Week Four: The Perfection Tension Daniel 6 Spend

Week Four: The Perfection Tension Daniel 6 Spend...

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Week Four: The Perfection Tension Daniel 6 Spend FIFTEEN - Day One 1. At the end of Week Three, we read that Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego faithfully continued serving God under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. Unfortunately, the king continued to have a short memory when it came to God’s faithfulness. This ultimately led to the loss of his throne and his sanity. What do you do to remember the faithfulness God has shown to you in the past?

2. King Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, assumed the throne after Nebuchadnezzar’s death. If you have extra time this week, you can read about the demise of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4. If not read Daniel 5:18-30. a. Whom did King Belshazzar call when he needed interpretation of his very strange situation? b. What was the result of Daniel’s interpretation? c. Who succeeded Belshazzar as king? 3. Read Daniel 6:1-3. a. How did Daniel distinguish himself? (v. 3) b. To what did King Darius plan to appoint Daniel? (v. 3) 4. Daniel 6:3 says Daniel distinguished himself among the other leaders because of his “exceptional” qualities. What qualities make a good leader? Brainstorm a quick list of traits that good leaders possess.

5. Daniel was a godly man, but does that necessarily guarantee he would be a good leader? Why or why not? Back up your opinion with examples, if possible.

6. A good leader needs to manage the tension between godliness and genuineness. Sometimes our pursuit of God’s vision for our lives turns into perfectionism, which is not what God intends and it’s certainly not the way into the hearts of others. Judging by Daniel’s success as a leader, he appeared to manage this tension well. As you close your FIFTEEN in prayer, ask God to help you manage this tension as well.

Spend FIFTEEN - Day Two 7. An often paraphrased saying about success says, most people are happy for you until you do better than them. How have you found this to be true in your life?

8. Daniel ran into some trouble when he enjoyed success under King Darius. Read Daniel 6:3-9. a. What did the other administrators and satraps hope to do to Daniel? b. Why couldn’t they find any fault with him? (v. 4)

c. What tactic did they finally resort to in an attempt to get rid of Daniel? (v. 5) 9. Why might the administrators and satraps have wanted to harm Daniel even though it appears he had never harmed them?

10. Depending on your translation, Daniel may be described as, trustworthy or faithful, not corrupt or negligent. Why is it important to be both free from corruption and reliable to be considered faithful or trustworthy?

11. Describe how being unreliable or corrupt can cut into our room to breathe.

12. God’s vision for all of our lives is to be faithful and fruitful. Daniel was both of those. However, at this point in his life, it appears those things are actually working against him. In order to accurately assess Daniel’s current situation, we’re going to need a longer view of Daniel’s life. How does taking a longer view of your life help you keep perspective?

13. Like Daniel, we can find ourselves in situations when we wonder why we bother doing the right thing. In God’s economy, having room to breathe comes from being at peace with our enemies instead of fighting. For Daniel, peace would come by turning the matter over to God. As you finish your FIFTEEN, ask God to help you remain patient and not to make knee-jerk reactions when your circumstances seem to warrant otherwise.

Spend FIFTEEN - Day Three 14. Read Daniel 6:6-14. a. In verse 7, the royal administrators and satraps claimed to the king that all of the administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors agreed that the king should make a decree. Was this true? b. In the decree, who was to be the only object of worship? (v. 7) c. What did the administrators and satraps use in order to get the king to agree to this decree? 15. Because Daniel was a man of integrity, the only way the jealous and corrupt men could trap him was by lying to the king and appealing to his sense of ego. What was the reaction of the king in verse 14, when he finally discovered the consequences of his rash actions?

16. Judging by the reaction of the king, he had not considered Daniel when he made the decree. Besides highly esteeming him, how might the fact that Daniel had been a very faithful servant to the king make his distress over his own decree that much worse?

17. Even though the king had a momentary lapse in judgment, he knew what he’d done was wrong. How might Daniel’s faithfulness toward the king help him to recognize his error?

18. How might displaying faithfulness by living a life of integrity also do the same for those around us, especially those who might not share our beliefs and values?

19. When people live a life of faithfulness, they become like a mirror to everyone around them. Describe a person of integrity in your life. As you witness their life, what effect does that have on your view of your own life?

20. How has their example affected your behavior?

21. Close your FIFTEEN in prayer by thanking God for the people of integrity He’s put in your path.

Spend FIFTEEN - Day Four 22. Read Daniel 6:10-12. a. What was Daniel’s reaction to the decree? b. What other actions could Daniel have taken in light of the unfairness of the decree? c. Would Daniel have been justified in taking a more vocal stance on the issue? 23. As we read yesterday, Daniel was faithful to God, yet Daniel did not hold himself up as a righteous example to others. He simply continued on as he had before, worshipping God and giving thanks. Is it hard for you to give thanks in difficult circumstances?

24. How does giving thanks in difficult circumstances affect how you feel about a tough situation?

25. When the decree went out, Daniel continued to do what he had done before. Notice that he didn’t suddenly become more devout in protest of the decree, instead he kept pursuing the vision of life he had formed much earlier in life. Is there any part of your vision for life that is so strong that you would keep pursuing it, even under the threat of death?

26. Daniel could have jumped on his soapbox and complained to everyone who’d listen about the unfairness of his situation. Daniel’s “agenda’ was his own relationship with God, but, as we will read tomorrow, Daniel’s faithfulness gave him an amazing opportunity to showcase God’s faithfulness. How might that have been far more powerful than trying to convince someone of God’s faithfulness?

27. Close your FIFTEEN in prayer. Ask God to help you recognize opportunities to display His faithfulness rather than just telling others.

Spend FIFTEEN - Day Five 28. King Darius failed to spare Daniel from the lion’s den, even though Darius had spent the night trying to find a loophole in his own decree. Fortunately for Daniel, he served a heavenly King! Read Daniel 6:15-28. a. What were the king’s final words to Daniel?


Why was Daniel spared from the lions? (v. 23)

29.Daniel is sometimes pigeonholed as an “obedience guy” but the real secret to Daniel’s courage in the face of the lion’s den was his understanding of God’s goodness. Daniel wasn’t just obedient, he trusted God to be good. How did Daniel’s faithfulness demonstrate his trust in God?

30.How can we demonstrate the same trust?

31. Daniel trusted God for everything even with his life. How does trusting God give us room to breathe?

32. Focusing on God’s goodness, not our perfection is key to living out God’s vision for our lives. And when we live out God’s vision, we have room to breathe. a. When has God shown himself trustworthy in the past?

b. In what area(s) of your life do you need to learn to trust God for your present and future?

33. As you finish your final FIFTEEN of this series, commit these areas of your life to God. Trust Him carry the burden so that you can have room to breathe.