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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Exodus 32-33:6

Story Summary

God called Moses to the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. During this time he gave him instructions for the tabernacle and the offerings. When God finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him two tablets of stone inscribed by the very finger of God. They contained the Ten Commandments.

Meanwhile, the people of Israel had become impatient waiting for Moses to return with a message from God. Moses had been gone for so long that the people gave up on him and begged Aaron (Moses' brother) to build them an altar so they could worship.

Aaron answered them, "Take the gold earrings off your wives, your sons and your daughters. Bring the earrings to me." So all of the people took off their earrings. They brought them to Aaron. He took what they gave him and made it into a metal statue of a god. It looked like a calf. He shaped it with a tool. Then the people said, "Israel, here is your god who brought you up out of Egypt." Exodus 32:2-4

Then they held a festival and bowed down to worship their idol. So quickly they had fallen back into the idolatry they were accustomed to in Egypt and disobeyed God's new commands. Especially after what they witnessed before Moses went up to Mt Sinai (remember that from the last lesson?)

When Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets of stone, his anger burned when he saw the people given over to idolatry. He threw down the two tablets, smashing them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.

He took the calf the people had made. He burned it in the fire. Then he ground it into powder. He scattered it on the water. And he made the people of Israel drink it. Exodus 32:20

Later God instructed Moses to chisel two new stone tablets, just like the ones he had written with his own finger.

What You Will Need

Supplies
Gold jewelry
Snack Suggestion
candy wrapped in gold paper (rolos, gold coins)

Resource Sheet

Golden Calf Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts the Israelites worshipping the golden calf as Moses returns from Mt Sinai

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Have you ever seen anything made out of real gold? Show the children golden jewelry.

Today we are going to learn about a time when the Israelites made something called an "idol" - or a statue of a cow made out of gold.

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read story straight from the Bible or tell the story yourself.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Exodus 32:1-8

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Who were the Israelites waiting for? (Moses to come down the mountain)
  • How long was Moses gone? (40 days, see Exodus 24:18)
  • What did Aaron use to make the golden calf? (gold earrings the people were wearing)
  • How did Moses find out about the calf? (the Lord told him)
  • What did Moses do when he came down from the mountain? (broke the two tablets with the ten commandments)
  • What did Moses do to the golden calf? (burned it in the fire, ground it into powder, and made the people drink the water)
  • Which commandment did the people break by making a golden calf? (Exodus 20:4)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • The Israelites were tempted to worship something other than the one true God.
  • What do you worship instead of God?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Reinforcement Activities

Crumbs on Water

Scripture He took the calf the people had made. He burned it in the fire. Then he ground it into powder. He scattered it on the water. And he made the people of Israel drink it. Exodus 32:20

Supplies water, crushed graham cracker crumbs, cups

  • Sprinkle crushed graham cracker crumbs into the student's water glass.
  • Allow them to drink it.
  • How do you think the Israelites felt? They had just recently learned that they were God's chosen people.
  • Exodus 19:8 - All of the people answered together. They said, "We will do everything the Lord has said."
  • They agreed to do all the Lord asked of them. It only took the 40 days that Moses was on Mount Sinai for them to turn away from God, after that promise.

Gold Glitter calf

Scripture He took what they gave him and made it into a metal statue of a god. It looked like a calf. He shaped it with a tool. Exodus 32:4

Supplies calf coloring pages (see link below), marker, glue, gold glitter

  • Cover calf with glue.
  • Sprinkle gold glitter onto calf
  • Let glue dry.
  • Write The Bible reference at the top of the paper. Exodus 32- The Golden Calf

Play dough calf

Scripture He took the calf the people had made. He burned it in the fire. Then he ground it into powder. He scattered it on the water. And he made the people of Israel drink it. Exodus 32:20

Supplies yellow play dough

  • Make calves out of yellow play dough.
  • Allow students to smash calves, as Aaron destroys the golden calf in the Bible story.

Bitter Water

Heads up! This activity would be a good intro to the lesson.

Scripture He took the calf the people had made. He burned it in the fire. Then he ground it into powder. He scattered it on the water. And he made the people of Israel drink it. Exodus 32:20

Supplies Water, pitcher, unsweetened lemonade powder

  • Tell the kids that you have made them a drink for class
  • Add unsweetened lemonade to water, but do not add the sugar
  • Give the kids the drinks and as they react to how bitter it is, talk about the part of the story where Moses burned the golden calf, ground it into powder, and made them drink water with the powder in it.

Golden calf

Scripture "Do not make statues of gods that look like anything in the sky or on the earth or in the waters. Do not bow down to them or worship them. Exodus 20:4-5

Supplies picture of a golden calf (see link below), cut into puzzle pieces

  • Print or color a picture of a golden calf.
  • Cut picture into pieces, like a puzzle.
  • Hang puzzle up on wall.
  • As students answer questions from the story, allow them to pull down one puzzle piece at a time, to take down the golden calf idol.

Ice cube tablets

Heads up! Need to freeze ice cubes prior to class, need to be done outside

Scripture As Moses approached the camp, he saw the calf. He also saw the people dancing. So he burned with anger. He threw the tablets out of his hands. They broke into pieces at the foot of the mountain. Exodus 32:19

  • Freeze water in a 9x9 pan (halfway full) to make two tablets.
  • Write commandments on ice cubes with permanent marker.
  • Break ice cube tablets, as you tell story of Moses' anger at the Israelites.

Learning 10 commandments- commandment #2

Scripture You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. Exodus 20:4

Supplies colored beads, leather, string

  • Teach the second commandment.
  • When the child can tell you each commandment correctly, without assistance, they are given a bead for a bracelet.
  • Keep the bracelet in the classroom and when they have learned all 10 commandments, they get to take it home.
  • To help them remember the commandments, you can separate them into 2 groups for the children.
  • The first four commandments are concerning our relationship with God.
  • The last six are concerning our relationship with others.