(For instructions on how to use this study, see Welcome to The Ten Commandments)
Bible Story: The Golden Calf – Exodus 32
Cognitive: The children will learn the Israelites did not wait for Moses and returned to their Egyptian ways by building a golden calf to worship.
Affective: The children will consider what ‘idols’ they have and purpose to remove them from their lives.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus
The Ten Commandments – Exodus 20
The Model Prayer - Matthew 6:9-13
Have the children find the following books/passage in the Bible:
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)
The Model Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
Review last week’s Bible story notes.
Read Exodus 32.
Read through the Bible story notes prior to teaching.
Assign the following passages/verses to be read by the children:
Exodus 32:7, 9-10
Review where we left off last time:
Last week, we learned how God called Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moses had some questions for God…one of them was ‘What if they ask who sent me?’
God provided a name for Himself. He said “I Am that I Am.”
We learned the name of God tells us at least three things about Him. He is a person, He is self existent and He is self sufficient.
And since then:
God sent Moses to Pharaoh to lead his people out of Egypt. Pharaoh refused at first, but God sent the ten plagues and eventually, Pharaoh let the Israelites leave Egypt.
Moses led them into the desert on their way to the Promised Land. They had been in the desert for three months when they came upon Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1).
Moses went up on the mountain; a cloud (the glory of the Lord) covered the mountain and on the seventh day, God called Moses from within the cloud.
To the Israelites, the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.
Moses entered the cloud and stayed in the mountain for forty days and forty nights.
Have a child read Exodus 32:1
As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into more than a month, the people grew restless.
They asked Aaron to make a substitute god for them.
Have a child read Exodus 32:2-3
Surprisingly, Aaron agreed. He asked the people to gather all their gold.
NOTE: This was the gold they were supposed to use to build God’s tabernacle with. They used it to build an idol. (Exodus 3:21; Exodus 25:1-8)
When Aaron saw he had enough gold, he constructed a golden calf. When it was completed, he announced they would have a festival the next day. They offered burnt offerings, ate, drank, and worshiped in ways they should have not.
Why a calf? Calves, in that day, were common idols of the pagans. By worshiping a calf, they were rejecting God.
Have a child read Exodus 32:7
God was not happy!
Moses returned to the people to confront them about their sin.
Have a child read Exodus 32:21
Moses questioned Aaron: What did you do?
Aaron pleaded with Moses to not be angry with him. The people, he said, were prone to doing bad things. Aaron told Moses the people told him to make a substitute god for them to follow since Moses was gone and no one knew what had happened to you. They claimed they needed someone to lead them.
Have a child read Exodus 32:24
Aaron told Moses that he put the gold into the fire and ‘poof!’ out came a calf.
Remember, God was not happy with the people. God wanted to destroy them for worshiping the idol. Moses asked God to not destroy them.
Have a child read Exodus 32:31-32a
Moses asked God to forgive the people.
God did forgive them; but some died as a consequence for their sin.
Explain to children the following:
God wanted to destroy the people for worshiping the idol. This suggests He means it when He says do not worship idols.
Will God destroy us? Understand that this nation was brand new and needed to remain set apart. That was God’s intent from the beginning. This nation was to be different so that others might see the difference and come to believe in God because of it.
The important thing to know from this story is that we are not to create idols and worship them…not even idols of God.
Ask: What about if we create a statue that represents God? Is that okay?
No, it is not. Why not?
God said NO IDOLS, and no means no.
Idols diminish God’s glory –
Nothing created can ever accurately capture the Creator. To make something out of stuff (whatever the stuff is – even gold) lessons God. God is so far beyond all He created that we simply cannot create something that correctly represents God so we ought to not even try.
Idols can mislead the worshipper. Consider even the Bible. While we ought to take care of the Bible and treat it with the respect it deserves, we should not put the Bible above God, the one who wrote it. It can be easy for us to begin to worship the thing and forget to worship God.
We may not have statues that we worship, but we certainly have idols in our lives. Anything we use to fill a void in our lives that God should fill is an idol.
Like Moses prayed for the people, we should be praying for those that don’t know Him yet. We should invite them to join us so that they will know Him.
What does Jesus say about this commandment?
Jesus said, “Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19)
When Jesus met the Samraitan woman at the well, He told her she didn’t have to worship in Jerusalem nor in Samaria, she was to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). God is spirit and His worshippers should worship as Jesus directed, in spirit and in truth. No idols!
Praise God for who He is
Thank Him for the gift of the Bible that from it we can learn more about God.
Ask God to show us those things that we are using to replace Him and for the strength to get rid of them.
This week, as a family, you are to make a list of those things that are most important to you. If God is not at the top of your list, pray and ask God to help you and your family make Him most important in your lives. Discuss as a family any potential things you might be using to fill voids in your life that only God should fill.
In this week’s challenge, we will practice destroying idols.
Collect the necessary supplies for this week’s challenge.
Water guns (1 per child)
Magic noodles (Hobby Lobby – Magic Nuudles biodegradable building blocks; $4.99)
These noodles look like the Styrofoam packing noodles but are made of cornstarch so they dissolve in water. A few days before the challenge, build an ‘idol’ of some sort with these noodles according to the instructions on the box and allow them to dry. One option is to build them in the form of a ziggurat, but any ‘idol’ will suffice.
Have each team form a circle and give a water gun to each team member (or have children bring their own water guns). Place the magic noodle ‘idol’ in the center of the team circle. On your mark, have the children begin shooting water at the ‘idol’. Allow them to continue to do so for a maximum of about 12 minutes. If a team completely destroys their ‘idol’, they are to raise their flag announcing the completion of their task. If the ‘idols’ have not been destroyed in the 12 minute timeframe, determine which team dissolved the majority of their ‘idol’ and declare a winning team.
Give each team their books of the bible cards – Matthew through Titus – and the Key Passages matching cards. On your mark, the teams are to arrange the books of the bible in the correct order and match the key passages cards. When the team is done, they are to raise their flags.
Explain to the children we do not usually make idols these days although some religions still have icons that they worship. That does not mean we do not have idols though, and we need to spend some time in prayer asking God to show us what ‘idols’ we may have. What are we putting before God? Anything that fills a void in our lives that God is intended (and wanting) to fill can be an idol. Encourage the children to participate in the weekly family activity.
Books of the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation
The 10 Commandments – Exodus 20
The Model Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13
A Messianic Psalm – Psalm 22 (‘Messianic’ means about Jesus)
The Bible is the story of Jesus and even though Jesus is not introduced until the Gospels in the New Testament, there are prophecies about Jesus. Some of these are found in the book of Psalms. We call these psalms that speak of the coming Messiah (Jesus) Messianic psalms. Psalm 22 is one of the more popular psalms that speaks of the coming Messiah.