Lessons From The Fiery Furnace

For the past several months we've been walking our junior Sunday school class through the books of the Bible. It's been a fun challenge to create lessons for third- through sixth-graders, presenting topics that we don't always understand as adults.

This week we started our lesson on the book of Daniel, beginning with the boys standing up for God's choice of what they would eat and drink, and moving on to the fiery furnace. We had prepared Daniel in the den of lions, too, but that will have to wait until next week.

I've found that I study topics more deeply when I'm going to be teaching them to young people. We have upper elementary students on Sunday mornings and teenagers during the week, and they all ask probing, challenging questions. So, to not look like a fool, I try my best to anticipate what they might ask, although they have a habit of surprising me.

There were two major points from the story of the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace that we wanted them to walk away with, and they were so powerful to my own heart and mind that I have to share them with you.

1. God honors those who honor Him. When these three refused to worship an idol out of fear and reverence for the Lord, they knew that there would be punishment. But in the face of certain death, they stood strong in faith. We have that same opportunity today - forsaking everything the world has to offer and worshipping God alone. In return, He fills our lives with blessings in abundance.

2. God will be with us no matter what fire we find ourselves in. We are all facing something today that threatens to incinerate us, but it won't when the Lord is on our side. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, especially in the midst of the fiery trials. His presence in our lives is what keeps us safe, so we can walk out with nothing singed and no smell of smoke clinging to us.

These lessons we're teaching aren't just cute little stories to keep the kids entertained. They're the beginning of a faith that will last them throughout their lives. And we're never too old or too mature to find the Scriptural truths in them and apply them to the situations of today.

P.S. To make the fiery furnace pictured here, I cut a hole in the side of a brown paper bag and taped flames above it and below it. The straw inside has a picture of the four men the king saw on one side and a large flame picture on the other. A small hole cut in the bottom lets you spin the straw and see both pictures as they twirl. I stapled the top to hold it open for easier twirling, which is always fun.

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