This is lesson #2 in our series called “God’s Good Rules” that gives kids an in-depth study of the Ten Commandments. Download the complete printable lesson plan below. See all the lessons and find bonus learning activities on the series page: God’s Good Rules – A Study for Children on the 10 Commandments.
“Who’s Number One?”
Lesson #2 in the God’s Good Rules Series: Bible Curriculum for Kids on the 10 Commandments
About this Lesson Plan
We worship only God because only God can save us from our sins!
Supplies: / Materials needed
Bible; dry erase markers or chart paper and markers; God First! Go Fish printout, (at least two copies, cut out, for every four or five kids. Works best on cardstock. Consider printing each set on different colors of paper, so you the games don’t get mixed up); four bowls; two serving spoons; many crumpled balls of paper (see game); coloring supplies; scissors; glue sticks; “God is number one” printout; “1st Commandment Coloring Page” For bonus ideas, see all our resources for teaching the 10 Commandments to Kids
Bible Memory Verses:
Psalm 119:1-2 “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”
- Exodus 20:1-17
- Exodus 19:5-8
- Isaiah 43:21
- John 8:34
More 10 Commandment Learning & Activities
- See our printable 10 commandments for kids version
- Compare our single Ten Commandment Sunday School Lesson
- Compare our single Preschool Bible Lesson on the Ten Commandments
- Moses and the Law of 10 Commandments (preschool coloring page)
- PDF Worksheets on the 10 Commandments
- Commandments Preschool Booklet [pdf] and Mini Book [pdf]
- Moses Songs for Preschoolers
- Go Fish Guys sing the 10 Commandment Song
- See the 10 Commandments for Kids on Sunday School Works
Teacher Preparation / Devotion
Read Scripture references, Matthew 6:24, 33, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 27:4, Deuteronomy 6:14-15
Take time to meditate on this week’s Scripture and think about your own life. I think it is so easy for us to quickly brush aside the first commandment, seeing as none of us worship the gods of other religions.
As you prepare to teach this week, I encourage you to dig deeper into this commandment. Our Lord is jealous for us. He loves us fiercely and has earned our time, love and devotion. What do you put first in your life?
Your job, your kids or spouse? Your hobbies? It is so easy to put God on the back burner. To let our “selves” take over. We feel like we can make decisions on our own or just squeeze God in on a Sunday morning. Before we know it, we have drifted so far from our faith that we don’t even recognize ourselves. If we aren’t actively fighting to stay connected to the Lord and worship only him, we will most assuredly drift downstream and find ourselves filling the space in our hearts meant for God with other pursuits.
I pray that this week, you will take the time to
pray and read your Bible and fight for your relationship with God. Make him number
one in your heart.
Game and Lesson Introduction: God First! Go Fish
Divide the class into groups of three to five. Give each group a deck (two printouts) of shuffled “God First” Go Fish Cards. This game is played just like normal go fish, but the deck is made up of items people often idolize and treat at more important than God.
The purpose of the game is to be the first to get rid of all your cards by making matches and declare, “God is first in my heart!” Each student starts with five cards. The rest of the cards are face down in a stack in the middle. The student whose birthday is soonest goes first. The player asks another player if they have a particular card.
(For example, “Joseph, do you have the TV card?” If the player asked has that card, they must hand it over. If not, the first player draws from the draw pile. If they pick up the card they just asked for, they make a match and have another turn. If not, play moves on to the person to the left. Play continues until one player has found matches for all the cards in his hand and declares, “God is first in my heart!”
Hearts full of God: Sunday School Game
For a more active game, divide the class into two teams. On the far end of the room, set up two bowls filled with blue paper, crumpled up into balls. On the close end of the room, in front of the teams, place bowls with old, recycled paper, crumpled up into balls. Make sure each bowl has the same number of papers.
(Use what you have on hand. Just be sure that the papers on the far end are all the same color. The closer paper balls can be mixed colors and types, as long as they are distinct from the ones on the other side. You could also use pom poms or small balls, or beads. The goal of the game is to empty the bowl of everything that crowds out God from our lives (the old, recycled paper,) and replace it with God’s presence.
(The clean, blue paper
balls.) Give the first player from each team a serving spoon. They use it to
scoop up one paper ball. They then must run across the room and drop the ball
into the other bowl before scooping up a blue paper ball and running back to the
start to drop it in the bowl. As the game progresses, this will get more
difficult, since students will have to sift through the balls to find the kind
they want. The first team to remove all the old paper from their bowl and fill
it with the presence of God (in the form of blue paper balls), wins.
Children’s Bible Lesson: Who’s Number One?
Open in prayer, then say, great work playing today’s games! You know that our games always have something to do with our lessons. Can anyone take a guess about what today’s game has to do with our lesson? (Allow children to guess.) Today’s games were all about putting God first in our hearts. Last week, we started to learn about the Ten Commandments. Who can tell me what the Ten Commandments are? (Allow students to answer.)
The Ten Commandments are ten rules that God gave to Moses for the people of Israel to obey. Obeying rules helps keep us safe, healthy and happy. Rules help us to have a good relationship, to get along well with God and with other people. Let’s quickly read the passage from the book of Exodus where we learn about the Ten Commandments, just for review, and then we will spend the rest of class learning about the first commandment. (Read, or have a student read Exodus 20:1-17. Passage below in from the NLT.)
“Then God gave the people all these instructions.2 “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.3 “You must not have any other god but me. 4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on thosewho love me and obey my commands. 7 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. 8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. 12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 13 “You must not murder. 14 “You must not commit adultery. 15 “You must not steal. 16 “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. 17 “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”
There is something special about the order in which God gave us the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments tell us how to have a good relationship with God, and the last six commandments tell us how to have a good relationship with other people. Also, you may have been able to guess, the first commandment is the most important one.
If we do a good job following this rule, the others are easy to follow. If we can’t follow the first rule, we won’t be able to follow all the others. Let’s read that first rule again. (Read Exodus 20:3.)
“You must not have any other god but me.”
Okay, trick question: everyone shout out at once and tell me, how many gods are there? (Let students shout out.) Yes, there is only ONE God! His holy name is Yahweh. He created everything in the universe and made people special, to love and follow him. So the first commandment DOES NOT MEAN there are other real gods. It means that we sometimes act like there are and we worship other things, or sometimes, people make up gods and tell stories about them and worship these made up gods instead. They Egyptians did exactly this. When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, just two months before God gave them the Ten Commandments, the Egyptians worshiped a whole bunch of made up gods. In fact, a whole bunch of people in the world back, then, and even some today, worshipped made up gods with made up names. Israel knew there is only one real God and they agreed to do what God told them (Exodus 19:5-8).
These days, there are still people who don’t believe that Yahweh is the one true God and that Jesus is his son. But they still worship something. We are created to worship. Isaiah 43:21 says, “the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” (NIV)
So if we aren’t worshiping God and putting him first in our hearts, than what ARE we worshiping? What are some things we make more important in our lives than God? (Allow students to answer. If you want, write the answers on the board.)
There’s not really a wrong answer here. Sometimes, we make our schoolwork or homework more important than God. Sometimes we care more about getting good grades than having good hearts. Sometimes we care more about spending time watching TV or playing video games or reading our favorite books than we do spending time with God. Sometimes we choose to skip church or not read our Bible because we have other things to do. Sometimes we care more about our sports team. Either the one we’re on or a professional team. We want to win, we want to be number one!
Schoolwork, sports or other hobbies, our chores, our friends and families, are all important. But nothing is as important as having a good relationship with God. What are some things we can do to help us have a good relationship with God? (Allow students to answer. Possibly write their answers on the board.) Going to church and Sunday school, reading our Bibles, praying, and treating others well, all show that God is first in our hearts.
Before we close in prayer and do our craft, let’s think about WHY we put God first. Exodus 20:2 says, “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”
Then verse three is the first commandment, telling us that there is only one God and we should follow and obey him. We love and obey God because he rescued us from slavery. Now, you and I have never actually been slaves in another country, like the Israelites were in Egypt. Let’s have a sword drill. Take all fingers and bookmarks out of your Bible and hold it closed above your head. When I say go, look up John 8:34. Go! (Read, or have a student read John 8:34.)
“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.” Then in verse 36, Jesus tells us, “So if the Son [Jesus] sets you free, you are truly free.”
Before Jesus saved us from our sins, it was like we were slaves to our sins. But when we believe that Jesus died on the cross to save us, and we ask him to forgive us of our sins, he sets us free! We worship only God because only God can save us from our sins!
End in prayer.
1st Commandment Coloring Page
(included in the download above)
Have children write their name on the coloring page. As they color, discuss with them what they learned today. They may take the coloring pages home, or you may collect them to put together into a book to be sent home at the end of the unit.
“God is Number One!” paper foam fingers
Explain how sometimes at sporting events, people wear foam fingers that look like they are holding up one very big finger, saying their team is number one. (Show a picture, if able.) Have students color a front and back paper foam finger. Cut out, and glue on the outer edges, leaving the bottom open so once it’s dry, they can stick their fingers in it and declare that God is number one!