Faith: there is nothing more central to being a Christian. We hold that faith is essential to salvation (Hebrews 11:6). Without faith, Christianity would be hollow and strange to us. But what did the first ones to hear the message of the gospel understand by the word faith? To what did they compare it in their first-century world?
The four lessons of the second unit, all from the book of Daniel, depict bold exercise of faith in the one true God while in a culture hostile to that faith. Whether the issue was objecting to certain food (lesson 6) or refusing to bow down to an idol (lesson 7), the steadfast faith demonstrated by Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is timeless, relevant for Christians of every place and century. Since our real home is in Heaven, we too are in exile until we arrive there (Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). While in exile, we pray. And lesson 8 provides something of a model in that regard. Disciplined, earnest prayer is foundational to a faith that works. Daniel’s confession of sin and plea for mercy speak powerfully to our own situation of exile. Lesson 9 concludes the unit by examining a rather mysterious vision experienced by Daniel. While some of the vision’s details may spark questions, the message is plain: Daniel was to draw strength and hope from believing that God remained in control. So must we.