Materials: Bible, poster board, marker
Preparation: Read and study Daniel 3. Make a large statue out of poster board or cardboard.
Presentation: Ask children to act out the story as you tell it to them. Say: King Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest king in the world at this time, demanded that a ninety feet tall statue be made and covered with gold. When the statue was finished, it was put in an open field for everyone to see.
The king ordered all the officials in his kingdom to come and kneel before it. Among those officials were three Jewish men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
While at the open field, King Nebuchadnezzar gave this command:
“Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that I have set up. Whoever does not fall down will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
The music sounded. The officials fell on their knees, except for the three Jewish men. They remained standing.
Some of the officials went running to King Nebuchadnezzar. “King, at the sound of the music, three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not fall down. They refused to kneel before the statute that you set up.”
The king was furious! He ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego brought before him. When they were brought in, he asked them why they didn’t kneel and then decided to give them a second chance. “Be ready,” he said. “When you hear the music, kneel before the statue I have set up. For if you don’t worship it, you will be thrown in the blazing furnace. Will your God save you then?”
The three brave men answered, “King, we won’t kneel before the statue you built and worship it. We only worship the one true God. Our God is so big that He will deliver us from this blazing furnace. But even if He doesn’t, we still will not worship your statue.”
This made the king very angry! He said, “Make the furnace seven times hotter.” Then soldiers came and tied up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, so they couldn’t move. They were taken to the blazing furnace and thrown inside.
After the three men were thrown into the furnace, King Nebuchadnezzar looked inside it. The furnace was hot enough to instantly kill anyone who even got close to it, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were walking around inside. They were not harmed at all. The king also noticed something very strange and he asked, “Didn’t we throw three men into the furnace? There is a fourth man walking inside with them, and he looks like the Son of God.”
“Quickly!” shouted king Nebuchadnezzar, “Take Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego out of the furnace.”
When they came out of the furnace, the king saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies. Their clothes were not burned, and there was no smell of smoke on them. Only the ropes used to tie their hands and feet were burnt.
King Nebuchadnezzar said, “Their God kept them safe, because they trusted in Him.”
When you have finished telling the Bible story, lead children in a discussion using the questions below.
- What was King Nebuchadnezzar’s command? (Kneel before the statue and worship it at the sound of the music.)
- Why was it wrong for them to obey the king’s command? (God says we should only worship Him.)
- What was a consequence of this disobedience? (Being thrown in the blazing furnace)
- Did they make the right choice? (Yes)
- Why were they able make the right choice? (They trusted God to take care of them.)