May 10, 2020 – Daniel 1 – 3
Lesson Date: May 10, 2020
Focal Scripture Passage: Daniel 1:1-17; 3:1-6, 12-30
AIM: To lead students to discover what God did when Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood firm in the face of great pressure to compromise, and to commit themselves to resist the pressure to compromise.
Before class: Read the notes on Daniel 1 – 3 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the word “Compromise” on the marker board or chalkboard. Become familiar with the introductory case studies so you can tell them to the class. You could use similar ones from your own experience if you prefer.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the following case studies to the class:
Brian is a successful salesman with a large company. His job requires him to entertain clients at expensive restaurants and sporting events. These activities are paid for by his company, as a part of his expense account. Recently, however, Brian’s supervisor told him to falsify his expense account records to cover the cost of some non-business related sporting tickets and liquor.
Sandra is a college student. She is an English major and makes excellent grades. One of her friends who is struggling to pass a required English class recently asked Sandra to write a term paper for her. Her friend offered to pay her generously for the paper.
Kelly’s daughter, Beth, has been invited to a pool party at the home of one of the most popular girls in her high school class. Kelly always makes Beth wear a modest one-piece bathing suit, but now Beth is begging her mom to let her wear a bikini. She complained that all the girls at the party will be wearing bikinis and she will feel like a “granny” in her old one-piece bathing suit.
Direct the students’ attention to the word “Compromise” written on the board. Ask them to tell how Brian, Sandra, and Kelly are being pressured to compromise, and possible consequences if they refuse to compromise. Tell the class in today’s lesson we will discover what God did when Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood firm in the face of great pressure to compromise
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Introduce the Book of Daniel.
- Refer to the “Timeline Comparing the Ministries of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel” on page 9 of the Sunday School Member Quarterly. Tell the students Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
- Read Daniel 1:1-4.
- Explain that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Jerusalem three different times.
- The first was in 604 BC. That was when Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were taken captive.
- The second was in 597 BC, when Ezekiel was taken captive.
- The third was in 586 BC, when Jerusalem was finally destroyed.
- Daniel and his friends were probably members of Jerusalem’s royal family or nobility. They were only teenagers at the time.
- It was common in ancient times for invaders to capture exceptional youths from the conquered royal family, take them back to their land, and train them to serve as wise men and advisors to the king.
- These young men were now captives in a strange foreign land.
- Daniel Refused to Compromise.
- Read Daniel 1:5-7.
- Ask: “What did the king provide for these young men?” (a daily provision of the king’s food and wine).
- Ask: “How long was the training period for these young men?” (three years).
- Tell the class that these young Jewish men were given Babylonian names that honored Babylonian gods.
- Ask: “According to verse 8, what did Daniel purpose in his heart?” (not to defile himself with the king’s food).
- Explain that the king’s food undoubtedly violated Jewish dietary laws and probably had been used as offerings to false gods.
- Ask: “What does the last part of verse 8 tell us Daniel did?” (he asked not to be forced to defile himself with unclean food).
- Ask: “How did Daniel make this request?” (he respectfully and politely asked the person in authority).
- Tell the students a refusal to compromise should not be ugly or harsh, nor should it ignore recognized levels of authority.
- Read Daniel 1:9-13.
- Ask: “Why was the prince of the eunuchs afraid to grant Daniel’s request?” (he was afraid of displeasing the king and possibly losing his head).
- Tell the class Daniel asked his overseer to put him and his friends to a test.
- Ask: “What was that test?” (after ten days of eating their food, Daniel and his friends would be examined to see if they looked less healthy than those fed on the king’s food).
- Ask a volunteer to read Daniel 1:14-17.
- Ask: “What was the result of Daniel’s refusal to compromise?” (the lost people around them took notice, and God blessed Daniel and his friends with more knowledge and wisdom than the king’s other wise men – see v. 20).
- Summarize: Daniel respectfully refused to compromise in the area of dietary rules God had given the Jews. As a result, God blessed him with knowledge, wisdom, and the favor of his captors.
- God Used Daniel to Interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream.
- Tell the students about the following events that are recorded in Chapter 2.
- King Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream.
- He couldn’t remember the dream, so he asked his wise men, magicians, and advisors to tell him what the dream was and what it meant.
- No one could do this, so the king ordered that all the wise men were to be killed.
- God used Daniel to tell Nebuchadnezzar about his dream and what it meant.
- The king recognized God’s greatness and promoted Daniel to a very high position.
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were also promoted.
- Summarize: Daniel’s refusal to compromise gave him opportunities to be used by God.
- Tell the students about the following events that are recorded in Chapter 2.
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego Refused to Compromise.
- Read Daniel 3:1-6.
- Ask: “What did King Nebuchadnezzar build? (a 90-foot-tall golden statue).
- Ask: “Who did he summon to see the statue?” (all the governors and princes of the provinces under his rule).
- Ask: “What did he command them to do in verse 5?” (fall down and worship the golden statue whenever they heard the music play).
- Ask: “According to verse 6, what was the penalty for refusing to obey?” (being thrown into a burning fiery furnace).
- Tell the class the music played and all the governors and prince bowed down to the golden statue.
- Read Daniel 3:12-15.
- Ask: “What was reported to Nebuchadnezzar?” (that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to the king’s idol).
- Tell the students this made Nebuchadnezzar very angry. He summoned Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
- Ask: “What did the king tell them in verse 15?” (he gave them another chance to obey, promising to throw them in the burning fiery furnace if they refused).
- Ask a volunteer to read Daniel 3:16-18.
- Note that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were very respectful toward the king.
- Ask: “According to verse 16, what did they say God was able to do?” (deliver them from the burning fiery furnace).
- Ask: “According to verse 17, were they sure God was going to deliver them?” (no, but they refused to compromise regardless of the outcome).
- Read Daniel 3:19-25.
- Ask: “What did the king command in verse 19?” (to heat the furnace seven times hotter than normal).
- Ask: “According to verse 22, what happened to the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace?” (the flames killed them).
- Ask: “What did the king ask in verse 24?” (Didn’t we throw 3 men into the furnace?)
- Ask: “According to verse 25, what did the king see?” (4 men in the furnace, one of which looked like the Son of God).
- Ask a volunteer to read Daniel 3:26-30.
- Ask: “What was the condition of the three men when they came out of the furnace?” (they were completely unharmed and untouched by the flames).
- Ask: “What was the result of the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to compromise?” (the king praised God and promoted the three men).
- Summarize: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego respectfully refused to compromise by worshiping Nebuchadnezzar’s idol. As a result, God was praised and the three men were promoted.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask: “What happened when Daniel stood firm and refused to compromise?” (he was blessed). Ask: “What happened when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood firm and refused to compromise?” (they were protected and God was praised).
Remind the students of the stories of Brian, Sandra, and Kelly you told at the beginning of class. Concerning each situation, ask the following two questions:
- “How should this person go about refusing to compromise?”
- “What could be the results of his/her refusal to compromise?”
Allow a few minutes for the students to discuss their answers to these questions.
Ask: “Is anyone trying to force you to compromise your convictions? Are you afraid of what might happen if you refuse to compromise?”
Tell the class the only way to stand firm in the face of pressure to compromise is to be like Daniel, who “purposed in his heart” not to defile himself.
Urge the students to make a conscious commitment to refuse to compromise, even if it costs them something. Lead a closing prayer, asking God to help us stand firm under pressure.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Daniel 3:17-18. Tell them when their convictions are challenged to respectfully refuse to compromise – even if it means paying a price.
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