What do we do when the choice between right and wrong is obvious, but also really hard? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego just about got fired (get it?) for doing the right thing.
Discussion Questions for Daniel 3: Saved Through the Fire
1. (If you don't want to read the whole chapter) Who can retell the story in 30 seconds? What do you think is the moral of the story?
2. The two keys verses that whole story hinges on are 15-18, "What god will be able to rescue you?" and "Even if he doesn't, we won't..." How do you think the story - or the message or impact of it - would be different if they would have died in the fire?
3. Rob and Ben have argued that we live in a kind of Babylon. What is their argument? Do you agree or disagree?
4. Shad, Rack, and Benny (their Veggie Tale names, if the Persians could change their Hebrew names, why can't we?) faced a very obvious choice for an Israelite (rule #1 is don't bow down and worship other gods!) that was extremely difficult to make (they would literally be fired!). What are some examples of obvious right and wrong choices that are still really difficult for us to make today? Also share why each of those examples are so difficult to do the obvious right thing.
5. Rob argued that the root of our difficulty obeying God when it's obvious but hard is our answer to the following questions: What (or who) do we fear the most? What (or who) do we trust the most? and What (or who) do we love (or worship) the most. Can you think of examples from life or scripture of how those questions apply to choosing to do the right or wrong thing?
6. Rob suggested we need to ask these questions of ourselves, ask others to help us think this through, and ask God to help us see what he sees. How is this both helpful and really hard to do?
7. Compare and contrast Rack, Shack, and Benny's response to conflict and pressure with Nebuchadnezzar's. Can you see how the way these characters answered these questions influenced their reactions and behaviours?
8. Rob argued that simply know the right thing to do isn't enough - we still struggle to do what we know is right (or not do what we know is wrong). We also have to know WHY we struggle - hence the answers to those three questions. But even that isn't enough, knowing why is only half the battle. We still have to change - our fears, our trusts, our loves. How do we do that? Share your own questions or ideas around that - and then feel free to discuss the following ideas Rob ended his message with
a. Ask God to help! "I believe - help my unbelief!"
b. Put what we fear/trust/love in perspective (shrink it). It's rational to have a healthy fear of poisonous snakes. It's irrational and unhealthy to never go outside in case there are poisonous snakes!
c. Magnify the Lord! The more we know and understand God, the bigger he is, the more we love, trust, and fear him.
d. Take small steps. It's a big step to go from not tithing at all to giving 10%. So start by giving 2%. Rack, Shack and Benny had seen God at work (in chapter 1 and 2), so they were able to trust him with their lives by chapter 3.
9. What's the connection between our obedience and God doing miracles?
10. What is one area where you are struggling to do what you know is right (or not do what you know is wrong)? What steps will you take this week to be able to do the right thing?