I was going to attempt to spell out all of the boys’ names, but quite honestly, they’re hard to spell, and it’s much easier to say Fiery Furnace Bible story when talking about this Sunday School lesson.
This week I’m trying to get ahead of the game for my Sunday School class, so I’m getting as much of the major prophet lessons as I can up on the blog (that got side-lined by the mother of all migraines this week, which resulted in me spending half of Wednesday in a dark quiet room, stupid weather changes).
The book of Daniel is a hard one to split up for kids, partially because there are several stories in it kids know, partially because Daniel also has some weird prophetic dreams. Because of that, I ended up combining some stories together a bit oddly.
Timeline-wise Daniel happens at the same time as Jeremiah and Ezekiel. When I teach these lessons I teach Jeremiah first, and then all of Daniel, and swing back to Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s just full of all those strange visions. I mean really strange stuff.
Daniel and Friends stand strong in their faith
Daniel 1 is often skipped to head straight to all of the big exciting dreams, fires, and lions, but I think it as a very important lesson to teach, aside from the “eat healthy lesson.”
When Daniel and his friends (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) first come to Babylon the king gives them the best food to eat, but they refuse to eat it because the food is sacrificed to idols and they will not break Jewish dietary laws.
Of course, we had to help Daniel and his friends find healthy food and avoid that nasty food they couldn’t eat. The kids thought this was great fun running back and forth trying to find food they didn’t have yet and making sure they didn’t grab some of the unhealthy food Daniel wasn’t allowed to eat. The last time I played this game with our Sunday School class a few years ago and one of the teachers hadn’t understood they had to collect specific things, and so she said her team had won but they had meat and desserts and an extra vegetable.
The big lesson I learn from this part of Daniel’s story is how to disagree respectfully with leaders. Daniel and his friends didn’t say, “We won’t do this because it’s against our religion. Change your rules because we said so.” No, they respectfully approached their supervisor and asked for the rule to be changed, and then they agreed to a trial period.
I wonder sometimes if I would be willing to be that respectful. Actually, I know I wouldn’t be. I’m not that good at being subordinate and following directions. I tend to think I know better. Not a good example for my kids.
The Fiery Furnace Bible story
The Fiery Furnace Bible story pretty much gets taught in most Sunday Schools as “Stand strong in your faith and God will protect you,” but that goes against most of history, and against what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed was going to happen.
They believed they were going to die. They knew God could save them, but they did not believe it would happen. I think that’s a much more powerful lesson. Three teens (or maybe young adults) are willing to die for their beliefs.
But my kids still need those fun silly exercises, so we ran through a Fiery Furnace obstacle course. I’m sure that when Nebuchadnezzar called them out of the furnace they had to dodge fire and fireballs as they ran out. I’m absolutely sure of it. Or more likely they just walked out and everyone was amazed.
The kids loved this. We spent a good 20 minutes doing it, and they would have happily done more and did do more because they set up a whole new obstacle course to show off to Jeff when he came home last night.
Then we had a fiery furnace snack. I loved this snack, it was awesome. Jeff came home just as we ate it and rolled his eyes, “This is just an excuse to eat s’mores,” but he’s wrong.
Look at the lessons from this Fiery Furnace snack:
- The fire burned and changed the marshmallows and the chocolate chips, but did not change Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Be like them and don’t be changed by the fire.
- I had a second one, but I’m not remembering it now. Probably as a result of the sugar high from eating the s’more and the 4 other marshmallows I snuck when the kids weren’t looking.
Fiery Furnace craft
Just when I thought I was done, I remembered I had a fiery furnace craft I wanted to throw in, so we dragged out our craft supplies and had fun putting it together.
In the end, we had quite a wide variety of Fiery Furnace crafts. Since I had extra people I let the kids color several and choose their favorites. Batman decided he had triplets going in the furnace. Princess added in an extra guy so the angel who came in with them was there.
Materials used for our Fiery Furnace Bible lesson
- Daniel and Friends Stand Strong in Faith lesson (printable of this lesson and pictures for it all)
- Veggie Tales: Rack, Shack & Benny
- Buck Denver Asks: What’s in the Bible? Volume Nine – God Speaks! (Isaiah, Jeremiah & the Prophets)
- Bunny Grahams and other s’more materials
Next up is Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream lesson