This free lesson plan teaches is based on the story of Daniel in the Lion’s den. God can rescue from any terrible situation. This lesson also deals with the character of Daniel and his example of being trustworthy. God rewarded Daniel by delivering him when he was falsely accused. Students will learn that a trustworthy life comes from walking faithfully with God each day.
This Bible study was created for older students and can be adapted for other ministry needs. This is a free guide to help give you ideas in your preparation. We welcome your ideas and comments below.
Bible Story: Daniel and the Lion’s Den
Scripture: Daniel 6
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: Bibles, flannels or pictures for Bible lesson, picture of child, descriptive words on slips of paper
Learning Goal: Students will learn that Christ’s ambassadors are trustworthy.
Learning Indicator: Students will demonstrate their comprehension by participating in activities and answering review questions.
Gospel Connection: Daniel can be a good example, but ultimately we all fall short. The sin in our hearts makes it impossible to remain true to Christ without God’s grace. Because Jesus dies in our place, we can be accepted by God even when we are not trustworthy.
Learning Activity #1: Place a picture of a child on the board (optional-draw an outline of a person and write the descriptive phrases around the child) along with the slips of descriptive phrases (positive and negative-Example: honest-liar). As you do this activity with your students choose volunteers to remove the behaviors that do not reflect Jesus in the life of a believer.
Learning Activity #2: Word Puzzle for students to work on while waiting for students to arrive.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
Teaching the Memory Verse: Talk about how Daniel modeled this verse in his life. What are some practical examples from every day life that we experience that we can do to obey this verse? Recite the verse and have students decide on hand motions.
Bible Lesson: Delivered From Den of Lions
(Open with prayer.)
(Do Activity #1 as an introduction to the Bible lesson.)
Let’s open our Bibles to Daniel 6. From our past lessons on Daniel what are some attitudes that he modeled that are good examples for Christ’s ambassadors? (Answer with wisdom and tact, pray for wisdom, give God all the credit, point others to God)
In our Bible lesson today we are going to discover another character trait that Christ’s ambassadors should exhibit from Daniel’s life. Let’s read Daniel 6:1-3. (Choose volunteers) King Darius chose 120 satraps (say-trap) or governors to have authority in the different territories in his kingdom. King Darius chose 3 men to be administrators over the 120 satraps. These three administrators made sure the satraps were serving the king well.
Who did we see that was chosen as one of the three men to be an administrator over the 120 satraps? (Daniel) What descriptive phrases do we read about Daniel? (So distinguished himself, exceptional qualities) from what we already know about Daniel’s life what do you think his exceptional qualities were? (Allow responses)
King Darius saw those good character traits and wanted to promote Daniel to be the leader over all the administrators and satraps.
Let’s imagine what this event may have looked like if we were there. (Remember if it’s not written in God’s Word we don’t know for sure how the king makes it known that he wants to promote Daniel.) Let’s picture all the leaders gathered for a meeting with King Darius. They are meeting to discuss how things are going in each of the territories. Each of the administrators talk about the problems and successes of the area they are in charge of. As King Darius looks at Daniel and listens to him speak he says, “Daniel, you have such an excellent attitude. You always do your work with excellence and wisdom. I have been watching you and have been very impressed with you. I have put a lot of thought into promoting you to lead all of these men in this room.”
The other two administrators must have been filled with jealousy as they hear the king say these kind words to Daniel. They worked hard too. Didn’t the king notice them? Why would he promote Daniel a man who isn’t even from this land but a captive from the land of Jerusalem?
Jealousy is a terrible character trait. (Proverbs 14:30, James 3:16) Jealousy never leads anyone to make good decisions. Instead of agreeing with King Darius that Daniel was exceptional the others chose to allow jealousy to poison their hearts.
- Believers can trust that God sees their faithfulness and He will reward them. When others are being recognized we can encourage and support them instead of envying them.
After leaving the meeting with the king the two administrators and 120 satraps had a meeting of their own. “How infuriating that King Darius would want to promote Daniel! Doesn’t he see that there are others in his kingdom that are smarter and more powerful than Daniel? We have to come up with a plan to keep the king from promoting him. Who knows of anything that Daniel has done that can be used against him?”
The men thought and thought. They searched their memories of all the different times they were with Daniel. None of them could ever think of a time when they heard Daniel speak disrespectfully against the king. No one ever saw Daniel mistreat someone in the kingdom. Not one person could stand up and say anything bad about Daniel that would keep the king from promoting him. All they realized by thinking about Daniel was that he was completely trustworthy.
- Christ’s ambassadors should be trustworthy. When a person is trustworthy others can count on them to do what they say they are going to do. A believer is trustworthy when they walk faithfully with God every day. Prayer, Bible reading and turning from any known sin are a part of daily life.
These jealous men knew that they could find nothing wrong with his life that would keep him from being promoted. It took some time but the men finally came up with an idea. “I’ve got it!” One of them may have shouted. “I have walked by Daniel’s house and he regularly prays to his God. He only worships his God and not the many gods we worship. Daniel obeys the laws of his God and he is not allowed to worship any other god or pray to anyone else. We need to convince the king to make a law that forces Daniel to choose his God or to obey King Darius.”
The men thought this was a brilliant idea. Daniel lived such an upright life that the only way they could keep him from being promoted was through trickery. They went to Darius and spoke flattering words. Let’s read what they said in Daniel 6:6-8.
King Darius was caught off guard by their flattering words. The idea seemed like a reasonable thing for the people of his kingdom to do. He agreed with these men and signed the scroll with the law written on it and put his seal on it. Now whoever disobeyed this law would be thrown into the den of lions.
Darius was not a worshiper of the One True God. How many people do you think this law would really affect in Darius’ kingdom? (Allow responses) He wasn’t thinking about how his quick decision to follow the suggestion of these leaders would affect others.
- Believers should always seek God’s wisdom before making hasty decisions. Our decisions do affect others around us. (Proverbs 19:2, Ecclesiastes 5:2, Proverbs 3:5-6)
Daniel heard the latest news in the kingdom of how King Darius signed a law that praying to anyone other than him for the next 30 days was punishable by death.
Read Daniel 6:10. We do not read of any hesitation on Daniel’s part to change his lifestyle based on the news. We don’t read of him being tempted to pray quietly in his heart so no one would ever know. We don’t read that he was so afraid of being thrown into the lions’ den that he closed his windows and spent his time privately before the Lord.
Daniel was faithful to his God. He had an established time that he stopped and prayed to God. He prayed 3 times a day. (Psalm 55:17) His window that opened in the direction of Jerusalem the Holy city was always opened when he talked to God. (2 Chronicles 6:26, 29) Daniel didn’t allow fear of death keep him from praying to the One True God.
The group of men walked by Daniel’s house. As they looked in his window imagine how giddy they felt when they saw him on his knees praying to God! They ran as fast as they could back to Darius.
Gasping for air, one of the men was able to blurt out the news that they had caught someone in the kingdom praying to another God. “Didn’t you make a law that says, ‘Anyone who prays to another god or man for the next thirty days would be thrown into the den of lions.’?”
“That is correct, said Darius. It is a law that cannot be changed.”
It must have been hard not to look overly happy about the next bit of information that the men were going to tell Darius. “Well, King Darius, we happened to be walking by Daniel’s house and we saw him on his knees praying to his God. He ignored the law that you signed and prayed to his God instead of you.”
Darius’ heart sank. He must have thought, “How could I have been such a fool? Why would I make such a law when I know that one of my most trusted leaders serves the One, True God?” He was so troubled that he didn’t know what to do.
The jealous men knew exactly what he had to do. “Remember, O king you have to keep the law that you made. It cannot be changed.”
The men were right. The law was signed and there was no way to change it. There was only one thing the king could do and that was to have Daniel brought from his house and thrown into the den of lions.
King Darius cared deeply for Daniel. He didn’t quickly hide somewhere in his palace putting the thoughts of his most trusted leader out of his mind. He was present as Daniel was brought to the den of lions.
Let’s read verse 16. What positive character trait does Darius speak about Daniel? (Your God whom you serve continually)
- Christ ambassadors serve God faithfully. It is impossible to be faithful to God in our own strength. How does a believer serve faithfully? (The power of the Holy Spirit living in their heart enables them to be faithful) The Holy Spirit will enable followers of Christ to walk with God daily-consistently.
Daniel was placed in the den of lions and a large stone was rolled in front of it so Daniel could not escape. The king used his ring to seal the stone. The other leaders used their rings to seal the stone as well.
Darius must have left the tomb with tears in his eyes and sadness in his heart. He went back to his palace. He told his servants not to bring him anything to eat. He was unable to even think of eating. He didn’t want anyone coming to visit him or entertain him that evening. He was very upset by the events of that day. He must have been very upset with himself because of his part in the danger that Daniel was in that night. Darius was unable to sleep thinking about Daniel surrounded by hungry lions.
Darius must have paced his floors all night long hoping that Daniel’s God rescued him from this terrible situation. As he paced the floors he saw that the sun was starting to come up over the horizon. At the first glimpse of the sun, Darius ran to the den where Daniel was sealed in.
When he reached the stone he cried out in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the Living God, has your God whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Choose volunteer to read Daniel’s response in verses 21-22.
The king was thrilled to hear Daniel’s voice. “Quick move that stone and get Daniel out of there!”
As Daniel was taken from the den not a mark was found on him. No lion bite marks or even a scratch could be seen on his body. God protected Daniel because he trusted in Him.
The king knew that these men had tricked him to try to have Daniel killed. He commanded that the men and their families be thrown into the den. God’s angel was no longer in that den to protect from the ferocious, hungry lions. These men who plotted to destroy Daniel faced their own destruction.
Darius was so thankful that Daniel’s life was spared. He made a law that everyone needed to honor and respect Daniel’s God. Let’s read Darius’ words he used to describe the God of heaven in verses 26-27.
As God’s ambassador in Darius’ kingdom Daniel showed God’s power to rescue those who trust in Him. Daniel served God faithfully and he was rewarded by being delivered from the den of lions.
How about you and I? Do people say that we are trustworthy? Do people see us continually serving Jesus no matter what? Many people do not know Jesus and we have been given this life to point others to Him. What important daily habits do we need to do so we can be faithful to the Lord? Let’s begin today to put things in our lives that help us to be faithful to God (prayer, Bible reading, obedience) and remove those things that are keeping us from serving Him with all our hearts.
As we close let’s compare Daniel sealed in a den of lions with Jesus who was sealed in a stone cold tomb. Every man, woman, boy and girl has broken God’s laws. The punishment for breaking His laws is death. This death is separation from God forever and ever. God sent His Son Jesus to this earth to die on the cross for the punishment of our sins. We all are guilty of sin. Jesus was innocent. He took our place on the cross and His dead body was placed in a tomb and a stone was rolled in front of it. Three days later God the stone was rolled away and Jesus was alive! God raised Jesus from the dead! Jesus has power to forgive us for all our sin. If you have not been saved and want to know more from the Bible about what it means to believe in Jesus, please talk to us after we pray.
Close in prayer.
- Who was the king in Daniel 6? (Darius)
- How many satraps were in Darius’ kingdom? (120)
- How many administrators were over the satraps? (3)
- Who was Darius going to promote to be the leader over all the rulers? (Daniel)
- Why was Darius going to promote Daniel? (He distinguished himself with exceptional qualities)
- How did the men trick Darius to try to keep Daniel from being promoted? (law against praying to anyone but Darius for 30 days)
- Why was Darius distressed about the news about Daniel praying? (He didn’t want him to have to be thrown into the den of lions)
- Who rescued Daniel? (God, He sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions)
- What new law did Darius make? (All people were to honor and respect Daniel’s God)