Summary of Lesson Activities:
In this workshop the learners will watch and discuss a video of the life of Daniel. They will use this as background material for other workshops in this rotation that will focus on specific events in his life, that took place before and after Daniel & the Lion's Story.
- NEST Entertainment's DANIEL video
- Read the Bible passage.
- Read over the background material included in your teacher packet as you review the lesson plan.
- Review the video to be shown in class.
- Also, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the TV and DVD player in the video room as well as the popcorn maker. The lesson will involve watching the video and intermittently stopping for discussion, so make sure you can easily pause the DVD player.
Opening-Welcome and introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs if there are new students or visitors.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
1. Start off by offering the children popcorn.
2. Ask the children to tell you, if they know, anything about the life of Daniel. They may have heard about the lion’s den but may not understand the circumstances around that story. Explain that today we are going to watch a short movie on the entire life of Daniel.
3. Before you begin the video, give the following background information:
Daniel was an important servant of God! He was born in the country of Israel but God used him to help three kings of Babylon rule. All three of these kings were sometimes mean people, and God used Daniel to teach them many lessons. The first Babylonian king Daniel influenced was Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was a soldier who invaded Israel and took over the country. When he returned to Babylon, he took with him several boys of Israel who seemed smart and strong. He wanted to make sure that all the best and the brightest would be his friends and not his enemies. Daniel and his three friends were taken to Babylon and although they were really scared, they trusted God to take care of them. Let’s watch what happens.
Start the video at the beginning and let it play to 6.07.
- Ask the children to tell you how Daniel and his friends are being treated in Babylon. (They are being treated extremely well. They have access to great food, nice clothes, and a great education.)
- The Babylonian king wants to make them the best that they can be so that they will serve him well. Even though Daniel and his friends are given very expensive food to eat, they don’t eat it. The food they are given is against the laws of their religion. Today, the church doesn’t have rules about what we can eat, but in Daniel’s time they did. Was it brave for Daniel and his friends to refuse to eat the food? (Yes!)
- Why did they do it? (Even though they were in a foreign country and they were scared, they still wanted to do what God wanted them to do.)
- Did God take care of Daniel? (YES. God made them stronger and wiser than the other children.)
- The Babylonian boy Rahab is mean to Daniel and will be mean to him his whole life. Why is he mean? (At first, he is mean to Daniel because he is foreign. Then he is jealous.)
- When the king noticed how smart Daniel and his friends were, he made them part of his personal council of wise men. This meant that they would be important and powerful people in Babylon; the king gave them new names in order to show this new importance. Who does the king think is responsible for Daniel’s strength and wisdom? (Himself and the Babylon people.)
- Who does Daniel say is responsible? (God.) Yes, it is brave to tell the powerful and mean king that God is stronger than he is, but Daniel does it. He is very brave.
5. The wise men are used to advising the king. They were used to doing all kinds of things, including interpreting dreams. The king believed that his dreams were important because they could tell the future, so it was important that the dreams be interpreted.
Start the video at 6.08 and watch until 9.33.
6. Continue the discussion:
- What was the king’s dream? (A statue made of different materials representing different kingdoms.)
- Explain that God is telling Daniel the future. There will be several more kings of Babylon and each will get weaker and weaker. Finally, a new kingdom will come and rule. The new kingdom is Jesus. God is trying to tell Nebuchadnezzar that he is just a human; that he cannot last forever, but God will. God is using Daniel to teach Nebuchadnezzar a lesson.
7. Years pass, and Daniel and his friends remain some of the king’s most important advisors. However, he does not learn the lesson yet. Years later, Nebuchadnezzar sets up a giant gold statue and creates a law that everyone must worship the statue. However, Daniel and his friends know that they can’t worship the statue since they worship God and the first commandment says “You shall have no other gods before me.” Let’s see what happens.
Start at 9.33 and continue until 12.12.
8. Discuss this part:
- Daniel’s three friends get caught NOT worshiping the statue and the king wants to throw them into the fire. Rahab is there urging the king to hurt Daniel’s friends since he is still jealous. What happens when they get thrown in the fire? (They are not hurt; there is a fourth man with them.)
- Who do you think is the man in the fire? (God, Jesus, angels are acceptable answers.)
- What lesson does Nebuchadnezzar learn? (God is more powerful than the king. God deserves honor and praise.)
9. Right, but just when the King of Babylon learns this lesson, he dies and there is a new king, Belshazzar! Now Daniel must help the new king. Start at 12.13 and watch until 15.39.
- What does the new king say is more important than God? (Gold.)
- What does God do? (Writes a message on the wall.)
- No one can interpret God’s message, so Daniel is sent again to explain God’s plan. What is God’s message? What is God’s plan? (Since Belshazzar is a mean and horrible king, God is going to allow some new people to take over. There will be a new king!)
10. The new king’s name is Darius. He will also need Daniel to help him. Daniel has become an advisor to the new king. Darius is proud; he is very concerned with himself.
Watch 15.39 through the end – 24.31.
- Darius, like the other kings, thinks that he is stronger and better than God. Daniel wants Darius to praise God for giving him the kingdom of Babylon; instead who does Darius give the praise to? (Himself and Daniel.)
- Rahab is still trying to hurt Daniel. What is Rahab’s plan? (To catch Daniel praying to God, not the king; to kill Daniel.)
- Again, the king sets up a statue to which everyone must pray. Again, Daniel cannot do it. Darius cannot change a law once he sealed it with his ring, so Daniel must be thrown into the lion’s den. King Darius asks Daniel if God will save Daniel from the lions, but Daniel does not respond. While Daniel does not doubt that God has the power to save him, he does not know if God will choose to save him. Often, we ask God for things in our prayers. We always believe that God can give us what we ask for, but we know that God might not give us the thing we ask for. It is similar to when we ask our parents for candy. We know that our parents love us and want to give us things we want, but sometimes (like right before dinner) they won’t give us what we want because it is not good for us. Daniel knew that God loved him and he trusted God to do whatever God thought was best. What does Darius promise to do when Daniel comes out of the den? (To create a law that all of Babylon must worship God.)
- Daniel had a scary life. He was taken from his parents to a new and strange country. The king threatened to kill Daniel when no one could interpret his dream. Daniel’s friends were thrown into a hot fire and Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den. But through it all, Daniel trusted in God and everything turned out well. What was the result of Daniel’s life in Babylon? (He taught the kings of Babylon about God. He taught them to be better rulers and to worship God.)
- He had to teach them over and over again, but eventually they learned. Does Daniel directly teach them, like in school? (No, he shows them by praying and having faith in God’s power.)
Ask if there are any questions or comments about the story for today. Let the children talk about what they liked about watching the movie.
Close the class with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Loving God, help us to be like Daniel. No matter what happens, help us to trust you and believe that you will do what is best for us. Help us to show your love to the people around us all the time. Amen.
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Have the children answer the following:
What is one way that you can be like Daniel? How can you trust God and help the people around you to trust God?
- Daniel, Nest Entertainment.
A lesson posted by Jan Marshall from: Brenthaven Cumberland Pres.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.