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Sabbath School Lessons on Daniel
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 40 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 2: Nebuchadnezzar's Image *
Introduction: Have you ever wondered if someone was telling you the
truth? If so, did you take any steps to determine the truth? Have
you had times when you wondered whether God "is true?" Have you taken
any steps to find out? Or, is this just another one of those things
you can never be certain about? Daniel chapter 2 tells us the story
of a king who wanted to be sure he was being told the truth and four
men whose lives depended upon finding the truth. Let's dive into our
study about the king's dream and being honest!
- The Dream
- Read Daniel 2:1-3. Have you ever had a dream that bothered
you? Has a dream caused you to lose sleep?
- Have you ever thought your dream was (or could be) a
message from God?
- Why do you think Nebuchadnezzar was so troubled about
his dream? (Kings know they are important.
Therefore, their dreams must be important. The New
Bible Commentary tells us that in the ancient Near
East kings believed the gods gave them messages
- Would the true God give Nebuchadnezzar a message
through a dream? (Read Daniel 2:37. God gave
Nebuchadnezzar his power, why not give him a
- Look at Daniel 2:1 again. How many dreams did
Nebuchadnezzar have? (It was more than one. The text
says that he had "dreams.")
- What important fact does this suggest to you?
(That this was a recurring dream. No wonder
Nebuchadnezzar thought it was important.)
- What kind of experts did Nebuchadnezzar bring in to
fix his dream problem?
- Read Deuteronomy 18:9-12. What is God's opinion of
these kinds of "experts?"
- The Problem
- Read Daniel 2:4-6. What kind of a boss was Nebuchadnezzar?
- Do you think this group of experts regretted what
they said in verse 4?
- Read Daniel 2:7. Why did the resident experts say this to
- Compare verse 5 with verse 7. Nebuchadnezzar says
that he has "firmly decided" that he wants the
experts to tell him the dream as well as the
interpretation. In that context, why would the
experts demand that the king tell them the dream?
(I've learned that when a judge tells me that he had
decided something, it does little good to pester the
judge about it. These experts no doubt knew this,
the problem was that they were desperate.)
- Why do you think they were desperate? (Because
in the past they misrepresented their
relationship with the gods. They may have been
intelligent, but they could not tell the
- Why do you think Nebuchadnezzar insisted on his experts
telling him the details of his dream? (Read Daniel 2:8-9.
Nebuchadnezzar believed that they had been lying to him.
If they could tell the future through a dream, it should
be a small matter to describe the contents of his dream.
This was a test of both their honesty and their ability to
correctly interpret the dream. If they were not going to
tell him the truth, what purpose was there in keeping them
around? The problem with interpreting dreams was that they
could tell him anything. Now Nebuchadnezzar had a solid
way to test what he was being told.)
- Read Daniel 2:10-11. Analyze the arguments made by the
experts to Nebuchadnezzar? (1. No person can do this. 2.No
king should ask it of his subjects. 3. He should ask a god
- and there is no god in the neighborhood.)
- Read Daniel 2:12. How does Nebuchadnezzar react to being
told that he is unreasonable - that no proper king would
ask such a thing?
- What lesson can you learn for the next time your boss
asks you to do some difficult task? (Don't blame your
inability to get it done on the boss!)
- The Trial
- Read Daniel 2:13-15. How would you react if you heard the
decree of the King? Would "wisdom and tact" be the way to
describe your response?
- The magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers
probably got their "comeuppance." What do you think
about this decree being applied to Daniel and his
fellow Hebrew captives?
- Did Daniel and his friends ever boast they could
- Read Daniel 2:16. How would you like to go before
Nebuchadnezzar? What might happen to you? (The last report
about the King was that he was "angry and furious" and
that he had ordered Daniel (among the rest of the wise
men)to be put to death. I would not want to show up. The
King might not want to delay my execution if I said the
- Read Daniel 2:17-18. Apparently Daniel was promised more
time by the King. Why did Daniel need to have his friends
pray about this trial? (Daniel must have believed that
having a group pray is better.)
- Do you agree that group prayer is better?
- Read Matthew 18:19-20. Why do you think that God
requires two or three for His presence? (The entire
tenor of these verses is that discussing something
with others gives better results. It discourages
selfish requests to God.)
- Read Daniel 2:19. God comes through! What does Daniel do
after God reveals the mystery? (He praises God!)
- Consider your prayers for a moment. Compare how
intensely you pray for help with how intensely you
pray praises thereafter?
- Read the praise Daniel gives to God in Daniel 2:20-23.
Look especially at verses 21-22. If Daniel truly believed
in the God of Heaven, did he need to fear Nebuchadnezzar?
(No. Nebuchadnezzar might have had Daniel and his friends
in his power, but the great God of Heaven had
Nebuchadnezzar in His power.)
- How could Daniel know that revealing Nebuchadnezzar's
dream was a possibility? (Because Daniel believed
(v.22) that God knows even the deep, dark, hidden
- Read Daniel 2:24. Why should Daniel be concerned about
these other "wise men?" Don't they deserve their
sentence? Wouldn't his life be better if they just had
four (Daniel and his friends) wise men left in the
Kingdom? (I suspect there were other "innocents" like
Daniel who were about to be slaughtered.)
- What authority did Daniel have to countermand King
Nebuchadnezzar? (My guess is that this command was
unpopular and Arioch was not anxious to do his duty.)
- The Victory
- Read Daniel 2:25-26. How would you have answered the King?
- What do you think about what Arioch says? (He did
nothing of the sort - Daniel went to him. Arioch is
trying to take partial credit for the
- Read Daniel 2:27-28. Notice that Daniel does not mention
his own name even once. He says nothing about his role in
this revelation. Why?
- Compare this with your "victories" at work and in the
church. How much do you mention your role in these
- Read Daniel 2:29-30. Finally, Daniel mentions his own role
in things. Study Daniel's words in these verses. How does
he explain his role, the King's role and God's role in
- If you substitute King Nebuchadnezzar for your
employer, you can learn a great deal from Daniel on
how to handle problems at work which God solves for
- Look at verse 30 - Did God reveal the dream to Daniel
to save his life (and that of his friends) or to
satisfy Nebuchadnezzar's troubled mind? (I think what
Daniel says to King Nebuchadnezzar is not "flattery,"
but the truth. While I may think that life is "about
me," it is not. It's not about you and its not about
me. It is about God and His will.)
- Read Daniel 2:31-45. I am not going to spend time on the
dream and its interpretation, except to ask you: What is
the "bottom line" on the history of the world? (The great
God of Heaven will triumph in history and will set up a
kingdom that will endure forever.)
- Read Daniel 2:46-47. Did Nebuchadnezzar get the message
about who this was all about? (Not exactly. Not only does
the King fall down before Daniel, but he says "you were
able to reveal this mystery." However, Nebuchadnezzar does
get the message that the great God of Heaven is the "God
of gods and the Lord of kings.")
- Consider how matters have progressed. Last
week(Daniel 1, the City of Satan conquered the City
of God. The gold articles for the worship of God were
taken to be used in the temple of Bel. God seemed
defeated. Where is God now in the scheme of things?
- What did it take to get God "back on top" in the
eyes of the world? (Four faithful guys praying
and one giving God the glory!)
- Read Daniel 2:48-49. Remember that the original plan was
that the captives from Judah would be trained and then go
back to administer their old country? What do Daniel and
his friends end up administering? (The City of Satan! Talk
about a bloodless change in leadership!)
- Friend, consider what God can do through you if you
determine to rely on Him, to pray, to be faithful and to
give Him the glory!
- Next week: The Fiery Furnace.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.