THE STATUE: There is an important link between Daniel 2 and Daniel 3: In ch2, the king had a vision of a statue whose â€œhead was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.â€? Daniel interprets the dream: it describes the kingdoms that will follow. So when the king in ch3 commands that a solid gold statue is built, he is trying to â€œundoâ€? the prophecy contained in the dream by insisting that the entire statue be gold. In other words, he is trying to change the prophecy. You could teach this idea to your class by bringing in an outline of a person with gold (or yellow), silver (or grey), brass (or dark red), iron (or black), and iron and clay (black and brown) pieces of paper to cover the outline of the statue as you teach ch2. Then, have a second overlay for the outline done entirely in gold (or yellow). Finally, discuss ways in which children their age might try to change or override the counsel of a prophet today.
COMPARISON: Bring a picture of Abinadi. Ask the children to tell you what he had in common with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and what was different in his experience. Explain that God does not always preserve the lives of those who are valiant in their testimonies, but God always is aware of and in control of events.
APPLICATION ACTIVITY: Bring an electric fan with strips of red, orange, and/or yellow crepe paper (or tissue paper or crinkled construction paper) tied to the outside of it. (You could also bring a blow dryerâ€”but donâ€™t tie any paper to it.) After teaching the story, give each child a chance to come to the front of the room and tell one way in which a child their age might be penalized by the world for choosing the right. If they can do this, they may turn on the fan to simulate the fiery furnace. Then, have them tell how God might bless a child who chose the right in that way and then turn off the fan. You could also use the fan to have your class act out the story.
STORYTELLING ACTIVITY: You will need some stickers (any kind) for this activity. Ask the children to decide whether they want to be an ear, a nose or an eye. Each child who participates needs to choose one of these senses to be. If they choose to be an eye, place a sticker at the corner of each eye. If they choose to be a nose, place a sticker on each side of their nose. If they choose to be an ear, place a sticker on each ear lobe. Then tell the story from Daniel 3. Every once in a while you will stop and ask the eyes what they imagine they see. Or you may stop and ask the ears to imagine what they ear, or the noses to imagine what they smell. (Be sure to ask what the three youthâ€™s clothes smell like!) This will help your children focus on the interesting elements of this story.