Scripture: Daniel 1
- Students will learn because we live in a fallen world, bad things can happen to godly people.
- Students will learn godly people act in godly ways even when times are tough.
- Students will learn there are often positive earthly consequences for living a godly life.
- Students will participate in an activity to help them understand why God wants them to take good care of their bodies like Daniel and his friends.
Guiding Question: How can we take good care of our bodies like Daniel and his friends did when they were taken to Babylon?
Materials: card stock, magazine pictures of food (healthy and unhealthy), glue sticks, markers, snack bags, snack foods eaten during Bible times (all fruits should be dried, double check student allergies before including any nuts) – apples, dates, figs, raisins, almonds, pistachios, matzo crackers
Procedure: Tell students the story introducing Daniel and his friends. Point out that Daniel and his friends were of royal blood. They had been brought to Babylon the Bible says, because they were also good looking and intelligent. They were already well educated because of their royal birth. The Babylonians wanted them to have three more years of education in their languages, customs, etc.
As part of the training they were to receive, they were to be fed the same way as the royals of Babylon were fed. This diet had several problems, that the Bible doesn’t specifically mention, but we can assume from what we know of both diets.
First the Babylonians ate some foods God had forbidden the Jews to eat or weren’t prepared the way God told them to prepare their food. There was also a very good chance the food and drinks they were given had been sacrificed to idols before they were given to the captives. Daniel and his friends probably thought it was at the very least disrespectful to God to eat food sacrificed to false gods. Finally, the royal Babylonian diet was very heavy in meats, fats and oils. Those foods aren’t healthy to eat in the amounts the royal Babylonians evidently ate them. (Archaeologists have found ancient Babylonian recipes. Almost all of them were for meat dishes where the meat was also soaked in quite a bit of oil.)
Daniel and his friends made a special request. They wanted to eat a vegetarian diet and drink water. They suggested a test to prove this diet would make them healthier than the original diet they had been offered. While the Bible does not require us to eat a vegetarian diet, studies have shown it is a very healthy way to eat. God allows us to eat meat and in small portions, meat can provide things our bodies need like iron and protein.
Read students Proverbs 23:20 and I Corinthians 6:19-20. Although there are many ways we can glorify God in our bodies, taking good care of them is one important way. It makes sense that if God has good works that He wants us to do, we are better able to do them if our bodies are as healthy as they can be.
Show students pictures of various kinds of food. Talk about which ones area healthy and which ones are better eaten in small amounts. Point out that the people in Bible times ate mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They didn’t have meat very often and when they did, it was usually fish or lamb.
Give students a snack bag. Explain that you have some of the foods Daniel and his friends might have eaten, as they were foods commonly eaten by Jews during Bible times. Give each student a little of each food to place in their snack bags. Encourage them to not eat everything, but save it to show their families about some of the foods Daniel may have eaten.
Give students card stock, magazine photos of food and markers. Have them write a verse from today’s lesson they want to remember at the top of the sheet of card stock. Encourage them to glue pictures of healthy foods on their papers as a reminder to take good care of their bodies by eating healthy foods.