intervene on behalf of those who were just as faithful. Our obedience does not guarantee our earthly deliverance from troubles. We are simply called to remain faithful and trust God with the outcome.
In America we have rights to protect us from being forced to bow down to a statue. Even though it looks different than it did for these three men, the temptation is to let authority figures influence us to act in ways that are contrary with God’s Word. Maybe you’re still hoping to please a parent. Maybe you are afraid your boss will take away your job. Maybe cultural demands to fit in have you making compromises of faith. Each of us must, for ourselves, determine to remain faithful regardless of the circumstance. Just as God was in the fire with the three young Jewish men, He is with us too, in whatever we face.
Intentionally focused on African-American, urban and multicultural believers, YOU is biblically based with culturally relevant and affirming lessons to help people connect, grow, serve and ultimately be engaged in impacting the world for Christ. This flexible, non-dated all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions.
For additional online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.