Life Skill Lessons from Daniel and the Hebrew Boys

The situation: Nebuchadnezzar conquers Jerusalem and King Jehoiakim. The best and the brightest of Jerusalem’s young men are chosen and taken to Babylon. In Babylon, the Hebrew youths Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are groomed for the civil service and given Babylonian names. Daniel decides that he will not defile himself with the king’s delicacies and wine. Daniel negotiates with a steward and is allowed to live on vegetables and water. After ten days they appear healthier than those who have eaten the king’s delicacies, so they are allowed to keep to this diet. Daniel and his companions are promoted. Daniel has an understanding of dreams and visions.

Lesson 1: Learn how to cope with bad situations in positive and productive ways.

Daniel 1:1-7 The Hebrew boys were taken into captivity.

Lesson 2: Choose your battles wisely.

Part 1: The positive value of culture – Daniel 1:3-4; 18-20 (culture)

Part 2: What’s good to you may not be good for you – Daniel 1:5, 8, 12-15 (king’s food)

Part 3: Who are you, really – 1:5; 12-15; Matthew 4:5-7 (name change)

Lesson 3: The right attitude in the presence of opposition can make a big difference.

Daniel 1:10-14 Daniel demonstrated a good attitude in the presence of opposition  

Lesson 4: Know how and when to compromise without assimilating.

Daniel 1:11-15 Daniel demonstrated the art of negotiation for the good of him and his friends

Lesson 6: Your gifts and abilities are unique to you and belong to you, use them well.

Daniel1:17- 21 The Hebrew boys excelled in knowledge and skill and were the best of the best

The situation: Nebuchadnezzar is troubled by a dream, of which nothing remains in the morning but an uneasy impression. The Chaldean soothsayers, when brought in before the king, could give no interpretation, as they did not have the dream. Nebuchadnezzar orders the slaughter of all the soothsayers, but God reveals to Daniel Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Daniel gives thanks to God for the knowledge granted him. Before Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel acknowledges that it was God who revealed the dream to him. Daniel describes Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Nebuchadnezzar praises Daniel’s God and promotes Daniel.

Lesson 6: Take responsibility for your life and well-being.

Daniel 2:10-16 When Daniel learned that their lives we endangered did something about it.

Lesson 7: Working with like-minded people, seek the mercy and wisdom of God to solve the problem you all face together.

Daniel 2:17-18 Daniel told the other Hebrews what was happening and they prayed together for God to have mercy on them and deliver.

Lesson 8: As you use your gifts and abilities with humility and purpose, give honor to God.

Daniel 2: 19-49 After getting the interpretation from God, Daniel praised God, and then he explained the dream to Nebuchadnezzar honoring God in the process.

The situation: Nebuchadnezzar makes a golden image, sixty cubits high. All Babylon’s dignitaries are gathered for the dedication of the image. Nebuchadnezzar gives a command to worship the statue or be thrown into a fiery furnace. Certain Chaldeans tell Nebuchadnezzar that Daniel’s companions (whose Babylonian names are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) do not worship the statue. They calmly refuse to worship the statue and are thrown into a furnace which is heated to seven times its normal heat. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego are thrown bound into the furnace. On account of the high temperature, those throwing them into the fire were burned up. Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors say four men, unbound, are walking amid the fiery furnace, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. The three men leave the furnace unharmed. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges the greatness of the Hebrew God who protected the three men. Nebuchadnezzar proclaims that nothing evil should be said against the God of the Hebrews.

Lesson 9: Respect the rights of others

Daniel 3:1-7 Nebuchadnezzar had no problem violating the rights of others for his purpose.

Lesson 10: Religious heritage and cultural values are important.

Daniel 3: 8-18 The Hebrew boys demonstrated courage as they took a strong stand against Nebuchadnezzar’s demand to bow down to an image of himself because of their religious and cultural value system.

Lesson 11: Nothing worth having comes without great cost

Daniel 3:18-25: The Hebrew boys were prepared to then violate their identity as Children of God.

Lesson 12: You can make a positive difference in your family and community

Daniel 3:24-30, When the Hebrew boys came out of the fiery furnace their faith and commitment to their God made a difference in Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude towards the Hebrews and God.

The situation: Daniel is made one of three governors over the 120 satraps (regional rulers) in Darius’ administration. There is a plot hatched by the satraps, who persuade the king to sign a decree saying that anyone petitioning a god or man other than Darius will be thrown into a den of lions. The report reaches Darius that Daniel has prayed to his God. Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den; Darius tells Daniel that his God will protect him. The king fasts that night and is not entertained by musicians. Daniel is found alive the following morning. Darius calls Daniel the servant of the living God. Those who accused Daniel are thrown to the lions, along with their families, and killed. Darius decrees that all must honor the God of Daniel. Daniel prospers.

Lesson 13: Don’t forget who you are, whose you are, and why you are here.

Daniel 6: At the height of his success Daniel continued to be faithful not forgetting his God even with the threat of death.