Bible Study: God's faithful presence
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.
Bible Passage: Daniel 1–3
-- In what ways does our culture tempt us to compromise our faith?
-- How has God's presence changed your outlook on trials, even when your circumstances remained the same?
-- How confident are you of God's presence in your life when you face great difficulties?
Food for Thought:
Read Daniel 3:1-30. Life in Babylon was difficult for God's exiles. In that land, narcissistic Nebuchadnezzar erected a pagan statue to his unrivaled authority, and that idol served as a test of the loyalty of the king's subjects. "Bow or burn," he said. Obviously, no dedicated follower of Yahweh could obey this idolatrous edict, regardless of the cost.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar's image, communicating their profound faith in God's sovereignty and goodness. Though these men knew God could deliver them, their course of action was not dependent upon the certainty of what their Master chose to do. Foundational to their profound display of faith was the conviction that God is always working for the good of His children, even if it is not obvious.
God is always present with His people. The incredible deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego illustrates this encouraging truth as vividly as any biblical passage. Though caught in a deadly fire, one of the worst circumstances imaginable, these three devoted servants of God were not alone. Possibly, they were joined by the Son of God Himself. The comprehensive protection of God not only prevented their clothes from burning but also prevented the stench of smoke from following them out of the furnace.
The presence of a fourth man in the fire is a vivid reminder that God is present to comfort us on our most difficult days (see Isaiah 43:1-3; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Even when our outcomes are not so favorable, the abiding presence of God is just as certain. God is with us in the fire even if He does not allow us to come out of it. He comforts and cares for us when nothing about our lives makes sense. He will not forsake us even though the world does. He is there, even though we cannot always see or feel His work. We look forward to the day when God makes all things new and wipes away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). Until then, He remains faithfully by our side.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God's plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject .