The story of Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego comes from Daniel 3.
I have told this story many times with balloons and it always gets a rave review. It involves more preparation than most of my Biblical balloon stories, but the watchers get their balloon take-away quickly.
You will need to create:
- Three characters for Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. You can do simpler 2 balloon figures, or make a more detailed balloon with face and hair.
- King Nebuchadnezzar figure. I usually make a more detailed King figure with a crown and scepter and use a darker skin balloon such as in the below picture.
- Golden Idol. I’ve done with as a less detailed, but larger (using size 626 balloons) statue, or a more detailed balloon that I free-form created, but ended up looking like an Indiana Jones statue as seen in the below picture.
- Fiery Furnace fire. This is the special part of the story. You will need to create a balloon fire using the colors of red, orange, yellow, and the variants of those colors. You are pre-twisting the balloons to be a left-side of a person (foot, leg, torso, arm, and hand) and a right-side of a person (same as left-side, but with a head between torso and arm).
- A large cardboard box or tupperware box to hold the fire. We decorated the box a bit with crepe paper to help create the furnace.
Greet the children and tell them you will be sharing a story from the book of Daniel in the Bible to them.
Around 600 BC, there was a king called King Nebuchadnezzar who ruled the land (hold up and introduce the balloon version of Nebuchadnezzar). He brought together a chosen set of people of all sorts of languages who lived under his rule and brought them to him in Babylon. At this time, the Israelites were under King Nebuchadnezzar’s rule as well.
The King thought very highly of himself and commanded that a large golden idol be created for all to worship. (put the golden idol on a stand). He commanded that when his musicians played, that everyone in Babylon was to bow down to the idol and worship and that anyone who didn’t bow down would be thrown into a fiery furnace. (Show the balloon furnace of fire)
(you can put an aside in here talking to the children, asking them if they thought it was a good idea to bow to and worship the golden idol)
The king’s musicians played and almost everyone bowed down, except for 3 of the Israelites – Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego (pull out the 3 figures and show to the kids). King Nebuchadnezzar commanded to see the three who didn’t bow down to the golden idol and asked why they didn’t bow down to the golden idol. They responded “Our God, whom we serve, is able to protect us from the fiery furnace, but even if he doesn’t, we will not worship the golden image that you set-up”. King Nebuchadnezzar got very mad and commanded the furnace to be made 7 times hotter and to bind Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego and throw them in the fire. (Put the 3 figures into the balloon furnace)
The flames were so hot that the guards who threw them in the furnace were burned to death.
King Nebuchadnezzar looked on from afar and said “Did we not throw 3 men in the fire? I see 4 men loose in the fire and not hurt, and the 4th man is like the Son of God” (take from the fire a left-side and a right side and connect to create a 4th man in the furnace)
This 4th man was God’s angel and savior, and some say it is God incarnate coming as Jesus to protect. Not one hair of their heads were singed nor even the smell of fire on them.
King Nebuchadnezzar saw that God delivered them and called them out of the furnace. He changed his mind and allowed them to worship their God and that no one in his kingdom was to say anything against the God of the Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego as their God is a deliverer.
(Then talk to the children and see how much of the story they can recite back to you, prompting as needed and changing to different kids to tell the story a 2nd time. Then have the kids line up and you can have them all come to the furnace and you will make them a 4th man who protected them for choosing to do what is right. A second adult can help the kids draw a face and write their names on their balloons).
I love this story and I’ve heard years later that kids still remember how this story was shared to them and how they kept their 4th man balloon and told many others the story as well.