Friends Don't Mince Words with Friends

Daniel spoke boldly to his friend.

Daniel 4 (4)

Introduction
We see a special intimacy, even a friendship, between Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel, as Daniel leads the king to understand the meaning of his dream. It clearly pained Daniel to report this message, but we sense in him a hope that this season of judgment is not the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s story. Daniel is Nebuchadnezzar’s Nathan in this part of chapter 4, just as we may be called to be Nathan – or Paul – to one another from time to time.

Review 2 Samuel 12.1-15.

Read Daniel 4.19-27.

Think it through
1.  We sense a friendship developingbetween Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel. How can you see that a special kind of intimacy has grown between them (v. 19)? At this point, remember, Nebuchadnezzar has not expressed personal trust and submission to God. He sees himself more as God’s defender rather than His devotee. Still, this friendship seems real, even though Nebuchadnezzar knows Daniel’s faith and character (cf. v. 18). How does this happen? How should we be encouraged by this?

2.  Daniel did not beat around the bush. Summarize his message to Nebuchadnezzar. He told the king exactly what his dream portended. How does one find the courage to proclaim such a Word of judgment against one’s friends? Is this a loving thing to do? Should our witness to the Gospel include a warning of judgment? Explain. Notice that Daniel leaves a door open for repentance (the end of v. 25 and v. 27). What is repentance? Is Daniel clear to Nebuchadnezzar concerning what he needs to do to be restored to favor with God? What does the Gospel require of those who would find favor with the Lord?

Meditate
“After countless sins, after so many transgressions, he is promised that he will be reconciled with him whom he has had conflict with if only he will show kindness to his own fellow servants.… So we have shown you five ways to repentance: first the condemnation of sins, next the forgiveness of our neighbor’s sins, third that which comes of prayer, fourth that which comes of almsgiving, fifth that which comes of humility. Do not then be lazy, but walk in this day by day.” John Chrysostom (344-407 AD)

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed… Galatians 2.11

Let there be no sin in me, Lord, to keep me from serving You effectively. Lead me to confession and repentance, then lead me to…

Pray Psalm 51.14-17.
Confess your sins to the Lord, asking Him at the same time to open your mouth in praise and witness for Him.

Psalm 51.14, 15, 18 (He Leadeth Me)
Deliver us, from guilt, O Lord,
You Who have saved us by Your Word;
And let our tongues Your mercy bless,
And sing of Your great righteousness!
  Lord, open now our lips to raise
  To You sweet songs of joyous praise!
  Thus let Your favor on us fall,
  And build and strengthen Zion’s wall!

T. M Moore

For a better understanding of the book of Daniel, and all the books of the Bible, order a copy of the workbook, God’s Covenant, from our online store. The studies in this workbook will show you how the parts of the Bible connect with one another to tell the story of God’s redemption and glory (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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