We all have things in our lives that are important to us. Those things may be particular possessions or activities we value, or even something you can’t see or touch like friendships.
- Name some things you value very much. (Accept all reasonable answers. Emphasize that important things may not be physical possessions.)
- Have you ever lost something that you value? How did it make you feel? (Encourage students to briefly share their experiences.)
- Have you ever been in a situation where you would have done anything to get or keep something important to you? (Be prepared to share your own examples, e.g., giving up one important thing in order to retain another.)
If there’s something we really, really want, we will go to great efforts to get (or keep) it. We will keep going after something to get what we want. In this video, a dog and a bird are battling it out…let’s see what happens.
Play the video for the students [3:47]:
Dog and bird play and fight over food
- Who do you think wanted the food more—the dog or the bird? (Answers may vary; both animals seemed committed to gaining control over the bowl of food.)
- Have you ever wanted something as badly as this dog and bird wanted the dog food? (Answers may vary.)
- Trickier question: have you ever wanted something so much that you neglected more important things to get it? (Students may be hesitant to share; providing your own examples can help stimulate discussion.)
There’s nothing wrong with wanting something, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with working for what you want. But if something you want becomes so important to you that you lose sight of what really matters, it can be a real problem. Let’s find out more.
Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. For upper elementary, middle school, and high school your Step 4 appears below. For adult, use the Step 4 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.
- “Broken Commandments” printouts on cardstock (1 per student; template here)
- Glue or tape
- Cardboard or additional cardstock (1 per student)
Note: before class, print copies of the “Broken Commandments” template (found here) on cardstock; print enough for each student with a few spares.
As students finish up their Step 3 activities, bring their attention back to the focus of the lesson. Today we learned about the idolatry committed by the Israelites, and how God responded.
- What idol did the Israelites make? (A golden calf.)
- How did God respond to the Israelites’ idolatry? (God judged them.)
- What did Moses do with the tablets of the law? (He broke them.)
None of us have golden calves at home that we worship, but we all have a tendency to let things come between us and God. There are things in our lives that we value too much, and so we put those ahead of what we really ought to do.
- Have you ever done something you knew displeased God because it was too important to you? Will anyone share about that? (Encourage students to discuss their experiences by starting out with an experience of your own.)
We all have things in our lives that we sometimes allow to come first, when God should be the one who comes first. It doesn’t mean those things are bad, but it means we have to be extra careful not to let that particular thing get in the way of our relationship with God and with others.
Hand out copies of the “Broken Commandments” templates along with scissors, a sheet of cardboard (or cardstock), and tape or glue. When we place something ahead of God, we break God’s commandments and shatter our relationship with Him. It can be tough to put it back together, but it’s important! The handout you have now contains the shattered pieces of one of God’s commandments. Cut out the pieces and glue them together on your sheet of cardboard.
As students start to complete their project, they will see that the broken tablet contains a blank. God told the Israelites, “You shall put no other gods before me.” In this blank, I want you to write something in your life that you might be tempted to put ahead of God. It might be a favorite activity that you spend too much time on or a friendship you know isn’t godly. You don’t have to share it with anyone else if you don’t want to.
After the students have written, direct them to cut out the cardboard “tablet” to take home. Over the next week, use this as a reminder of the dangers of putting anything ahead of your relationship with God. Ask the Lord to help you keep this “idol” in its proper place.
Close in prayer.
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(For our upper elementary, middle school, and high school customers: David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before shoeing links in the classroom.)