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Sabbath School Lessons on Biblical Missionaries
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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 41 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 5: Exiles as Missionaries *
Introduction: Two weeks ago we discussed the Israeli slave girl in
Naaman's home. What an amazing missionary adventure she started!
This week we look at more captives, this time from Jerusalem. Their
lives are turned upside down. But, instead of blaming God, they
decide to be faithful, and they change the world. Let's dive into our
Bible study and learn more!
- The Start of the Problem
- Read Isaiah 39:3-4. Why did King Hezekiah show these
visitors his treasures?
- Read Isaiah 39:5-7. Is this prophecy a punishment for sin?
(Read 2 Chronicles 32:25-26. This reveals Hezekiah's sin
was pride. The destruction that came upon his people after
he died was punishment for his sin of pride.)
- Read Isaiah 39:8. What do you think of this response?
What do you think about the nature of the punishment? (All
of this is troubling. Hezekiah does not seem to care that
he is injuring his descendants. Why would God punish
someone who is not responsible for Hezekiah's sin? The
answer is that we have read just one part of the story.
The promised destruction did not come for 150 years, and
Hezekiah's descendants did plenty of things to deserve
- Read Daniel 1:1-2. How does this look to anyone who is
trying to figure out who is the true God? (The articles of
worship of the true God are taken to the temple of the god
of Babylonia. It looks like our God lost.)
- Read Daniel 1:3-5. What do you think is the Babylonian's
goal in this? How would you feel if you were one selected
for this special program?
- Witness with Food
- Read Daniel 1:6-8. No doubt this is the best tasting food.
What is Daniel's objection? (Eating this food created
conflicts with the law dealing with unclean meat, meat
that had not been drained, and meat and drink offered to
false gods. See, for example, Leviticus 7 & 11. "Defile"
tells us this is about Daniel's religious beliefs.)
- Read Daniel 1:11-14. Why vegetables and water?
- Read Daniel 10:2-3. This tells us that later in life
Daniel ate "choice food" which included meat and wine. Did
Daniel become less faithful in his old age?(No. The reason
for Daniel engaging in a three week "fast" later in life
is that God gave him some very important and troubling
messages. Later in life Daniel became an important man. No
doubt he could now control the way his food was prepared
so that it conformed to God's word.)
- Read Daniel 1:9-10 and Daniel 1:15-16. Is this the result
of a vegetarian diet? (I've been a vegetarian for over
fifty years and I believe I'm healthier than most. But, a
change in ten days has to be the result of the
intervention of God.)
- What about the other captives? What have they decided
on this issue?
- Read Daniel 1:17. What is the result of the faithfulness
of Daniel and his friends? (God blesses them!)
- Read Daniel 1:18-20. This is the close of some sort of
probation period. While many would be blaming God for
their captivity, what is the result of faithfulness? Is
ten times better possible for you?
- What is the impact on their captors? (They realize
that there is something different about these young
- Witness with Dreams
- Read Daniel 2:1-5. How would you like Nebuchadnezzar as
- Is he really ornery, or do you think there is more to
this story? (Read Daniel 2:9. The king thought that
if they could recite the dream he could have
confidence in their interpretation. Remember that
Daniel 1:20 informed us that the new recruits, Daniel
and his friends, were "ten times better" than the
existing magicians and enchanters. Perhaps the
enchanters are not so enchanting anymore.)
- Read Daniel 2:10-12. Do you think these enchanters claimed
in the past to speak for the gods?
- What defenses do they raise? (This is not
historically a part of their job description. They
are not god.)
- Read Daniel 2:13-15. What would your defense have been?
("I'm not the one who failed the king! Why are you killing
- Arioch has the authority to kill Daniel on the spot.
What does Daniel's response teach us when we are in
trouble? (He spoke with wisdom and tact.)
- Read Daniel 2:16. Compare it with Daniel 2:7-9. What is
most troubling about Daniel's request? (The king thinks
the enchanters are stalling for time. Daniel asks for more
time. Note that Daniel asks for more time to "interpret
the dream" as opposed to reciting the dream.)
- Read Daniel 2:17-19. What is the key to getting out of a
life-threatening situation? (Prayer.)
- Read Daniel 2:24. Would you have told Arioch not to
execute the enchanters?
- What would be the advantage to Daniel if they were
- Read Daniel 2:25. Is Arioch claiming credit for this?
(Probably. But, remember that he is not obeying the king.
Saying that he found someone who could interpret the dream
explains his failure to be out executing enchanters.)
- Read Daniel 2:26-27. Would you have started out your
presentation to the king in this way? (This introduction
is probably making the king mad. Thankfully, Daniel
quickly gets to the right language. Let's read that next.)
- Read Daniel 2:28-30. Compare Daniel's statement to that of
Arioch ( Daniel 2:25). (Daniel gives all the glory to God.
When you read this and think about how Daniel saved the
enchanters, we see he displays modesty and love.)
- Are these attributes key to being a missionary?
- Skim over Daniel 2:31-44 and read Daniel 2:45-47. What has
Daniel done? (By turning to God in time of trouble, by
giving full credit to God and taking none for himself,
Daniel has both educated and convicted Nebuchadnezzar
about the truth of the great God of Heaven.)
- This seems to be a lot of worry and stress over one
dream. Is it justified? What if Daniel had been in
the king's presence when he first mentioned the
dream, and Daniel told him that God would interpret
it? No drama, no threats would be involved. (This is
one of the most important prophecies outlining the
history of the world through to the Second Coming of
Jesus. All of the drama focused attention on its
- Read Daniel 2:48. Notice that through all of this Daniel
has given full credit to God, and has been very modest
about his own talents. See Daniel 2:30, in which he says
the interpretation comes not because he has "greater
wisdom than other living men." How does that modesty work
out for Daniel? (He is given extraordinary authority and
- How should we apply this in our daily lives?
- Have you seen boxers or sports stars who give glory
to God when they beat up their opponent? How do you
react to that?
- If you told your boss and your co-workers that a
great idea you just had was given to you by God,
would that be a good or bad witness? (Read Matthew
7:6. Nebuchadnezzar and his enchanters were expecting
a "god" solution. Daniel pointed them to the true
God. In our secular work, I think we need to be
shrewd about this. If someone is open to learning
about God, we need to share. Modesty is always a good
idea. The best course is to seek the wisdom of the
Holy Spirit to know when and to whom to witness.)
- Friend, it is unlikely that your typical crisis involves
the authorities wanting to take your life, but whatever
the problem in life we need to seek God's help. When He
helps we need to give Him credit. Will you determine
today to do that?
- Next week: Esther and Mordecai.
* Copr. 2015, 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.