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Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace

To encourage the children to be brave and stand up to those who would try to bully them into saying things that they donít agree with.

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To encourage the children to be brave and stand up to those who would try to bully them into saying things that they don’t agree with.

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly will stand alone, but we recommend that you use it to follow on from the other Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego assembly. The effect will be far more powerful, and will make more sense, if you have used the first assembly.
  • The school needs to learn a couple of lines that form a chorus as you go through the action: in response to ‘the fiery furnace’ the school replies: ‘Oh, no! Not the fiery furnace!’ You could add an action, like a hand to the head in melodramatic despair!
  • In response to ‘heat up the furnace’ the school replies: ‘More heat, more heat!’ This could be accompanied by a shovelling action.
  • On an OHP screen or similar, put up the names of the three heroes of the story: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. While these names are not heard (much) in Britain, they are very easy words to say. Every time you get to these names in the story, point to the OHP and get the children to say the names. You might like to allocate a different name to different classes. Or even have the boys say one name, the girls the second, and the staff the third.

Assembly

Recap the previous part of the story and introduce and rehearse the words and responses for this assembly. Then go into the story (from Daniel chapter 3):

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (point to OHP), had made King Nebuchadnezzar very, very angry. He had put up a huge golden statue of himself on the plain outside the city of Babylon. He had ordered that when the band of musicians played, all the people, every single one of them, should bow down and worship the statue. King Nebuchadnezzar was such a powerful king that he thought he was a god.

Only three men in the whole city had refused to bow down and worship the statue. They were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were taken before the king, and he asked them why they hadn’t worshipped the statue.

‘I’m sorry,’ said Shadrach, ‘but we can’t. We only worship the true God, the God who made the heavens and the earth.’

Well, that made the king so angry, he shouted at the top of his voice: ‘Throw them into the fiery furnace!’

Oh, no! Not the fiery furnace!

Yes, the fiery furnace!

Oh, no! Not the fiery furnace!

So the guards tied them up, and took them to the furnace.

The king looked into the fiery furnace

Oh, no! Not the fiery furnace!

but he decided it wasn’t hot enough. ‘Heat up the furnace!’ he ordered.

More heat, more heat!

And again he looked. ‘It’s still not hot enough! Heat up the furnace!’

More heat, more heat!

And when the furnace was so hot that it hurt your face when you looked in, he shouted: ‘Throw them in!’ And the guards did.

But, when the king looked into the fiery furnace

Oh, no! Not the fiery furnace!

he was surprised. He looked again! And again! He turned to the captain of the guards. ‘Didn’t we throw three men into the fiery furnace?’

Oh, no! Not the fiery furnace!

‘Yes,’ replied the captain. ‘Three men.’

‘So how come I can see four?’ demanded King Nebuchadnezzar.

They pulled the men out: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out unharmed. Their clothes were not burnt. Their hair was not burnt. In fact, not one of them was burnt in any way! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego looked just as they did before they were thrown in, except that the ropes binding them had gone.

King Nebuchadnezzar was absolutely amazed! He said to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: ‘I will worship your God with you! Your God is the real God!’

And so King Nebuchadnezzar realized that the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was the real God. He worshipped God, the God who made the heavens and the earth, for the rest of his life.

Time for reflection

Reflection

Think about the story you have just heard.

Are there times when you need to stand up to things that you don’t agree with?

Do you find it hard to be brave at times like that?

Who can you turn to for help?

 

Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for the exciting story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

and for their brave stand against King Nebuchadnezzar.

Help us to stand up to bullies.

Amen.

Song/music

‘Let the world rejoice together’ (Come and Praise, 148)

Publication date: January 2007   (Vol.9 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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