8. Daniel in the Lion’s Den
Props: Toys as above, shoe box for the lion’s den, label for Daniel, crown for the king. All items are hidden or covered until first produced. If you have two lions, you can have a “lions’ den”!
I find that the details in the telling of a story like this evolve depending on the toys available. In this case, The lion I had was far too small, so a magnifying glass came in handy! Adjust the details to suit the toys you have at hand.
Boys and girls, how wonderful to be back with you again! Today I want to tell you a story from the Bible. Let me introduce the main character. Now we need a name for him. Can anyone suggest a good name [point to name tag]. Yes, Daniel. What a good choice! Now Daniel is the good guy in this story. He was an Israelite, but at the time of this story he had been taken to live in far off Babylon. We know that he loved God, because three times a day he used to kneel at his open window, face far off Jerusalem, and pray to his God. (In our version, Daniel might have to stand for this: his knees are rather stiff! But you get the idea.) Now also in this story is King Dari'as. You might think he looks a bit silly, but that's OK, because he did a silly thing in our story. So there was the king at the top [lay out toys], Daniel under him, in fact in charge of ruling the whole country, and then two other characters [panda and brown bear] who I haven't named, but who are the bad guys. So one day when Daniel was off in his garden, the bad guys started plotting against Daniel, wondering how they could get rid of this foreigner who was in charge of them. Suddenly they had a brilliant idea and marched off to see the king.
“Oh great and wonderful king," they said (crawl, crawl!). "We know you are like a god to us, looking after your people. We have agreed that you should pass a law, that if anyone should pray to any god apart from you for the next month, then they should be thrown to the lions.” “Hmmm ... ,” thought the king, “yes, I suppose I am rather wonderful! I’ll sign it!”
It quickly became known throughout the land that anyone who prayed to any god other than the king(!) would be thrown into the lion's den. So it came time for Daniel to say his prayers. Now boys and girls, I thought of four choices that Daniel might make. Can you think of any? Yes ...
• Daniel might just stand at the window and pray as normal • Daniel might draw the curtains before praying at the window so that he couldn’t be seen. • Daniel might go and pray somewhere else, like down in the basement. • Daniel might give up praying for a month – for the sake of his health!
And which do you think Daniel did? Yes, he just prayed as normal. And the bad guys were watching and went to the king.
“Oh great and wonderful king, that Daniel pays no attention to you or your laws. He was praying to his God today, and by your law, he must be thron to the lions!”
The king was quite upset at this news, because he was very fond of Daniel. But he could see no way out. So he called Daniel, told him he was sorry, and hoped that Daniel’s God would be able to save him from the lions. “My God will protect me,” said Daniel.
Now I have here a lion’s den: you can tell, it’s written on it: “Lion’s Den. Lunch 12:00 All welcome.” And in the lion’s den was the largest most ferocious hungry lion ever ... . [Pull out small lion!] In fact, this lion only looks small because it is so far away. You can see its size better through this magnifying glass! ROAR! [Drop lion in box.]
So the king’s soldiers took Daniel and threw him to the lion. [Drop Daniel on top of the lion.] Now the king didn’t sleep at all well that night, and early in the morning he came to the lion’s den, and called out, “Daniel, are you alright?” “Don’t worry, your majesty,” called back Daniel. “My God has kept the lion’s mouth shut, and saved me.” So Daniel was taken out of the lion’s den, safe and sound.
After this, the king did two things. First he made a new law, that everyone should worship Daniel’s God, since He was obviously so great and powerful. And secondly he ordered that the two bad guys should be thrown into the lion’s den. [Drop them in.] And after this, the lion really was rather large!
Now children, what is the point of the story? There is a song, ‘Dare to be a Daniel’. This means to do what you know is right, and then trust God. For example, you might be with a group of kids who think it would be good to steal some lollies from the local shop. Part of you thinks that this might be a good idea, because it might be fun, and you would be with the group. But the other part knows that this is wrong and you shouldn't do it. Dare to be a Daniel: do the right thing, and trust God! You might lose your friends, but then on the other hand, your friends might take notice of what you say, and decide not to do it after all.