The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Daniel: Determining to Go God's Direction

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Overview

His name meant "God is my judge," and his life bore witness to that fact. Daniel was a man who knew the Most High. An intimate friend of God, he realized simultaneously that friendship cost time kneeling in humility. He understood God's sovereignty, even in pagan Babylon where the Jews were exiled, and he refused to compromise his faith.

Daniel's resolution meant sacrifice. It meant discipline in prayer, diplomacy with government leaders, and dedication to living "set apart." It meant depending on an unchanging God to give him an unwavering vision.

Amid a pagan nation, an arrogant king, ravenous lions, and a blazing furnace, Daniel and his friends sought God and found Him in a way that will inspire and strengthen your journey. The same God who shut the lions' mouths and rescued His men unscathed from the flames will consecrate you to dream His dreams and do His work if only you allow Him. Do you have what it takes?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780781445696
  • Publisher: Cook, David C
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Series: Wiersbe Bible Study Series
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 911,297
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of three churches, including the Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he served as general director and Bible teacher for the Back to the Bible radio broadcast. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 150 books, including the popular "Be" series of expositional Bible studies, which has sold more than four million copies. In 2002, he was awarded the Jordon Lifetime Achievement Award by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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Read an Excerpt

The Wiersbe BIBLE STUDY SERIES: DANIEL

Determining to Go God's Direction


By Warren W. Wiersbe

David C. Cook

Copyright © 2014 Warren W. Wiersbe
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0373-6



CHAPTER 1

Lesson 1

God Rules

(Daniel 1)

Before you begin ...

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read Daniel 1. This lesson references chapter 1 in Be Resolute. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.


Getting Started

From the Commentary

Though not a professed evangelical believer, [Benjamin] Franklin was a man who believed in a God who is the Architect and Governor of the universe, a conviction that agrees with the testimony of Scripture. Abraham called God "the Judge of all the earth" (Gen. 18:25), and King Hezekiah prayed, "Thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth" (2 Kings 19:15). In Daniel's day, King Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way that "the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men" (Dan. 4:32 NIV).

The first chapter of Daniel's book gives ample evidence of the sovereign hand of God in the affairs of both nations and individuals.

Be Resolute, pages 17–18


1. Circle phrases or words in Daniel 1 that point to the sovereignty of God. How does this opening story set the table for the rest of the book? Why was the sovereignty of God such an important topic to the Israelites? Why might they have had reason to question God's sovereignty?

More to Consider: Note in Daniel 1:20 the almost casual reference to "magicians and enchanters." Why do you think the king grouped Daniel and his friends with these folks? What does this say about the Babylonian culture?

2. Choose one verse or phrase from Daniel 1 that stands out to you. This could be something you're intrigued by, something that makes you uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here. What strikes you about this verse?


Going Deeper

From the Commentary

For decades, the prophets had warned the rulers of Judah that their idolatry, immorality, and injustice toward the poor and needy would lead to the nation's ruin. The prophets saw the day coming when God would bring the Babylonian army to destroy Jerusalem and the temple and take the people captive to Babylon.

Be Resolute, page 18

3. Review Isaiah 13:1–4, 39:1–8, and Micah 4:10. What prophesies do these passages give about the Babylonian captivity? In what ways are these passages another example of God's sovereignty?


From the Commentary

So wise and powerful is our God that He can permit men and women to make personal choices and still accomplish His purposes in this world. When He isn't permitted to rule, He will overrule, but His will shall ultimately be done and His name glorified. We worship and serve a sovereign God who is never caught by surprise. No matter what our circumstances may be, we can always say with confidence, "Alleluia! ... The Lord God Omnipotent reigns!" (Rev. 19:6 NKJV).

Be Resolute, page 19

4. What surprises you about Daniel's response to the Babylonian official in 1:8 and 1:12–14? How does God use Daniel's polite defiance to glorify Himself? What are other examples that show how God uses our personal choices to further His kingdom?


From the History Books

The city of Babylon was built along the Euphrates River (in what is now Iraq), with portions of the city on either side of the river. Between 1770 and 1670 BC, and again between 612 and 320 BC, it may have been the largest city in the world (reaching a population of more than 200,000). One archaeological study estimates that the square wall around the city measured 42 miles in length, while another estimates it was as many as 56 miles long. The walls were purportedly 24 meters wide. However, as impressive as the city was, it was also beset with political strife and besieged more than once by neighboring nations, including the Assyrians and the Persians (as noted in the book of Daniel).

5. How does the immensity and importance of Babylon play into Daniel's story? What does it say about God's intent for the Israelites during this chapter of their long story? How much more significant is Daniel's denial to obey the king's decree in light of what you read about Babylon's history?


From the Commentary

Even a cursory reading of the Old Testament reveals that the majority of God's people have not always followed the Lord and kept His commandments. It has always been the "faithful remnant" within the Jewish nation that has come through the trials and judgments to maintain the divine covenant and make a new beginning. The prophet Isaiah named one of his sons "Shear-jashub," which means "a remnant shall return" (Isa. 7:3). The same principle applies to the church today, for not everybody who professes faith in Jesus Christ is truly a child of God (Matt. 7:21–23). In His messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor, our Lord always had a special word for "the overcomers," the faithful remnant in each congregation who sought to obey the Lord (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 24–28; 3:4–5, 12, 21). Daniel and his three friends were a part of the faithful Jewish remnant in Babylon, placed there by the Lord to accomplish His purposes.

Be Resolute, pages 19–20

6. How can you tell that Daniel and his friends were part of the "faithful remnant" Wiersbe refers to in the previous excerpt? What role does confidence in God play in those who are faithful? How is this played out in Daniel's story? In stories of other faithful followers?

More to Consider: The name Daniel means "God is my judge," but it was changed to Belteshazzar or "Bel protect his life." Hananiah means "the Lord shows grace," but Shadrach means "command of Aku [the moon-god]." Mishael means "Who is like God?" while Meshach means "Who is as Aku is?" Azariah means "the Lord is my help," but Abednego means "servant of Nebo." Why did the Babylonians change these men's names? What did they think it would accomplish? Knowing how important names were to the Jewish people, how might these young men have responded to being given new names?


From the Commentary

How can God's people resist the pressures that can "squeeze" them into conformity with the world? According to Romans 12:1–2, "conformers" are people whose lives are controlled by pressure from without, but "transformers" are people whose lives are controlled by power from within. Daniel and his three friends were transformers: Instead of being changed, they did the changing! God used them to transform the minds of powerful rulers and to bring great glory to His name in a pagan land.

Be Resolute, page 22

7. Review Romans 12:1–2. Though Daniel 1 tells about four friends who choose not to conform, other Israelites may have conformed to the king's decree. How did Daniel decide this was an appropriate time to choose not to conform? How does this mesh with the command in Romans 13:1–7 to submit to authorities?


From the Commentary

If you want to make a living, you get training; and if you want to make a life, you add education. But if you want to have a ministry for God, you must have divine gifts and divine help. Training and education are very important, but they are not substitutes for the ability and wisdom that only God can give.

Be Resolute, page 24

8. What does divine help look like in Daniel's story? If God works according to His own plan, that means He doesn't always "show up" when we expect. How did Daniel overcome the fear of God letting him down? How do Christians today overcome this fear? How does this fear incapacitate Christians' ability to do God's will?


From the Commentary

During Daniel's long life, he had opportunity to witness to Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, Belshazzar, and Cyrus, as well as to the many court officers who came and went. He was a faithful servant, and he could say with the Lord Jesus, "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do" (John 17:4 NKJV).

Be Resolute, page 27

9. How did God use Daniel's health to witness to the king? What does this story teach us about the unique ways in which believers can witness to others? What are some stories from your church experience that point to the creative ways God uses people's stories to speak to nonbelievers?


From the Commentary

Each believer is either a conformer or a transformer. We're either being squeezed into the world's mold or we're transforming things in the world into which God has put us. Transformers don't always have an easy life, but it's an exciting one, and it gives us great delight to know that God is using us to influence others.

Be Resolute, page 28

10. What are some of the trials Daniel endures in Daniel 1? What specific clues does he give to suggest he is not a conformer?


Looking Inward

Take a moment to reflect on all that you've explored thus far in this study of Daniel 1. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.

Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don't press for people to speak if they're uncomfortable doing so.

11. If you were in Daniel's shoes, do you think you'd be quick to deny the king's decree? Why or why not? What fears would you have to overcome to make that decision?

12. Daniel took a diplomatic approach to denying the king's request (vv. 11–14). Do you tend to respond to things you don't agree with out of anger? Frustration? Or do you act more diplomatically? What is the value of Daniel's approach?

13. In what ways do you find Daniel's decision to avoid conforming inspirational? In what ways do you find it difficult to read? What are some areas of conforming to the world that you find it hard to refuse? Why is that?


Going Forward

14. Think of one or two things that you have learned that you'd like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It's better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don't try).

Do you need to rethink those areas of your life where you tend to conform? Do you need to learn to trust God in difficult circumstances? Be specific. Go back through Daniel 1 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.

Real-Life Application Ideas: Daniel's first trial was being asked to eat food that would have defiled him according to God's law. Take stock of the things in your life that have the potential to "defile" according to what it means to live a life pleasing to God. This could be anything from bad habits to attitudes. After making your list, spend time in prayer, asking God to give you the strength and wisdom to overcome these things.


Seeking Help

15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you've previously noted. Be honest about your desires and fears.


Notes for Small Groups:

• Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section in this lesson. Talk with other group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

• During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you've read and studied.

• Before you start the next lesson, read Daniel 2. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapter 2, "The God of Dreams and Destinies," in Be Resolute.

CHAPTER 2

Lesson 2

Destiny

(Daniel 2)

Before you begin ...

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read Daniel 2. This lesson references chapter 2 in Be Resolute. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.


Getting Started

From the Commentary

As you turn from chapter 1 to chapter 2, the atmosphere in the king's palace changes radically. Chapter 1 closes with recognition and security, but chapter 2 introduces rejection and danger. Because they possessed almost unlimited power and authority, Oriental despots were notoriously temperamental and unpredictable, and here Nebuchadnezzar reveals this side of his character. (See also 3:19.) However, the hero and major actor in chapter 2 is not King Nebuchadnezzar but the Lord God who "reveals deep and secret things" (v. 22 NKJV).

Be Resolute, page 31

1. Why is there such a sudden shift in tone from chapter 1 to chapter 2? What does this say about the path Daniel's life is about to take? How does the inconsistency of the king help to underline the consistency of God's role in Daniel's life?

More to Consider: Bible scholars disagree about Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Some believe the king actually forgot his dream (see vv. 5, 8). Others believe he was merely testing his advisers and that these verses reference not the dream but the king's edict of judgment. Why is this an important discussion? What are the implications of these arguments where it concerns Daniel?

2. Choose one verse or phrase from Daniel 2 that stands out to you. This could be something you're intrigued by, something that makes you uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here. What strikes you about this verse?


Going Deeper

From the Commentary

Regardless of which approach is correct, this much is true: The counselors were greatly humiliated because they couldn't tell Nebuchadnezzar the dream. This was a great opportunity for them to receive wealth, prestige, and promotion, and the fact that they stalled for time indicated that they were unable to meet the challenge. This in itself set the stage for Daniel to exalt the true and living God of Israel who alone can predict the future (Isa. 41:21–23).

Be Resolute, page 34

3. How did the astrologers try to "buy time" in this story? (See Dan. 2:4–9.) Why do you think the king didn't want to give away the contents of the dream? How does God use the king's impossible request to set the stage for Daniel's triumph and God's own glorification?

More to Consider: There are lots of places in the Bible where God exposes the foolishness of the world and the deceptiveness of Satan. Look up some of these examples and compare them to the way God exposes the counselors of Babylon: Moses and Aaron defeat the magicians of Pharaoh (Ex. 7—12); Elijah exposes the deception of Baal worship (1 Kings 18); Jeremiah confronts the false prophet Hananiah (Jer. 28); Paul exposes the deception of Bar-Jesus the sorcerer (Acts 13:1–12).


From the Commentary

When Arioch came to get Daniel and his friends, they were shocked to hear about the king's edict. As new "graduates" among the royal counselors, they hadn't been invited to the special session about the dream. Daniel spoke to Arioch "with wisdom and tact" (NIV), just as he had spoken to Ashpenaz and Melzar (1:9–14; see Col. 4:5–6), and the chief executioner explained how serious the matter was. By doing this and delaying his obedience, Arioch was risking his own life, but the officers in the palace had learned that the four Jewish men were trustworthy. Their gracious actions and words during their three years of training were now helping to save their lives.

Arioch allowed Daniel time to speak to Nebuchadnezzar, and the king must have been surprised to see him.

Be Resolute, pages 35–36

4. Read Daniel 2:17–23. When Daniel returned to his friends, he urged them to plead for mercy about the mystery of the king's dream. What does this tell you about Daniel's faith? About the way he approaches challenges? What does it say to us today about how we ought to respond to difficult circumstances?


From the History Books

King Nebuchadnezzar was known not only for his military prowess but also for his leadership in building up the city of Babylon (and other surrounding areas, including a wall between the Tigris and the Euphrates meant to protect the country from invasions from the north). He is famous for sparing no expense in the capital city reconstruction, and for commissioning the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. His influence was so great in the region that there aren't many places near Babylon that don't record something about him.

5. Many of Nebuchadnezzar's exploits were military, but some were more about beauty or art (as in the gardens). What does this tell you about the king's heart? History supports the notion that Nebuchadnezzar was well known and wielded great influence in the region. How might this have played into his unpredictability regarding the fortune-tellers and wise men he surrounded himself with? Does Nebuchadnezzar's story add support to the idea that power corrupts? Explain.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Wiersbe BIBLE STUDY SERIES: DANIEL by Warren W. Wiersbe. Copyright © 2014 Warren W. Wiersbe. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Cover,
Introduction to Daniel,
How to Use This Study,
Lesson 1 God Rules (Daniel 1),
Lesson 2 Destiny (Daniel 2),
Lesson 3 Faith and Fire (Daniel 3),
Lesson 4 Hard Lessons (Daniel 4),
Lesson 5 Handwriting on the Wall (Daniel 5),
Lesson 6 The Lions' Den (Daniel 6),
Lesson 7 Kingdoms (Daniel 7),
Lesson 8 End Times (Daniel 8),
Lesson 9 A Concerned Prophet (Daniel 9—10),
Lesson 10 A Host of Prophecies (Daniel 11—12),
Bonus Lesson Summary and Review,
Extras,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2014

    Warren Wiersbe is an exceptional Bible Commentator, I purchased

    Warren Wiersbe is an exceptional Bible Commentator, I purchased Bible study software that includes "Be" Series of Old Testament and New Testament Commentaries. Examples are: 1 Corinthians Be Wise, 2 Corinthians Be Encourages etc... He comments on all chapters and sections of the word and provides a wonderful commentary for individual or group study.

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