Have you ever felt like things in your life are totally out of control? Maybe you’re wondering if a season of sassiness from your kiddo will ever end or if your family will ever be able to afford a house in the school district of your dreams. Or maybe you’re facing the threat of being thrown into a fiery furnace if you don’t bow down to a 90-foot-tall statue. Okay, that last one sounds a little crazy, but that’s the kind of seemingly out of control situation the men in our story this week were facing. The truth they clung to is the same one we can cling to today when things feel out of control. Because God is in control (even if it doesn’t feel like it), we can have courage.
COURAGE: Being brave because God is with me
MEMORY VERSE: “This is my command- be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
This Week’s Finish Line: Because God is in control, we can have courage.
In the book of Daniel, the Israelites had been taken away from their homes and were living in exile in Babylon. Even though the Israelites knew that there was only one True God they should worship, the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, made a gold statue 90 feet tall and commanded everyone who lived there to bow down and worship the statue any time they heard music. He said that anyone who disobeyed and didn’t worship the statue would be thrown into a fiery furnace where they would surely die. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were three faithful Israelites who refused to bow down to the statue, because they knew there was only one God worthy of worshipping. This made the king angry, so they were arrested and brought to him. He gave them one more chance to bow down, but still they refused. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego told King Nebuchadnezzar, “We know that the God whom we serve is able to save us if we are thrown into the fiery furnace. But even if He doesn’t, we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” This made Nebuchadnezzar even angrier, so he threw them into the fiery furnace. He even commanded that the furnace be heated up seven times hotter than normal! The fire was so hot, it even killed the soldiers that were standing too close to the furnace. But then something amazing happened! The fire didn’t hurt Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego at all! When the king saw them walking around in the furnace, he demanded they come out. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God was in control and would be with them every step of the way. Because of this, they had courage even in a really scary situation.
READ DANIEL 3:4-6
- What were the people supposed to do? (When they heard the music, they were to bow and worship the king’s gold statue.)
- What was the consequence for not worshipping the statue? (They would be thrown into the blazing furnace.)
READ DANIEL 3:14-18
- Look at the end of verse 15. What did the king think about God? Who did he think was in control? (The king didn’t believe anyone had more control than he did.)
- Look at verse 27. How had the fire hurt Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? (It didn’t hurt them at all, but it did burn off the ropes they had been tied with. They didn’t even smell like smoke when they came out of the fire!)
- Reread verse 17. How do you know the 3 men trusted that God was in control? What did they believe God could do? (They said they knew that the God they served could save them because He was more powerful than the king.)
READ DANIEL 3:20-28
- Was God ever surprised by anything that happened to these 3 men? How had God shown that He was in control and NOT the king? (He protected the 3 men even in the superheated fire. He was more powerful than the king and showed that He could save them no matter what.)
* Check out our vision for parents and how to use these activities each week.
Bring it Home Conversations & Activities:
Teacher: Meal Time
Review the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. Does God always promise to save us from hard things? (No. We will probably still have to go through hard, scary, or sad times because we live in a broken world.) If something hard, scary, or sad happens, does that mean God is not in control? Why do you think that? When have you had to go thru a hard time? How did God give you courage? What can you remember is true about Him?
Friend: Drive Time
Practice the memory verse (Joshua 1:9) stop-and-go style! When you are about 100 feet from a stoplight or stop sign, start saying the verse as fast as you can. The goal is to get through the entire verse before you have to stop at the light or the sign. If you don’t make it in time, pause when you reach the light/sign and then pick it back up when you start driving again.
Thank God for walking with you through whatever fires you face & for being in control no matter what. Ask Him to give you the courage to stay close to Him even in the face of hard things.
Next week is Promotion Weekend! We’ll be kicking off a brand new year and gearing up to learn about 12 new godly character traits. Spend time this week to review the character traits we’ve learned about this past year. Which ones were your kids’ favorites? Why? Talk about times throughout this year when they lived out different character traits that we studied. If possible, take time to set goals for how you want to study and live out the new character traits we’ll be learning about this coming year outside of Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings (ex: read the blog each week, try to learn every memory verse, etc.). You can find a list of the character traits we studied by clicking here.
Thank God for grace when you don’t obey right away. Ask Him to help you find the reasons you choose to delay (fear, rebellion, doubt) & replace them with faith & trust in Him.
Next week is Promotion Weekend!
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