Teach students the importance of the first two of the Ten Commandments. Includes a teaching guide, 2 games, and a craft.
Needed: drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils, pictures of various gods, a mask
Intro Activity: Drawing God
As students come in, give them some drawing supplies and ask them to draw various things. First, they should draw themselves, then their parents, then their best friend. Finally, ask them to draw God.
When some try, discuss how their pictures show something about God, but they don’t show everything about God. Explain that any pictures we make of God can never show everything that God is because He’s so great. And we don’t know what God looks like, either.
Ask students, Does anyone remember why God gives us rules? (God gives us rules because He loves us. The rules He gives us are meant to protect us and others.)
(Show students pictures of various other gods.) Who knows what these are?
These are gods that other people worship.
(Have students take turns reading Exodus 20:1-6 , quoted here in the NIV.)
“And God spoke all these words:
- “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
- “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
- “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
- “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me,”
- “but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
Does God want us to worship other gods? (No. )
What is the first rule that God gives us? (God’s first rule is that we worship only Him.)
We only have one God, and that’s God. But why do we have only one God? Why can’t we worship other gods if we want to?
How do you think your parents would feel if you started calling a tree your mom or your dad? Do you think they would be sad about that?
And can a tree be your mom or dad?
No, of course not. It would be silly to call a tree your mom or dad because you know a tree can’t really be your mom or dad. It’s just a tree.
It’s kind of the same with us and God. When we call other things our god, that makes God sad. And there is only one God. The other gods aren’t real.
In fact, the other gods are demons tricking people into believing in them.
(Put on your mask.) What do I look like?
I look like _, but am I really _?
No, I’m still me underneath. The demons can look like other things and make up stories to make people believe in other gods, but they’re still just demons underneath. The demons don’t want us to believe in God, the only God, so they’ll try to trick people any way they can.
If we worship the one God, we are worshiping and serving the real God. God is the one who made the world and the plants and the animals and us. He is the one who loves us and takes care of us. That’s why God wants us to worship only Him: because He’s the only God that’s real.
God also doesn’t want us to make idols. An idol is something that we worship other than God. It could be a statue of another god or it could even be a statue of the real God. We can’t worship anything that isn’t the real God. God isn’t a statue or a painting or anything else, so we can’t worship those things.
But there’s one more thing about false gods and idols that we need to remember. God said not to put any other gods before Him. But there are times when do put things before God, isn’t there?
What do you think we might put before God?
If God tells you not to do something and you do it anyway, you’re putting what you want to do before God. You’re saying that what you want to do is more important than God. And that’s wrong.
If it’s time to spend time with God by reading your Bible or praying or going to church, and you decide to do something else instead, you’re putting that thing before God. You’re saying that something else in your life is more important than God. And that’s wrong.
God is the most important part of our lives. We honor Him by not putting any false gods or anything else we want to do before Him.
Game: Alex and Alicia
Help students apply the lesson by giving advice to two fictitious students.
Story #1. Alex’s New Friend
One day, Alex went to spend the night at a friend’s house. Before bed, Alex’s friend and his parents were getting ready to say their prayers. They said that they prayed to the god Ganesh and wanted to know if Alex wanted to pray to Ganesh with them.
What should Alex do?
(Alex should not pray to Ganesh. Praying to false gods is like worshipping them, and God commands us to worship only Him.)
Story #2. Alicia’s Class Trip
During school, Alicia has been learning about the different religions people believe in. At the end of the week, her class is taking a field trip to a Buddhist temple. Alicia knows that Buddha isn’t really a god, but she still wonders if she should go to a place where people worship him.
What should Alicia do?
(Alicia should not go to the Buddhist temple. God commanded us to worship only Him, and going to a place where they worship another god could make it seem like she’s okay with worshipping other gods.)
Story #3. Alex Needs to Do His Homework
One day, Alex’s teacher gave him a lot of homework. He usually reads a chapter in the Bible and prays after dinner, but today, he doesn’t think he has time. He thinks that if he takes time to pray and read his Bible, he won’t have enough time to get all of his homework done.
What should Alex do?
(Alex should read his Bible and pray like he usually does. God is more important than getting all his homework done.)
Story #4. Alicia and The Tipparones 2
Alicia is in a very good habit of praying and reading her Bible every night. The problem is that she just got a new video game called The Tipparones 2. Alicia loves the Tipparones and this game has everything she likes. She’s been playing it all day. She thinks that she could stop playing to take time to read her Bible and pray, but she doesn’t want to stop playing her game. She thinks that she could always pray and read her Bible tomorrow instead.
What should Alicia do?
(Alicia should take a break from her game to spend time with God. God is more important than her new video game.)
Game: Punishment Grid
Make a grid on the floor with half the number of columns as students you have in your class. There should be ten rows. Form the students into two teams and have the students stand beside their teammates on each side of the grid. Each student starts behind one column on the grid.
As you ask questions, students will move forward on the grid until the two teams meet in the middle. You’ll ask a question, and if students think the answer is true, they’ll raise their hand. If they think the answer is false, they’ll keep their hands down. If they get the answer right, they move up one square. If they get the answer wrong, they move back to their previous square.
When the students meet, the team with the most right answers chases the other. The round is over when the winning team tags all the other students.
Play again, continuing down the list of questions and then asking some of the trickier questions over. If both teams do equally well, rule that the winners from the last round are now the ones to be chased.
Ask the following questions and give a brief explanation of the right answer afterward.
- We can worship other gods as long as they do good things.
- Other gods are really demons in disguise.
- People who worship other gods are being tricked.
- People who worship other gods are evil.
- We can make only make idols of the real God.
- An idol is anything you worship.
- Idols aren’t bad if they show Jesus.
- We can make statues of things as long as we don’t worship them.
- God likes it when we bow down to statues of Him.
- An idol is an image of something that you worship.
Father God, we thank You that You are a good God. You are the only God. Help us never to be tricked by demons pretending to be gods. And help us never to give other things more attention than we give You. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
This lesson is included in my book, The Lord’s Top Ten: Children’s Sunday School Lessons on the Ten Commandments.