Obj Lesson: He gives Gives Wisdom to the wise and Knowledge to the discerning.
If possible read about Babylon & Nebuchadnezer in a Bible Dictionary, or encyclopedia. Take special note of Babylon's greatness and its religious beliefs. Jot down notes on background information that you find insightful. In a Bible atlas locate Babylonia and Judah and take note of their size and boundaries. What do we call these lands today?
These were princes, the cream of Judah's next generation. They were probably about 15 years old. There were probably others in the school from Judah. But only these four held fast to their faith. The hope of God's people rested on them.
2. What else did Nebuchadnezzer bring to Babylon from Jerusalem? How did He treat these things?
The Jews had boasted of their treasures (Isa 39:6-7) They had put their trust in their temple and treasures, rather than their God. Now Nebuchadnezer is God's instrument of Judgement. (Jere 25:1-14; 40:1-3) That Nebuchadnezer put them in safekeeping was in the providence of God.
3. What do you think it was like to be enrolled in Nebuchadnezer's school? What did their studies include? What would they be when they graduated?
4. In verse 6 their names were changed. See below. Why was this done? What significance did this name change have?
HEBREW NAME: BABYLONIAN NAME:
Daniel - God's Prince = Belteshazzar - Bel's prince
Hananiah - Mercy of Yahweh = Shadrach - Command of Aku
Micheal - Who is what God is = Meshach - Who is like Aku
Azariah - Yahweh will help = Abed-nego - Servant of Nebo
*Bel, Aku and Nebo are names of Babylonian gods.
5. They were to be fed the very best of food, but the king's food had been consecrated to idols. Having accepted the name changes and re-education without protest, why was this a problem to Daniel? (Exo 34:15) What are some justifications other jewish princes may have used to rationalize going along with the King's entire program?
They were disconnected from their theological roots and set adrift to go with the peer pressure flow. And was it not God who had allowed them to be placed in this situation. They were being wined and dined into the Babylonian religion. To resist would be a challenge to the King himself and not a way to a successful career. It was much easier to go with the flow. Home and parents were far away. Their captivity was much more comfortable than their homeland. How hard it must have been to resist this seduction into paganism.
6. How did Daniel deal with this problem? (vss 8-16). Notice how tactfully he dealt with the Eunich! Why only vegetables? Where was God's hand in these events? How significant was this stand in their later life?
7. (Vss 17-20) What was included in the four young men's education? What were the dangers in studying pagan literature and science? What were the advantages?
"Though the text says God gave them their knowledge, skill and wisdom, it should be remembered that God regularly uses means to accomplish His purpose. The means in this instance were long hours of study. God was the one who gave them their fine progress, of course, but he did so only as they did all they could by His help to bring it about."Leon Wood, Daniel (Zondervan: Bible Study Commentary Series, 1975) p. 27.
Why does the Bible attribute it to God? What part did the Word of God have in their studies of literature and science?
It is suggested that their wisdom and understanding was 10 times better than the King's best because they saw everything from God's perspective, rather than just parroting back the status quo of humanistic opinions. God's word enabled them to cut through heathen obscurity. They had learned not to follow society, but to judge it. It was this that made them so valuable to the King - they alone of his advisers could give him the truth he needed. Are there applications here for you? Read Proverbs 1:7; 3:1-8.
Daniel's knowledge is set apart from the others' in what way?
Daniel's knowledge concerning dreams and visions was a God-given special ability, not something learned. "The Babylonians believed one could learn to interpret dreams. In fact much of the literature in which the young men became proficient concerned such pagan techniques. Methods of divination had been devised and serious attention had been given to these methods by specialists. These methods had to be rejected by the four." Wood, p. 28 (See 2:27-30)
Nebuchadnezer's dream was probably a recurrent dream, that left the King worried and insecure. But he couldn't put his finger on why? His challenge to the astrologers exposed the deception of their whole astrological system and the impotence of it's practitioners.
9. Why were Daniel and His friends in danger? What steps did Daniel take to deal with this crisis? (Vss 14-24)
10. How did Daniel go about finding the solution to the King's challenge? Why do you think Daniel praised God before he had interpreted the King's dream? To whom did Daniel give credit before the King? (vss 27,28)
Our Memory verses are a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His wisdom and power. Nearly every word is a quote from God's Word.
11. Why did God give the interpretation to Nebuchadnezer? (vs 30) Was it to save Daniel? Or was it to guide Nebuchadnezer?
12. Describe the dream? Why had this dream been so troubling to the King? What was it's interpretation. What did the dream say about the kingdoms of men and the Kingdom of God? Who has the power and glory?
In chapter 2 the four kingdoms are described by various metals, each less valuable than the previous, In Chapter 7, Daniel had a vision in which the four kingdoms were compared to fierce beasts. Most interpreters see the successive kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-persia, Greece and Rome.
What is the stone? Do we encounter it elsewhere in the Bible?
9. What was the result of Daniel's interpreting the dream? (Vss 48-49)
10. What do chapters 1 & 2 teach us about God's soveriegn rule?