Free Shipping on Orders of $40 or More
Life Lessons from Daniel and Esther: Faith Under Pressure

Life Lessons from Daniel and Esther: Faith Under Pressure

by Max Lucado
Life Lessons from Daniel and Esther: Faith Under Pressure

Life Lessons from Daniel and Esther: Faith Under Pressure

by Max Lucado

Paperback

$12.99
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, October 6

Overview

Staying faithful when the pressure was most intense. That’s what these two did.

The Jewish people had reason to be depressed. Their nation had been conquered. Their hometown was in ruins. They were living in captivity. Yet from the ashes, God raised up two key figures to preserve the Jewish race.

Daniel was among the first of the captives carried away by the Babylonians. Although he lived in a culture opposed to God, he was always faithful to the Lord – even in the face of death – and ultimately was able to influence kings and rulers. Esther was in exile during the time of the Persian Empire. Like Daniel, the Lord also placed her in a position to influence those in power. God also called her to step out in faith and risk her life to foil a plot against her people. As a result of her bold actions, the entire Jewish race was saved from annihilation.

As you read, study, journal, and discuss the books of Daniel and Esther, watch for these key themes that Max will unpack throughout the book:

  • God leads in our lives even in difficult circumstances.
  • Sometimes faithfulness is rewarded by miracles.
  • God will be faithful to his people in the future as he has in the past.

The Life Lessons with Max Lucado series brings the Bible to life in twelve lessons filled with intriguing questions, inspirational stories, and poignant reflections to take you deeper into God's Word. Each lesson includes:

  • An opening reflection on the Bible book you’re studying.
  • Background information to deepen your understanding of the cultural and historical setting.
  • An excerpt of the text (from the NIV and the NKJV).
  • Exploration questions with plenty of room to write your own thoughts and notes.
  • Inspirational thoughts from Max as well as a closing takeaway for further reflection.

The Life Lessons series is ideal for use in both a small-group setting or for individual study.



Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310086703
Publisher: HarperChristian Resources
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Series: Life Lessons
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 549,955
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Since entering the ministry in 1978, Max Lucado has served churches in Miami, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as Teaching Minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. He is the recipient of the 2021 ECPA Pinnacle Award for his outstanding contribution to the publishing industry and society at large. He is America’s bestselling inspirational author with more than 145 million products in print.

Visit his website at Max Lucado.com

Facebook.com/Max Lucado

Instagram.com/Max Lucado

Twitter.com/Max Lucado

Youtube.com/Max Lucado Official

The Max Lucado Encouraging Word Podcast

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

LESSON ONE

OBEDIENCE TO GOD

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank.

Daniel 1:8 NKJV

REFLECTION

When is a time in your life that you felt you had to take a stand for something you believed in? How did you approach the situation? What happened as a result?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

SITUATION

God had warned his people that if they were unfaithful to him and worshiped idols, he would send enemies to invade and take them captive (see Leviticus 26:14–39). Unfortunately, the people failed to heed these warnings, and as a result they were taken into captivity. Daniel would have been just a youth when the Babylonians, under King Nebuchadnezzar, conquered Jerusalem and led the first wave of people into exile. The Babylonians, like other nations in the ancient world, had a policy of incorporating the "best and brightest" among their captives into civil service for the government. Daniel is selected, but it is clear — even from the opening chapter of his book — that he has resolved not to be absorbed into the Babylonian culture.

OBSERVATION

Read Daniel 1:3–20 from the New International Version or the New King James Version.

New International Version

3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king's service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility — 4 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. 5 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.

6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

8 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 this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 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."

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 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." 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

New King James Version

3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king's delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. 6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king."

11 So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 "Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king's delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants." 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king's delicacies. 16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

18 Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.

EXPLORATION

1. What were some of the qualifications needed for a young man to enter into civil service for the Babylonians?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

2. What were some of the benefits these candidates would have received?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

3. The name "Daniel" means "God is my Judge," while "Belteshazzar" means "Bel protects his life." (Bel was a Babylonian god.) Why do you think the Babylonians changed Daniel's name?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

4. Why do you think Daniel and his three friends objected to eating "the royal food and wine" (verse 8) that was offered to all the candidates?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

5. What was the "test" that Daniel and the others put to the guard of the chief official? What was the result?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

6. Why was it important for Daniel and his friends to stay true to their convictions in this case?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

INSPIRATION

Perhaps changes are in the air right now. Maybe you're in the midst of a decision. It's disrupting, isn't it? You like your branch. You've grown accustomed to it and it to you. ... You've been a pretty good branch-sitter. And then you hear the call.

"I need you to go out on the limb and ... take a stand. Some of the local churches are organizing an anti-pornography campaign. They need some volunteers."

"I need you to go out on the limb and ... move. Take your family and move overseas; I have a special work for you."

"I need you to go out on the limb and ... forgive. It doesn't matter who hurt who first. What matters is that you go and build the bridge."

"I need you to go out on the limb and ... evangelize. That new family down the block? They don't know anyone in town. Go meet them."

"I need you to go out on the limb and ... sacrifice. The orphanage has a mortgage payment due this month. They can't meet it. Remember the bonus you received last week?"

Regardless of the nature of the call, the consequences are the same: civil war. Though your heart may say yes, your feet say no. Excuses blow as numerously as golden leaves in an autumn wind. "That's not my talent." "It's time for someone else to take charge." "Not now. I'll get to it tomorrow."

But eventually you're left staring at a bare tree and a hard choice: his will or yours? (From God Came Near by Max Lucado.)

REACTION

7. When are a few times in your life that God had you "step out on a limb"?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

8. What happened when you chose to obey God in spite of your own fears?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

9. Why is it often hard to move from being a "branch sitter" to a "limb climber"?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

10. In what area of your life right now is God asking you to "step out on a limb"?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

11. What are some of the blessings you have received as a result of following God?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

12. How have you seen your decision to obey God impact the lives of others?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

LIFE LESSONS

Obedience is an expression of our love to God. Sometimes the world will try to hinder our obedience and tempt us to make small compromises to our values. This was certainly true in the case of Daniel and his three friends, who could have easily chosen to abandon their Jewish diet in favor of the rich delicacies of the king's diet plan. At such times, we have to resolve in our hearts to follow God's plan ... and perhaps get creative in the process. Daniel's alternate plan was not only creative but also a step of faith. The four men believed God would reward their obedience with physical health — and God did indeed bless them. Their robust health even caught the king's attention, and he affirmed them and promoted them to be his advisors.

DEVOTION

Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise to be near us in every situation we face. Help us to be obedient to you in all things — both the great and the small. We pray that our lives would serve as an example to others of what it truly means to put you first in all things.

JOURNALING

What is a particularly difficult decision that you are facing right now in your life?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

FOR FURTHER READING

To complete the books of Daniel and Esther during this twelve-part study, read Daniel 1:1–2:49. For more Bible passages on obeying God, read Deuteronomy 28:1–14; Joshua 1:7–9; 1 Samuel 15:12–23; Ecclesiastes 12:13–14; Isaiah 1:18–20; 50:4–9; John 14:15–18; Acts 5:27–32; and Romans 6:15–18.

CHAPTER 2

LESSON TWO

FACING FIERY OR DEALS

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand." Daniel 3:17

REFLECTION

What are some ways that you have seen God deliver you from fiery trials in the past?

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

SITUATION

Daniel and his three friends had set themselves apart by refusing to indulge in the choice food and drink from the king's table, offering instead a thirty-day test to see whether they would be just as healthy as the other young men after consuming only vegetables and water. Later, Daniel rose to prominence in the court of Nebuchadnezzar when he related the king's dream back to him and provided an interpretation. At Daniel's request, his three friends — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — were also appointed as administrators over the province of Babylon (see Daniel 2). Unfortunately, this new position of authority would not save them when the king decided thereafter to issue an edict that they felt they simply could not follow.

OBSERVATION

Read Daniel 3:8–27 from the New International Version or the New King James Version.

New International Version

8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "May the king live forever! 10 Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold,11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego — who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."

13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, "King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Life Lessons from Daniel & Esther"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Max Lucado.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

How to Study the Bible v

Introduction to the Books of Daniel and Esther ix

Lesson 1 Obedience to God (Daniel 1:3-20) 1

Lesson 2 Facing Fiery Ordeals (Daniel 3:8-27) 11

Lesson 3 Humility Before God (Daniel 4:19-34) 23

Lesson 4 Consequences of Sin (Daniel 5:1-31) 33

Lesson 5 Doing Right No Matter What (Daniel 6:6-24) 45

Lesson 6 Power of Prayer (Daniel 10:1-14) 55

Lesson 7 Being Prepared (Esther 2:1-13) 65

Lesson 8 Standing Firm (Esther 3:1-11) 75

Lesson 9 Taking Responsibility (Esther 4:1-17) 85

Lesson 10 Faith and Courage (Esther 5:1-14) 95

Lesson 11 Relying on God's Protection (Esther 7:1-10) 105

Lesson 12 Rewards of Faithfulness (Esther 8:1-17) 115

Leader's Guide for Small Groups 125

Customer Reviews

Explore More Items