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Archive for journeying together

Daniel Was Rescued from the Lions

dan 6You have probably been to a zoo, gone inside the cat house, and seen a lion. You were not able to pet the lion. In fact, there was some kind of fence or wall that separated you from the lion, because lions are dangerous wild animals. The lion is one of the largest animals in the cat kingdom, second only to the tiger. A male lion can reach eight feet in length and can weigh up to 500 pounds. A lion’s roar can be heard five miles away. Lions may not eat for several days, but when they do, they tend to eat all of their prey. They are able to take down animals that are much larger than themselves.

In ancient Egypt, the lion was respected and feared. Anyone with the ability to hunt a lion was considered to be very brave and was often rewarded by the Pharaoh. Lions were a large part of Egyptian activities, and many Egyptian gods were portrayed as hybrids of the lion, meaning the image of the god had some part that was a lion and some part that was a different animal.

Review: Last week, we learned about how God crashed King Belshazzar’s party. Belshazzar was having a feast, and he invited all the top officials in his kingdom. They were all giving praise to the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. In the middle of the party, a hand appeared out of nowhere and started writing on the wall. Although all the wise men of the kingdom tried, the only one who could interpret the writing was Daniel. He explained that there were three words used to describe Belshazzar: numbered, weighed, and divided.

What was the meaning behind the three words? Belshazzar’s days were numbered; he was measured against God’s standard and was found lacking; his kingdom would be divided.

Scripture Reading: Daniel 6

Memory Verse: Daniel 6:27: “He rescues and He saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

 

Family Activity:

Post the words Character and Consequences on a wall as headings for two columns.

Under the Character column, post the names: Satraps/Administrators, King Darius, Daniel. Leave space after each name to post the characteristics of that person.

Explain that a characteristic is a distinguishing feature or quality of a person. A consequence is the result or outcome of something that happened earlier. As you go through the story, post the appropriate character traits and consequences under each name.

After the story is complete, place the word “God” under the Characteristics column. Go through and write your own characteristics of God and the consequences that result.

Explain that God’s plan was for Jesus to live in our hearts. It’s up to us whether or not we open the door and let Jesus in to help us live a right life in God’s eyes.

 

Pray:

  • Pick one or two character traits you think God would like to see in your life, and ask God to help you develop those traits
  • Thank God that He is faithful, and that He protects those who are faithful to Him.

Lesson: August 23rd

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

smaIn Daniel, chapter two, Nebuchadnezzar is given a dream about an image with a head made of gold. The image also consists of silver, bronze, copper, iron, and clay. When God gives Daniel the ability to interpret the dream, he tells Nebuchadnezzar that the head of gold represents Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom. Daniel reveals that it is God who has given Nebuchadnezzar dominion, power, might and glory. Daniel makes it very clear that Nebuchadnezzar has power only because God has allowed it. Daniel then proceeds to tell Nebuchadnezzar about his future. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom will be destroyed, and God will set up a kingdom that will never end. The Bible records Nebuchadnezzar as falling prostrate before Daniel, but it’s not for the reason that you might think.

Nebuchadnezzar is giving praise to this God of Israel who can interpret dreams. He did not show any remorse or fear about the future. It seems that he did not hear anything Daniel said past the golden head representing himself, for in the very next chapter he builds an image of gold. There is no name given to the image, so we can assume it was not made to honor any god. Nebuchadnezzar most likely built the image to honor himself. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride gets the best of him. The fourth chapter of Daniel provides a vivid description of how God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar’s pride.

Review: Last week we learned about how Daniel and his three friends remained faithful to God. Daniel and his friends were chosen to be in the king’s service. They were to be given a portion of the king’s food and wine. Daniel requested that they only be given vegetables and water. God blessed them by making them healthier than all the rest who ate food from the king’s table.

Why did Daniel and his friends not want to eat food from the king’s table? Much of the Babylonian food is offered to idols and it would be wrong for them to eat it..

Scripture Reading: Daniel 3

Memory Verse: Daniel 6:27: “He rescues and He saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

 

Family Activity:

Divide into pairs.

  • With their backs facing each other, tie the pairs together at the waist.
  • Tell the pairs that they are not allowed to communicate with each other in any way.
  • With all pairs participating at the same time, give the pairs directions to do various activities: sit on the couch, spin in a circle, walk to the other room, lie on your back, or any other simple activities you create.
  • After attempting to do the activities, discuss the difficulty of doing the tasks when the partners are unable to communicate to tell each other what they are thinking. It’s like having two minds that are often in opposition to each other.
  • Now give the same directions to the pairs, but this time let them communicate with each other.
  • Discuss how much easier it was to accomplish their tasks when they were of the same mind.
  • When our minds are in tune with God’s mind, we can be determined that we will serve God in spite of what others are doing around us. We will be able to accomplish God’s plan because we will be working in unison with Him instead of doing the opposite of His plan. James 1:8 says that a man who doubts God is double-minded and “is unstable in all he does.” It is important that we be single-minded, focusing on serving God, so that when temptation does come, we can be strong to stand against it.

 

Pray:

Adoration: Give praise to an almighty God who is able to save, even from a fiery furnace.

Confession: Ask God to forgive you for putting other things over Him; for having idols.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that He is a loving God that watches over His children.

Supplication: Ask God to help you take a stand for what is right even though others around you may not be doing what is right.

 

Lesson: August 9th

Daniel and His Friends Obeyed God

dan 1YAHWEH: THE LORD

The book of Daniel was written during the time that the nation of Israel was in exile. It would have been a common belief among the Babylonians that Israel’s defeat was an indication that they served a weak god. The Jews may have had such thoughts themselves as they were living in exile. They may have thought that God had not kept His promises to them.

God used the lives of four teenagers to prove that not only is He the one true God, but that He had not forgotten about His people or His promises to them. The account of Daniel and his faithfulness proves the sovereignty (one who has supreme power and authority) of Israel’s God. Daniel and his friends trusted the Lord, and He showed Himself able to protect and deliver them.

As a result, His power is made known to and proclaimed by the nations of the world. Our Memory Verse for this unit sounds like it could have been the words of Daniel giving praise to God, but these words were actually stated by a pagan king of Babylon.

 

Review: In the last lesson we learned how the nation of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. God took His prophet Ezekiel to a valley where he was instructed to prophesize to dead bones—telling them that God would breathe life into them again.

What was God promising His people who were now in exile through this prophecy? God would put His Spirit back in them and they would be made new. He would settle them back into their own land.

Scripture Reading: Daniel 1

Memory Verse: Daniel 6:27: “He rescues and He saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

 

Family Activity:

Supplies: paper, pencil or pen

To help review the lesson, divide into two teams and play a game of Tic-tac-toe. One team will be “X” and the other team will be “O”. Using the review questions below, ask one team a question. If the team gets the right answer, they can put either an “X” or an “O” in a spot on the board:

 

  • Why did God have to punish the Jewish people? They chose to worship false gods.
  • How did God punish the Jewish people? They were captured and taken into slavery.
  • What kind of men did the king want Ashpenaz to look for? Ones who were handsome and smart.
  • Why didn’t Daniel want to eat the king’s food? Much of the food was used for idol worship and God had specifically told the Israelites not to eat certain foods.
  • What did Daniel ask that he be fed instead of the king’s food? Vegetables and water.
  • Why did Ashpenaz not want to give Daniel vegetables? He was afraid that Daniel would not look very good and the king would be upset.
  • For how many days was the official to test Daniel and his friends? Ten days.
  • How did God bless Daniel and his friends for taking a stand for what was right? They looked even better than those who had eaten the king’s food.
  • How much better were Daniel and his friends than all the magicians in wisdom and understanding? Ten times better.
  • What special gift did God give to Daniel? The ability to understand dreams and visions.
  • Why did the Babylonians change the names of Daniel and his friends? They wanted them to forget about their home land and their God, and to worship the false gods.

Pray: Ask God to help develop you into people who please Him no matter what. Give thanks to God that He is able to protect and deliver us from the enemy’s temptations.

 

Lesson: July 26th