The Fiery Furnace – Daniel 3
A popular song in the ‘70’s asked, “How deep is your love?” Have you ever wondered how deeply you really love God? We’re commanded to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength – that’s pretty deep! But do we? One of the best ways for us to learn how much we really love God is to undergo a test where our love for Him is put on the line.
That’s what happened to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego In this passage. If their love for God had been weak, they could have talked themselves into bowing to the statue, knowing that they didn’t really mean it. But no, they couldn’t do that because their love for God demanded that they stand up for Him publicly, regardless of the cost to them personally. And so, they refused to bow, not knowing how the story would end.
They knew that the story had three potential endings: their God was powerful, so He could prevent them from being thrown in the fire, or He could protect them while they were in the fire; finally, they knew that although God is powerful, He doesn’t have to shield His people from hard things, so they knew they might perish in the fire, but if so, they would be with God in eternity.
Our depth of love for God is closely related to our level of trust in Him. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego loved and trusted God so much that their adoration of Him didn’t depend on which of the three options God chose. They trusted Him to do what was best without demanding that God pick any one of the options over the others. No wonder the pre-incarnate Jesus joined them in the fire! Don’t you wonder what they were talking about?? Was Jesus saying, “Well done, good and faithful servants? I am with you in your worst moments and in your best moments. Watch how I will glorify my Father.”
When we live with faith and trust like this, we can’t help but impact the people around us. The statement that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made that day was so strong that it influenced the heart of the wicked, pagan king. In this one chapter, he went from being filled with rage to praising the One, True God!
Who was blessed the most that day? Was it Nebuchadnezzar, or was it Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who knew for sure that they deeply loved God with all their hearts? Or, perhaps was it all the people who have heard the story and whose own faith has been bolstered by the decisions of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? May our love for God be this deep! May we stand boldly for our God! May our own corners of the world be impacted by our faith!
Game – Musical Chairs – play one or two games of musical chairs, using the traditional rules. Then, say, “How would you feel if, the next time the music stops, I asked you to bow down and worship an idol?” That’s kind of what happened to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
- • What would you do?
- • What do you think Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thinking as King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to throw them into the furnace? When he heated it seven times hotter because he was so angry with them?
- • Do you think they prayed in their hearts to God? What do you think they were saying to God?
- • Did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego know what was going to happen? NO! But they were committed to serving God no matter what happened.
- • When we pray, do we know how our prayers are going to be answered? No, but we can commit to thank God no matter how He answers our prayers. God hears the prayers of those who belong to Him.
- • Remind kids how they can know whether they belong to Him – have they repented? Have they told Jesus they want to follow Him and obey Him?
- • Introduce 5 Finger Prayer Method** – sometimes kids aren’t sure what to pray for. This will help remind you how to talk to God. (Optional: let kids color as you talk OR let kids draw pictures of what they’re praying for).
- • Break kids into small groups and practice, using the 5 Finger Method to pray. Demonstrate how to make prayer conversational. You can pray with your eyes open or closed.
- • Explain that kids will each get a 5 Finger Method chart that they can hang in their room or on their refrigerator to help them pray to God.
** Link to 5 Finger Prayer Guide - https://www.prayerandpossibilities.com/5-finger-prayer/?epik=dj0yJnU9QWI1WTBaQzVXNDNTU0FJNkVnTUd3YWVNeWdhT1FKSzUmcD0wJm49TWMta0JjMFJIQjVPV0VEbjZWRHNOQSZ0PUFBQUFBR0RzbTln