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Youth sessionCharacters of the Bible


Paul Lee, St Albans Vineyard

Faces - 1 - Daniel (Part 1)

Key text

Daniel 1 : 8 – 17

Daniel 2 : 17 – 19

Daniel 4 : 24 – 33

Looking at the life of Daniel we will be exploring the importance of standing by our beliefs and the power of God.

Today we are starting a new series called “faces”. Over the next few weeks we will be looking at a variety of different characters. We will be looking at how God used their lives, their strengths and their weaknesses to achieve great things. We will also be looking at what things we can learn from each of them. Today we are going to start with Daniel, seeing who he was and what we can learn from him.

Introducing Daniel

Daniel was a Jew who lived around 600 years before the birth of Jesus. He came from a well-off family in Israel. When he was still a youth he was taken from his home country of Israel to Babylon, a city that was hundreds of miles away from home. Babylon is in the middle of what is now Iraq.

What is interesting about Daniel, and we will see over the next two weeks is that he is one of only a small number of well-known individuals in the Bible that has nothing negative written about him. His live was filled with faith and whole-hearted dedication to God.

David had been selected by the Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon to serve as an ‘apprentice’ in his court. He had been selected because of his strength and athletic ability as well as being academic and eager to learn. As part of this course he would undergo three years of training, alongside three others from Israel, these were called Meshack, Shadrach and Abednego.

However as we see in Daniel 1 : 8 - 17 Daniel would not allow his new situation to change his attitudes or belief.

Can you think of any royal banquet moments that you have faced? Where you needed to make the decision to stand up to someone to defend what you believe or what you think is right?


Encourage the youth to write their situation onto a vegetable hand out.

Encourage the youth share their situations with the group.

In a world where we are always under pressure to fit in, and follow everybody else Daniel shows us that with courage and persistence we can stand firm. Refusing to do things that we believe that are against God’s plan for our lives, against what it says in the Bible or against our conscience.

As have seen in the passage by Daniel and his friends came out stronger than all of the other men by choosing to stand firm and sticking the diet that they believed God had told them to follow, even when everyone else (their teachers and fellow students) thought that they were crazy.

On the other side of your vegetable write down another situation that you know either you or your friends struggle with, where they need strength and guidance to stand firm and make the right decision.

Once they have done this get the youth to put all of their vegetables onto the plate and put this to one side.

Daniel shows us that we don’t have to compromise our beliefs to succeed in life. Whatever other people might think, we know that God’s way is always the best way.

Swimming against the swarm


Get all of the youth except one to stand in a line at one side of the room, and the remaining youth at the other end. Each have a paper fish in front of them and a sheet of paper to waft it ‘up stream’ to their finish line.

The idea is that the fish going against the tide will find it difficult when facing the tide of fish being blown the other way.

Daring to be different can feel challenging, it might feel like you are the fish fighting it’s way against the swarm like in the game. However we should take encouragement from Daniel that if it is of God it can be achieved and that it can bring great rewards.

Dangerous Dreams

A little while into Daniel’s training King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him.

So, the king did what any king of the time would do, he summoned his magicians, star gazers and wise people to tell him what the dream meant. He offered them gifts and rewards if they achieved it, and threatened to kill them all if they failed.

All of these men tried and failed, so the king sided an execution order for all of the wise men, magicians and star gazers in his kingdom. This included Daniel and his friends, who were rightfully worried.

As we see in Daniel 2 : 17 - 19 he urges them to pray to God to reveal this mystery to him. God does and then Daniel goes to the king, describes his dream and explains what it meant, to the amazement of the king. The king satisfied then called off the death warrant and rewarded Daniel with increased power and influence.

Daniel’s trust in God and belief in prophesy not only mean that he was able to save his life, and the lives of many others in the kingdom. But he was also able to reveal a warning to the king about problems that were coming his way.

A few years later the king had another dream which again scared him, and once again Daniel arrives at the king’s court and through God’s power reveals the meaning of the dream, then one year later the prophecy is fulfilled as we see in Daniel 4 : 24 - 33.

Through Daniel’s ongoing faith, loyalty and trust in God he was able to become a man who the king could rely on and was rewarded greatly. At the same time he was able to bring God’s message to the pagan king who would otherwise have never heard from God.

The Statue And The Tree


So, Daniel interpreted two dreams for King Nebuchadnezzar, both of these dreams were very bold in their imagery. We are going to spend a few moments now drawing these. You can have a go at drawing either of these two dreams.

Encourage the youth to draw one of the dreams described on the sheets. There are two sets, one called “Dream of the statue” and the other “Dream of the tree”.

Closing Prayer

Today we have seen how Daniel didn’t allow the influence of other people or situations to change what he believed or the way that he acted. We have seen how he used his gifts to bring the message of God to the most powerful man in the kingdom. Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus,

We thank you for Daniel and that he remained loyal to you even when situations made this difficult and dangerous.

We thank you for the situations where we have been brave enough to stand up for what we believe in, and ask you to strength us in the situations where we find this hard or scary.

Help us to remain loyal to you and help us to hear the things that you are trying to tell us.


Next week we will finish our look at Daniel and will be seeing how he continued to remain loyal to God in the face of even more challenging times.