Lesson: Why Does God Give Us Rules?

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The Lord gives us the Ten Commandments and other rules because He loves us. Includes a lesson and 3 games.

Needed: common items, Bibles, Whiteboard and markers or something else to write on, pieces of paper with phrases from the Ten Commandments written on them

Game: Breaking the Rules

Play any simple game your kids know. The trick is that you’re going to intentionally break the rules to disrupt the game. You could also have one of your volunteers do it.

For instance, if you’re playing soccer with the kids, you could pick up the ball and run it to the goal instead of kicking it. You could randomly move the goals while the kids are playing.

Another example is if you’re playing a board game, you could cheat in an obvious manner.

If you’re playing hide and seek, you could keep your eyes open to watch where the children hide.

When the kids say that you’re not playing fair, explain that you’re showing them what happens when people break the rules. Breaking the rules disrupts the game and makes it so that it isn’t as much fun for everyone else.

Game: Wrong Purpose

Divide students into groups of three. Hand each group a common object and tell them that they have to come up with a skit that shows them using that object in a different way than it was made for.

Give the groups a few minutes to think of something and then let each group perform their skit. As each group finishes, ask them why their object wouldn’t work very well for the purpose they showed?


Ask students, Do people have rules when they’re driving a car?

What are some of the rules people have to follow when driving a car?

What happens when people don’t follow those rules? (They could crash and get hurt or they could hurt someone else.)

What are some of the rules that you have in your house? (As students name the rules, write them down on the board or a piece of paper. Help them brainstorm and suggest rules that you had as a child or rules that you give your children now.)

Why do you think your parents give you all these rules? (Discuss the consequences of breaking their parents’ rules and guide the students into realizing that the rules help protect either themselves or someone else from physical or emotional harm.)

God also gives us rules. Let’s read what some of God’s rules are. (Have students take turns reading the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17 , quoted here in the NIV.)

And God spoke all these words:

  1. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
  2. “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
  3. “You shall not make for yourself an imagein the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
  4. “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 parentsto the third and fourth generationof those who hate Me,”
  5. “but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
  6. “You shall not misuse the name of theLordyour God, for theLord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.””
  7. “Remember the Sabbathday by keeping it holy.”
  8. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work,”
  9. “but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.”
  10. “For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
  11. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
  12. “You shall not murder.”
  13. “You shall not commit adultery.”
  14. “You shall not steal.”
  15. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
  16. “You shall not covetyour neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Why do you think God gave us these rules? Is it because God is mean and He doesn’t want us to have fun, so He makes a lot of rules for people to follow? (No! God likes us to have fun.)

Is it because God is bored and He doesn’t have anything better to do than to make up rules? (No! God has lots to do. God never gets bored.)

So, why did God give us all these rules?

God made rules to protect us, just like your parents do. God’s rules help us to live in a way that will make us happy and won’t get us into trouble with negative consequences. God made us and He loves us and He gives us rules to help us stay safe.

When we break God’s rules, like I broke the rules in our game earlier, we can hurt ourselves or someone else, or make life not as fun for ourselves or for other people.

And just like your objects that you used in the wrong way, when we break God’s rules, we’re using ourselves in a way that God never intended. God didn’t make us – He didn’t design us – to do wrong things. So, when we do, things don’t work as well for us. We’re trying to use ourselves for the wrong purpose, and it doesn’t work out as well as when we do the right things and use ourselves for the right purposes that God made us to.

We’ll look at this list of God’s rules some more over the next few weeks. We’ll talk about what exactly the rules mean and how we can follow them.

For now, let’s play a game to help us learn what these rules are.

Game: Ordering the Commands

Write our print out the Ten Commandments. Cut them in half or thirds and hide the pieces of paper around the room. Kids race to find the pieces of paper and arrange the commandments. The second part of the challenge is to put the commandments in order. Kids can use Bibles for reference.

Closing Prayer

Lord, we thank You for giving us Your rules to help us be safe and happy. We ask now that You’ll help us to learn Your rules and follow them every day. 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.

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