This is lesson #5 in our curriculum called “God’s Good Rules” that helps children study the Ten Commandments. In this Bible study, children will learn about the Sabbath and God’s gift of rest. 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.
“Holy Rest” Lesson #5 in the God’s Good Rules Series
Bible Curriculum for Kids on the 10 Commandments
Main idea: We take a special day each week to rest and worship God.
Gather: Bible; dry erase markers or chart paper and markers; music and music player; coloring supplies; scissors; glue sticks; Ten Commandments Coloring Page 4th Commandment; Sabbath batteries craft. 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 20:8-11
- Romans 14:5
- Psalm 127:2
- Exodus 31:13
- Mark 2:27
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, Psalm 121:4, Matthew 11:28, Ephesians 5:15-16, Colossians 2:16-17, Isaiah 30:15, Exodus 16
Take time to meditate on this week’s Scripture and think about your own life. It can be so hard to take a day for holy rest. There is always something on my to do list that, in my mind, absolutely must be done. Even if I am able to let go of my ever-growing to do list, I don’t always spend my Sabbath day well.
Instead of taking extra time to read my Bible and devote myself to prayer and playing with my kids, I can be found catching up on my pleasure reading or scrolling through social media. These things are not inherently bad, but they are most certainly time robbers. May we not steal time from our Lord. To tell you the truth, I struggle with the quiet found on a Sabbath day. But it is in the quiet that we can hear the voice of our Lord, encouraging us, sanctifying us, and comforting us.
Think back to the Exodus story, when God fed the Israelites manna in the desert. He told them to gather extra the day before the Sabbath, so they could truly rest on the Sabbath. God provided exactly what they needed, if they trusted him. He does the same for us today. I pray, dear teacher, that you would trust Jesus to provide for you as you take a Sabbath day this week to honor the Lord.
Bible Game / Lesson Introduction: Freeze Dance
This simple game will get your students moving so they can better pay attention during the message, and it will give them a fun, physical way to practice resting. Make sure you have a large, clear space, in order to minimize bumps and accidents. Tell your students to spread out with their arms out. They should not be able to touch anyone. Explain that when you start the music, they will dance nonstop. If you want, they can move around the room, or you can have them stay in pretty much one place so they do not run into anyone. Explain that when the music stops, they must drop to the ground and relax. They can pretend to sleep, or just close their eyes and smile. When the music starts up again, they dance around again. Play upbeat music and do as many rounds as you want, until they have settled down enough for class.
Children’s Bible Lesson: God’s Holy Rest
Open in prayer, then say, that was a fun game! I loved dancing with you all. It is fun to be active and to play. Sometimes I wish we could do that all the time! Wouldn’t it be cool if we never had to sleep, or take breaks? If we could just keep going, nonstop, all the time? It may sound fun, but that is not how we were created. God created us to rest. Do you know why we need sleep? (Allow students to answer.)
Sleeping is how our brains and our bodies recharge. It’s like plugging in a phone that has low battery. We grow best and learn best when we sleep well. Did you know that rest is so important, that God made it one of his commandments? This is our fifth week learning about the Ten Commandments. Today we are going to discuss the fourth rule. Listen and follow along as I read it from my Bible. (Ensure that students have found the correct place in their Bibles. Read Exodus 20:8-11. Or, if you prefer, read from verse one for review.)
“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.”
That was a pretty long commandment. The actual commandment is given in verse eight, and is followed by extra details on the commandment and a reason why we have this rule. Who can tell me what the fourth commandment is? (Allow a student to answer.)
The fourth commandment tells us “remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” There are a lot of big words in there, so let’s look at them one by one. When this verse says, “remember to observe,” it means, “don’t forget to do.” Next is the word Sabbath. This word is from a Hebrew word. Remember, the Bible was not originally written in English. The Old Testament, Exodus, was written in Hebrew, because that is what the Israelites spoke. The word “Sabbath” means to stop and rest. (See Strong’s Concordance entry 7673).
Does anyone remember what holy means? (Allow students to answer.) Holy means set apart for a special use. So, in the fourth commandment, God is basically telling us, don’t forget to take a day for special rest to worship him every week.
Now of course we are supposed to worship God every day. We should read our Bibles every day and pray every day and do kind things every day. But this commandment tells us we are supposed to take one day out of every week and make it a special time for God. The Sabbath day is a day to rest and relax and focus on God. Most Christians choose Sunday as their Sabbath day, since that’s the day they go to church. Some choose Saturday. Other families may choose other days of the week for a special day of rest because the weekends won’t work for their family’s schedule. Romans 14:5 tells us,
“… some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable.”
It does not really matter which day your family chooses to rest. What matters is that you use that day as a chance to recharge your spiritual batteries so you will be ready to serve God by serving others the rest of the week.
Resting is important. But not many people are very good at it. We don’t like to stop doing things, and we don’t like to be bored. So we keep our days busy, busy, busy! We keep our days so busy however, that we don’t make time for God. Adults may work a whole lot because they enjoy their jobs and because they want to make money. That is an okay thing to do, but only for six days a week. Kids may go to school and sports and other activities and playdates because those things are fun and important. But only for six days a week. On one day a week, we must rest in the Lord.
Let’s have a sword drill to see one reason why we rest. Take all fingers and bookmarks out of your Bibles and hold them, closed, above your head. When I say go, turn to Psalm 127:2. Go! (Read, or have a student read, Psalm 127:2.)
“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.”
Working hard and doing your best is important. But we don’t have to work so hard all the time. We can trust God to take care of us.
Taking a Sabbath day to rest and spend extra time with God is kind of like tithing. Who can remind us what tithing is? (Allow students to answer.) Tithing is when we give part of the money we earn to God. It shows God that we trust him to take care of us and provide everything we need on less money. It’s his money anyway. He is the one who lets us earn it in the first place. Resting one day a week is another way to show God that we trust him. We give him one day a week so we can rest and not have to worry about getting all the work done. We know God will take care of us. All the days of the week are his, anyway.
Even God himself rested! Remember, when God created the Universe, he created everything in six days, and then rested on day seven. Of course, God did not NEED to rest. He’s God! He never even sleeps! (Psalm 121:4). God rested to give us an example of what our weeks should look like: six days of work and one day of rest. There is another reason why God commands us to keep the Sabbath day. Exodus 31:13 says,
“Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.”
People who aren’t Christians don’t usually have an idea of what it means to take a day off. Most stores stay open seven days a week. Most people at least do some work to get caught up or get ahead. So when people see Christians resting one day a week instead of doing extra work, they will see that Christians have a different way of thinking. We don’t have to worry about getting any extra work done, because God will provide for us.
Now before we move on to our craft, I want to discuss with you for a moment what Sabbath rest looks like. What do you think of when you hear the word “rest?” (Allow students to answer.)
When I hear the word “rest,” I think about bubble baths, fuzzy slippers, and afternoon naps. While this rest can be a part of a Sabbath day, it is not the whole day. Also, this commandment is not a way to get out of doing your chores. You still have to take care of your pets, help with meals, and make your bed. Your family’s Sabbath day is not a day to stop doing everything. After all, you do need to eat. It is a day to spend extra time focusing on God together. So prepare ahead of time. Make sure your room is clean the day before, so you don’t have to use God’s special day doing a lot of cleaning, and make sure you finish your homework, because that is certainly not restful. A good way to spend a Sabbath day is by spending extra time with your family, reading your Bible, singing worship songs, going to church, and spending extra time talking to God in prayer.
The Sabbath day is a special day for us to recharge our batteries, so we can be calmer, kinder people for the rest of the week. The Sabbath is a special gift from God. Jesus tells us in Mark 2:27,
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.’”
So I encourage you, starting this week, to take one day of every week and make it a special day to rest with God! End in prayer.
Sabbath Rest Coloring Page
4th Commandment Coloring Page by Many Groce.
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.
You can find options with printed text (instead of cursive script) when on the 10 Commandments Coloring Book page on our website.
“Recharge Your Batteries” Craft
As students complete this craft page, remind them that these activities are some of the good ways to keep the Sabbath day holy. Have students color the person outline to look like them. They then cut out the activities at the bottom. (Read the Bible, rest and nap, spend time with family, go to church, and spend extra time praying.) You may cut out the squares for younger students. Last, have the students glue the activities into the battery. Suggest to them that they place their finished craft on the fridge or another visible place this week so they can remember to keep the Sabbath holy.