A very familiar passage, but Paige is so great in helping us see how it applies to us. I suspect one powerful part this week is drawn from Tim Keller’s message at ground zero to the families of victims of 9/11. He was given 7 minutes to explain the mystery of pain and suffering. He quickly told of what happened to the men in Daniel 3, who had been thrown in a fiery furnace. Like them, Keller assured these families that their loved ones were not alone, but that the “4th man” was with them. He frankly told them: “We don’t know now why God allowed it, but we do know what the reason is not. It is not that He doesn’t love us, for He went into the fiery furnace and died so that we might be ultimately rescued.”
Again, I’ll follow Paige’s outline so that you can go at your own pace. You can choose daily between the green path or the black. I’ve thrown in 2 questions from the staff of Paige’s church.
I. Why they Forced the Furnace
1. Read Daniel 3:1-15 and share anything that stands out to you and why.
2. Listen up to Point II (How they Faced the Furnace) and share points you liked as well as illustrations. Why do you think these are important?
Paige compared this Jennifer Lopez song to Nebuchadnezzar’s narcissism
3. What do you learn about Neb’s character from:
A. The size of the statute and the fact that it is pure gold (not just the head)?
B. How is this statue like the tower of Babel? And how does Neb foreshadow the coming antichrist?
C. What is the point of all the repetitive lists?
4. What does everyone do according to verse 7 and what is their reason?
5. What would you be willing to die for?
II. How they Faced the Furnace
6. Read Daniel 3:16-18 and share anything that stands out to you and why.
7. In verses 16-18, how do Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego respond to the command and why? What do they know and what don’t they know? So is faith a certainty or uncertainty?
8 Listen up to What They Found in the Furnace and share what comments or illustrations stood out to you and why.
(If your memory needs jogging, she shared John Chrysostom’s responses under threat of death; a Hindu holy man’s accusation; A Grief Observed; John Claypool and “Tracks of a Fellow Struggler;” and her friends who didn’t want to get on an airplane without her.)
9. What is the first of the Ten Commandments and why do the rest flow from it? Where are you tempted to run (and bow down) for comfort, approval, or control other than God?
10. What is faith not? What do you remember about:
A. It is not sharing — having God be “part of our heart.” What was her point with the movie An Indecent Proposal?
B. It is not our strength of faith. Have you ever had someone accuse you of failing because you didn’t have enough faith to see a prayer answered? How does this chapter refute that kind of thinking?
C. It is not a sense of God’s will. What did she mean?
My disappointment was not in the Lord but in my feelings.
C. S. Lewis in A Grief Observed
D. It is not a strategy to control God (Airplane story)
Faith is not to plot God’s course but to obey His command.
E. It is not silence before God (John Claypool “Tracks of a Fellow Struggler)
Faith does not eliminate questions, it just knows where to take them.
Paige (I think!)
11. What point was she making about Elisabeth Elliot reading the Apostle’s Creed again and again?
III. What they Found in the Furnace
12. Read Daniel 3:19-30 and share anything that stands out to you and why.
13. Listen to Paige to the end and share any comments or illustrations that stand out to you and why.
14. What was the only thing that burned up in the furnace?
15. How have God’s refining fires burned up things that bound you?
16. What was her point about how screams in the labor room are different than screams in other parts of the hospital?
17. Do you remember what Betsie told Corrie while they were standing naked in line?
18. She recommended Keller’s book Walking with God in Pain and Suffering. Here’s a two minute clip. Share what stands out to you from it.
19. When did Jesus ask of God “Why?” What does this teach us?
20. What is the lesson of the 4th man? When have you sensed Him in times of trouble? Be specific.
She told the story of Dereck Redmond who said he didn’t have a medal but he did have a father who loved him. See this:
22. What’s your take-a-way and why?