Small Group Studies

Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Week 1


What would you do if you were taken from home to a new country and ordered to serve in the king's court? It's hard to put ourselves in that situation, yet this is precisely the circumstance in which Daniel found himself. Today, we will learn how this young man responded when his entire life was upended. As we read his story, we will be inspired by his faith and integrity during a time when it would have been very difficult.


When is a time you felt out of place? What happened?


Bible Study

1. In your own words, define integrity.


2. Read Daniel 1:1-7. In what ways did the Babylonians attempt to integrate Daniel and the other young men who were captives into Babylonian culture?

Daniel 1:1-7

"During the third year of King Jehoiakim's reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia and placed them in the treasure-house of his god.

3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah's royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. 4 "Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men," he said. "Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon." 5 The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service.

6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names:

Daniel was called Belteshazzar.
Hananiah was called Shadrach.
Mishael was called Meshach.
Azariah was called Abednego."

3. Read Daniel 1:8-10. How did Daniel hold on to his integrity during this time?

Daniel 1:8-10

"But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. 9 Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 10 But he responded, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded."

4. Read Daniel 1:11-20. How did God honor the integrity and faithfulness of Daniel and his friends?

Daniel 1:11-20

"Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12 "Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water," Daniel said. 13 "At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king's food. Then make your decision in light of what you see." 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel's suggestion and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.

17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.

18 When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom."


1. Is there an area of your life that is competing to compromise your integrity? What is it?

2. What is something you can do to set your focus on God and have the same resolve as Daniel?

3. What steps can you take today to ensure you live with integrity?


During the weekend sermon, we were asked, “What is one area of your life that you could trust God with for the next ten days?" Choose an area where you have struggled to trust God and hand it over to Him. Share it with your group, and commit to trusting God over the next ten days. At the end of 10 days, check in with each other about what happened over the ten days.


Daniel and his friends demonstrated incredible integrity. It would be fair to say that most of us desire to have that same kind of integrity. The question is, how did they maintain their integrity? What steps can we take to model their integrity? Take a few moments to see what Scripture teaches about maintaining integrity in a world where godly integrity is rare.

Renew Your Mind:

Having integrity begins with the way we think. If we want to be people of integrity who stand out in the world, we have to think differently than the rest of the world. Take a few minutes to see what Scripture teaches about changing the way we think.

1. Read Romans 12:2.

Romans 12:2

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

2. In your own words, summarize this passage of Scripture.

3. Compare and contrast the two ways of living in this passage of Scripture.

4. What does it look like in today's world to "[change] the way you think?"

5. What is the impact of changing our thought patterns? How does this impact our integrity?

Focus on Scripture:

If we want to be people of integrity, we must know Scripture. When we know Scripture, we can better understand how God calls us to live and are encouraged to obey Him. Take a few moments to discover what Scripture teaches about Scripture memorization.

1. Read Psalm 119:9-11

Psalm 119:9-11

"How can a young person stay pure?
By obeying your word.
10 I have tried hard to find you-
don't let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you."

2. What is the impact of memorizing Scripture?

3. How does Scripture memorization impact our integrity?

Surround Yourself with Godly Friends:

It has been said that we become like the top five people we surround ourselves with. This means that we must carefully choose our friends. After all, we are much more likely to maintain our integrity if we surround ourselves with people who point us to Christ. Let’s see what Scripture teaches about the people we surround ourselves with. 

1. Read Proverbs 27:17. How are we impacted by our friends according to this passage of Scripture?

Proverbs 27:17

"As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend."

2. Read Proverbs 13:20. Compare the people who spend time with those who are wise versus those who are not wise.

Proverbs 13:20

"Walk with the wise and become wise;
associate with fools and get in trouble."

3. How have you seen the impact of friends (for good or bad) on our integrity (in your own life or the life of someone you know)?


Take a few moments to reflect on what you learned in Scripture.

1. Is there anything in this world that you have been focusing on that is negatively influencing your thought life? If so, what is it?

2. Is Scripture memorization a usual part of your life? If so, how have you made it a habit? If not, what is one step you can integrate to make Scripture memory a part of your life?

3. What friends influence you the most? Is their influence pointing you toward Christ or away?

Select a passage of Scripture to memorize that will help you focus on the things of God. If you are having trouble selecting one, think about memorizing one of the passages we read today in our Bible study time together or the Monthly Memory Verse. When you have selected your verse to memorize, share that verse with your group. As you go throughout your week, share with each other how that passage of Scripture impacted you. 

MONTHLY MEMORY VERSE (Available for download on Sagebrush App)

He said, "Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. Daniel 2:20