By Martin Wiles
Scripture Reference: Exodus 20:1-21
Memory Verse: Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
Children will learn about the Ten Commandments God gave to his people long ago through Moses.
In this study, children will learn about various people and stories from the Old Testament that teach us how we can always trust God to do what he says. Today’s story is about God giving the Ten Commandments to Moses who in turn gave them to God’s people. Since they came from God, we can trust them to be important for us too. When we obey them, God will be happy, and he will bless us in return.
How important is it for you to listen to and obey God’s Word? Why do you think so?
Who can name some of the Ten Commandments? Do you think they are still important?
Is it sometimes difficult for you to obey God? Why do you think this is true?
Bible Story Time:
Reflection: What’s one thing God says to do that’s hard for you to do? Why?
Soon after leaving Egyptian slavery, the Israelites encountered the Red Sea. As they looked behind them, they saw the armies of Pharaoh chasing them. After he had let them go, he changed his mind. What was he thinking, freeing all his slaves?
Once again, God protected his people by causing a strong wind to blow. When it did, it parted the waters of the Red Sea and dried up the riverbed allowing them to walk across on dry ground. When the last person had crossed, God instructed the walls of water to fall but not before Pharaoh and his army entered the riverbed. When the walls of water came crashing down, the Egyptians were drowned.
Exactly two months after they left Egypt, God’s people came to the wilderness of Sinai and to a mountain named the same. God knew his people needed some rules to live by. He told Moses to go to the top of the mountain, and he would give these rules to him. God wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone and gave them to Moses to give to the people. If they obeyed, God would bless and protect them from their enemies, but if they disobeyed, God would punish them and hand them over to their enemies again.
Reflection: Why do you think God gives us rules to obey? Why can’t we just do what we want to do? What would happen if everyone did?
God’s rules are given to protect us. He knows if we obey what he tells us to, we will act as he wants us to. We will give a good picture of God to others when we obey his commands. He wants us to be holy in our actions and thoughts. When we obey God, others will notice, and this may help them to come to know God as we do.
Let’s learn the Ten Commandments:
- Do not worship any other gods. The Egyptians worshiped many gods. Worshiping the God of the Israelites wasn’t a problem. They just added him to the list of all the other gods they worshiped. God doesn’t want to compete with other gods because there are no other gods. He is the only one.
Reflection: What are some other gods we can worship? How do we do it?
- Do not make idols of any kind. Long ago—and still in some countries today—people built idols they thought looked like the god they worshiped. God warned his people not to make any images that they thought looked like him.
Reflection: Can you think of idols people might make today?
- Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God. God’s name is a picture of what the Bible tells us he is like. He is a holy God and worthy of our worship.
Reflection: What are some ways we can misuse God’s name?
- Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. In this time, the Sabbath was Saturday. Most Christians today don’t go to church on Saturday but on Sunday. Those who worship on Sunday do so to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. God knew we needed at least one day in the week to set aside for worshiping him and also for our bodies to rest from work.
Reflection: What are some things we should and shouldn’t do on Sunday?
- Honor your father and mother. At another place in the Bible, we are told to obey our parents. Once we become an adult, we don’t have to obey our parents anymore, but we should always honor them because they are our parents. This means being kind to them, and, if they are Christians, following their example.
Reflection: What are some ways you can honor your parents? What about after you leave home?
- Do not murder. Since God created people in his image, people are important and special. Killing someone shows that a person doesn’t have respect for one of God’s creations.
- Do not commit adultery. God wants men and women to marry before they start having children.
- Do not steal. God wants us to work to buy the things we want and need in life, not steal them from other people. Stealing is also a crime, so doing this can mean a person has to spend time in prison.
Reflection: Has someone ever stolen something from you? How did it make you feel?
- Do not testify falsely. This commandment means we should not lie. We should always tell the truth. When people lie to us, we can’t trust them. When we lie to others, they won’t trust us.
Reflection: Has anyone ever lied to you? How did it make you feel? How does it make others feel if you lie to them?
10. Do not covet. This isn’t simply wanting something someone else has. It’s wanting it so badly that we would steal it from them or that we get mad at them for having it when we can’t.
Reflection: Have you ever been jealous of what someone else has that you don’t? What did you do?
The Ten Commandments are our rules for living. Ask God to help you obey them each day.
Ten Commandments Poster
Have children draw and color a large ladder with ten rungs on a large piece of poster board. Write one commandment on each rung.
Add one or two heart stickers (or draw heart shapes on the paper) for each commandment they have obeyed. Hang the poster in a prominent location for future hearts to be added.