[Teaching method: Flannelgraph]
Story Summary: Daniel had the habit of faithful prayer for the restoration of God's people (9:1f). However, His friend, King Darius was tricked into making an unfair law. Daniel chose to be sent to the Lion's den rather than give up his habit of prayer. But God shuts even the mouths of lions. He will deliver His people from all their enemies. For He has revealed to Daniel the time when Jesus would come to save.
The flannelgraph board has three "undefined" areas:
"3 times a day"
"Law of the Medes and Persians"
"which even the king cannot change"
"When will God save His people?"
"plotting like vicious lions to trap their prey"
Optional Pre-Teaching: Lions "adorned the gates" of Babylon and roamed the wilds of much of the land in those days. Kings hunted them for sport and kept them as "pets" to show how powerful they were. The pit or cage - "den" - where they were kept was sometimes used as a savage means of execution. The Bible talks about the Devil as a lion. (Show pictures, put den on flannelboard)
Introduction: "Daniel had a good habit that got him into terrible trouble." No matter how busy he was - Daniel spent time every day reading the Scriptures and asking God to keep his promises.
Scene # 1a - Daniel searching the Scriptures and praying 3 times a day
Scene # 1b - Daniel's foes, like "lions", plotting to destroy him
Scene # 2a - The New king Darius, Daniel's friend, tricked into making a unfair law.
Scene # 1c - Daniel, informed of the law still prays for the people.
Scene # 1d - The plotters watch him at prayer
Scene # 2b - the Plotters report Daniel to the King, the saddened King must keep the law and orders Daniel be put in the Den.
Scene # 3a The King offers his hope that God will deliver Daniel and seals the den.
Scene # 2c The King unable to eat or sleep worries all night - would God deliver Daniel?
Scene # 3b The king has the den unsealed, Daniel is safe. The Plotters are cast in and devoured
Scene # 2d The King makes a new edict honoring Daniel's God
Scene # 1e Daniel still prays daily and God reveals Jesus will come and deliver His people.
"Daniel had a good habit that got him into terrible trouble."
Daniel believed the promises so "3 times a day" he prayed. "When will God save His people?"
Daniel was an important man, and a close friend of the new King Darius. There were some officials that were very jealous of him. They would often stand around "plotting like vicious lions to trap their prey" - they tried to catch Daniel doing something wrong. But Daniel did nothing wrong. - they tried to find fault with the ways he served the King. but He was loyal and always did his duties. All they could do was stand around "plotting like vicious lions to trap their prey"
Finally one day as they watched Daniel praying as he did "3 times a day" One of them had a tricky idea. "Why don't we get the King to make a law forbidding Daniel to pray "3 times a day". Said one."But the King is Daniel's friend!" said another. "So we'll get the King to make it a "Law of the Medes and Persians which even the king cannot change". Said the third: "Yes and we'll tell him that all his officials agree this law should be made."
So "plotting like vicious lions to trap their prey", they went to the King. They flattered him. "How important you are to this kingdom...You are so wise and good...But some in this kingdom are rebels. They seek the favor of other kings. Why not make it against the law to make requests of any other king." said one. "Or to pray to any other god" muttered another. "For 30 days to teach them a lesson." spoke out the third.
"But is this right?" said the king. "Every one of your officials agrees" they lied to the king, (for Daniel had not been consulted.) "Further it should be a "Law of the Medes and Persians" "You mean one "which even the king cannot change" Said the King. "Yes," they said. "A Law of the Medes and Persians which even the king cannot change" "And if anyone rebels against this law they should be terribly punished" said one. "Yes, O Great King, throw them to the Lions" "And so they'll know you mean business" said the third, "make it a "Law of the Medes and Persians which even the king cannot change."
So the new law was written and proclaimed throughout the land. And Daniel was troubled when he heard it for it was a Law of the Medes and Persians which even the king cannot change. But Daniel was more worried about "When will God save His people?" He knew the time was almost here for God to send them home to Jerusalem, God's holy city. So "3 times a day" he prayed just as he had all his life.
He didn't do anything different. He didn't know about the jealous men who were "plotting like vicious lions to trap their prey" when he knelt to pray in His window facing Jerusalem. He didn't see them whispering and smiling vicious smiles in the shadows. Even if he had known He would just go on praying "3 times a day" anyway.
The jealous officials went to the King. They reminded him of his law and they told him of Daniel's prayer "3 times a day". "You must be mistaken" cried the King "Daniel is my most loyal subject, and my friend. He wouldn't rebel against me." "But he is, O Great King, praying to another - see here in the fine print of this law - a Law of the Medes and Persians - "anyone who prays to another shall be thrown into the lions' den!" " "We'll change the law!" said the King. "I was wrong to have made it" "But you cannot, O Great King Darius," they said "it is a "Law of the Medes and Persians which even the king cannot change."
All day long the King tried to find a way Daniel could be saved, but he couldn't change the law. So with great sadness he gave the order and sent his guards to get Daniel and bring him to the lions den.
The King met him there. Tears were in his eyes. But Daniel seemed unafraid. "God will save His people". Daniel said. "May Your God save you" said the King, wanting so much to see it happen. Then the den was sealed, and the king marked the seal with his own signet ring.
All that night the king paced back and forth. He wasn't hungry. He couldn't sleep. He felt so sad and angry that he had been tricked into making a stupid law. He felt even worse that it was his friend Daniel in the den full of lions. He wondered whether maybe, just maybe, Daniel was right and "God will save His people?"
In the early morning, before the sun had even come up, he hurried to the lion's den, hoping that Daniel was still alive in the midst of those vicious lions. He called out to Daniel as it was being opened. "Has God been able to save you?" How excited and joyful he was when he heard Daniel's voice..."O King, live forever. My God has sent his angel and shut the lion's mouths. God has saved me and will save His people?"
So the king ordered the jealous officials who had "plotted like vicious lions to trap Daniel" cast into the den where they belonged. And the savage lions, who had no even scratched Daniel during the long night pounced on them and ate them up. Then the King took Daniel to his throne room and made a new edict. He Ordered the kingdom to fear and reverence Daniel's God - for He saves His people and delivered Daniel from the lions.
But Daniel went back to his room and as was his habit he prayed to God "3 times a day" asking the question "When will God save His people?" and one day an angel came to him and told him when the people would return to God's holy city. But more importantly, the angel told him of when "God would send his Son to save His people from their sins" and just like God delivered Daniel from the lions and the lions' den, So God would deliver Jesus from the lion of death and the sealed tomb.