Introduction: Two weeks ago we discussed the Israeli slave girl in
Naaman’s home. What an amazing missionary adventure she started!
This week we look at more captives, this time from Jerusalem. Their
lives are turned upside down. But, instead of blaming God, they
decide to be faithful, and they change the world. Let’s dive into our
Bible study and learn more!

  1. The Start of the Problem

    1. Read Isaiah 39:3-4. Why did King Hezekiah show these
      visitors his treasures?

    2. Read Isaiah 39:5-7. Is this prophecy a punishment for sin?
      (Read 2 Chronicles 32:25-26. This reveals Hezekiah’s sin
      was pride. The destruction that came upon his people after
      he died was punishment for his sin of pride.)

    3. Read Isaiah 39:8. What do you think of this response?
      What do you think about the nature of the punishment? (All
      of this is troubling. Hezekiah does not seem to care that
      he is injuring his descendants. Why would God punish
      someone who is not responsible for Hezekiah’s sin? The
      answer is that we have read just one part of the story.
      The promised destruction did not come for 150 years, and
      Hezekiah’s descendants did plenty of things to deserve

    4. Read Daniel 1:1-2. How does this look to anyone who is
      trying to figure out who is the true God? (The articles of
      worship of the true God are taken to the temple of the god
      of Babylonia. It looks like our God lost.)

    5. Read Daniel 1:3-5. What do you think is the Babylonian’s
      goal in this? How would you feel if you were one selected
      for this special program?

  2. Witness with Food

    1. Read Daniel 1:6-8. No doubt this is the best tasting food.
      What is Daniel’s objection? (Eating this food created
      conflicts with the law dealing with unclean meat, meat
      that had not been drained, and meat and drink offered to
      false gods. See, for example, Leviticus 7 & 11. “Defile”
      tells us this is about Daniel’s religious beliefs.)

    2. Read Daniel 1:11-14. Why vegetables and water?

    3. Read Daniel 10:2-3. This tells us that later in life
      Daniel ate “choice food” which included meat and wine. Did
      Daniel become less faithful in his old age?(No. The reason
      for Daniel engaging in a three week “fast” later in life
      is that God gave him some very important and troubling
      messages. Later in life Daniel became an important man. No
      doubt he could now control the way his food was prepared
      so that it conformed to God’s word.)

    4. Read Daniel 1:9-10 and Daniel 1:15-16. Is this the result
      of a vegetarian diet? (I’ve been a vegetarian for over
      fifty years and I believe I’m healthier than most. But, a
      change in ten days has to be the result of the
      intervention of God.)

      1. What about the other captives? What have they decided
        on this issue?

    5. Read Daniel 1:17. What is the result of the faithfulness
      of Daniel and his friends? (God blesses them!)

    6. Read Daniel 1:18-20. This is the close of some sort of
      probation period. While many would be blaming God for
      their captivity, what is the result of faithfulness? Is
      ten times better possible for you?

      1. What is the impact on their captors? (They realize
        that there is something different about these young

  3. Witness with Dreams

    1. Read Daniel 2:1-5. How would you like Nebuchadnezzar as
      your boss?

      1. Is he really ornery, or do you think there is more to
        this story? (Read Daniel 2:9. The king thought that
        if they could recite the dream he could have
        confidence in their interpretation. Remember that
        Daniel 1:20 informed us that the new recruits, Daniel
        and his friends, were “ten times better” than the
        existing magicians and enchanters. Perhaps the
        enchanters are not so enchanting anymore.)

    2. Read Daniel 2:10-12. Do you think these enchanters claimed
      in the past to speak for the gods?

      1. What defenses do they raise? (This is not
        historically a part of their job description. They
        are not god.)

    3. Read Daniel 2:13-15. What would your defense have been?
      (“I’m not the one who failed the king! Why are you killing

      1. Arioch has the authority to kill Daniel on the spot.
        What does Daniel’s response teach us when we are in
        trouble? (He spoke with wisdom and tact.)

    4. Read Daniel 2:16. Compare it with Daniel 2:7-9. What is
      most troubling about Daniel’s request? (The king thinks
      the enchanters are stalling for time. Daniel asks for more
      time. Note that Daniel asks for more time to “interpret
      the dream” as opposed to reciting the dream.)

    5. Read Daniel 2:17-19. What is the key to getting out of a
      life-threatening situation? (Prayer.)

    6. Read Daniel 2:24. Would you have told Arioch not to
      execute the enchanters?

      1. What would be the advantage to Daniel if they were

    7. Read Daniel 2:25. Is Arioch claiming credit for this?
      (Probably. But, remember that he is not obeying the king.
      Saying that he found someone who could interpret the dream
      explains his failure to be out executing enchanters.)

    8. Read Daniel 2:26-27. Would you have started out your
      presentation to the king in this way? (This introduction
      is probably making the king mad. Thankfully, Daniel
      quickly gets to the right language. Let’s read that next.)

    9. Read Daniel 2:28-30. Compare Daniel’s statement to that of
      Arioch ( Daniel 2:25). (Daniel gives all the glory to God.
      When you read this and think about how Daniel saved the
      enchanters, we see he displays modesty and love.)

      1. Are these attributes key to being a missionary?

    10. Skim over Daniel 2:31-44 and read Daniel 2:45-47. What has
      Daniel done? (By turning to God in time of trouble, by
      giving full credit to God and taking none for himself,
      Daniel has both educated and convicted Nebuchadnezzar
      about the truth of the great God of Heaven.)

      1. This seems to be a lot of worry and stress over one
        dream. Is it justified? What if Daniel had been in
        the king’s presence when he first mentioned the
        dream, and Daniel told him that God would interpret
        it? No drama, no threats would be involved. (This is
        one of the most important prophecies outlining the
        history of the world through to the Second Coming of
        Jesus. All of the drama focused attention on its

    11. Read Daniel 2:48. Notice that through all of this Daniel
      has given full credit to God, and has been very modest
      about his own talents. See Daniel 2:30, in which he says
      the interpretation comes not because he has “greater
      wisdom than other living men.” How does that modesty work
      out for Daniel? (He is given extraordinary authority and

      1. How should we apply this in our daily lives?

      2. Have you seen boxers or sports stars who give glory
        to God when they beat up their opponent? How do you
        react to that?

      3. If you told your boss and your co-workers that a
        great idea you just had was given to you by God,
        would that be a good or bad witness? (Read Matthew
        7:6. Nebuchadnezzar and his enchanters were expecting
        a “god” solution. Daniel pointed them to the true
        God. In our secular work, I think we need to be
        shrewd about this. If someone is open to learning
        about God, we need to share. Modesty is always a good
        idea. The best course is to seek the wisdom of the
        Holy Spirit to know when and to whom to witness.)

    12. Friend, it is unlikely that your typical crisis involves
      the authorities wanting to take your life, but whatever
      the problem in life we need to seek God’s help. When He
      helps we need to give Him credit. Will you determine
      today to do that?

  4. Next week: Esther and Mordecai.