Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Daniel Sunday School Lesson - God Makes King Nebuchadnezzar Act Like an Animal

Use this Daniel Sunday School lesson to teach children about how we can change.

Needed: Bibles, a volunteer to play King Nebuchadnezzar (you can do this yourself if you want)

Lesson: (Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)

The two kingdoms of Israel and Judah had been conquered. God let the Assyrians and the Babylonians conquer Israel and Judah because the people of Israel and Judah had done so many bad things. They had believed in and worshipped fake gods instead of the real God, and they had done all the wrong things that God didn’t do want them to do. So God let the Assyrians and the Babylonians conquer their kingdoms and carry the Israelite people back to Assyria and Babylon.

(Read Daniel 4 with your students or read the following story as a summary.)
Summary Story:

King Nebuchadnezzar: Greetings and God bless you! I’m King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and I can tell you that God has certainly shown me His power in some very awesome ways. First, I saw God save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when I threw them into the furnace for not worshiping my gold statue. Then, a little while after that, I was sleeping and had a dream.
In the dream, God sent an angel to me to tell me that my mind would become like the mind of animal for seven years and that I would live out with the animals. I didn’t know what the dream meant, so when I woke up, I called for all my magicians and wise men to come help me figure it out. But none of the magicians could tell me what the dream meant.
Finally, I called in Daniel. Daniel was an Israelite that my army had taken from Judah when we conquered them. Daniel was very smart and he was in charge of all my magicians. When I told him what my dream was, he said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, the dream means that God is going to punish you for not believing in Him. He’s going to make you go crazy for seven years. You’ll run away and go live with the animals in the wild because you’ll go crazy.”
Then Daniel told me, “But if you will start to believe in God now and start doing the right things that He wants you to do, then maybe God will decide not to punish you.”
I should have believed in God then, but I didn’t. I ignored what Daniel told me.
Exactly one year later, though, I was walking on the roof of my palace, looking out over Babylon. I said, “Look at this great country I’ve made for myself. I don’t need any God to help me. I’m the greatest man that ever lived!”
Now, let me ask you: do you think I should have said that I don’t need God to help me? Do you think I should have been proud like that and started talking about how great I was?

No, I shouldn’t have done that. Because right then, a voice came from Heaven and said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, you are going to punished and live like an animal because you do not believe in God.”

So right then, my mind was changed. I became crazy and ran off into the woods. I lived like a wild animal for seven years. I let my hair grow really long. My fingernails grew so long, they were like claws. All I ate was grass and I was very dirty all the time.

Then, at the end of the seven years, God made it so that I could think like a human being again. I remembered who I was and I believed in God. Eventually, my servants came and found me and I became king again.

I thank God for forgiving me and giving me back my kingdom. And from then on, I believed in God and tried to do the right things that He wanted me to do.

(Have your students thank King Nebuchadnezzar for coming to talk to them.)

Review Questions:

Why did King Nebuchadnezzar go crazy? (Because he didn’t believe in God or do the right things that God wanted him to do.)

Did God forgive King Nebuchadnezzar? (Yes.)

Do you think God can forgive us if we do things that are wrong? (Yes.)

God doesn’t like it when we do wrong things, but if we say we’re sorry and try not to do those things anymore, then God will forgive us and be happy with us, just like God was happy with King Nebuchadnezzar when King Nebuchadnezzar decided to believe in God and do the right things that God wanted him to do.

Activity: Act it Out! – Tell students that they’re going to pretend to be King Nebuchadnezzar. Remind them that King Nebuchadnezzar was always bragging about great he was. Tell students to brag about how great they are. Encourage them to be really dramatic about it. Then when you yell, “Act like an animal!”, tell all the students to do their best impressions of whatever animals they want to. Count to seven and then yell, “You’re healed!” Students then act like their normal selves again.

Remind students that God made King Nebuchadnezzar think he was an animal because he didn’t believe in God and because he was bragging about how great he was all the time, but that then, after seven years, God forgave him and healed him.

Allow students to repeat the exercise if they like.

Find more Sunday School lesson ideas on our Free Children Sunday School Lesson Helps page.  
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