1 Peter 2:11-12
Description: Nebuchadnezzar’s armies invade Jerusalem and take away the best and brightest teenagers to Babylon to make them aides in the king’s court. Daniel and his friends choose to honor God by not eating food from the king’s table. Like Daniel and his friends, kids today will often be faced with circumstances that challenge their commitment to following the Lord. Christians are called to be in the world, but not of the world.
This is a big lesson with lots of moving parts. Feel free to scale it down to suit your teaching style, available time or resources.
Not everything that others do
Is what God wants to see from you.
Time: 45 minutes
o Ping-pong / Table Tennis ball
- Something to act as a border on either side of the table (to keep the ball from falling off the edge – I used erasers.)
- Signs for kids to wear (You can find these on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on www.teachingthem.com. The file is called, “In But Not Of – Signs.ppt.” You can also make your own signs that say things like, “Too Busy, Too Tired, No Time, Some Leaders, Peer Pressure, Temptations, Movies/TV, Music, Things You Like to Do, Things You Are Taught, Culture…” – anything that might make it difficult for kids to live the life that God wants them to live.)
- Hole punch or something to make holes in the signs
- Yarn or string to make lanyards for signs
- Clear bottle with lid
- Water (enough to fill bottle almost ¾ full) and some extra in a separate container to use later in the lesson.
- Food coloring
- Vegetable oil (enough to fill bottle ¼ full) in a separate container.
- Two serving platters with covers (or something like them)
- Junk food (enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
- Vegetables (real or artificial – enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
- Costumes for the waiters (something like a white shirt, a black bow tie made from construction paper and a hand towel to go over their arms)
- A copy of the answers for the Game Show. These are at the end of this document.
- Cardboard boxes or a table decorated to look like three contestant booths on a Jeopardy-type game show.
- Three sheets of flipchart paper (one for each contestant booth).
- A flip chart marker.
- Masking tape.
- LCD projector, computer, screen and PowerPoint file “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” (can be found at www.teachingthem.com on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page. If you prefer, some of the lesson can be sketched on a whiteboard or flipchart.)
- Put one hole in each end of each sign (along the top)
- Thread the yarn or string through each hole, and tie it off to make a lanyard to go around the kids’ heads.
- Pour water into bottle, and drop in several drops of food coloring.
- Put the lid on the bottle, and shake thoroughly to mix the coloring throughout.
- Keep the vegetable oil separate. (You will add it during the lesson.)
- Get two volunteers to act as your waiters. Have them dress in costume and be ready to appear with one of the platters (each of them) when you call on them.
- Prepare both of your platters – one should be piled high with junk food, the other with vegetables, and then covered.
- Load the PowerPoint slides for “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show,” and black the screen by pressing “b” on your keyboard while you are in Slide Show View.
- Create and decorate your three contestant booths. Tape a sheet of flipchart paper to the front of each booth. Position these somewhere in the room where they will be in front of the kids but also able to see the projection screen.
- Hide the answer sheet in the booth that you will assign to your “Daniel” volunteer. You don’t want the other kids to be able to see it from where they are standing, but it has to be easy for “Daniel” to see without drawing attention to himself/herself.
- Select a “Daniel” volunteer (might be best to use another adult), and explain that you would like his/her help with a “game show.” Show him/her the booth and where you’ve hidden the answers. Tell him/her that you want them to get most or all questions right but that he/she shouldn’t allow anyone to know that he/she has the answers.
- Practice the lesson.
- Also see: http://wallbuilder.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/taking-a-stand/ for additional sermon illustrations.
o Print signs for kids to wear
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
- (Gather kids together around the table, and pass out the signs for some of them to wear.)
- “Let’s start today’s lesson with a demonstration.”
- “I need a volunteer.” (Select a volunteer, and give him or her the ping-pong ball.)
- “This ball this person has represents a Christian trying to live the life that God wants him/her to live.”
- “The rest of you are people or things that make it difficult for the volunteer to follow God.”
- “Our volunteer with the ball is going to try to blow the ball to the other end of the table without falling off the table.”
- “That will represent living a life that pleases God.”
- “The rest of you (even those without signs) are going to try to prevent the ball from reaching the other end of the table by blowing it in the other direction.”
- “Does anyone have any questions?” (Answer questions. Then let them begin blowing. If the ball drops off the table, the volunteer should start over. You can stop the demonstration either when the volunteer succeeds or after enough time has passed for the kids to understand the lesson.)
- “So, what do you think this demonstration is supposed to teach us?” (Listen to responses. If it isn’t mentioned, be sure to point out that it can be very difficult to live a life pleasing to God in today’s culture. Many different things and even people work against the Christian, and Christians need God’s help to be able to move in the opposite direction of the world around them. Allow kids to take a seat as you begin the lesson.)
- “We are going to talk about a story that happened in the land of Israel.”
- “It’s from the Old Testament times, and you can read about some of what I’m going to tell you in the books of Daniel, 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.”
- “Israel, at the time of our story, was not very powerful.”
- “They were controlled by the kingdom of Egypt in the south and then later by the kingdom of Babylon in the north.”
- “A man named Jehoiakim was put on the throne by Pharaoh Nechoh of Egypt.”
- “But in the third year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked and besieged Jerusalem (606 B.C.).”
- “It took him two years to conquer Jerusalem, but Nebuchadnezzar finally won.”
- “He chose not to destroy Jerusalem at that time, but he did take some of the gold, silver and bronze items from God’s Temple.”
- “He also stole many of the brightest and most promising of Israel’s youth from Judah’s royal family and other noble families.”
- “These young men were strong, healthy, intelligent and attractive young men, who were well-versed in every branch of learning.”
- “Nebuchadnezzar wanted them for two very important reasons:
- By stealing Israel’s smartest and most promising youth, Nebuchadnezzar kept Israel from growing stronger after he returned to Babylon. The Jews would have no strong leaders to lead them in battle against Babylon.
- By bringing Israel’s best and brightest to Babylon, the king hoped to make his kingdom even stronger by training them to become aides in his court.”
- “Nebuchadnezzar’s plan was very smart, because it not only stole the best from his enemies; it added the best to his own people.”
- “But for his plan to work, he first had to get the Jews to commit to Babylonian ways and give their loyalty to the king.”
- “This was tricky, because Nebuchadnezzar was the enemy of the Jewish people.”
- “He had just held Jerusalem under siege for two years while he tried to starve the people inside so that they would grow weak and give up.”
- “Then, he had taken these boys away from their families and friends and marched them 800 miles (1300 km) to a strange place, where they would live for the rest of their lives.”
- “Nebuchadnezzar was a very smart king, though, and he had already done this before with other people.”
- “He had his servants put the boys into a special school, where they would learn the new customs, languages, religion, laws and other practices of the Babylonians.”
- “For three years, Nebuchadnezzar did something called “brainwashing” on these boys.”
- “Brainwashing is what happens with someone powerful tries to wash out everything you already know so that he can replace it with what he wants you to think.” (Show first slide with the picture of a brain on it. For each click, one of the following phrases will appear inside the brain: “Hebrew language, Hebrew laws and rules, Hebrew teachings, Hebrew culture, Hebrew customs, Hebrew foods, Israel, Hebrew friends, Jehovah.”)
- “All their lives, these boys had been trained by their parents, their teachers and their priests how to speak the Hebrew language, obey the Hebrew laws and rules, follow the Hebrew teachings, culture and customers, eat the Hebrew foods, love the land of Israel, love the Hebrew people and worship the one, true God, whom they called Jehovah.”
- “But Nebuchadnezzar needed them to forget about all that stuff if he was ever going to get them to become loyal Babylonians.”
- “So, he had his servants ‘wash’ their brains at his royal school and replace the old information with new information about Babylonian languages, laws, rules, teachings, culture, customs, foods, land, friends and gods.” (Advance the slide, and all the words will fall out of the brain. Advance the slide again, and the terms will reappear, but this time “Israel” will be replaced with “Babylon,” “Hebrew” with “Babylonian” and “Jehovah” with “gods of Babylon.” After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide. This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
- “This is where we meet Daniel and his friends.”
- “You probably know them as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but those weren’t their real names.”
- “As part of his brainwashing, Nebuchadnezzar gave them all new names.”
- “Their old names honored Jehovah, so Nebuchadnezzar changed their names so that they would honor his gods instead.” (Advance the slide to show the following chart. Each time you advance the slide, it will reveal another box of the chart, moving from left to right on each row. This will allow you to talk about each one at a time. After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide. This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
|Hebrew Name||Hebrew Meaning||Babylonian Name||Babylonian Meaning|
|Daniel||“God is my judge”||Belteshazzar||“Bel protect his life”|
|Hananiah||“The Lord shows grace”||Shadrach||“Command of Aku” (the moon-god)|
|Mishael||“Who is like God?”||Meshack||“Who is as Aku is?”|
|Azariah||“The Lord is my help”||Abednego||“Servant of Nebo”|
- “Even Daniel had a new name, but we don’t use it much today – probably because he didn’t use it much when he wrote the book of Daniel.”
- “The boys were about 17 years old when Nebuchadnezzar took them away from their families.”
- “They were assigned to three years of training to make them court aides to the king.”
- “As part of their training/brainwashing, they were served best food and wine from the king’s kitchen.” (Have volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter. With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the junk food that you have under it.)
- “Daniel and his friends hadn’t forgotten the one, true God, and this food caused them a problem.”
- “They knew that it had been offered as sacrifices to Babylonian gods, and Hebrew law forbade them from eating it.”
- “This was their first test in this new land. Would they eat the king’s food?
- “What would you do?” (Get responses from the kids.)
- “Well Daniel and his friends decided not to eat it even though it could get them into a lot of trouble.”
- “Daniel went to the chief official who watched over them and asked for permission to eat just vegetables and water.” (Have second volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter. With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the vegetables you have under it.)
- “The chief official liked Daniel and his friends.”
- “He could tell that they were different than the others, and he wanted to help them, but he was afraid that Nebuchadnezzar would cut off his head if Daniel and his friends weren’t as healthy as the other kids.”
- “So, Daniel asked the chief office if he would allow them to try it for just ten days.”
- “Because God had given the chief official great respect for Daniel, the chief official gave them permission to try it.”
- “At the end of 10 days, they looked healthier and better nourished than all the other kids.”
- “If fact, they just kept getting better and better, as these charts show.” (Advance slide to show the “Strength Comparison” slide in the “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” PowerPoint.)
- “They kept getting stronger…” (Show next slide.)
- “Healthier…” (Show next slide.)
- “Wiser…” (Show next slide.)
- “And even funnier than all the other guys!” (After this slide, there is a black slide in case you want to black out the screen before you get to the Game Show.)
- “I guess Daniel and his friends were right to trust God!”
- “The chief official was so impressed, he let them eat vegetables and water every meal.”
- “That may not sound very good to you, but it allowed Daniel and his friends to honor Jehovah, so they liked it very much.”
- “This was their first test in Babylon, and God gave them an A+!”
- “He gave them favor with not only the chief official but also with Nebuchadnezzar.”
- “God made Daniel and his friends smarter than any of the other kids, and He gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams.”
- “This was an excellent gift from God, because a king needed someone who could interpret dreams and visions to help him understand the times and the future of his kingdom.”
- “After three years of training, all the young men (no longer boys) were brought before the king and tested.”
- “They all had to compete on King Nebuchadnezzar’s favorite game show, ‘Your Life Is In Jeopardy.’” (Ask for three volunteers. Make sure one of the ones you choose is your “Daniel” volunteer. Point out the three contestant booths for the game show, and assign them their places behind each one. Make sure Daniel goes to the one that has the answers. Ask for one more volunteer to be your scorekeeper, and give him/her the flipchart marker. Have this volunteer write the names of the three contestants at the top of each flipchart. The two ordinary volunteers can use their real names. The “Daniel” volunteer needs to use “Daniel” as his/her name.)
- “Welcome to ‘Your Life’s in Jeopardy!’ I’m King Nebuchadnezzar, and I’ll be your host.” (Show first game show slide.)
- “If you’re not familiar with the way the game is played, here are the rules:
- Each round, one of you will select one of the five categories. (Say each category out loud so that they know what they are.)
- I will show an problem, and you will need to give me the answer in the form of a question. (The ‘form of a question’ rule is optional, because it is often too difficult for kids to remember.)
- The person who raises their hand the fastest is the one who gets to answer.
- If you get the question right, our scorekeeper will add the points for that question to your scoreboard.
- However, if you get the question wrong, the scorekeeper will subtract those points from your score.
- The winner will become my most trusted advisor, and the losers will become doggie treats for my attack dogs.
- If anyone has any questions, I will boil him in oil. Any questions?
- Good, I didn’t think there would be.
- “Let’s get started.” (Select someone to pick the first category. It doesn’t matter who you choose, and it doesn’t matter what category they select. When you advance the slide, the order of the questions is predetermined (in order to keep it simple for you). If the person’s choice doesn’t match the actual question, just remind them that you are the king and tell them about how hungry your attack dogs are. Go through all the questions, or cut it short based on the time you have. Each time, Daniel should be able to get the right answer, so he should be the clear winner in the end.)
- “Excellent job, Daniel! I see that you and your friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are much wiser than any of the others.”
- “You will be added to my regular staff of advisors!”
- “The rest of you will be taken to play with my attack doggies.” (Allow all the volunteers to return to their seats, and ‘step out’ of your role as King Nebuchadnezzar.)
- “So, back to the story….Nebuchadnezzar soon found them ten times smarter than all his magicians and enchanters within the entire kingdom!” (Have a volunteer read Proverbs 16:7.)
- “This Scripture means that when we are obedient to God, even our enemies will like us.”
- “That’s pretty amazing!”
- “So, what does this mean for you?”
- “How many of you know that earth is not your home if you are a Christian?” (Look for a show of hands. Then, have a volunteer read Philippians 3:20.)
- “Our home is in heaven. We are citizens of heaven, not of earth.”
- “So, we are IN the world – meaning, we live here – but we are not OF the world – meaning that we are not part of the world’s family anymore.”
- “Jesus tells us in another place that those who don’t follow him are sons of the Devil (John 8:44).”
- “But our Father is God in heaven, and there should be some family resemblance.”
- “People should be able to tell who our Father is by how we act.”
- “If we act like those who don’t know Jesus as Lord, people will think that Satan is our father.”
- “But if we act like Jesus, people will know that God is our Father.” (Have a volunteer read 1 Peter 2:11-12.)
- “Peter tells us that we are aliens and strangers here, and he says that we should be careful to stay away from sin and live such good lives that everyone who sees us will glorify God.” (Show the bottle with the colored water in it, and ask for a volunteer to come up.)
- “Let’s say that this bottle represents the world.” (Hand bottle to volunteer.)
- “Inside are all the people who are part of this world.”
- “They don’t know Jesus as their Lord.”
- “The coloring represents their sinfulness. They do things that God has told us not to do.” (Show separate container with water in it.)
- “In this container, I have some clean and clear water.”
- “It represents some Christians and how they live their lives.” (Ask your volunteer to pour the separate container of clear water into the dark water that is colored by the food coloring. Then, have the volunteer put the lid back on the bottle and shake it.)
- “What happened to the clean water that our volunteer put into the ‘world?’” (Accept responses.)
- “Right! It took on the color of the water around it.”
- “Sometimes, this is just how Christians act.”
- “They mix with the world and start doing the sinful things that those in the world are doing.”
- “Then, they look just like everyone else, and you can’t tell who is a Christian and who is not.”
- “They are both IN the world and OF the world.” (Show separate container with oil in it.)
- “But this container has oil in it, and it represents Christians who are committed to following Jesus.” (Ask volunteer to pour oil into original bottle and then to cap and shake it thoroughly.)
- “We put these Christians in the world just like the others, but watch and you will see something different happen.” (As the volunteer holds the bottle where everyone can see it, the oil will rise to the top. It will not stain with the food coloring, so you will be able to see a clear layer of oil on top of the darker water.)
- “What do you notice this time?” (Accept responses.)
- “Exactly! The oil didn’t become like the colored water.”
- “This represents Christians who live IN the world but do not allow themselves to become OF the world.”
- “In the Bible, oil often represents the Holy Spirit, so these Christians are Christians who are submitting to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in their lives.”
- “They still look different from the rest, because they didn’t do the sins of the people around them.”
- “They are like Daniel and his friends, who refused to eat the same foods as everyone else.”
- “They made a hard decision to be different, even though that might make some people not like them and some people become jealous of them.”
- “But we have a problem.”
- “Do you notice that all the oil rose to the top?”
- “It isn’t mixed in with the water.”
- “Sometimes Christians act like this.”
- “They find that it’s easier to just be around other Christians all the time, so they start to group together.”
- “It’s good to group together for church and at other times, but we shouldn’t always spend time with other Christians.”
- “If we do, we won’t be able to help other people get to know Jesus.”
- “So what should we do?” (Take responses. You are looking for someone to say that you need to keep mixing with the people in the world.)
- “That’s right! That’s what we need to do!” (Have volunteer shake bottle again.)
- “We should come together as Christians to encourage and support one another, but then we need to get back out there in the world and interact with those who don’t know Jesus.”
- “As long as we act like Jesus and not like those in the world, we will continue to look different from the world.”
- “And when we look different from the world, we give glory to God.” (Thank volunteer and allow him/her to be seated.)
- “I have a Rhyme Time that will help us remember the lesson.”
- “I’ll say it a few times, and then you can say it with me.” (Recite the Rhyme Time several times, and then let the kids say it with you. If you have time, allow them to come up and do it individually, as well.)
- It would be easy, after all.
- Everyone else was doing it.
- The king might do terrible things to them if they didn’t.
- God would understand, wouldn’t He?”
“Not everything that others do is what God wants to see from you!”
Daniel’s Answer Key
|King’s Future – 100||Nowhere|
|King’s Places – 100||Hole-land|
|King’s Places – 200||The Neverlands|
|King’s Secrets – 100||His subjects are a royal pain.|
|Happy King – 100||None – TV hasn’t been invented|
|Happy King – 200||Dominate the world|
|King’s Future – 200||Because he will feed everyone else to the lions|
|King’s Enemies – 100||Tickle Torcher|
|King’s Enemies – 200||Sends them straight to DEAD without dinner|
|King’s Enemies – 300||He throws them in the Lyin’s den|
|King’s Enemies – 400||He throws them in the fiery FURnace|
|King’s Secrets – 200||They are all wearing camel-flage|
|King’s Secrets – 300||Because he tends to babble on|
|Happy King – 300||They have a good sense of RUMOR|
|King’s Secrets – 400||His nose runs but his feet only smell|
|King’s Enemies – 500||Because they have nothing left to go on|
|King’s Future – 300||Da bunnies, da bunnies, Oh, I love da bunnies!|
|King’s Future – 400||Da Persians, da Persians, Oh, I hate da Persians!|
|King’s Future – 500||Nebbie K. Nezzar|
|King’s Places – 300||Booty-pest|
|Happy King – 400||It had a little boogey on it|
|Happy King – 500||Its rear end|
|King’s Secrets – 500||Never could net her|
|King’s Places – 400||Gone-ah|
|King’s Places – 500||Germ-many|