Week Two: Abandoning Individualism Daniel 2 Spend FIFTEEN - Day One 1. How do you prefer to accomplish tasks: work alone, ask others for advice or ask others for assistance? Why do you like it that way?
2. Daniel was a man who’d learned the value of relying on others. As we read last week, Daniel and his three close companions were committed to honoring God by not eating the forbidden food of the king. But they were not done being challenged. Read Daniel 2:1-16. a. What was troubling the king? (v. 1) b. What did the king expect his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to do? (v. 6) c. Why did they say this was an impossible request? (v. 10) 3. Look back at a verse we read in week one, Daniel 1:17. With what gift had God blessed Daniel?
4. Clearly Daniel was the best man for the job. Even though all four young men were blessed with all kinds of knowledge and understanding, Daniel was the expert in dream interpretation. Do you ever find yourself feeling the same way when a situation arises and everyone expects you to know the answer? (Chances are if you answer to “mom” or “dad”, you can relate to this feeling.) How might Daniel have felt knowing he was likely the most qualified to step in: ready and eager, scared and alone or something else?
5. Even for experts, being the one where “the buck stops” can be a very lonely feeling. Sometimes in life, it’s not the amount of time a task or project takes up that puts pressure on our lives, but the pressure of responsibility. How do you relieve the pressure of responsibility when it feels too great?
6. As we’ll see tomorrow, Daniel had a plan. Conclude your FIFTEEN in prayer by asking God to help you recognize the difference between doing too much on your own and owning too much responsibility.
Spend FIFTEEN - Day Two 7. Read Daniel 2:14-18. a. What would be the consequence of failing to satisfactorily interpret the king’s dream? (v. 18)
b. What was the first thing Daniel did after he offered to interpret the king’s, yet-to-be revealed dream? (vs. 17)
8. Daniel immediately enlisted the aid of his friends for support and prayer. Even though he was the most qualified man for the job to interpret dreams, why did he need God’s help? (hint: see v. 11)
9. Often we’d rather die than ask others for help. For Daniel, dying was a very real possibility, and it wasn’t just his own neck on the line. Daniel isn’t the only person in the Bible who literally stuck their neck out to save others. Esther found herself in the very same position of asking a king to spare herself and her people. Read Esther 4:1517. What did Esther ask her people to do?
10. Now read Esther 4:14 and summarize of what Esther’s confidante reminded her.
11. For many Americans, the stress in our lives is literally killing us. Stress can raise our risk of heart disease, strokes and even cancer. The people God places in our lives can truly be lifelines. Who would you turn to if you needed prayer?
12.If no one comes to mind, it may be time to consider a Small Group or mentor. Sometimes a group of existing friends can become a Small Group with a little intentionality.* As you conclude your FIFTEEN thank God for the people in your life, and don’t forget to reach out to them for prayer. *For information about starting or joining a Small Group or Bible Study check out the Groups & Studies brochure at stjstl.net/groups or contact Julie at [email protected]
Spend FIFTEEN - Day Three 13. How do you feel when someone asks you for help? Is it a good feeling or a frustration to help others?
14. What prevents us from asking others for help?
15. Daniel did not hesitate to ask his friends for support and prayer when faced with the monumental task of interpreting a dream he’d never heard recounted. Read Daniel 2: 17-23. a. How did God answer the prayers of Daniel and his friends? (v. 19) b. How did Daniel respond? (v. 20) c. Look closely at verse 23. Who had asked God for mercy? 16. Daniel humbly acknowledged the prayers of his companions, and he praised God for answering those prayers. Daniel was unconcerned about being a burden, and he gave credit to those who helped him. How may the acknowledgement of their efforts make Daniel’s friends feel?
17. What might Daniel’s friends have learned about God from playing a part in God’s solution to their problem?
18. Even though, Daniel did the interpreting, his friends were blessed to participate in the solution God provided. Besides having their own lives spared, they got to witness first hand God’s provision. Conclude your FIFTEEN in
prayer by asking God to help you remember to allow others the chance to have a front row seat to God working in your life.
Spend FIFTEEN - Day Four 19. Read Daniel 2:24-47. a. Whom did Daniel credit with revealing and intercepting the king’s dream? (v. 28) b. Why did Daniel tell the king these things had been revealed to him? (v. 30) c. From where did Daniel declare the king had received his power and authority? (v. 37) d. What was the king’s reaction to Daniel’s interpretation? (v. 47) 20. Daniel’s actions were a powerful witness to this pagan king. The king had the chance to see in a real and personal way how intimately God is involved in the lives of His people. How can we have the same impact on others in our lives?
21. What types of things prevent us from forming or deepening those relationships?
22. Read Colossians 4:5-6. If we are to have the same impact on those around us, we need to have time to form deeper relationships. Yet some activities just can’t be avoided. How can we build deeper relationships while still accomplishing the things we need to do?
23. In Daniel’s case, he included his friends in prayer and support. For you, it might be inviting friends or neighbors to join you as you care for another family in need (at St, John, we call this living the SIX.) As you conclude your FIFTEEN in prayer, ask God to recognize ways to include others as you serve God by serving others.
Spend FIFTEEN - Day Five 24. Read Daniel 2:46-49. After Daniel’s successful interpretation of the king’s dream, what did Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego end up doing?
25. While the friends were separated, they were now in a much greater position to impact lives on behalf of their God. You can bet they didn’t stop praying for each other even though they were no longer in close proximity to one another. The very same thing happened to another group of friends. Read Acts 1:13-15. Who gathered to pray together?
26. If the Gospel of Jesus was going to be spread beyond 120 followers, they would not be able to stick together, but they’d still need each other. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-10. a. What did the disciples have because of each other? (v. 9)
b. What did they continue to do? 27. Like Daniel and company, the disciples accomplished much through the support and prayers of other Believers. We can do the same thing whether it‘s accomplishing a task or affecting a life change, we can do so much more together. What would you like to accomplish?
28.At this time of year, many of us turn our attention to our own lives: what’s working, what’s not and what needs to change. Creating room to breathe may be near the top of your list. If one of your barriers to having margin in life is your health, improving it is just a friend away. Most successful plans to improve your health include the support of friends. One such plan is called The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren.* (This plan is named after the very same Daniel we are studying -) About The Daniel Plan, Warren says, “Faith and friends are what I call the secret sauce that makes The Daniel Plan so effective. When you have God and a group helping you, you now have far more than willpower helping you make positive changes, and you are far more likely to stay consistent.” Finish your final FIFTEEN this week by asking God to help you see any changes you need to make in your life to have room to breathe and to help you find just the right people to help you get there. *The Daniel Plan study guide, recipe book and Small Group study is now available at CrossWalk Bookstore. See ad on the back cover for store hours and location.