TEXT: Exodus 20:1-11
The students will understand that God wants to be first in their lives.
BIBLE LESSON OUTLINE
Introduction: Bring some rules for a game, instructions for assembling something, and a motor vehicle driver's manual to class. Discuss with your students what part rules and instructions play in our lives and why they are helpful and important.
Progression of events:
- God knew the Children of Israel needed rules and instructions so they would understand what God expected of them.
- God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and he was to convey these to the people.
- God's first Commandment told them that He wanted to be the one and only God they would serve.
- We must honor God and put Him first in our lives also. Discuss specific ways this can be done.
Climax: The people could show God that they loved and honored Him by obeying His Commandments.
Conclusion: It is just as important today that we put God first in our lives as it was for the Children of Israel.
Response: Your students will be able to explain the first Commandment and relate specific ways we can put God first in our lives today.
Shortly after the Children of Israel escaped from Egypt, God called Moses up to Mount Sinai and gave him the Ten Commandments. Initially, the purpose of the Law was to set the nation of Israel apart from the pagan nations around them. God said, "If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people" (Exodus 19:5). Ultimately, however, the Law was given to display the sinfulness of man (Romans 3:19-20). Man, in his own strength, can never keep the Law. Under the New Covenant a man is no longer set apart by keeping the Law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. A Christian follows the Spirit of God, but it is obvious that the Spirit of God would not lead a person to disregard the holy principles of the Law of God. (See Romans 6.) As Paul said, "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12).
When asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (Matthew 22:37). The Lord demands our total commitment. We must honor him with our thoughts, words, actions, and time.
- Show the children things such as a trophy, money, houses, and clothing. Explain how these can be idols if they become more important to them than God.
- Use a heart-shaped candy box to represent a person's heart. Inside the box put pictures mounted on paper hearts cut to fit the shape of the box. Each picture should depict some way a child can honor God; for example, singing, praying, helping, sharing, obeying, loving.
- Cut out several 1" x 8" strips of paper (one for each name you use). On each strip write one of the names by which God is known. Try to use the descriptive names such as: Almighty, Savior, Truth, Judge. You can find a complete list in a Thompson Chain-Reference Bible. Put these strips together to make a paper chain. During class, help the children recite the memory verse and explain why we should honor God and why even His name is so special. Let the children take turns detaching the links from the paper chain. Have each child read aloud the names he chooses. Talk about the meaning of each of the names.
- God gave Moses Ten Commandments. We have printed most of them on the Mixed-Up Commands sheet along with several other "rules" (see Patterns). Give each child a copy of this pattern and ask them to cross out the rules that were not given to Moses. They should circle the four commands that tell how we can honor God and show that we love Him.
- Why does God want first place in our lives?
- What are some of the things that could come before God in our lives?
- Can a person be “free" and still have to follow rules?
- God has all kinds of promises for those who keep His Commandments. Name some of these promises.
- What does it mean to take the Lord's name in vain?
- How can we show God respect?
- How do you think He wants us to act in His House?
- How is Sunday different from the other six days?
- Why doesn't God want us to work on His day? What example did He give us?
- What promise does God give to those who honor their mother and father?
- Tell some ways we can show our mother and father that we honor them.
- Ask your little ones, "How do you think God feels when you honor Him?" As each one answers the same question, use a can of pressurized cheese spread to make a smiling face on a round cracker to represent God's happy feeling. The children can then eat the crackers for their snack.
- Put tiny dolls in a church setting. (Use a piece of cardboard folded in the center so it will stand up. Make "stained glass" windows from scraps of construction paper and tape on each side to give the effect of a church.) Use the dolls to illustrate behavior in church which would honor God—singing the songs nicely, folding hands and closing eyes at prayer time, not pushing on the benches, treating Bibles and song books carefully, etc.
- For each student prepare a set of the Honor God finger puppets (see Patterns). Explain to them that the symbols stand for five ways we can honor God. Let the children put them on their fingers. As you explain what each one means, have the children show which finger puppet you are talking about.
- The children will enjoy doing this familiar finger play: 1. Here is the church (hands clasped together with fingers inside) 2. And here is the steeple (index fingers of both hands extended) 3. Open the door (pull thumbs apart to expose fingers) 4. And see all the people (wiggle fingers). As you wiggle the fingers to symbolize people, talk about what each of the people can do in church to honor God.
The following stories show how we put God first in our daily lives. After telling each story, ask the children if God was put first.
- Just as Jane got home from school her mother was ready to leave. "I'm glad you're home, Jane. I have to go to the store now," her mother said. "Please clean your room before you go out to play." As soon as her mom left, Jane put on her play clothes. "I know the Bible says to obey your parents, but I can play first and then clean my room. Mom won't be back for a while, so she'll never know," Jane said to herself.
- Tommy and Ben were riding bikes together. As they turned a corner, Ben's wheel caught Tommy's and they both came crashing down. Ben got up and said a bad word. Tommy thought about what the Bible says about cursing. He wanted to put God first. Even though he hurt, he didn't say bad things.
- Jon heard his mother calling him. It was time to read and pray together. But he was having a great time playing in his tree fort, so he pretended not to hear her. Reading and praying is okay, he thought, but God can wait until I'm finished playing.
- Tracy heard her sister say that the Sunday school bus had pulled up outside. She was right in the middle of reading a story. It was a brand new comic book that she bought yesterday. This was the first chance she had to read it, so she didn't want to stop. But Tracy remembered what she had learned from the Bible. We are supposed to honor God every day, but especially on His day. "Wait for me, Sis," she yelled, as she grabbed her lesson sheet on the way out. She felt good in her heart. She knew she was honoring God.
Enlarge and cutout the outline of the boy (see Patterns). Then cut out appropriate-sized hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouth, and heart. Place the boy on the board and the ten parts into a box. Play a game similar to "Pin the Tail on the Donkey." Choose ten students and let each of them take a part from the box. Write the student's initials on his part. Let each student tell what he can do with that part to honor God. In turn, blindfold and spin each one around. Place a pin in the part he is holding and let him pin his part in the place on the board where he thinks it should be. The one who puts his part closest to the correct place may be given a small prize. (If felt is used for the body and parts, the pins would not be needed.)
- We Go to God's House — Happy Day Card Game, Standard Publishing
- Tell Me About God — Happy Day Book, Standard Publishing
- God and Me — by F. Heide, Concordia