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Tuesday: The Test of Fire — 22 Comments

  1. During my lifetime of being involved in study I have sat dozens of examinations in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science. Very few of the questions in those examinations involved reciting what I knew. Mostly they were testing my ability to use problem solving skills. And that is not something you learn by reading textbooks. I spent hours solving problems, analysing situations, working out solutions, and working out how to prove that the solutions were correct. (The books did not have the answers)

    The decision of the three Hebrew young men to stand firm to principle did not come about simply because they had read the Torah, but because they had exercised their faith and practised the principles they had learned. If you want to lift heavy weights you don't just read about it; you practise weight lifting every day.

  2. During the reign of Queen Mary 1 around 300 people were burned at the stake for not supporting or for opposing the religion of the Queen.
    What beliefs were so important that they would rather die than give in?
    For example they objected to the sale of indulgences, salvation being partly a gift and partly earned, practice of the Mass, worship of Mary and saints.
    Do I really know what I believe? Are they based only on the Word? Am I prepared to die (physically or economically) rather than compromise the LORDs Principles?


    1. Rachel's style.

    They could have pretended that they were sick and stayed at home but they didn't. Gen 31:35.

    2.David's style

    They could have pretended to be insane, act like a madman and be expelled from the ceremony but they didn't.1 sam 21:13

    3. Abraham's style.

    They could have been advised on what to say to avoid being in the ceremony but they didn't. Gen 20:2

    Jacob's style.

    They could have disguised themselves and attend the ceremony without anyone's knowledge but they didn't. Gen 27:15-16.

    Peter's style.

    When questioned by the king they could have said like Peter ' we didn't know, we are not, we don't know what you were talking about but they didn't. Luk 22:54-62.

    Today in Kenya when Alshabaab attack they separate the Christians from the Muslims by using Shahada. If you can recite the Shahada you are spared. It's a very simple phrase ' ash-hadu an la illaha illa llah . ( I testify that there is no god but Allah) wa ash hadu anna muhammadun rasulu llah. (And I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God)

    Christians know there is another God known as Jehovah who is quite different from Allah
    and there is another messenger, Jesus, ewhose message is quite different from that of Mohammed. And so they can't recite the Shahada.

    Even if our God won't save us from your hands , we won't worship your image.

    Even if our God won't save us from your bullets and grenades we won't recite your Shahada though we know how to do it.

  4. The kind of faith presented by Daniel's three friends is really something to admire. Personally, has God's love being experienced this much so we can deny our own lives? Have we deeply understood what Jesus did for us so we can stand by Him no matter what the consequences may look like?

  5. Historical writings say that there were various revolts forming in the kingdom at this time. The king brought in the rulers of these places to demand their loyalty,,,or else.

  6. I feel that the picture of a human being bearing a 666 mark on his forehead used for illustration in today's lesson is misleading and contrary to our church's interpretation of this mark in the book of Revealation. Something else would have been chosen!

    • Sometimes the illustrations are used to generate discussions. They can also be figurative and not literal. You correctly point out we don't believe in a literal mark on the forehead, but a state of mind.

      • My fear is the impression a person who has no idea what the actual interpretation of the mark gets. I have watched several movies both from Africa where i am and the West depicting 666 as a literal mark that a person gets on the head. I would not want the authors of these wonderful lessons to be understood as supporting these fake interpretation we get from movies and certain other sources.

        • I here what you are saying Pascal, but at the same time the image is pretty symbolic. It also show a star field superimposed on and around the person. I think most readers will see that as symbolic too.

    • I can relate to the mark of the beast which is the '666' sign shown in the picture as how our generation would be tested in the last days.just like in the days of Daniel, our faith is going to be challenged the same way through the mark of the beast.Hope this helps Pascal.Thanks

    • Pascal, maybe a better image could have been chosen but the interpretation of the Mark being in one’s mind, how one thinks and believes, and on the hand, the actions one takes, is what we have always understood to be the case.

      As we draw closer to a cashless, digital and exclusively electronic transactional society, it is becoming quite plain to see that, without that mark or electronic ticket to commercially interact, those who stay faithful to God will be outcast and completely dependent upon His care.

      God help us prepare for that day to choose you!

  7. Flesh and blood can not utter that statement that our God will save us and if not we will not worship. It's only through divine influence can a man speak such words. By our union with christ as a living fountain we can repeat that experience.

    • One thing we have noticed in the Bible is that the failings of even heroes (like David) are not covered up, so we can be sure Daniel did not bow to the image, so he must have been exempt from this test of loyalty to Nebuchadnezzar.

  8. I just want to borrow the words of the chorus of a well known song that I believe is applicable.

    Let me lose myself and find it, Lord, in Thee...
    May all self be slain, my friend, see only Thee.
    Though it costs me grief and pain
    I will find my life again (help me Lord, help me Lord)

    If I lose myself I'll find it, Lord, in Thee (help me to lose myself)
    If I lose myself I'll find it, Lord, in Thee
    Help me Jesus
    If I lose myself I'll find it, Lord, in Thee (help me to lose myself)
    Let me lose myself and find it, Lord, in Thee...

    And I say AMEN

  9. I have a question regarding Daniels work in Babilon.
    For example:
    My profession is seamstress. Given our lesson Daniel has worked in an organization that worships false gods,
    I wonder if I'm wrong in case I'm going to sew clothes for Brazil's carnivalparade. This is in order to win my daily bread.

    Same question goes for example: I normally make my money by selling different kind of snacks. Now for this same carnival's parade I have received a huge order of 1000 snacks.
    Am I doing wrong by accepting that order?

    I thank you in advance for your comments/answers

    • This is not an easy situation to answer. Ultimately it is something you only can decide between you and God.

      On the one hand you might have concerns about what your costumes and snacks are being used for. On the other hand, it was Daniel's relationship with Nebuchadnezzar as a godly man of integrity that paved the way for Nebuchadnezzar to gradually come to know more and more about God over time and experience. If Daniel had not been working in the king's court, this relationship would not have been possible.

      If your sewing or snack making gives you opportunities to develop appropriate and constructive relationships with non-believers, that may be something to prayerfully consider.

      Personally I provide a service to non-believers who live corresponding lifestyles and I do so because I want people to experience a non-judgmental follower of Christ who genuinely has their best interests at heart but who will also ultimately respect their freedom to live according to their choices in a gentle and respectful manner (as per 1 Peter 3:15). I recall that Jesus was acknowledged/ridiculed as being 'popular' with the tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners (Luke 7:24).

      There is this quote from Ellen White in Gospel Workers pg 363.2: "The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”

      I hope this gives you some principles that you can talk about with God who gives wisdom to make wise decisions to all who ask (James 1:5).

      I pray that God guide you as you consider this and other responses to your situation...

  10. The emphasis here should be on the obedience to God rather than disobedience to the King. It is notable that while given opportunity to explain themselves, the Hebrew princes were respectful & most humble before the king. In fact, they wished the monarch a long life (if not eternal life).

    It has been an eventful January in Kenya where faithful SDA students were expelled from Kabianga school for refusing to attend classes and even sit exams on the Sabbath. These faithful young people brought to the fore a debate that has consistently been a thorny issue in the country's education system on the backdrop of the freedom of worship legal provisions.

    These brave young people chose to obey God rather than man even when their academic future was threatened. But the Lord God intervened to the glory and honor of His Holy name. The suspension was revoked by the Education ministry.

    An earlier judgement by a lower court giving schools autonomy to take disciplinary action against such cases was also found erroneous by a higher court.

    Interestingly God has put SDA members in key positions in the country's governance and these leaders have not disappointed. They have fought tooth & nail, remained faithful in the defense of the faith.

    These young people "dared to be a Daniel" and the Lord, the Lord God almighty has delivered them.

    When faced with such trials, and when we stand firm in our faith to obey God rather than man, let our obedience to God be the message. We must remain respectful of the powers that be on earth and show them that we have absolutely no intention to disobey the law but not such as it will separate us from Him who has saved us by His grace

  11. I would really love to find out where the author of today's lesson gets the information that these three young men were "endowed with supernatural courage" in their response to the king. How was their courage supernatural as opposed to the ordinary courage that we may all have.


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