Summary: The Bible says that the people who know God will be strong and have great adventures. Daniel and his three friends’ lives are an example for us to how we can have our own excellent adventures in God.
HEROES #5: DANIEL’S PURPOSE, PURITY AND PROMOTION
OPENING HUMOUR: Talk about wedding yesterday.
Three weeks after her wedding day, Joanna called her pastor in hysterics. She was crying, “Pastor, John and I had our first fight together! It was awful. What am I going to do?" The pastor, leaning back in his chair and shaking his head said, "Calm down, Joanna, this isn’t nearly as bad as you think. Every marriage has to have its first fight. It’s natural." "I know, I know," Joanna said impatiently. "But what am I going to do with the body?"
KEY TEXT: Daniel 11:32b.
“But the people who know their God will be strong and carry out great exploits.”
OPENING BIBLE ILLUSTRATION: Dramatize this story. (Daniel 3:1-30).
• The story of three young boys who knew God, were strong, and had excellent adventures.
• Start out by talking about three heroes who got in trouble for doing what was right:
• Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael. Angry king. Three people binding them up.
• King commands them to heat the furnace seven times hotter than normal.
• Have someone to represent fire and say, “FIRE!”
• HOW DID THEY GET TO THIS PLACE? Let’s go back in the story a bit…
• Daniel 3:1 - King set up a golden statue and told the people to bow down and worship
• v.12 - Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael didn’t bow. They didn’t compromise their faith, even though everyone else did. They chose to obey God.
• Their lives are an example for us. We are living in a world that wants us to compromise.
• QUOTE: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (v.16-18).
• v.22 - King had the boys thrown into the fire, those who threw them in died.
• v.24 - King said, “Did we not throw three men in bound?”
• v.25 - “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!”
• When we refuse to compromise, God comes to our defense! He is with us in the fire!
• v.27 - The King called them out, they didn’t even smell like fire!
• v.28-30 - The King praised God, then promoted the three boys!
• This is a familiar old Sunday school story – but how does it apply to our lives today?
• And – what was it about these three boys that allowed them to have excellent adventures?
THE BIG IDEA: The Bible says that the people who know God will be strong and have great adventures. Daniel and his three friends’ lives are an example for us to how we can have our own excellent adventures in God.
THE BIBLE STORY:
“1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. 6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.” (Daniel 1:1-7).
• These four young men were strangers in a foreign land. They were being indoctrinated in a secular university, forced to learn their ways of talking and thinking.
• This world system was trying to squeeze them into its mold! Their names were changed: