NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Daniel 3:17-18
Discussion Questions: When was the last time you prayed for something that actually happened? Were you surprised?
Food for Thought:
Most of the major miracles in Scripture did not happen because someone was acting on a direct, spoken command from God. Most happened because somebody perceived the compassion and power of God, and then asked God to act on it. And God answered.
A great example of that is the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Here's a quick review of what happened. King Nebuchadnezzar was an egotistical king who brought together everyone in his global kingdom so they could bow down to a 90-foot statue of himself. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused because they knew they could only bow down to the God of Israel. When the music started, they didn't bow. Nebuchadnezzar called them up in front of everyone to explain why they dared defy his authority.
Their reply was a curious mixture of certainty and uncertainty about God's plan to deliver them. "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king" (Daniel 3:17).
That sounds pretty certain that God was about to do something spectacular to show Nebuchadnezzar who is king.
But then they said, "But if not ..." (v. 18).
They were confident God wanted to show Nebuchadnezzar and the rest of the world that He was the only true God. Yet, they had no guarantee that God would do that by delivering them. He might do it by helping them suffer well in their pain. But they knew He'd do something.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego asked God to use them to show the nations that He was the only One to be worshiped. And so it happened. Nebuchadnezzar threw them into the fiery furnace, but they walked out unscathed. Everyone knew that God, not Nebuchadnezzar, was the world's true King.
God has not promised Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, as indicated by their uncertain reply to Nebuchadnezzar, that He would vindicate them and deliver them from the fire. They just took a dare on God. This pattern seems to be the norm when God moves in the Bible.
There is no limit to what God can do when we perceive His power and compassion and ask Him to act on it. MasterWork
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool