Sunday, March 11, 2012

Three Brave Friends: Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego

When my daughter saw me painting the wooden stacking flame below, she cried, "Oh, you're going to tell the story of those three men in the fiery furnace! That's my favorite story ever!" Actually, I was making the flame stacker with the intention of using it on a Pentecost nature table. It had never occurred to me to use it in a story about Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego.

Materials for the story:
- (left) blocks representing the Temple in Jerusalem
- yellow felt cut as a map of ancient Israel
- stacking flame representing the fiery furnace
- wooden figures for Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego
and one who looks like "the Son of Man"
- King Nebudchanezzar
- the golden idol
- (right) the city of Babylon
- purple felt representing Babylon's empire

There is unfortunately not a Godly Play story based on the biblical account in Daniel  chapter 3.  So, spurred on by recent attempts to do more original storytelling, I decided to make one up. I made up the original story in German to tell to the children at a church brunch, but on the day I was set to tell it, all of the other children were unable to attend for one reason or another. So, I ended up telling it to my own children in English. (Translating in my head the whole time!) 

I wasn't sure how my son would react since he knows the story so well (and tends to complain when he has to listen to a story more than once), but both kids were absolutely riveted the whole time as if they had never heard it before. The high point in the story was when Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were thrown into the furnace and one "like the Son of Man" appears with them. Nebudchanezzar is astonished to see that although he had thrown three men into the fire, a fourth man has appeared. And he is even more surprised to see that none of them have been slightest bit damaged. Biblical scholars debate whether this fourth person is an angel or a "theophany/christophany", the theological terms for an appearance of Christ in the Old Testament. (I lean towards the latter interpretation for several reasons and share this with children when they ask what I think.)

Both kids had a lot to say during the "Wondering" afterwards. Most of the conversation centered around how the three friends were able to not give in, even though they were probably afraid of the king's threats. 

Here is some of my son's work during the creative time. You may recall that he is in a superhero phase. He drew the picture below of Spiderman, Wolverine, and one other super hero in the fiery furnace with Jesus. 

And here are a couple of super heroes bowing down to the golden idol, while Spiderman, the Hulk and Wolverine stand firm.: )

Oh, how I love the ways that God spends time with children and how they spend time with him!


  1. This looks wonderful. I love this story too. Are you writing down your stories? Is the statue made from clay? I think my boys would love this story too. Daniel is a great superhero!

    1. Thanks, Featherglen! I wrote down the story with the Wondering questions in German. Typing it out actually helps me to memorize it. The statue is made from Fimo, a type of polymer clay that you bake at a low temperature. And, I agree, Daniel and his friends are great super heroes!

  2. Sheila,

    Wow! Do you happen to have a translation in English? I really like this story and would like to add it to our library, with your permission. (I told you I had decided to be disciplined about blogging, but I don't think I have time to learn German!)

    Is there a silvery Fimo, or did you paint the Fimo figure?

    So many questions!