NBC Sunday School Manual For February 11, 2024 :Topic – FAITH AMIDST THE FIERY FURNACE
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
Theme for the Month: “THE RIGHTEOUS LIVE BY FAITH.”
DATE: SUNDAY, 11TH FEBRUARY, 2024.
TOPIC: FAITH AMIDST THE FIERY FURNACE.
Devotional Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7.
Background Scriptures: Daniel 3:1-30.
Lesson Scripture: Daniel 3:19-28a.
“Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” Daniel 3:28
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
● Identify the source of the three Hebrew young men’s boldness;
● Discuss the reasons the three Hebrew men chose to suffer the consequences of their refusal to worship the golden image;
● Make a commitment to pray daily for those going through persecution 2012 because of their faith.
It is no longer news that we live in a society that is generally hostile, especially towards God, His Word and people. These days, the level of persecution of Christians is alarming. Some are persecuted to the point of being tempted to compromise or deny their faith or die for offences they never committed. This wicked act has persisted over time, and it is a test to ascertain those who have truly yielded their lives to the Lord. It is interesting to know that in an age where most people are afraid to confess Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, let alone die for Him, we still have some examples of those who have refused to compromise or deny their faith, in spite of the consequences that may follow. Today’s passage illustrates the example of three young Hebrew men who had very strong faith in their God. They absolutely refused to compromise by resolving not to bow to the golden image made by King Nebuchadnezzar, despite the threat of being thrown into the fiery furnace. They had the conviction that it is better to pitch their tents with the Lord and obey Him than with the king who does not have absolute control over their lives and destiny.
The lesson focuses on the faith of the three friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego while they were in exile, in Babylon. Though they worked for a pagan government, they decided to remain resolute in their faith in the true God, at the expense of their lives. Ultimately, God was with them in the fiery furnace and delivered them. God has empowered believers in Christ to resist all forms of temptation with boldness, knowing we have Christ, like the three Hebrew men in today’s passage. Instead of fear, intimidation and compromise, they expressed faith in the face of death and so, they have remained heroes of faith in the history of Christianity.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. A DEATH SENTENCE:
King Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king who demanded total loyalty to all his decrees, throughout his domain. He made a golden image and set it up in the province of Babylon with the decree that everyone in his province must worship it at the sound of a particular music, irrespective of his/her religion. Unfortunately, the penalty for disobeying the order was death the culprit will be thrown into a blazing furnace (vv. 1-6). The king issued a decree to authenticate the command but Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who had been true to their faith in God publicly declared their unwillingness to compromise their faith and bow to the graven image (vv. 16-18) — the Jews were known to worship Jehovah alone. Their decision provoked the king, and he ordered that the intensity of the fire be increased seven times over, before they were thrown into the fire by some soldiers. Despite the reality of the sentence, these men held on to their convictions and did not compromise their faith.
The faith and lifestyle of the three Hebrew men, while in a foreign land, is worthy of emulation. Even though they knew the consequences of their decision, they were not ready to worship the golden image of the king. They were bold because they knew their God, and that it is more rewarding to obey God than humankind, especially if the order contradicts God’s command. If they had bowed to the golden image because they did not want to die in the blazing furnace, they would still have died perhaps a more horrible death without becoming heroes. Christians are, therefore, encouraged to boldly exercise their faith, no matter the conspiracy from the kingdom of darkness. The assurance we have is that God will always provide a way of escape for His children, like He did for the three Hebrew young men.
1. Why does God sometimes allow His children to experience suffering or hardship?
2. Share the testimony of a Christian you know who experienced persecution, yet was resolute in his/her faith.
B. DIVINE PROTECTION:
The divine protection the three Hebrew young men enjoyed in the fiery furnace surprised King Nebuchadnezzar. He asked his advisors, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” (v. 24b) In amazement he said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (v. 25) The three young men were thrown into the fire, at the command of the king, but the testimony is that they remained unhurt. According to verses 24 and 25, the king was troubled when he saw a fourth image (like a son of the gods) and that the men were unhurt. In his troubled state, the king approached the entrance of the blazing furnace and called out Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, addressing them as “servants of the Most High” (v. 26b). Apparently, their miraculous deliverance from the fire attracted the attention of all the princes, governors,lieutenant- governors and other officials of the king. Interestingly, not even their hairs were burnt neither was there smell of fire on them (v. 27). In his response in verse 28, the king sang the praise of the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who sent His angel to rescue the three young men from the blazing furnace. The climax of the story is the king’s testimony of the unreserved loyalty they demonstrated to their God and how they risked their lives rather than bowing to worship the image.
Whenever Christians demonstrate faith and hold on to their faith without wavering, God always provides a way of escape, like He did for the three Hebrew men. The experience of the young men ultimately translated into an opportunity for the king to acknowledge the powerful nature of the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego before the ‘honourables’ of the Babylonian Empire. In fact, King Nebuchadnezzar himself became their interpreter, as he translated their action. The king praised the God of the three Hebrew men, confirmed how God’s angel rescued them and affirmed that their faith was worth dying for (Daniel 3:28). The implication, therefore, is that our disposition to the challenges of life, especially as Christians can be a means of spreading the Gospel to unbelievers. Undoubtedly, the lesson teaches the importance of having faith in God, even when all hope seems lost.
1. Discuss how being bold in our faith in God can draw others to Him, according to today’s passage.
2. Why do some believers easily give up in the face of persecution? How can the story of the three Hebrew men encourage them to keep trusting in God?
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:
● Let some class members share their current challenges among themselves and encourage one another to be bold, even in the face of death.
Take Home: Write down three lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson?
● Based on today’s lesson, make a personal commitment to trust God always, even in the face of persecution.
Happy Sunday in Advance.
Remain Inspired & Be Lifted!