This is a new lesson based on Daniel 1. The lesson focuses on the believer’s need to be intentional in their obedience to God and His Word. The lesson was used for older elementary students and can be used as an adaptable guide for your ministry needs.
Bible Story: Daniel’s Resolve to Obey God
Scripture: Daniel 1
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Optional: If you adapt this lesson for younger children you could use our free Daniel coloring page. You might enjoy another lesson plan based on Daniel chapter one.
Learning Goal: Students will learn that to stand out as followers of Christ believers must be intentional about knowing and obeying God’s Word.
Learning Activity #1: Have a Bible Sword Drill before or after the lesson (some optional verses are included at the conclusion of the lesson plan).
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: Daniel 1:8: But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
Bible Lesson: Daniel’s Resolve
Today we are turning to the Old Testament to study and learn from the Book of Daniel. We are going to learn many things in the next 12 weeks that we can put into practice into our own lives as followers of Christ from Daniel and the events that take place in this book. We will learn how Daniel was God’s ambassador in the land of Babylon. The Book of Daniel is filled with dramatic events and predictions of future events on God’s calendar. Let’s get started on another exciting adventure in God’s Word!
Turn in your Bible to Daniel 1. Read Daniel 1:1-2. God’s people the Jews had been given God’s laws and promises. One day God’s promised Savior would be born from a Jewish family. With the blessings of having God’s laws and promises the Jews also had a great responsibility to live differently than the people who didn’t worship the One True God. (Luke 12:48-“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required”) He promised His people blessings if they obeyed His laws and He promised He would punish them if they chose to disobey. Unfortunately God’s people chose to live lives like those who didn’t know the One True God. God warned His people over and over to repent of their wickedness of worshiping false gods. After many years of sending prophets urging the Jewish people to return to God the majority of the Jewish people did not. God kept His Word to punish them for their wickedness and allowed the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar to invade Judah and take many of the people back to his country as prisoners.
There were 3 deportations (Jewish people being removed from their country and taken to Babylon) from the country of Judah. Daniel was taken from his home in Jerusalem during the first deportation while he was most likely in his early teens.
God is sovereign and will do what exactly what He says He will do. God’s people can choose to believe God and obey Him or suffer the punishment for disobedience. Unfortunately others’ sin can cause difficulty and disappointment in the lives of those who are obeying God.
Read Daniel 1:3-5. King Nebuchadnezzar put Ashpenaz in charge of finding young men from Judah who would be trained to be his servants.
- What type of family did the young men need to be chosen from? (Royal family and nobility)
- What were the requirements to be chosen to be a part of this training program? (young men, no handicaps, handsome, intelligent , quick to learn and qualified to serve in the King’s palace)
- What were the young men going to be taught? (Babylonian language and literature)
- What would they eat every day? (Food and wine from the king’s table)
These young men would be immersed in the Babylonian culture and the King’s desired result would be that they looked and acted like Babylonians and not like Jews.
How can we as followers of Christ apply (put this in practice) this to our lives? This world (the culture-world system not based on a Biblical point of view) is not our home. (Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in heaven”) Believers are immersed in the culture we live in. We hear and see things in our world that are intended to make us look and think more like the belief system of the world that is against God. (Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11) God’s enemy, Satan desires that God’s people will look and act more like the world than like followers of Christ. We may think that is impossible to stand out in the world we live in because the anti-God messages are everywhere. That’s why it is going to be exciting to study the life of Daniel. If we put into practice what we will learn from his example we will be able to stand out and not lose our reputation as a true Christ follower.
Read Daniel 1:6-7. We are introduced to four young men who were chosen to participate in the king’s training program, Daniel Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Another example of totally trying to change the Jewish prisoners’ true identity was to try to get them to forget their God and where they came from. Names were important to Jewish people. Each name caused them to remember their God.
- Daniel’s name means-God is my judge.
- Hananiah means-The Lord is gracious.
- Mishael means-who is like God?
- Azariah means-The Lord is my help.
Each time someone said their name these young men would remember they are God’s children and they serve the One True God.
Ashpenaz renamed the four young men:
- Daniel-Belteshazzar which means-Bel will protect (Bel was a false god that the Babylonians worshipped.)
- Hananiah-Shadrach which means-Inspired of Aku (sun)
- Mishael-Meshach which means-Belonging to Aku (Sun)
- Azariah-Abed-Nego which means-Servant of Nego (another false god the Babylonians worshipped)
Daniel and his three friends were in their early teens. They could have easily done all that they were told and not speak up for what they knew to be right. They could have followed the crowd and began to look more and more like a Babylonian and completely lose their reputation of servants of the Most High God.
Daniel 1:8. Daniel knew that the Babylonians ate food that was offered to idols and he knew that God’s Word clearly taught God’s people what food was clean (OK to eat) and unclean (not OK to eat). Knowing God’s clear instruction on how to keep his life pure Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food.
Explain defile and resolved.
- To defile yourself means to make foul or dirty; pollute to damage or sully (someone’s good name, reputation,) to make unfit for ceremonial use; desecrate. When you hear that definition of defile how do you think you and I as followers of Jesus can defile ourselves? (Allowing anything into our minds that is sinful according to God’s Word-violent movies, games, songs that dishonor God, using bad language etc.)
- The dictionary definition of resolved is firm in purpose or intent; determined.
No one ever obeys God by accident. Believers need to be intentional about what they will do and what they won’t do.
What does a follower of Jesus need to do to be determined not to sin against God?
Know God’s Word-what do you need to do to know what is in God’s Word? You have to be intentional about reading and studying God’s Word…God’s Word is not going to magically appear in your heart if you have done nothing to familiarize yourself with His Word by reading, studying and memorizing His Word. (Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.)
While living in Jerusalem Daniel must have been taught God’s laws and he hid them in his heart. He didn’t allow peer pressure to change his mind about what was right or wrong as he lived as a captive in Babylon.
Because Daniel had purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the king’s food he had a plan in place. He asked permission if he and his four friends could eat vegetables and water for 10 days. The guard who was in charge of Daniel and his friends agreed to this 10 day test. Look at verses 15-16 to see what happened. (They looked healthier and better than any of the others who ate the king’s food)
God blessed Daniel and his friends’ obedience. Read verse 17.
At the end of the 3 year training period King Nebuchadnezzar examined the students. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah stood out from all the other students. The king found them to be 10 times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his own kingdom.
Daniel resolved to guard himself from anything that would make him impure in God’s sight. As a result he and his friends stood out from all the others who were immersed in the Babylonian culture.
Believers need to make every effort to make choices that will keep them from sinning against God by living like those in this world who do not believe in God. By resolving not to sin against God believers stand out from all those who choose to live without God.
As we close in prayer let’s think about what we need to do to be intentional about choosing to please God and not to sin and lose our reputation as a follower of Christ. Another way to say lose your reputation is to lose your testimony as a believer. Believers are to point others to Jesus. When we choose to follow Jesus others should be able to look at our actions and attitudes and see what Jesus is like. When we choose to blend in with ungodly actions and attitudes our reputation as a Christian is lost because we no longer look like Jesus so people cannot see Him in how we live.
If you are not a believer (follower of Jesus) what you need to know today is that Jesus died on the cross for all of your sins. He was buried and rose to life 3 days later. Because He took the punishment for your sins you can receive the Gift of eternal life by believing in Him. If you would like to know more about how to become a believer I can talk to you after we pray.
Close in prayer.
1. Who took God’s people to the land of Babylon as prisoners? (King Nebuchadnezzar)
2. What were the requirements to be chosen to participate in the king’s training program? (young men with no handicaps, handsome, quick learners, needed to be from the royal family)
3. Why were Daniel and his friends renamed? (To cause them to forget their God)
4. What are the meanings of Daniel and his friends’ Jewish names?
5. What are the meanings of their Babylonian names?
6. What did Daniel do to keep himself pure before God? (He asked for permission not to eat the king’s food)
7. What were the results of the 10 day food test? (Daniel and his friends looked healthier and more nourished than all the others)
8. How did Daniel and his friends stand out before King Nebuchadnezzar? (They were 10 times better)
Suggested Sword Drill Verses:
- Exodus 20:25: If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
- Leviticus 11:43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them.
- Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
- Jeremiah 7:30 “‘The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the Lord. They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it.”
- Isaiah 24:5 The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant.
- Ezekiel 14:11Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign Lord.