Monday, June 2, 2014

God Will Protect Us by Martin Wiles

(All material is original to the author with the exception of songs and activities which have been borrowed from various sources. All studies are free for public use.)

God Will Protect Us
Scripture Reference: Daniel 6:22
Related Scripture Reference:  Daniel 6
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

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 that this belief doesn’t mean bad things won’t ever happen to them since they are Christians.)

Say: Today we will hear the familiar story of Daniel in the lions’ den and of how God protected him from the lions. 

Say: (Display the following verse where the children can easily see it.) Let’s say our memory verse together. My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his (God’s) sight. (Daniel 6:22 NLT)

Reflection: 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 for their faith, and missionaries are sometimes still killed today. So if believing God will protect us doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t 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 that they will go to a very terrible place when they die—hell. This will be their punishment.
God also wants to teach us to love all people—even those who don’t love us and may hurt us. Remember how Jesus asked God to forgive those who were crucifying him? 
Our world is tainted 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—which some people are, God will still keep them safe in heaven where no one can ever harm them again. 

Bible Story Time: 
Tell children the story of Daniel and the lions’ den:

When Daniel was just a young man, cruel foreign invaders took over his homeland. He and many others were taken to the 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 worshipped the one true God, but these people worshipped many gods. They ate food that God had told him not to eat. He 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 very smart, and he learned his new culture quickly. He was soon appointed to a very 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 land for a long time. When he was about 80 years old, another king appointed him to an even higher position. Some other men were jealous because Daniel was getting favored attention from the king, so they made plans to trap him. In all this time of living in this foreign country, Daniel had always worshipped his God and not their pagan gods. The men who disliked Daniel decided to get him into trouble with the king where it concerned the ways he worshipped God. One was because he prayed.

Daniel’s enemies went to the king and persuaded him to sign a law saying the 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 den to see if Daniel was alive. Sure enough, he was. And do you know what the king did to those bad men who falsely accused Daniel? He had them and their families thrown into the lions’ den, and the lions ate them. The king also recognized that Daniel’s God was the one true God, not the false gods he worshipped. 

Ask: What does this story teach us about God protecting us? If the lions had killed Daniel, would God still have protected him? How? 

Transition
Let’s sing a song to remind us how important it is to obey what God asks of us.

Song:
Daniel and the Lions
(To the tune "Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho".)

Daniel was thrown into the lions' den, lions' den, lions' den 
Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, 
Cause he prayed to God alone. 

God sent his angel to the lions' den, lions' den, lions' den 
God sent his angel to the lions' den, 
And he shut the lions' mouths.

Activity Break: 

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, 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.

Wrap Up: 
Give children a blank sheet of paper and let them draw and color something related to Daniel and the Lions’ Den. 

Take Away:
Let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of Daniel and the lions’ den.