Life Group Questions 9/29/19
Sunday’s Sermon Text
The Fiery Furnace
 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews.  They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!  You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image.  And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace.  There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.  Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?  Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If this be so, 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.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated.  And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.  Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace.  Because the king's order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”  He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.  And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.  Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.  Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon. (ESV)
Summary: God has not promised a life without trial or fire. Rather, resist our culture’s idolatry and trust God to be with you in the fire.
Observing the Text: Read Daniel 3:8-30
What poetic elements (ex. repetition of ideas or sounds, symbolism) do you notice in this passage? [i.e. “burning fiery furnace” is not redundant but a poetic device to help us remember]
What before and after statements of Nebuchadnezzar indicate his changed attitude towards God? [before V.13-15 and after V.28-29]
Interpreting the Text:
Read Ecclesiastes 4:12. Based on this passage and Daniel 3:8-30, why are friends important?
It is easy to marvel at Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s courage in resisting the king’s command. And yet how do small decisions like diet set up big decisions (not bowing down)?
Agree/disagree and explain: “God doesn’t save us from the fire but saves us in the fire.”
V.18 indicates Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were uncertain God would deliver them from the furnace. Why do you think God didn’t reveal this to them?
Justin described Jesus’ life following a J-curve - a path down into suffering and humility leading to the cross. And then a turn upwards in glory, majesty, and power. How does this path offer us hope?
Applying the Text:
What are some small decisions you can make today to resist idolatry and trust God?
What is God saying to you? What’s your next step?
Meet & Greet Sunday: This is a great week to invite a friend and encourage others to do the same! Come to the service and stay for a meal afterward!
Celebrating Santa Clara County Social Workers: Each Life Group can supply one case of water and 3 packs of rolls/bread to Marta Jones on Tuesday, October 22nd. The celebration luncheon is the next day and Marta is planning to go and take the supplies. We need for supplies for 350 people! Sign up here and email firstname.lastname@example.org for her address.
Serve the City Team: Interested in helping reach our community and city through service? Join the Serve the City team. For more info, email email@example.com.
One Month Away! - From All-Church Retreat! This is one of our favorite weekends of the year and the deadline for registration is quickly approaching. Join us for an incredible weekend together in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains as we worship together, hear from our guest speaker Eden Chen, share meals together, have fun together, and get to know one another better.