source: | 2000 Games, Devotions, Themes, Ideas and more for Youth Work
only for private using

Standing your ground

BOY: „Daniel, have you heard about the new law which the king is telling everyone about? He has commanded that everyone who insults God will be killed.“
DANIEL: „Of course I have heard about it. And I am pleased that everything turned out so well.“
BOY: „What turned out so well? Tell me, you seem to know so much about it!“
DANIEL: „Haven’t you heard anything about the story with the fire chamber?“
BOY: „Which story with the fire? Now I want to know everything about it!“
DANIEL: „Well the beginning of everything was that Nebuchadnezzar erected a massive Statue of himself. Once he was finished he invited all of his high servants to celebrate it; you know what I mean, all of the important people like Province State Officials, officers and judges. A big group of people from all over the kingdom had turned out. Among the folk were my three friends who are the custodians of the province of Babylon ...“

[A large crowd of people are standing in front of the Statue. A herald is beside the Statue with a trumpet.]
HEROLD: „People of all nations, folks and tongues: listen to the command given by your great king Nebuchadnezzar: When you hear the trumpets sound you must throw yourself to your knees and give praise to the statue which the great king Nebuchadnezzar erected. Anyone who fails to do this will been thrown into the burning flames.“

[The trumpet sounds. Everyone kneels down and prays to the Statue. Only three friends do not kneel down. A Babylonian seeks the king to tell him about the three friends. He bows down low to the king.]
BABYLONIAN: „Long live the king!“
NEBUCCADNEZAR: „What do you want from me?!“
BABYLONIAN: „King, you commanded that everyone should throw themselves down and pray to your Statue. Anyone who fails will be thrown into the fires.“
NEBUCCADNEZAR: „Yes, and what about it?
BABYLONIAN: „There are three men Israel which you have given the province of Babylon to. They did not obey your command and don’t want to give praise to your god. They refused to pray to your Statue.“

[The kind becomes angry and rampages]
NEBUCCADNEZAR: „What do you say? They are ignoring my command and don’t want to pray to my Statue? Bring them to me at once! We will see if they go against me again.“

[The three friends come to the king. Nebuchadnezzar is so angry.]
NEBUCCADNEZAR: „Is that what I have heard true? You do not want to give praise to my God and won’t pray to the Statue? I will give you one more chance. If you throw yourselves to the ground and pray to the Statue right now, we will let it go. If you do not do this I will throw you all into the flames. What type of God can protect you from me?“
FRIENDS: „We do not need to answer your question. The God whom we obey can save us from the flames and save us from your violence but even if he doesn’t save us we would never give praise to your God and pray to the statue!“
BOY: „The three of them really didn’t let themselves lose their faith even though the king had threatened them with the worst penalty?
DANIEL: „They placed their trust firmly in God. And they didn’t even know if God would really save them. God had given them the strength to stand up to the king. They did not kneel down at the Statue and did not give praise to the king’s God.“
BOY: „But why did they do that? Weren’t they scared about what would happen to them?“
DANIEL: „You know, they simply accepted the Lord God over their own lives. God created us and that is why we do what he wants. We will not give praise to any dead objects or idols – only to the eternal God. And what about the fear?! They placed their trust in God whatever might happen. The trust in God made them strong and that is why they did not need to be scared of the punishment.“
BOY: „And how did the story go on? Did the king throw them into the flames?“
DANIEL: „The king jumped up and down with anger and ordered his soldiers to throw them into the flames. He was so annoyed that he heated the flames seven times hotter than usual. The flames were so hot that the soldiers who brought them to the fire would die as well.“
BOY: „But how come the kind changed his mind if he was so angry?“
DANIEL: „I’m getting to that part. The kind looked into the flames and did not see three men but four. The miracle was that the flames could not hurt them. The fourth person was an angel sent by God to protect them. The kind then called to the three friends and told them to step out of the flames. As they stood in front of the king and all of the others who were there, they saw that the flames had left no marks. Even their clothes were not damaged by the fire.“
BOY: „That is why Nebuchadnezzar made this new law.“
DANIEL: „Exactly! He was so bowled over by the fact that they were saved and that they had risked their lives to obey their God that he made this new law. Everyone who offends God, shall be killed. Nebuchadnezzar realised that there is no other God who has the power to save someone from such a situation and that God stands up for his people and is there for them in their need. Not only did he make this law but he also made sure that my three friends became a higher position.“

Trust in God makes us strong

Now we have heard and seen this story: And the meaning is clear: Trust in God makes us strong. The experiences which Hananja, Mischael and Asarja had made with God had made them strong. This is why the friends could literally remain firm and stay standing.

They did not throw themselves down at the Statue and pray to it but refused to give the king and his God the honour. The bible calls such a Statue or such a God an idol. An idol is generally an object which is praised.

The friends acknowledge the Lord God over their lives. God created them and they therefore do God's will. They do not worship any inanimate objects, only the living God. They stand up for their God and do not make their faith in him dependant on if he can save them or help them. You have heard what they said to the king: "Even if our God does not help: We would never praise your God and worship the statue!" They trust God whatever might happen, and after all, their lives are at stake.

God stands up for his people

God stands up for his people too. He is there for them at times of need and saves them from the flames in the most amazing ways. God proves his power and shows that he is stronger than the king and his statue. The powerful king is so impressed that he even makes a new law that all people in his kingdom are not allowed to insult this God. And he admits that there is no other God who can save people in such a situation. Group work: Read Daniel 3, 16-18

Game: Simon says

Now you have all played “Simon says” in the group. This is actually the same situation as in the story of Nebuchadnezzar. In the story it is not Simon but the king who says: „You all must fall to your knees and give praise to the statue!“ and of course, everyone does it. Now the big question is what that has to do with us nowadays.

Today’s idols

Nowadays there aren’t many more kings and no one orders us to give praise to their idols but there are often people in our lives who are like Simon. One example is our circle of friends. If someone says what is “cool” at the moment the others must also find it cool and have to go along with it. If they show us what is “in” at the moment then we often swim with the tide, adapt to current fashions and become followers. Or we swim with the tide even though we don’t want to just so that we don’t appear to be an outsider.

Our statues and idols

Then there are also statue and idols which we "praise" through our own free will. Our statues are the things in life which are most important to us. That means things or pastimes for which we sacrifice all of our time, money or energy. Obviously the question is now what type of things these are. As an illustration I am now going to build this type of statue.

I have a table here which is similar to an altar on which I will now placed different objects... Now I would like to come back to the story: In the story the three friends are determined and acknowledge their God. They do not do what everyone else is doing because they know that God is stronger than the idols. They know that just because everyone is doing doesn't make it right and therefore do not go along with it. The three friends stuck with it despite the consequences. They did not do anything by half.

They could have kneeled down but not prayed but no, they were decisive and proved that they had a backbone. This should give us courage to stick with God and to deal in the same way as the three friends. God would like us to show our loyalty to him and listen to him. We should acknowledge him. An acknowledgement can be: going to the Christian youth group or reading the bible. We should follow his commandments and not worship some dead objects like those on the "altar". This means we should place him as top priority in our lives.

The number 1 in our lives

We should not let ourselves be influenced by others and God should be number 1 in our lives. All of the other things should be in second place. That does not mean that we can no longer play football for example, but that these things should be our second priority.

We can trust in God and trust in God makes us strong. This is why we can stick with him even if this means disadvantages in our lives and the risk that we are not the “coolest” people. We are allowed to know that God is stronger than everyone else and that God stands up for us and will not leave us in the lurch. As Christians the main thing we have is prayer: We can remain in contact with God through prayer and receive strength from him.

Last remark: Faith in God makes you strong!

Author: This entry came from Christopher M. who has also provided many thoughts and ideas for group sessions. Many thanks for this material and other entries.

[ © | 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work ] - 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work
picture youthwork picture youthwork picture youthwork picture youthwork picture youthwork picture youthwork