Daniel - Lesson 6
Background Information for the Teacher
- The student can tell what Nebuchadnezzar dreamed and the interpretation Daniel gave.
- The student can tell how Daniel's interpretation actually came to pass.
- The student can tell Nebuchadnezzar's response afterward.
- The student can apply lessons from this story to his/her own life.
- Have a chalkboard, marker board, or PowerPoint ready. You may download PowerPoint to make overhead transparencies.
- Have copies of the Review Quiz ready for the beginning of class.
- Have copies of the worksheet ready to hand out at the beginning of the class.
- Be sure all students have Bibles and pens/pencils.
- Have cards ready to distribute with all the passages you want someone to read aloud during the lesson.
God demonstrated His superiority to the gods of the Babylonians by giving Nebuchadnezzar a dream and then a time of mental illness. He also showed His power by giving Daniel the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream.
Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class
Introduction: (about 10 minutes)
- Call or check the roll. Make necessary class announcements. If you like to start with songs, sing "The Lord is in His Holy Temple," "To God be the Glory," or"Our God is an Awesome God." Have a prayer.
- Go through the Review Quiz and let the students give the answers. All should check their papers as you go. Encourage all to be ready for the Review Quiz over today's lesson to be given next week by using the worksheet.
- Review the objectives for today's lesson.
Learning Experiences: (about 20 minutes)
- The Decree. Read Daniel 4:1-3. Q: To whom does Nebuchadnezzar write this message? A: To everyone in his kingdom. Q: What is the basic meaning of the message? A: All should honor the Most High God who has performed miraculous signs for Nebuchadnezzar. Q: What would be equivalent to this kind of proclamation in today's world? A: For a non-Christian world leader to write a statement of endorsement for the Christian God-maybe the leader of Communist China.
- The Dream. Read Daniel 4:4-7. Q: How did Nebuchadnezzar first seek to find what his dream meant and with what result? A: He talked to all his "wise men, "magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners and they could not tell him the meaning of the dream. Q: Who was finally able to interpret the dream? Q: Belteshazzar (Daniel). Q: What did the King dream? A: He saw a huge tree which grew larger and stronger and higher. Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant. All the beasts found shelter under it, the birds roosted in it and from it all creatures were fed. Q: What did Nebuchadnezzar dream happened to the tree? A: A holy one from heaven called for the tree to be cut down, its branches trimmed off, its leaves stripped off, and its fruit scattered. The stump, however, was to be left and to be bound with iron and bronze. Q: What did the voice next call for? A: For him (the person represented by the tree), to be drenched with dew and for him to live among the animals and plants with the mind of an animal for seven times.
- The Reason. Read Daniel 4:17. Q: What reason is given for the outcome of theKing's dream? A: To show the power of God over kingdoms and how He can be active in the affairs of men.
- The Interpretation. Read Daniel 4:19. Q: How does Daniel feel about revealing the dream and why? A: Daniel has a strong sense of loyalty to the King even though he is not always pleased with how the King acts. Q: What does the tree represent? A: Nebuchadnezzar and the fact the all the world depends on him. Q: What is the meaning of cutting down the tree, binding it with iron and bronze, and then its becoming like an animal for seven times? A: That Nebuchadnezzar will be humbled but not completely destroyed and then he will be as an animal for a period of time, even being in isolation from people and eating the grass of the field. Finally, when he acknowledges that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men then he will be restored.
- The Advice. Read Daniel 4:27. Q: What advice does Daniel give the King? A:He should right now renounce his sins by doing what it right and being kind to the oppressed. If he did this, all these bad things might not happen to him.
- The Insanity. Read Daniel 4:28-32. Q: Twelve months after the dream, what is Nebuchadnezzar doing? A: On the roof of his palace, he is thinking about how great Babylon is and taking pride in how he made it that way. Q: What did the voice say to him? A: Your royal authority will be taken away and you will be driven from among people to live like an animal. Seven times will pass by until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and He gives them to whomsoever He will. Q: What might "seven times" represent? A: Could be seven years or seven months or it could even mean whatever time it takes for Nebuchadnezzar to humble himself. Seven is sometimes used "figuratively" to suggest a "complete number" or a "complete time." Q: What did Nebuchadnezzar look like during this time? A: His hair grew long to give the appearance of feathers and his nails grew like the claws of a bird.
- The Confession. Read Daniel 4:34. Q: When did the illness go away? A: When Nebuchadnezzar raised his eyes toward heaven, his sanity was restored. Then he praised the Most High and acknowledged that His power is complete and eternal.
- The Results. Read Daniel 4:36. Q: What happened afterward? **:Nebuchadnezzar was returned to his honor and splendor. People sought him and he became greater than before. And he sent out a decree telling all of this to the honor of the Most High God. Daniel 4 is a copy of that proclamation. This is the King who built the tall monument to his gods and now he is recognizing another God as greater.
Application: (about 14 minutes)
- Q: What do we learn about God from this story? A: That he controls even the most powerful kings. That He can raise up and bring down those in authority as He chooses. Q: Does God still move like this in the affairs of nations? Are there any examples to which you would point? A: There is no reason to believe God does not continue to have this same power. Just how He exercises it we cannot always see. It does appear, however, that God still eventually exalts righteous nations and brings down wicked ones. The Communist empire would be an example, or Hitler. Read Acts 17:26.
- Q: What do we learn about the qualities of Daniel from this story? A: He is honorable, honest, loyal, faithful and courageous.
- Q: Do you see any similarity between what happened to Nebuchadnezzar and to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. A: Both were given a "thorn in the flesh" to humble them. Q: What experiences might we have today that we should use for a similar effect?
- Q: What do we learn about our own actions from this story? A: We must recognize God as having all power. We must be humble, particularly if we have a position of wealth and/or power or achieve something the world counts as significant. The physical things of this life are not nearly as important as a proper spiritual relationship with God. Q: Name some situations in life we are most likely to need a reminder about this lesson? A: When we have had success in business or athletics or in personal accomplishment. We may also need this lesson when things do not go well with us and we believe God has tuned against us. Even then, we need to see that God is in ultimate control and that all can eventually turn out well for all of God's people.
- Record on your application sheet any lessons you could apply to yourself.
Assignment: (about 1 minute)
- Use your notes to prepare for the Review Quiz next week.
- Read Daniel 5.
Back to Daniel
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