BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

LESSON 2 - The Courage to Stand

God's people are often placed in difficult and even life-threatening circumstances. This has been the lot of God's faithful people in all ages. As the apostle Paul put it, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim 3:12) Among the bright stars who have shone brightly for their faithfulness in standing up for God and His principles, Daniel and his three captive companions, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are among the most prominent. In a time when it would have been easy to compromise, when no one would have blamed them for letting down their standards, when their entire nation was being punished for apostasy, the four young men refused to deny their faith and their God in even the slightest degree.
In this age when we are facing the greatest crisis that the world has ever seen, the word of God predicts that God's people are about to face circumstances equally challenging to faith as were those which Daniel and his friends had to face. It is important that we carefully examine the factors which enabled these young people to stand so unyieldingly for the things they believed in.
 

Part 1: The king's meat

 
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (1 Cor 9:25)
While it is true that "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink," (Rom. 14:17) yet it is also true that there is a relationship between the way we treat our bodies and our ability to overcome sin. The body is the home of the spirit. It is the medium through which the mind of a person is able to interact with the world and to perfect character development. When a person's body functions below par for whatever reason, then the mind suffers. A person may be unable to concentrate or to think clearly or even suffer from poor memory or a weak will, simply because of poor health habits.
How was Daniel able, under the most difficult circumstances, when others about him were compromising, to stand so firmly for what he believed in ? Dan. 1:8
"Daniel valued his human capabilities, but he did not trust in them. His trust was in that strength which God has promised to all who will come to him in humble dependence, relying wholly upon his power. . . ."
"Daniel's parents had trained him in his childhood to habits of strict temperance. They had taught him that he must conform to nature's laws in all his habits; that his eating and drinking had a direct influence upon his physical, mental, and moral nature, and that he was accountable to God for his capabilities; for he held them all as a gift from God, and must not, by any course of action, dwarf or cripple them. As the result of this teaching, the law of God was exalted in his mind, and reverenced in his heart. During the early years of his captivity, Daniel was passing through an ordeal which was to familiarize him with courtly grandeur, with hypocrisy, and with paganism. A strange school indeed to fit him for a life of sobriety, industry, and faithfulness! And yet he lived uncorrupted by the atmosphere of evil with which he was surrounded." _ Christian Temperance & Bible Hygiene, p. 23
What was the result of the Hebrews' faithfulness to God? Dan. 1:17
". . . . Daniel . . . . had an intelligent knowledge of the effect that the king's meat and wine would produce upon the human system; and he determined to adhere to the teachings of God forbidding their use by the Israelites, rather than receive the approbation of the king. The result was that God gave him great wisdom and understanding in all mysteries, so that at the end of the years of trial, when examined, he stood higher than any of the wise men in the kingdom." _ Historical Sketches, p. 153
 
Key Thought
Every principle that God has established, including the health laws, are intended to help prepare us for His kingdom.



Part 2: The fiery furnace

And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Dan. 3:6
The king commanded that the men be brought before him. "Is it true," he inquired, "do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?" He endeavored by threats to induce them to unite with the multitude. Pointing to the fiery furnace, he reminded them of the punishment awaiting them if they should persist in their refusal to obey his will. But firmly the Hebrews testified to their allegiance to the God of heaven, and their faith in His power to deliver. The act of bowing to the image was understood by all to be an act of worship. Such homage they could render to God alone. {PK 507.1}
As the three Hebrews stood before the king, he was convinced that they possessed something the other wise men of his kingdom did not have. They had been faithful in the performance of every duty. He would give them another trial. If only they would signify their willingness to unite with the multitude in worshiping the image, all would be well with them. . . . " _ Prophets and Kings, p. 507
Would God have overlooked it if the Hebrews had bowed, considering the fatal consequences of refusing to do so? Dan. 3:17,18.
"If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God." _ Testimonies For The Church, Vol. 3, p. 289
How will God's people survive the perils of earth when they refuse to break His laws? Dan. 3:25
". . . . From the history of their fathers they had learned that disobedience to God results in dishonor, disaster, and death; and that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the foundation of all true prosperity. Calmly facing the furnace, they said, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so [if this is your decision], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king." Their faith strengthened as they declared that God would be glorified by delivering them, and with triumphant assurance born of implicit trust in God, they added, "But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." _ Prophets and Kings, p. 507
" . . . . We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history." _ General Conference Bulletin, Jan. 29, 1893

Key Thought
As we prepare for the fiery furnace of the coming crisis we may learn much from the example of the steadfast
 

Part 3: The lion's den


All the presidents of the kingdom, and governors, and the princes, the counselors and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Dan. 6:7
". . . . evil angels, fearing the influence of this good man over the king and in the affairs of the kingdom, stirred up the presidents and princes to envy. These wicked men watched Daniel closely, that they might find some fault in him which they could report to the king; but they failed. "He was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him."
"Then Satan sought to make Daniel's faithfulness to God the cause of his destruction. . . . .The king's pride was flattered. He was ignorant of the mischief purposed against Daniel, and he granted their request. The decree was signed, and became one of the unalterable laws of the Medes and Persians." _ Signs of The Times, November 4, 1886
What was the only fault which could be found against Daniel? Dan. 6:5
"These envious men did not believe that Daniel would be untrue to his God, or that he would falter in his firm adherence to principle; and they were not mistaken in their estimate of his character. Daniel knew the value of communion with God. With full knowledge of the king's decree, he still bowed in prayer three times a day, "his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem." He did not seek to conceal his act, although he knew full well the consequences of his fidelity to God. He saw the dangers that beset his path; but his steps faltered not. Before those who were plotting his ruin, he would not allow even the appearance that his connection with Heaven was severed." _ Signs of The Times, November 4, 1886
What was Daniel's response to the plot against him? Dan. 6:10
"In all cases where the king had a right to command, Daniel would obey. He was willing to obey so far as he could do so consistently with truth and righteousness; but kings and decrees could not make him swerve from his allegiance to the King of kings. He knew that no man, not even his king, had a right to come between his conscience and his God, and interfere with the worship due to his Maker.
Daniel was true, noble, and generous. While he was anxious to be at peace with all men, he would not permit any power to turn him aside from the path of duty. . . Had he respected the king's decree in this instance, he would have dishonored God." _ Signs of The Times, November 4, 1886
 
Key Thought
It is not only in major crises but also in the smaller situations of ordinary life that God requires faithfulness

 

Part 4: Man greatly beloved


At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. (Dan 9:23)
There are not many people in the Bible who were given the wonderful assurance that Daniel received. More than once he was addressed by heaven's messenger, Gabriel, as a man "greatly beloved." While we know that all God's children are precious in His sight, yet there must have been something unusual about Daniel to merit such a salutation, coming directly from the throne-room of God.
What was it that exalted Daniel to such a position before God? Prov. 9:10
"Except the one perfect Pattern, there is not described in the sacred pages a single character more worthy of emulation than that of the prophet Daniel. Exposed in youth to all the allurements of a royal court, he became a man of unbending integrity and fervent devotion to God. He was subjected to the fierce temptations of Satan, yet his character was not vacillating, nor his course changeable. He was firm where many would be yielding; he was true where they would be false; he was strong where they would be weak. Daniel was a lofty cedar of Lebanon. The angel of the Lord addressed this faithful prophet, "O man greatly beloved, thy prayer is heard." Would that the faith, integrity, and devotion of the prophet Daniel might live in the hearts of God's people of today. Never were these noble qualities more needed in the world than now. Never was there greater need of men who will stand firmly and fearlessly for God and the right." _ Review and Herald, November 7, 1882
How does heaven view those who choose to follow God regardless of circumstances? Ps. 101:6
"With Satan at their head to imbue them with his spirit, men may afflict God's people, they may cause pain to the body, they may take away their temporal life; but they cannot touch the life that is hid with Christ. We are not our own. Soul and body, we have been bought with the price paid on the cross of Calvary; and we are to remember that we are in the hands of him who created us. Whatever Satan may inspire evil men to do, we are to rest in the assurance that we are under God's charge, and that by his Spirit he will strengthen us to endure. "He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight." _ Review and Herald, December 28, 1897
 
Key Thought

Daniel's relationship with God is available to all who will devote themselves to God as Daniel did.

Part 5: Them that honour me


Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. (1 Samuel 2:30)
God loves all men, but His blessings cannot come equally to all. The very nature of the great controversy between Christ and Satan demands that God respect the choices which men make. When a person chooses to live his life independently of God and to give his services to self-seeking, he really is choosing to serve Satan. Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." (Mat 12:30). Such a person will be treated differently by God, than the one who is loyal and faithful to Him. God will make a difference between the righteous and the unrighteous.
How does Jesus promise to represent those who honour Him? Matt. 10:32
"This statement will cause all who conscientiously desire to know the way of the Lord, to fear and tremble. They will carefully consider what it is to confess Christ. The only way to understand what is our duty is to study the Scriptures and to learn perfectly the lessons of Christ, and to make a good confession of faith, not with our lips only, but in spirit, words, and works. The Lord says, "Ye are my witnesses." We do not become witnesses for Christ by maintaining a mere form of godliness, but we are his witnesses when we make that confession of Christ which is approved and accepted of the Father. To make such a confession, we must represent Christ in a holy life and blameless conversation. Jesus says, "If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." But no one can confess Christ unless the Spirit of Christ abides within him as a living principle. The conversation and deportment will manifest what is in the heart, giving visible expression to the grace and truth within, or revealing the corruption and unbelief of the soul." Review and Herald, February 12, 1895
In what specific way does the wise man Solomon admonish us to honour the Lord? Prov. 3:9,10
God's blessings are not only manifested in spiritual things but also in the temporal aspects of life. While the child of God should not expect more than his daily needs (Matt. 6:34), yet he may rest assured that as he endeavours to be faithful to God the hand of omnipotence will cover and direct his life. All his needs will be met. God will pour him out such a blessing that "there will not be room enough to receive it."

Key Thought

God is faithful. No man has ever been faithful to God without realizing extraordinary benefits in his life.

 

Part 6: The wise shall understand


Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. Dan. 12:10
"The most desirable education is a knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. He who serves the world sees not the great things of eternal interest prepared for the one who opens his heart to the light of heaven. But he who enters this path of knowledge and perseveres in his search after the hidden wisdom, to him heavenly agencies teach the great lessons which through faith in Christ enable him to be an overcomer. Through this knowledge spiritual perfection is reached; the life becomes holy and Christlike." _ Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, p. 399
What promise of God, made to His faithful people may we claim as we seek to be among the wise who will understand? Psalm 25:14
"It was not the leaders in the church who had an understanding of this truth, and engaged in its proclamation. Had these been faithful watchmen, diligently and prayerfully searching the Scriptures, they would have known the time of night; the prophecies would have opened to them the events about to take place. But they did not occupy this position, and the message was given by another class. . . . Those who turn away from the light which God has given, or who neglect to seek it when it is within their reach, are left in darkness. But the Saviour declares, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." [JOHN 8:12.] Whoever is with singleness of purpose seeking to do God's will, earnestly heeding the light already given, will receive greater light. . . ."_ The Great Controversy, p. 312
What process must the people of God go through in order to be adequately prepared for the last great conflict? 2 Tim. 2:15; Ps. 91:1
"Those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derided. They can stand only in God. In order to endure the trial before them, they must understand the will of God as revealed in his Word; they can honor him only as they have a right conception of his character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance with them. None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. To every soul will come the searching test, Shall I obey God rather than men? The decisive hour is even now at hand. Are our feet planted on the rock of God's immutable Word? Are we prepared to stand firm in defense of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?" _ The Great Controversy, p. 593
 
Key Thought
The reception of truth depends not so much upon the power of a person's intellect, but rather, upon the strength of his relationship to God.
Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

Website: www.restorationministry.com

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