GOSPEL PROJECT: Unit 16, Session 1: Daniel and His Friends Obeyed God
This week we began a 3-session story arc spanning much of Daniel’s life. God’s people had been warned by the prophets: “Turn from your sin, and turn back to God!” But the people did not listen. The nation of Judah was consumed by idol worship; the kings did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So God kept His word—He allowed His people to be taken from their land.
Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, the strong and powerful nation that overtook Judah’s capital of Jerusalem and brought God’s people from Israel to Babylon. Daniel was a young man in Judah when this happened. He might have heard about the prophet Isaiah’s warnings; now he witnessed their fulfillment. (See Isa. 39:5-7.)
King Nebuchadnezzar called for the best young men from Judah to be trained for service in the palace. Among these teens were Daniel and three of his friends. The chosen boys were given new identities—new names, new education, new culture. But Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah stayed faithful to the one true God and refused to make themselves unclean by eating the king’s food.
God blessed Daniel and his friends. Daniel’s obedience to God led to his favor with King Nebuchadnezzar, and Daniel’s life would be a testament to God’s control over all things. God remembered His people during the exile and promised to bring them back to their homeland and set up a new kingdom.
Daniel chose to obey God no matter what, and God blessed Daniel and his friends. In an even greater way, Jesus always obeyed God. He came to earth and followed God’s plan to save sinners. Jesus never sinned, but He died the death we deserve. Jesus rose from the dead, and those who trust in Him receive God’s forgiveness and blessing.
Help your kids understand that obedience is not always easy, but we trust God to give us strength to obey Him. Point out that Daniel lived about 600 years before Jesus—the perfectly obedient promised One. We can trust that Jesus will return someday to set up His kingdom forever.
FAMILY STARTING POINTS
● Babies and Toddlers
○ God helps us obey Him.
○ God let the king of Babylon take His people away.
○ Daniel and his friends loved and obeyed God.
○ Jesus always obeyed God.
○ How can we obey God? We trust God to help us obey Him.
○ Daniel obeyed God.
○ How can we obey God? We trust God to give us strength to obey Him.
○ Daniel obeyed God by not eating the king’s food.
UNIT KEY PASSAGE
● Daniel 2:20-21 (Preschool: Daniel 2:20)
● “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego” (Daniel 3)
EXPLORERS: (Preteens) Think on Things That Are True
Guard Your Heart
based on Philippians 4:7-8; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6, 1 Corinthians 16:13
Know: We can guard our heart by thinking on godly things.
Think: The devil tempts us to think on wrong things; God helps us think on right things.
Do: Focus on godly thoughts to help guard your heart and resist temptation.
THE MORE YOU KNOW
We’ve all been in a place at one time or another where sin seems so compulsive that we just can’t imagine fighting it day in and day-out and actually winning. Yesterday’s lesson attempted to answer the, “but how?” that leaves people feeling so helpless and hopeless once they get to this point.
Though it’s true that sin is acting on temptation, not the temptation in and of itself, the goal is to be seeking the mind and heart of God so that sinful desire begins to shift out of our thoughts and hearts and temptation begins to subside. It is then that true freedom begins to transform us into what God intended us to be all along.
No matter the vein of sin that someone struggles with, God’s goal for us is always freedom from sin, not just discipline of it. This is the heart of what your children need to hear. Christianity is not about the no’s. Those are only a means to an end, an end that provides us with the biggest YES! we could ever hope for.