Grades 3-6 Lesson for Sunday School: 
Moses:  The Ten Commandments (Part 2)

 

Teacher’s Notes:  Last week, we talked about why God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments.  And this week, we’re going to take a look at each one, to see what God included...what’s important to Him.  It’s important for us to remember that our obedience of God’s commandments shows Him that we love Him.  So if we’re to obey His commandments, we probably should know what they are. We’re also going to talk about the New Testament summary of the Commandments, and see how they apply to us, today.  

 

Opening comments/story:

 

Last week, we talked about how much God loves us, and wants to be close to us.  Remember that He is a holy God.  And in order for us to be close to Him, we need to be holy, too.  We also read a verse that said if we love Him, we are to keep His commandments.  Now that the Israelites were going to have a written law from God, they would know exactly what God expected of them, and would be able to show Him their love, by keeping His commandments.

 

But God’s giving them the law would do one more thing…it would show them that no matter how hard they tried, they could never keep all of God’s laws.  So there would never be any way that they could, by themselves, be holy enough to get to Heaven on their own.  That’s why Jesus had to become their sacrifice and ours.  Because we couldn’t be sinless.

 

How did giving the Israelites the Ten Commandments show them this?  Let me give you an example, and see if you can understand what happens when we’re given a new rule to follow.

 

(Before class, prepare a slip of paper for each student that says “free pass to Heaven” on it.  And give one to each student before proceeding.)

 

Imagine that I could give you a free pass to Heaven based on whether or not you could follow a few simple rules in class this morning.  I’m going to give you that pass, now.  But if you break one of the rules, you have to give it back.  Let’s see if anyone still has their pass by the end of class.

 

Beginning right now, and for the rest of our Sunday School time this morning, you are not allowed to do the following things: (read these slowly, so the students have time to think about each one)

 

1 - scratch your head

2 – rub your nose

3 – take a deep breath

4 – yawn

5 – lean your chair back

 

If anyone sees someone else breaking one of these new rules, be sure to let me know.  Now, before I gave you these rules, were you tempted to break them?  Had you even thought about your head or nose itching, or your need to take a deep breath, or to yawn, or did you want to lean your chair back?  But now that you know these are the rules, I think you’ll find it very hard not to break them.

 

That’s kind of the way it would have been for the Israelites.  They really hadn’t known, before, exactly what God had expected of them.  But now that they know, they’ll find it very hard to keep them all.  And that’s where God’s grace and mercy come in.  We’ll talk a little more about that later. 

 

But for now, let’s learn today’s memory verse; and try not to scratch or yawn while we’re learning it.  (smile!)

 

Memory verse:  (Have the children repeat this verse with you several times, until they are able to say it themselves.  And encourage them to repeat it to others several times during the week, so that it’ll have a place in their hearts.)

 

“He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”  Luke 10:26-27

 

Opening prayer:  Lord, thank You for each student who’s here, today.  And thank You for the many lessons we can learn through studying the examples of Moses and the Israelites, in Your Word.  Please help us today, Lord, to have ears ready to listen and hearts ready to learn about You.  Amen.

 

This Week’s Lesson(Moses:  The Ten Commandments – Part 2 from Exodus 20:1-17)

 

Last week, we learned that God came down to Mount Sinai in a mighty storm or thunder, lightening, smoke and fire.  There was even the sound of a trumpet blowing louder and louder.  And while God was there, on the mountain, He called for Moses to come up to Him.  And He gave Moses something very special, something he was to share with the people of Israel…and eventually the world.

How many of you have heard of the Ten Commandments?  Can you name some of them?  (Allow the students to name as many as they can.)  We’re going to look at each one: talk about what they mean, and how they apply to us, today.  Because we live under the grace of God, our going to Heaven doesn’t depend on whether we obey these laws or not.  But it’s a good way for God to know if we really love Him.  So let’s see what they have to say, and how well we’re really doing in our obedience to God.

We’ll begin by reading through all Ten Commandments.  Then we’ll go back and look more closely at each one.

(Exodus 20:1-17)

1And God spake all these words, saying,

 2I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

 3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

 4Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

 7Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

 8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

 10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

 11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

 12Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

 13Thou shalt not kill.

 14Thou shalt not commit adultery.

 15Thou shalt not steal.

 16Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

 17Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

The very first commandment is found in verse 3.  And it says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”  Now, that sounds simple enough.  There probably aren’t very many of us who would say we worship any god’s besides our one true God.  But let’s think a moment about what a god is.  A definition from Dictionary.com says that a god is, “One that is worshiped, idealized, or followed.” 

What does it mean to worship something?  (Allow the students to answer first)   If you worship someone or something, you “regard [or treat] it with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion.”  In other words you love it more than anything else.  You give it most, if not all, of your love and attention.  Whatever you spend most of your time doing, you are doing for that person or that thing.  So what or who is it that you spend most of your time and energy for.  Is it God? 

What might you be doing, besides going to church, to show God that He is the only god for you?  Are there things you do each week, or each day, that show God that He is the most important thing in your life?  (allow the students to share some ideas, then include some of your own: perhaps spending time alone with Him in prayer, and studying His Word; or reaching out to others around you, as Jesus did.)

If you realize that there’s anything else, or anyone else, in your life that you’re living to please more than God…even members of your family…even yourself, then it might be time to consider whether you’re really obeying that first commandment. 

Then, the second commandment goes along with the first; and is the only one that comes with a warning.  It covers three verses in Exodus 20: 

 4Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

This commandment is warning us to be careful not to worship things of this earth, in place of God.  The apostle Paul said it this way:  that there are some “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.  (Romans 1:25)  Now, God isn’t saying, with this warning, that He will punish our children or grandchildren if we disobey this command.  But He is saying that when we set up other idols in our homes, that it will probably affect those who come after us.  They will learn from what we do, good or bad.

The story is told of a dog who had a paralyzed leg, and walked around by dragging the motionless leg along the ground.   She got around quite well, despite the handicap.  Then it happened that the dog had puppies.  And as the puppies grew and began to walk, they all walked dragging one leg behind them.  They were not punished for their mother’s injury, but they suffered because of it, anyway.

 There are many Old Testament kings whose idolatry was the downfall of many generations.  And it can still happen today.  An idol doesn’t have to be a figure made of wood or gold, that we physically bow down to.  It can be anything we worship.  And we’ve just finished talking about what that means. 

The third commandment says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (verse 7)  Some people refer to this as swearing or cursing.  Whatever you may call it, taking God’s name in vain means using it in a way it was not intended.  God’s name is holy, and should only be used when speaking of or to Him, and doing so in a respectful way.  When we use God’s name as a way to show we’re angry or upset, or even surprised…that is using His name in vain.  If you say the words, “Oh my God,” and are not talking to Him or about Him… then you are not obeying the third commandment.  You are taking His holy name in vain. 

Now, how are you doing with not scratching your heads…rubbing your noses…taking deep breaths…yawning…leaning your chairs back?  More importantly, who is receiving your worship?  Are you worshipping anything God has created, rather than the Creator?  And how are you doing with keeping His name holy?

Let’s go on to Commandment number 4.  This one comes with an explanation, and it should be something that you’re familiar with, if you’ve been with us for a few weeks: 

(Exodus 20)

 8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

 10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

 11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Do you remember when we talked about the manna that God provided for the Israelites when they complained about being hungry?  How many days of the week did God provide them with manna?  What happened on the sixth day that was different?  (allow the students to answer first)  Yes, on the sixth day, God provided twice as much manna so the Israelites wouldn’t have to gather any on the seventh day.  Moses had told them that the seventh day would be a Sabbath for them, when they were to rest.  And here, in verse 11, we are told why God wants us to rest on the seventh day.  It’s because that is what He did at creation.  In six days He created everything in our earth and sky.  Then on the seventh day, He rested.  Then He set that seventh day aside as a hallowed, or holy, day.  He wants us to do the same. 

Why do you think God gave this command?  Do you think He wanted to make us follow a list of extra rules on our Sabbath day?  By the time Jesus was born, and walked lived on this earth, men had taken this law and used it to make life harder for the Israelites.  They even condemned Jesus for healing people on the Sabbath day.  But they had missed God’s intention.  Listen to what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Mark 2:27:  “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”  God had set aside one day of the week as a time for us to rest.  It was to be for our benefit. 

How are you doing in setting aside that one day, as God commanded?  Is your Sabbath day any different from any other day of the week?  It should be.  God intended for us to have one day to rest.  And yet, today, many of us no longer obey this commandment.  Perhaps we spend some time going to church, but what about the rest of the day?  Does it follow the pattern that God set when He rested on the seventh day?  That is His command for us.

The fifth commandment marks a distinct change in the Ten Commandments.  The first four Commandments dealt with our relationship to God.  The last six will deal with our relationships with other people.

The first of these comes with a promise, and has to do with our parents. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”  What does it mean to “honour” someone?  (allow the students to respond first)  To honour (or honor) is to “to hold in honor or high respect; revere.”  We are to respect our parents, because they are the ones that God has put in authority over us.  Ephesians 6:1-3 refers to this Commandment, too.  It says, Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”  Did you notice that Paul quoted the promise, along with the Commandment?  Notice, how long we live may depend on how well we do at keeping this commandment. 

Thou shalt not kill,” is the sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13)And before you jump to the conclusion that this is one commandment you probably never need to worry about, listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22:  “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…”  And then 1 John 3:15 says this:  “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer…” 

Have you ever been so angry with someone that you hated them?  If you have, then these verses tell us it’s the same as having killed them!  Why would that be?  Perhaps it’s because God looks at the heart.  And the anger that’s in our hearts when we hate someone is the same as what’s in the heart of a murderer.  And God isn’t limited to outward appearances.  It is the heart that He cares about.

Commandment seven comes next, in verse 14:  “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  Adultery is when someone who is married has an improper relationship with someone besides the person they’re married to.  It is unfaithfulness to a husband or wife.  This normally applies to those who are grown and married.  But this command can even apply to our relationship with God.  There are many places in the Bible where Christians are referred to as the Bride of Christ.  When we are not faithful to Him, when we break those earlier commandments and put other people or things ahead of Him, then we are committing adultery against God. 

What about Commandment eight?  “Thou shalt not steal” (verse 15).  This may be one of the most often broken Commandments.  If I were to ask you how many of you have ever stolen something, I suspect most, if not all, of you would have to raise your hands, if you were being completely honest.  Stealing is taking anything that does not belong to you.  That means if mom made something to eat, and said not to touch it until later, but you were hungry and ate some when she wasn’t looking…even that would be stealing.  

And did you ever think that time is something that could be stolen?  If God wants us to devote some of our time to Him, perhaps coming to church, or serving in our community, but we use that time, instead, for ourselves, then we have stolen from God.  Perhaps that would even apply to not observing a Sabbath day of rest.  Are you finding that keeping the Ten Commandments might be a little harder than you first thought?

Let’s pause for a moment, and see how many you can name, of the eight Commandments we’ve covered so far:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.

The ninth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”  (verse 16)  To understand this Commandment, we need to know two things:  what is “false witness,” and who is my “neighbour?” 

False witness is telling a lie.  And that makes this another of the most often disobeyed Commandments.  And before you convince yourself that the lies you tell aren’t really that bad, notice that the Commandment doesn’t say anything about “big” lies or “little” lies, “black lies” or “white lies.”  It only says “thou shalt not!  Little or big, any lie is false witness. 

As for who our neighbor is, Jesus addressed this question with His parable of the Good Samaritan.  (If you have time, you may want to read the story of the Good Samaritan to the class.  It is found in Luke 10: 30-37.)  In fact, our memory verse for today is taken from that very passage.  Jesus told those who were questioning Him that a good summary of the whole Ten Commandments would be to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”  (Luke 10:27)  So a lawyer asked Him who he should consider to be his neighbor.  The parable Jesus told made it clear that we are to be neighbors to everyone around us, including those we might otherwise see as our enemies. 

So the ninth Commandment makes it clear that lying is never alright…not even when it involves our enemies.

We have now come to the tenth and final Commandment.  And it says, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.”  (verse 17)  We’ve already talked about who our neighbor is.  It’s anyone we might come into contact with.

But does anyone know what it means to “covet” something?  (allow the students to respond, first)   To “covet” is “to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others.”  That means that you want something that belongs to someone else, even if it might mean hurting them to get it.  It is putting your own selfish wants ahead of anyone else.

Coveting is not looking in a store window and wishing you could some day have enough money to buy that thing that you want.  Instead, it’s looking at something that already belongs to someone else, and desperately wanting that very thing for yourself.  That certainly would not fit Jesus’ summary of loving “thy neighbor as thyself.” 

Now, if you’re worried that you’ll never be able to remember this whole list of Commandments, there’s good news.  If we just remember Jesus’ summary (which is today’s memory verse), and we obey those two “laws,” then we’ll automatically be obeying all those listed in the Ten Commandments.  Remember how the first four dealt with our relationship with God?  Well, if we love God with our whole heart, soul, strength and mind, then there will be nothing left with which to worship anyone or anything else.

And if we love our neighbor as ourselves, then we won’t be disrespectful to them, kill them, steal from them, be unfaithful to them, tell lies about them, or covet what they have.  It truly does come down to loving God with all we are and have, and loving others. 

But how often, each day, do we fail God, and break one or more of these Commandments?  Probably far too many times to count.  And that’s why God had to provide His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our disobedience.  God gave the Israelites His law, including the Ten Commandments; it was an impossible list of rules for them to follow.  And it pointed out their need of a Savior.

But God didn’t leave His chosen people, or us, lost in our failure to keep the Law.  Instead, He used it to show us how great His love is…providing us with the fulfillment of the Law, the only One who was ever able to obey it completely:  Jesus, Himself.  We cannot keep the Ten Commandments.  God knew that all along.  But He also knew He would make us holy another way.  And that putting such a standard before us would be a reminder of how He is holy, and without Christ, we are not.  But by His grace, we can be saved anyway…not by our works, but by the work of Christ on the cross and rising from the dead. 

If you were counting on being good enough to get into Heaven on your own, hopefully this lesson has shown you that no matter how good we try to be, it’s never good enough to reach God’s standard.  Today, we can come to God and accept His way to Heaven, receiving His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ; because in our own efforts, we all sin, and come short of God’s standard…His glory.  (Romans 3:23)

Closing Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You would show us just how holy You are, how sinful we are…but how loving You are, to make a  way for us to get back to You.  And thank You for making that way, through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help us, Lord, to keep following Your commandments, because that is the way we show You that we love You.  And help us to remember that if we love You above all else, and then love our neighbors as we do ourselves, that we can then be living in obedience, to You.  Amen.

Class Discussion/ Activity

 

Keep in mind, as you go through this coming week, that we will not get to Heaven by keeping God’s commandments.  We are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing us from our sin.  But we still should be keeping God’s commandments.  Why?  Because it shows God that we love Him.

 

By the way…does anyone still have their “free pass?” Even if you do, it won’t do you any good.  The only real free pass we can get is from God, Himself.  And the “pass” God offers can never be taken away!

 

(Review Questions)

Fill in the Blanks

  1. God called Moses up onto Mount Sinai, and gave him the Ten Commandments.
  2. The first four Commandments deal with our relationship with God.
  3. There is a warning with the second Commandment.
  4. We are to do our work in six days, and rest on the seventh.
  5. Bearing false witness means the same thing as lying.

 

  True or False

1. Honoring your parents comes with a promise.  (true)

2. There’s nothing wrong with using the word “God” when surprised or frightened.  (false – that’s using God’s name in vain)

3. 1 John says that whoever hates is a murderer.  (true)

4. It would be wrong to desperately want my neighbor’s car.  (true)

5. If we try really hard, we can keep all Ten Commandments, and God will let us into Heaven.  (false – by grace we are saved, not by works)

 

Devotional Poem:

 

The Law Summed Up

 

Love the Lord with all your heart,

All your soul, and all your mind;

And your neighbor as yourself.

In God’s Word, this law you’ll find.

 

And this truth we all can learn:

That if we will follow these,

We will show our love for Christ;

And, with us, He will be pleased.

 

 

 

*The definitions of the words “god,” “worship,” “honor,” and “covet” were taken from http://dictionary.com

 

 

Lisa DeVinney, June 2015

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