READ: Daniel 3-4
THINK: What do you do when the heat is on and your faith comes under fire? When people challenge your beliefs or attack your values, does your commitment to God collapse, or do you stand strong? Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego already had success, but they wouldn't compromise their faith to preserve their position. With their lives on the line, they entrusted themselves to God and had the kind of influence many of us only dream about. Boldly serving God in an ungodly society will test your faith, bringing pressure to abandon your relationship with God. By refusing to give in, you gain strength and influence. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are prime examples of how uncompromising devotion can result in miraculous help from God and extraordinary impact on the world.
RESPOND: Why did Nebuchadnezzar set up the gold statute, and what did he expect people to do? (See 3:1 note.) Why did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to bow to the image? (See 3:12 note.) What "idols" must we resist today? How did the young men express faith in God when confronted by the king, and why do you think they responded this way (3:16-17)? (See 3:17-18 note.) In what situations might you be tested like these guys, and how can you gain strength to stand under pressure? What were some miraculous aspects of the young men's rescue from the fire? What influence did their actions have (3:28-29)? How can Christian friends exert positive peer pressure on each other? What did the king recognize about Daniel that set him apart from other advisors (4:9)? (See 4:9 note.) What did the king need to learn through his dream (4:17)? (See 4:17 note.) Why and how did God humble Nebuchadnezzar? (See 4:16 and 4:27 notes.) Why does it often take such experiences to change people? What did the king do before his sanity was restored, and what did he understand about God after that? (See 4:34-37 note.)
PRAY: Pray that you'll recognize potential "idols" and resist the temptation to bow to them. Pray for bold faith in the face of negative peer pressure. Ask God to give you good friends who will inspire you to stand strong for Christ.
ACT: Are you conforming to culture and bowing to it's "idols"? Pull away from these things and determine to get closer to God. Hang around with friends who will inspire you to grow spiritually and to exert positive pressure and influence for Christ on your culture.
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