Lent 2016: Trusting God In a World That Doesn’t – Part 1

Living in Exile Daniel 1:1-21 February 14th, 2016


I. A story of FOUR young MEN. (v.1-21)
A. TAKEN from all they KNEW. (v.1-7)
B. LANDING on their FEET. (v.3-7)

The Christian Season of Lent has begun. Lent is a period of just over 6 weeks that precedes our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Traditionally it has been a time of self-reflection and repentance, seeking to acknowledge the areas of our life that are resisting the transformation of the Spirit. Bringing those things to the surface in honesty helps the truth and power of the resurrection to defeat them in our lives. This Lent we are looking at the first half of the book a Daniel. Nothing like a little exile to see what you are made of

1. What are your first thoughts when you think of the Biblical character Daniel?
2. Have you ever had things you were depending on taken from you? How did that impact you?
3. Do you think Daniel and his friends felt their experiment was risky? Have you ever fought with doubt as you are trying to step out in faith?

II. Its about more than EATING your VEGETABLES. (v.1-21)
A. The REALITY of EXILE. (v.1-2)
B. The EMPIRE seeks to DEFINE us. (v.3-7)
C. LIVING faithfully WITHIN the empire. (v.8-16)
D. RECEIVING the GIFTS of God. (v.17-21)

One of the lessons that is often pointed to in Daniel 1 is the benefit of eating vegetables. While good eating is important, the text is saying a lot more than that. We see Daniel and his friends taken to a place where everything they have counted on has been stripped away. The culture around them is trying to shape them into something different. Not so different from our culture today. The challenge is to hold on to what is true instead of being defined by the culture around us.

4. What have been your times of exile in your life? What was hard about them? What was good about them?
5. How can we tell if we are defining ourselves by what the culture dictates or by what God says? What are some practices we can incorporate into our lives to help with that?
6. Where are areas where you feel like it is a struggle to live faithfully within our culture today?
7. How has God shown up for you when you have risked trusting Him?

III. Daniels LESSONS for LENT. (I Peter 5:6)
A. Power PROMISES what it cannot PRODUCE. (v.3-5,17-20)
B. Counter-cultural PRACTICE keeps us AWAKE to truth. (v.11-14; I Thes. 5:5-6)
C. KEEP your KINGS straight. (v.1-2; 4:34-37)

Daniel lived before anyone even conceived of the idea of a season of Lent, at least in any official capacity. But his experience in exile teaches us a lot about what we can learn as we let the world fall away and the Spirit expose the depths of our hearts. This week is the beginning of listening to the Spirit in the life of Daniel and his friends. God has much to say.

8. When have you pursued something, and achieved it, only to find our that the results were disappointing and not what you thought they would be?
9. What practices do you do on a regular basis to help keep you from drifting into autopilot in regards to your spiritual life?
10.How do you know if you are keeping your kings straight?