Lesson 2: Don’t Get Burned By Peer Pressure
Everybody wants to be accepted. There’s nothing harder than being in a crowd and standing out because you look differently, act differently, or talk differently than everyone else. Children are daily faced with the pressure to “fit in” by doing things that are contrary to what the Bible teaches and what God wants for their lives. That pressure can be very difficult to DEAL WITH. But, God can give us the courage to stand for what is right even when no one else will. In today’s lesson, we see how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose NOT to give in to peer pressure and worship the idol. It wasn’t easy, but in the end God helped them be victorious!
At Home Instructions
Ask your children to tell you what they learned about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego this week (Daniel 3). Discuss the following questions:
• What did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego do that made the king mad?
• Why wouldn’t they obey his order?
• Did they know God would deliver them from the fire if they were thrown in?
Explain to your children that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were experiencing peer pressure. Ask your children to tell you what peer pressure means. Help them understand that there will always be people who will pressure or push them to do wrong things. Emphasize that even though it might be hard to resist the pressure, God is always there to help us.
Place a few toothpicks deep in the peanut butter, and ask your children to gently push the toothpicks. Then place a few more toothpicks deep in the Playdoh, clay, or soil, and ask your children to gently push on those toothpicks, too. Ask them which is harder to push over. Then explain to your children that as our relationship with God grows more solid, the harder it is for people to push us to do the wrong thing. And when people see that we aren’t going to bow to peer pressure, they’ll want to know what’s different about us, which gives us a great opportunity to tell them about Christ.
Pray with your children, asking God to deepen your relationship with Him. Pray that He will give all of you the strength to stand up under any peer pressure you’re experiencing.
Leader: It sure never does us any good to give in to peer pressure. We have to DEAL WITH IT and stand up for God.
Silly Willy: (comes up and scares the leader) Ha! Ha! I love it when you do that!
Leader: Well, I hate it when you do that. You always come up here and scare me. Right when I think I am teaching well, you come up and steal the show.
Silly Willy: (acts very sad) Oh, please don’t say that word.
Leader: What word? Show?
Silly Willy: No, the other word.
Silly Willy: That’s the one.
Leader: Why don’t you want me to say the word “steal”?
Silly Willy: Because it reminds me of something I did bad this week.
Leader: (shocked) Silly Willy! You stole something this week?
Silly Willy: Well, it wasn’t my fault! It was my friend’s fault.
Leader: Your friend? Who?
Silly Willy: Thievey Stevey! (pronounced “Thieve -E Steve -E”; a play off of “Silly Willy”)
Leader: Thievey Stevey? You should have known he was no good the moment you heard his name.
Silly Willy: Yeah, well all the other puppets think he’s cool. So, I was hanging out with him and we went to the mall. We went to the music store and saw that “Kidz Bop vol. 35” was out, and I just love Kidz Bop. So, I wanted to buy the CD. But, I didn’t have any money. So, Thievey Stevey told me he knew a way I could get the CD and not have to pay for it.
Leader: And what way was that?
Silly Willy: Steal it.
Leader: Steal it? Silly Willy, you know better than that.
Silly Willy: I know, I know. But, he stole one. So, I thought I would do it, too. That way he would think I was tough. He kept saying it wasn’t a big deal and that I wasn’t cool if I didn’t do it.
Leader: So, what happened?
Silly Willy: Well, I put the CD in my backpack, and started to walk out the door and the alarm goes off. I got so scared, I froze. Thievey Stevey started running off. The owner of the store grabbed me and held me until the police got there.
Leader: What happened then?
Silly Willy: I got in big trouble. I had to give the CD back, apologize to the store owner, and now I have to pay a BIG $250 fine.
Leader: $250? WOW! That’s a lot of money!
Silly Willy: I know. And just think how many CD’s I could have bought with that money. Or even better how many boys and girls could have gotten saved if I gave that money to missionaries. I learned my lesson on this one.
Leader: Oh really? What lesson did you learn?
Silly Willy: I learned that no matter who they are or who they say they are...if somebody tries to pressure you to do something that you know is wrong...don’t give in. That’s PEER PRESSURE and you can’t give in. You have to DEAL WITH IT and stand up for what is right!
Leader: That’s right. Wow, you really did learn a lot through this. I hope you never do anything like this again.
Silly Willy: Oh, I won’t! I promise! Well, I gotta go. I have ten lawns to mow after church today in order to start earning that money. This is going to be tough. But, I am glad I learned my lesson. Bye bye!
Leader: Bye, Silly Willy! You know kids, we can learn the same lesson. If we give in to peer pressure it will always turn out bad for us. But, if we learn to DEAL WITH IT and stand for what is right, God will make sure we come out on top!
Place the chairs in a random order, creating somewhat of a maze for the participants to get through. Place the bag of candy at the end of the maze.
Choose one participant from each team and blindfold them. When you say “go”, the boys and girls are to scream out directions to them all at once. The participants are to try to follow the crowd’s instructions in order to get from the start line all the way to bag of candy at the end. The first one to make it to the candy wins the bag of candy.
After the game say, “Life is a lot like the blindfolded people trying to find their way to bag of candy. There are so many voices telling you which way to go, it can seem almost impossible to make the right decision if you listen to your friends. Many times they are telling you the wrong direction to go. But, when we listen to God’s voice and follow Jesus, He will always lead us the right way. We can’t give in to peer pressure. We have to DEAL WITH IT!”
We’ve been talking today about Peer Pressure. It is something we all have to DEAL WITH. We probably all have been in a situation where some of our friends were wanting to do wrong and wanted us to do wrong with them.
Maybe some of your friends got together and wanted to cheat on some homework. They pressured you to do the same. Perhaps you were with some friends who wanted to watch a movie that you knew was filled with things you shouldn’t be watching. When you didn’t want to watch it they started making fun of you and pressuring you to watch it with them. Or maybe you have even been in a situation where several of your friends had cigarettes or beer or even drugs and they were pressuring you to try it.
It’s not easy to DEAL WITH peer pressure. When those around you are doing wrong and trying to get you to do wrong with them, sometimes that is very hard to DEAL WITH. Sometimes we make the wrong choice and we end up getting burned by peer pressure.
Today, in our Bible story, we meet three strong young men of God named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They loved God very much and wanted to do what’s right.
But, there was a wicked king named King Nebuchadnezzar. He decided one day that he was going to build a large statue and force everyone to worship it. He built a 90-foot statue made of pure gold. He ordered everyone in the kingdom to stop what they were doing, turn toward the statue, and worship it when they heard the trumpets blast.
Kind of a weird plan, I know. But he was serious. He said that if anyone did NOT bow down and worship the image of gold, he would throw them into a furnace of fire. WOW! That’s one major punishment. If you don’t worship, you will burn to death.
The time came, the trumpets blew, and everyone in the kingdom bowed down and worshipped the statue. Well, almost everyone. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had every reason to bow down and worship. Not only were they surrounded by an entire country who was doing it, but if they didn’t do it they could be killed. Now, that is some MAJOR peer pressure. But, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose not to bow down to the idol. They knew that God only wants us to worship Him.
There’s a very important lesson to learn here, kids. Often, our peers will try to pressure us by saying, “Everybody is doing it!” They say this to try to pressure us into doing wrong. But when you are having to DEAL WITH peer pressure you have to remember several things. First: 1. Remember: Everybody Is Not Doing It!
They may say, “Everybody is doing it.” But, as long as you are willing to stand up for God and do what’s right, NOT EVERYBODY is doing it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego decided that they were going to be the ONLY ones who were doing right. But, doing what’s right is not always easy.
The King ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come before him. He gave them another chance to bow down to the statue. He warned them that if they did not do as everyone else and bow down to the idol, then they would be thrown into the fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow, so the King ordered them thrown into the fire.
What does that teach us, kids? It teaches us that when we DEAL WITH peer pressure we must: 2. Remember: It’s Never Easy To Stand Up For God!
Well, the King got “hot” (pardon the pun) and commanded that they be thrown into the furnace of fire. And that is exactly what happened. (take the old rag and dip it in the alcohol mixture, making sure to wring out the excess so it is not dripping) The soldiers threw them into the fire. (take the rag in the metal tongs and light the rag on fire) The fire was so hot, it instantly killed the soldiers who threw them in. (let the rag burn all of the alcohol out of the rag while you tell the rest of the story; the rag will not be consumed because of the water that is involved)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were now in the fire. The King watched the fire burn and burn. But then something happened. The king called his officials and said, “Hey! Didn’t we throw three men in the fire? I am looking in the furnace, and there are not three men, but FOUR men. They are walking around in there like there’s nothing wrong. The fourth one looks just like the son of God.”
Wow! Not only did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survive the fire, but Jesus shows up in the flesh to be with them. What does that teach us? It teaches us that when we are having to DEAL WITH peer pressure, we have to: 3.Remember: When I Stand Up For God, He Shows Up For Me
God was with them the whole time. Not only that, but when the King took them out of the fire, (blow out the rag; if it is still burning pretty well you may have to put it in the metal trash can to get it to smother out; pick it up with your hand since the water in the alcohol kept the rag from being burned and it’s not even hot) the Bible says they didn’t even smell like smoke. God protected them completely.
God will be with you when you “go through the fire” and face peer pressure as well. I know it is tough. It seems like you are the only one who is not doing wrong. It may feel like you are all alone, but God is there with you. You don’t have to be worried. God will protect you. You don’t have to get burned by peer pressure. You can choose to not give in and follow God’s plan for your life. If you choose to STAND UP for God, He will SHOW UP for you and do an awesome miracle.
Boys and girls, that is what happened with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Because they stood up for what was right and didn’t give in to peer pressure, God spared their lives. Not only that, but the King was so amazed that he began to praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered everyone in the country to never speak a word against their God for their God is the ONLY God who could do a miracle like this. WOW! Kids, when we stand up for God we can help others see that God loves them and is the only one true God.
(play soft music) Pray for those children who feel like they are facing major peer pressure. Pray that God will give them courage just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to stand up for what is right and not just go along with the crowd. In doing so, pray that God will “show up” for them and cause many of their friends to give their lives to Jesus as well.
What was today’s Big Idea? Answer: I Won’t Bow To Peer Pressure!
What did Silly Willy do with the CD? Answer: Stole it
Does it pay to give in to peer pressure? Answer: No
The names of the young men in the story were Shadrach, Meshach, and __? Answer: Abednego
If we stand up for God when others are doing wrong, is it easy? Answer: No
What happened to the young men when they refused to worship the idol? Answer: They were thrown into the fiery furnace
Who showed up in the fire with them? Answer: Jesus
According to our lesson, “When we stand up for God, He ________ ____ for us.” Answer: Shows up
Can God use our “standing up” for Him to cause others to turn to Him? Answer: Yes
Where was our Power Verse found? Answer: Romans 12:2