Objectives: To remind children that God will protect them regardless of the danger. Even if God doesn’t protect them from the danger, he will keep them safe through it. (Make sure children understand this doesn’t mean bad things won’t ever happen to them since they are Christians.)
God promises to protect his children, just like he kept the lions from eating Daniel. But some Christians aren’t as fortunate as Daniel. Many Christians throughout history have been killed because of their faith, and missionaries are sometimes still killed today.
So if believing God will protect us doesn’t mean we might not be harmed or even killed, what exactly does it mean? Let children suggest some answers.
Remind children of the following:
Even though we may be harmed, God uses police and laws to punish those who harm us.
For those who hate God’s people and God, the Bible tells us they will be punished by God.
God also wants to teach us to love all people—even those who don’t love us and may hurt us. Jesus asked God to forgive those who were crucifying him.
Our world is infected by sin. Sin causes people to do bad things, and it causes bad things to happen.
Even if we are killed because we love Jesus, God will still keep us safe in heaven where no one can ever harm us again.
Bible Story Time:
The story of Daniel in the lions’ den is familiar. Let’s hear it again. When Daniel was just a young man, cruel foreign invaders took over his homeland. He and many others were taken to a land called Babylon. Here, Daniel was faced with all kinds of new things. A different way of living, a different language, different foods, and different gods. Daniel only worshiped the one true God, but these people worshiped many gods. They ate food God had told Daniel not to eat. Daniel also had to learn a new language.
Reflection: How do you think you would feel if you had to move to a different country where the people ate and talked differently than you? A place where you didn’t know anyone? A place where people didn’t worship Jesus?
Fortunately, Daniel was given permission to eat the types of food God wanted him to. Daniel was also smart, and he learned about his new culture quickly. He was appointed to an important position. After he interpreted a dream the king had, he was appointed to an even higher position. Then another king came to power, and he had a dream too. Daniel interpreted his dream, and he made Daniel the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
Daniel stayed in this strange land for a long time. When he was about eighty years old, another king appointed him to an even higher position. Some men were jealous because Daniel was getting special attention from the king, so they made plans to trap Daniel. In all this time of living in this foreign country, Daniel had always worshiped his God and not their pagan gods. The men who disliked Daniel decided to get Daniel into trouble with the king where it concerned the way Daniel worshiped God. One was because he prayed.
Daniel’s enemies went to the king and persuaded him to sign a law saying people couldn’t pray to any other god or person except the king for the next thirty days.
Reflection: What do you think you would do if someone told you that you couldn’t pray to God? Or come to church? Or read your Bible?
Daniel wasn’t about to stop praying to God. Sure enough, those evil men saw him and reported it to the king. As bad as he hated to, the king had to enforce the law. He had to put Daniel in the lions’ den. This made him sad because Daniel was a good worker and he liked Daniel. His last words to Daniel were; “May your God, whom you worship continually, rescue you.” And God did. He closed the lions’ mouths. God protected Daniel.
The next morning, the king ran to the lion’s den to see if Daniel was alive. Sure enough, he was. Then the king had those bad men who falsely accused Daniel—along with families—thrown into the lions’ den. And the lions ate them. The king also recognized that Daniel’s God was the one true God. The gods he had been worshiping were false.
Ask: What does this story teach us about God protecting us? If the lions had killed Daniel, would God still have protected him? How?
Game: Lions’ Den
Have the children stand in a circle. Choose one child to be Daniel and stand in the center of the circle with his or her eyes closed. Have Daniel, eyes still closed, turn around several times, then stop and point to someone in the circle. Encourage that child to roar and snarl like a lion. Then give Daniel two chances to guess who the “ferocious lion” is.
For the next round, have the child who roared become the new Daniel. Play until each child has been Daniel.
Give children a blank sheet of paper and let them draw and color something related to Daniel and the lions’ den.
Martin Wiles is an author, pastor, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina. He is the founder and editor of the internationally recognized website, Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and an Administrator/Editor for Vinewords.net. He has authored seven books. His most recent is Don’t Just Live…Really Live.He has also been published in numerous publications. He is the husband of one, the father of two, and the grandfather of six.