God's kingdom people will both inspire and repulse those committed to the kingdoms of this world.
Scripture: Daniel 1:1-8, 2:31-45, 3:16-18, 7:9-14
- Daniel and his friends found themselves in a culture hostile to God and God's ways. Daniel resolved (set his heart) that he would not dishonor God by defiling himself (Dan 1:8). God's kingdom people are characterized by a settled resolve to honor God. What are ways to strengthen our resolve like Daniel?
- Kingdoms in opposition to God continue to try to assimilate and indoctrinate us, especially when we are young. How can you and your family resist conforming? What are practices that help strengthen you?
- In chapter 2 Daniel interprets king Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Daniel gives glory to God (2:28). In 2:31-45 reveals to Nebuchadnezzar that his dream of a statue represented human kingdoms that would rise and fall. Then a stone cut without hands smashes all those human kingdoms to bits and fills the whole earth. This is the kingdom of God which will never end (2:44). Why would God want to communicate to us that even the greatest human empires are temporary?
- In chapter 3 Nebuchadnezzar demands worship for himself. Daniel's friends will gladly honor the empire and serve the empire but they WILL NOT worship the empire. So, they get threatened. How do Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego model seeking first God's kingdom?
- What do you learn about trusting God from Daniel 3:16-18?
- God's kingdom people share in the suffering and the exaltation of the Son. In chapter 6 Daniel gets thrown into a den of lions for honoring God above king. After being cast into a pit he is exalted to the kings side and his enemies cast down. How is this a foreshadowing of the gospel?
- In chapter 7 Daniel has a nightmare of terrible beasts, one after another. These represent human kingdoms. Why does the Bible compare human empires to beasts? What makes human kingdoms beastly?
- Then Daniel sees the Ancient of Days seated on a throne above the beasts. The ancient of days destroys the beast (7:9-11). How is this good news, especially to suffering people?
- Then Daniel sees one like a son of man being exalted to take his place beside the Ancient of Days (7:13-14). Son of Man is Jesus' most frequent way of describing himself. Based on this passage, why is that?
- See Mark 14:60-65. Jesus is the Son of Man of Daniel 7 and also the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. He suffers the humiliation of the cross then overcomes through resurrection and ascends to the right hand of the King of Kings. He reigns NOW but we are waiting for the full consummation of his kingdom. What kind of people is God calling us to be in the meantime?