This free lesson plan is based on Daniel chapter 3. It recounts the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and how God saved them from the fiery furnace. Please leave a comment below to offer your ideas & suggestions for improving this outline. You can also find a simple craft idea for this passage on the related preschool lesson.
Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate an understanding of the story by telling the story to a neighbor.
Gospel Connection: While this Old Testament story does not mention Jesus by name, believers often have understood the 4th figure in the fire to be Jesus in a pre-incarnate appearance. We should remember and teach children that God’s rescue plan is always related to Jesus Christ and his work on the cross. The mercy God shows us is based on the sacrifice of Jesus, not merely our own goodness.
Target Age: Kindergarten – 5th
- Bible to read aloud from Daniel 3.
- 1 piece of black construction paper per child, red, orange and yellow construction paper, scissors, glue
- 2 sets – words of Bible Verse written on index cards
Teaching Plan: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
Welcome Activity: Welcome activities are things to have out for the children to do as they are arriving for class. These activities will get them engaged as soon as they arrive and will help the transition from their parents.
- Have the children make a picture of fire using construction paper.
Lesson Introduction: Would you bow down to a god other than the One True God? What if you were told that you would die if you wouldn’t bow down to it? Would you do it? We are going to read about some men that had that choice to make.
- What part of the Bible is Daniel in? The Old Testament
- What book of the Old Testament is Daniel? #27
Read: Carefully real the story directly from Daniel 3 aloud to the children. NIRV translation is a good choice for younger age groups.
Discuss the Bible Story
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a statue that was covered with gold. It was 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide. He set it up on the flatlands of Dura near the city of Babylon. 2 Then the king sent for the royal rulers, high officials and governors. He sent for the advisers, treasurers, judges and court officers. And he sent for all of the other officials of Babylon. He asked them to come to a special gathering to honor the statue he had set up. 3 So the royal rulers, high officials and governors came together. So did the advisers, treasurers, judges and court officers. All of the other officials joined them. They came to honor the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. They stood in front of it. 4 Then a messenger called out loudly, “Listen, you people who come from every nation! Pay attention, you who speak other languages! Here is what the king commands you to do. 5 You will soon hear the sound of horns and flutes. You will hear zithers, lyres, harps and pipes. In fact, you will hear all kinds of music. When you do, you must fall down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 If you don’t, you will be thrown into a blazing furnace right away.”
- The king made a 90 foot statue.
- He ordered all of his people to bow down and worship the statue when they hear the music.
- If they didn’t bow down to the statue, they would die in the blazing furnace.
7 All of the people heard the sound of the horns and flutes. They heard the zithers, lyres, harps and other musical instruments. As soon as they did, they fell down and worshiped Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. They had come from every nation and language. 8 At that time some people who studied the heavens came forward. They spoke against the Jews. 9 They said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, may you live forever! 10 You commanded everyone to fall down and worship the gold statue. You told them to do it when they heard the horns, flutes, zithers, lyres, harps, pipes and other musical instruments. 11 If they didn’t, they would be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But you have appointed some Jews to help Daniel govern Babylon and the towns around it. Their names are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They don’t pay any attention to you, King Nebuchadnezzar. They don’t serve your gods. And they refuse to worship the gold statue you have set up.”
- All of the people bowed down to the statue when they heard the music.
- All, but Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They didn’t bow.
13 Nebuchadnezzar burned with anger. He sent for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So they were brought to him. 14 The king said to them, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is what I heard about you true? Don’t you serve my gods? Don’t you worship the gold statue I set up? 15 You will hear the horns, flutes, zithers, lyres, harps, pipes and other musical instruments. When you do, fall down and worship the statue I made. If you will, that’s very good. But if you won’t, you will be thrown at once into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to save you from my powerful hand?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king. They said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to talk about this anymore. 17 We might be thrown into the blazing furnace. But the God we serve is able to bring us out of it alive. He will save us from your powerful hand.
18 “But we want you to know this. Even if we knew that our God wouldn’t save us, we still wouldn’t serve your gods. We wouldn’t worship the gold statue you set up.” 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar’s anger burned against Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The look on his face changed. And he ordered that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 He also gave some of the strongest soldiers in his army a command. He ordered them to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Then he told his men to throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they were tied up. Then they were thrown into the furnace. They were wearing their robes, pants, turbans and other clothes.
- The king was angry with the 3 that didn’t obey his command to bow to the statue.
- They were brought to him.
- They tell him that they won’t bow to the statue because they serve the One True God.
- The king has them tied up and get ready to be put into the furnace.
22 The king’s command was carried out quickly. The furnace was so hot that its flames killed the soldiers who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into it. 23 So the three men were firmly tied up. And they fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet. He was so amazed he asked his advisers, “Didn’t we tie three men up? Didn’t we throw three men into the fire?” “Yes, we did,” they replied. 25 The king said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire. They aren’t tied up. And the fire hasn’t even harmed them. The fourth man looks like a son of the gods.” 26Then the king approached the opening of the blazing furnace. He shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, come out! You who serve the Most High God, come here!” So they came out of the fire.
- They were put into the furnace. Everyone expected them to die.
- The king looks into the furnace and sees 4 people in the furnace instead of the 3 that they put in.
- They weren’t harmed at all in the fire! There they were walking around ALIVE in a fiery furnace.
- The 4th man looked like the Son of God!
- The men walked out of the furnace at the bidding of the king.
27 The royal rulers, high officials, governors and advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire hadn’t harmed their bodies. Not one hair on their heads was burned. Their robes weren’t burned either. And they didn’t even smell like smoke. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “May the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be praised! He has sent his angel and saved his servants. They trusted in him. They refused to obey my command. They were willing to give up their lives. They would rather die than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 “No other god can save people that way. So I’m giving an order. No one from any nation or language can say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. If they do, they’ll be cut to pieces. And their houses will be turned into piles of trash.” 30 Then the king honored Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave them higher positions in the city of Babylon and the towns around it.
- They hadn’t been hurt at all. Not even one hair on their heads had been burned!
- That furnace should have killed them instantly! God saved them!
- Everyone praised God because He saved Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Acting out the story: Put the children in groups. Have the groups come up with a reenactment of the story to share with the class
Bible Verse Memorization
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “We might be thrown into the blazing furnace. But the God we serve is able to bring us out of it alive.” Daniel 3: 16 & 17
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: count to 3 on your fingers Replied to the king: act like a crown is on your head
We might be thrown: act like you are throwing something
Into the blazing furnace: wave arms up and down to represent fire But the God: point to heaven
We serve: bow
Is able to bring us out alive: walk in place
?????????Daniel 3: hold up 3 fingers on one hand
16: hold up 1 finger on one hand and 6 fingers on the other hand 17: hold up 1 finger on one hand and 7 fingers on the other hand
Do this a few times with the children. Make it fun for them to do the motions and say the words. Involving them in active learning is essential for memorization.
Bible Verse Mix-Up Activity
- Before class write each word of the Bible Verse onto the Index cards — Make 2 sets
- During class, split the children into 2 groups. Give each group a group of index cards with the Bible Verse written on them. Have them put the Bible Verse in order
Evaluation: Have the children tell the story to a neighbor.