“Lesson 146: Daniel 3–5,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 146,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship a golden image made by King Nebuchadnezzar, they were cast into a fiery furnace. The Lord miraculously delivered them from harm. Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great tree and many years later, under King Belshazzar, interpreted divine writing on a wall concerning the conquering of the Babylonian kingdom by the Medes and the Persians.
To prepare students to see the relevance of the truths they will learn today, divide them into groups of two or three, and give each group a copy of the following chart (or copy it on the board). Invite students to write positive consequences and negative consequences that could result from each choice.
Not joining with your peers when they invite you to cheat on a school assignment
Not adopting a popular fashion trend that goes against the Lord’s standards
Walking out of a movie with inappropriate content
After students have had a few minutes to complete their charts, invite several students to report what their groups wrote.
How might thinking about possible consequences influence your choices?
Invite the class to look for truths as they study Daniel 3 that can help them choose to obey the Lord, regardless of the outcome.
Summarize Daniel 3:1–5 by explaining that King Nebuchadnezzar had a large golden image or statue made that was approximately 90 feet (27.4 meters) high and 9 feet (2.74 meters) wide. The king then gathered leaders from his kingdom for the dedication of the image. At the dedication, a command was announced that when music sounded, everyone was to fall down and worship the golden image.
Invite a student to read Daniel 3:6–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the consequence for not worshipping the golden image as commanded.
What was the consequence for not worshipping the golden image?
Ask five volunteers to come to the front of the class. Assign one the role of a prominent Babylonian, one the role of Nebuchadnezzar, and the remaining three the roles of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Summarize Daniel 3:8–11 by explaining that a group of prominent Babylonians came to Nebuchadnezzar to report something they observed. Ask the student acting as the prominent Babylonian to read Daniel 3:12 in an accusing tone while addressing the student acting as Nebuchadnezzar.
What did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to do when the music sounded?
What do you imagine less faithful Jews might have said to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego for refusing to fall down and worship the image?
Read Daniel 3:13 and the beginning of Daniel 3:14 aloud, and ask the student acting as Nebuchadnezzar to read the remainder of Daniel 3:14–15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Nebuchadnezzar said to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
What choice did Nebuchadnezzar give to these three Jewish men?
What did he ask about their God?
Invite the students acting as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to each read aloud a verse from Daniel 3:16–18. (You could read the beginning of Daniel 3:16.) Ask the class to follow along, looking for significant statements in the men’s response to the king.
You may want to explain that the response “we are not careful to answer thee in this matter” (Daniel 3:16) could also be interpreted as “we have no need to discuss this matter” because they were completely resolved not to worship the image. After the student volunteers have finished reading, invite them to return to their seats.
What were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego confident about? (God could save them from death.)
What did they not know? (They did not know if God would save them. You may want to suggest that students mark the phrase “But if not” in verse 18.)
How would you summarize their response to the king in verses 17–18?
What stands out to you about their faith in the Lord?
Ask students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals a principle they learn from the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. After sufficient time, invite several students to report what they wrote. Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following truth: We show our faith in the Lord by choosing to obey Him, regardless of the consequences.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dennis E. Simmons of the Seventy. Ask the class to listen for how the faith shown by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego relates to our lives:
“Our scriptures and our history are replete with accounts of God’s great men and women who believed that He would deliver them, but if not, they demonstrated that they would trust and be true.
“He has the power, but it’s our test.
“What does the Lord expect of us with respect to our challenges? He expects us to do all we can do. …
“We must have the same faith as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
“Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not. … He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. … Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. … He will deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, … we will trust in the Lord.
“… We will have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if we do all we can do, we will, in His time and in His way, be delivered and receive all that He has” (“But If Not …” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 74–75).
How can we develop this same kind of faith in the Lord?
Remind students of the choices presented at the beginning of the lesson. Ask them to ponder whether they would show their faith by making those righteous choices despite the negative outcomes, or “fiery furnaces,” they might experience.
Invite a student to read Daniel 3:19–20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how King Nebuchadnezzar reacted to the response of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
If you were one of these three men, what might you have been thinking and feeling as you watched the furnace being heated?
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Daniel 3:21–27. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were cast into the furnace.
What did Nebuchadnezzar see when he looked into the furnace?
Display the picture Three Men in the Fiery Furnace (Gospel Art Book , no. 25; see also LDS.org).
What principle can we learn about what the Lord will do for us if we choose to obey Him regardless of the outcomes? (Students may use different words, but make sure it is clear that if we choose to obey the Lord, He will be with us. Write this principle on the board.)
What are some ways the Lord shows He is with those who obey Him?
To help students feel the truth and importance of the principles they have identified, discuss the following questions:
When have you or someone you know shown faith in the Lord by choosing to obey Him regardless of the outcome? How did the Lord show He was with you or the person you know?
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals how they feel impressed to apply the truths they have identified from studying this experience of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You might invite them to write how they will show their faith in the Lord the next time they are faced with the choice to obey or disobey one of His commandments.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Daniel 3:28–30. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the positive outcomes that came from the affliction of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
What positive outcomes came from the affliction of these three men?
Summarize Daniel 4 by explaining that Daniel interpreted another of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. The dream was a prophecy of the king’s removal from the throne and his madness. A year later, while boasting of his accomplishments in his kingdom, the events in his dream began to be fulfilled. From the suffering Nebuchadnezzar experienced, he learned several lessons about the Lord.
Invite a few students to read aloud from Daniel 4:34–37. Ask the class to follow along, looking for some of the lessons Nebuchadnezzar learned.
What did Nebuchadnezzar learn about God? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following truth: God has power to humble the prideful.)
Why do you think God cares about whether we are humble?
Explain that the lesson Nebuchadnezzar learned about pride and humility would have importance for a later king of Babylon.
Summarize Daniel 5:1–21 by explaining that more than 20 years after Nebuchadnezzar died, Belshazzar, the king in Babylon at that time, hosted a feast for leaders in the kingdom. Belshazzar had the vessels that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem brought to the feast. The king and the people mocked the Lord by drinking wine from these vessels while they praised their false gods. During the feast, a hand appeared and wrote on a wall in the king’s palace. Belshazzar was greatly concerned, and when others were unable to interpret the writing, he summoned Daniel. Before interpreting the writing, Daniel spoke to Belshazzar about what his predecessor Nebuchadnezzar had experienced when his mind was “hardened in pride” (Daniel 5:20).
Invite a student to read Daniel 5:22–23 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Daniel taught Belshazzar about his actions.
Despite knowing what Nebuchadnezzar had experienced, what had Belshazzar failed to do?
Summarize the remainder of Daniel 5 by explaining that Daniel interpreted the writing on the wall, which was a declaration that God had judged Belshazzar and that Babylon would be given to the Medes and the Persians. Even though Daniel had declined payment for giving the interpretation (see Daniel 5:17), Belshazzar promoted Daniel to third in command in the kingdom. That night, Belshazzar was slain and the Babylonian empire was conquered.
Invite students to think about what they can learn from the prideful decisions of others to avoid making similar mistakes.