Spring Harvest Bible Workbook WORSHIP One True King Jenny Baker
Series editor for thematic workbooks â€“ Jeff Lucas
Copyright © 2005 Jenny Baker 11 10 09 08 07 06 05
7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First published in 2005 by Spring Harvest Publishing Division and Authentic Media 9 Holdom Avenue, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK1 1QR, UK and 129 Mobilization Drive, Waynesboro, GA 30830-4575, USA www.authenticmedia.co.uk The right of Jenny Baker to be identified as the Author of this Work has been asserted by her in accordance with Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher or a licence permitting restricted copying. In the UK such licences are issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London W1P 9HE.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 1–85078–633–X Scripture quotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, A member of the Hodder Headline Group. All rights reserved. “NIV” is a registered trademark of International Bible Society. UK trademark number 1448790. Typeset by Spring Harvest Cover design by Diane Bainbridge Print management by Adare Carwin
CONTENTS About this book
Introduction to Worship
Session One: Worship in exile
Session Two: Communicating God’s word
Session Three: Looking to the future
Session Four: Standing under pressure
Session Five: Fighting seduction
Session Six: Understanding power
Session Seven: Finishing well
Leaders’ Guide Introduction
Session One: Notes
Session Two: Notes
Session Three: Notes
Session Four: Notes
Session Five: Notes
Session Six: Notes
Session Seven: Notes
ABOUT THIS BOOK This study book looks at worship: worship of the one true God in the context of idolatry and worship in exile, and is based on the first half of the book of Daniel – chapters 1 to 7. It follows the structure of the book which contains parallel stories – chapters 2 and 7 tell of prophetic dreams; chapters 3 and 6 give the stories of two miracles of divine deliverance and chapters 4 and 5 tell us about the judgement of two powerful pagan kings. The chapters of Daniel will therefore be studied in that order, enabling you to pick up key themes that run through these parallel stories. This workbook is written primarily for use in a group situation, but can easily be used by individuals who want to study the life of Daniel. It can be used in a variety of contexts, so it is perhaps helpful to spell out the assumptions that we have made about the groups that will use it. These can have a variety of names – home groups, Bible study groups, cell groups – we’ve used housegroup as the generic term. ◗
The emphasis of the studies will be on the application of the Bible. Group members will not just learn facts, but will be encouraged to think: ‘How does this apply to me? What change does it require of me? What incidents or situations in my life is this relevant to?’ Housegroups can encourage honesty and make space for questions and doubts. The aim of the studies is not to find the ‘right answer’, but to help members understand the Bible by working through the questions. The Christian faith throws up paradoxes. Events in people’s lives may make particular verses difficult to understand. The house group should be a safe place to express these concerns. Housegroups can give opportunities for deep friendships to develop. Group members will be encouraged to talk about their experiences, feelings, questions, hopes and fears. They will be able to offer one another pastoral support and to get involved in each other’s lives. There is a difference between being a collection of individuals who happen to meet together every Wednesday and being an effective group who bounce ideas off each other, spark inspiration and creativity and pool their talents and resources to create solutions together and whose whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The process of working through these studies will encourage healthy group dynamics.
Space is given for you to write answers, comments, questions and thoughts. This book will not tell you what to think, but it will help you discover the truth of God’s word through thinking, discussing, praying and listening. 4
FOR GROUP MEMBERS ◗ You will get more out of the study if you spend some time during the week reading the passage and thinking about the questions. Make a note of anything you don’t understand. ◗ Pray that God will help you to understand the passage and show you how to apply it. Pray for other members in the group too, that they will find the study helpful. ◗ Be willing to take part in the discussions. The leader of the group is not there as an expert with all the answers. They will want everyone to get involved and share their thoughts and opinions. ◗ However, don’t dominate the group! If you are aware that you are saying a lot, make space for others to contribute. Be sensitive to other group members and aim to be encouraging. If you disagree with someone, say so but without putting down their contribution. FOR INDIVIDUALS ◗ Although this book is written with a group in mind, it can also be easily used by individuals. You obviously won’t be able to do the group activities suggested, but you can consider how you would answer the questions and write your thoughts in the space provided. ◗ You may find it helpful to talk to a prayer partner about what you have learnt, and ask them to pray for you as you try and apply what you are learning to your life. The New International Version of the text is printed in the book. If you usually use a different version, then read from your own Bible as well.
INTRODUCTION TO WORSHIP ‘How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’ asked the exiled psalmist (Ps. 137). The book of Daniel gives the answer to the question. Through a series of dramatic events, Daniel and his friends show that it is possible to be faithful to God in the middle of a pagan culture. Daniel has the wisdom to know when to make a stand for his faith, and when to go with the flow. He refuses to be coerced into worshipping false idols or to give up the worship of the God that he loves so much. Through the discipline and faithfulness of his ordinary day-to-day life, he finds the resources to cope with remarkable challenges to his faith. More importantly, he discovers that his God is the God of all creation, the God of all history and the God of all peoples. Daniel remains true to God in his acts of formal worship, but his story also shows how there is more to worship than singing songs or speaking prayers of praise. His character and actions shout of the faithfulness and power of the God of Israel. In the same way, our lives can be lives of witness and worship, even in the smallest detail, telling the world of the goodness of our God. In the words of George Herbert, we can pray Teach me, my God and King, In all things Thee to see, And what I do in any thing, To do it as for Thee Daniel’s story is rooted in the sixth century before Christ, but it is relevant to us, in our own pressured and pluralist culture. How can we sing God’s song in a land in which we are a minority? What does it mean to be God’s people and to live a godly life? How can we remain faithful when all around us is changing? The unforgettable stories of this book show us what it means to ‘sing God’s song’ when we are strangers in the land and how we can keep the faith in times of trial.
WORSHIP IN EXILE Aim: To consider what it is like to live and worship in exile, and to compare that experience to our own lives In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way. Now God had caused the official to show favour and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 8