This is lesson #3 in our study 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.
Lesson #3 in the God’s Good Rules Series: Bible Curriculum for Kids on the 10 Commandments
About this Lesson Plan
We don’t worship created idols, because we worship the invisible, incredible Creator!
- Exodus 20:3-6
- Psalm 135:15-18
- Romans 1:20
- Galatians 5:22-23
- Colossians 1:15
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.”
Supplies / Materials Needed:
Bible; dry erase markers or chart paper and markers; golden calf printouts on yellow paper; yellow sticky notes; bowls; third commandment coloring page; “time to worship God” printouts; coloring supplies; scissors; and scotch tape. For bonus ideas, see all our resources for teaching the 10 Commandments to Kids
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 Devotion & Lesson Preparation:
Read Scripture references, Ezekiel 18:1-18, Psalm 115, Isaiah 44:6-20, Exodus 32, and 1 Timothy 1:17
Take time to meditate on this week’s Scripture and think about your own life. It is highly unlikely that you worship any physical idols. But there is a good chance that you sometimes, even unknowingly, bow to a false god. We live in an information saturated world. Unfortunately, that information is not always true.
There seems to be a lot of false notions about the character of God. For example, you may have heard, “God helps those who help themselves.” A lot of people think this is in the Bible. It isn’t. I have also heard, referring to difficult life circumstances, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” There does not seem to be any biblical support for this either. Depending on statements such as these, when there is no scriptural evidence for them, can leave one disappointed and disillusioned.
My point is, it is easy to get
a wrong idea about who God is. I encourage you, dear teacher, to be alert in
your day to day. Listen to the messages you hear around you and ask yourself,
“Does this align with Scripture?” Take time every day to dig deep into God’s
word so you may learn more about who he truly is and thus avoid any idolatry of
a god who does not exist.
Sunday School Game: Tearing Down Idols
Print out at least two copies of the golden calf printable onto yellow paper. Tape them up at the far end of your classroom for a relay race. Beneath each paper statue, create a rectangular altar by placing yellow sticky notes side by side, slightly wider than the golden calf paper. Use enough sticky notes that each student in your class can have at least three turns.
To play Tearing Down Idols, break your students up into two or three groups. Ideally, have no more than seven or so students per team, so kids do not have to wait too long for their turn. Place a bowl at the starting line next to each team. Use blue bowls or place blue paper in the bottoms of the bowls to represent water. Explain to the class that in today’s story, we will learn about how the people of God broke the second commandment by building a statue of a golden calf to worship. In the game, they will destroy the golden calf, just like Moses did. When you say go, the first student from each team will run to the calf picture designated to their team and remove one sticky note.
As they run back to their team, they will crumple it up and then drop it into their team’s bowl. Before the next player can go, the previous player must give them a high five. The first team to tear down all the sticky notes from their team’s golden calf altar wins. At the end of the game, take down the golden calves and tear them up before throwing them away.
Bible Lesson: No Idols
Open in prayer, then say, great job tearing down idols today, class! Last week, talked a little bit about idols as we learned about the first commandment. Can anyone remind me what the first commandment is? (Allow a student to answer). Right, the first commandment says, “You must not have any other god but me.” (Exodus 20:3).
We know that the Ten Commandments are good rules that God gave to Moses for all people to follow, including you and me! These rules help us to have good relationships with God and people. Today we are going to learn about the second commandment. It’s closely related to the first commandment, since both deal with keeping God first in your heart. Follow along with me in your Bibles as I read the second commandment.
It’s in Exodus 20:4-6. (Help kids find the proper verse so they can follow along).
“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.”
Last week we learned that the first commandment teaches us to keep God first in our hearts. When we make something in our lives more important to us than God, that is called idolatry. In ancient times, and even some people today, they would not only worship imaginary, made up, false gods, but they would build statues, called idols, and bow down and worship those. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous, worshipping something made by a person, instead of worshipping the God who made people?
There are a lot of places in the Bible that talk about idolatry. Let’s have a sword drill to look at one of those passages. Take all fingers and bookmarks out of your Bibles and hold them closed above your heads. When I say go, turn to Psalm 135:15-18. Go! (Read, or have a student read Psalm 135:15-18).
“The idols of the nations are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. 16 They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. 17 They have ears but cannot hear, and mouths but cannot breathe. 18 And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.”
So this verse is saying that idols are useless objects that can’t do anything. Why bother praying to such a thing? They are absolutely worthless and those who make and bow down to worship made things are absolutely silly.
We don’t worship created idols because our God, Yahweh, is too big, too magnificent to be able to represent in a painting or sculpture. We would never be able to get the picture just right. Romans 1:20 tells us:
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
Our Lord cannot be made into an idol statue because most of what makes God, GOD, is invisible! Ideas that we can’t really draw or imagine as a picture. Like his power that lasts forever. Or how he knows everything about everyone. Or how he loves us so, so, SO much!
Now I feel like I ought to let you know, God likes art. It is okay to draw and create. God gave us the ability to be creative! The problem is when we make something to be more important than God. Have you heard the phrase, “you are what you eat?” Who wants to take a guess at what that means? (Allow students to answer).
“You are what you eat” means that if you eat junk food all the time, your body will feel junky and icky. If you eat healthy foods, you will have a healthy body. I think a better phrase is, “you are what you worship.” If you worship and make anything else more important than God, you will become more like that thing.
Think about it. If you choose to watch six hours of your favorite TV show on Saturday instead of reading your Bible and doing things to show love to love other people, you are going to turn into a couch potato who doesn’t care for anyone or anything and who gets upset when the TV gets turned off. But if you worship God and care more about what God thinks of you and what He wants you to do, then you will become more and more like God. You will become more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, and kinder, you will do more good, and you will be more faithful and gentle and have better self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). We don’t worship created idols, because we worship the invisible, incredible Creator!
I hate to tell you this, but the people of Israel broke this commandment while Moses was talking with God on the mountain, receiving the rules for them to follow. Moses was on the mountain with God for forty days. The people of Israel got tired of waiting for him, so they had the priest Aaron, Moses’ brother, use all their gold to create a golden calf for them to worship. (Exodus 32). Now that just sums up the story; there is a lot more that went on, but we may learn about that some other day. Moses was so mad that he burned the idol, smashed it to dust, and scattered the dust all over the water. Because Moses loved and obeyed God, he tore down the idol.
God takes sin seriously. He created everything and loves us so, so much. He deserves all our worship and praise. He wants us to tear down any idols in our lives. Hopefully none of us have a golden calf at home that we worship. But, as we discussed last week, we do sometimes make other things more important to us than having a good relationship with God. This week, I want you to make sure you take time every day to worship God. Pray to him, read your Bible, and look for ways to show love to others every day. Remember, you are what you worship, and I want us all to be like Jesus. Colossians 1:15 tells us, “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.” He is the one to worship!
End in prayer.
2nd Commandment Coloring Page
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.
Craft: “Time to worship God” bracelets
Have students make a watch bracelet to remind them to take time to worship God every day. Pass out one watch wristband per student. Let them color as they wish, and then cut it out. Help them tape it (loosely) around their wrists.