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Exodus 20:3 You must not have any other god but me.

Hey kids! Today we’re going to learn about one of the craziest stories in the Bible. It starts off with this amazing invitation. Then some people make a big mistake. But at the end of it all, we learn a very important lesson.

Let’s learn about the story of the golden calf.

God invited Moses to meet him on top of the mountain

Do you know why he was going up there? To get the 10 Commandments! God had already spoken those commandments to the Israelites (see Exodus 20), but now he wanted to write them down. That way they wouldn’t ever forget them! Those commandments told the people how God wanted them to live. Someday, they would get to have homes in the Promised Land, and the 10 Commandments would be like their instruction manual for life.

So Moses went up Mount Sinai, and he stayed up there for 40 days.

The people got impatient and made a golden calf

That was a big mistake. Think about it: God was their God, and he was giving their leader a special gift. Those 10 Commandments would keep them on the right track. They would tell the people how to live a really good life. But the Israelites had a hard time trusting that God was in control. Moses was gone for a long time. The people were like, “Where’s Moses?” “Maybe God left and forgot about us”. At some point, the people decided to take matters into their own hands. If God is gone, then we need someone else to worship.

Exodus 32:1 When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.”

Wait a second! Isn’t that what the first commandment says: “Don’t make any other gods.” Didn’t the people know that?! Yes, they did. But they made that silly little god anyway. They melted down their jewelry and made it into a baby cow. And then they thanked that baby cow for rescuing them from Pharaoh, an evil king. Did you catch that? They thanked a silly cow for saving them!

Silliness.

When you make something more important than God, that’s just silly

That’s obvious from the story, right? A golden calf isn’t really God! Only God is God, just like the first commandment says.

Exodus 20:3 “You must not have any other god but me.”

Did you know that sometimes we make the same mistake as the Israelites? No, we don’t worship silly statues. We’re smarter than that. But think about your favorite toy. Or your new phone, if you have one. Or a TV show. Or a sports team. If you care about those things more than you care about God, then guess what? That’s like making a little golden cow and calling it a god.

And that’s just silly.

So, what’s the lesson to be learned from this story? Don’t make anything more important than God.

Discussion questions:

  1. What was your favorite part of the video? What is one thing you learned from the video?
  2. What are your most treasured possessions? Why are those things so important to you?
  3. Why did Moses go up the mountain?
  4. Why were the 10 commandments so important to the Israelites?
  5. Why did the people make a silly cow? Why was that a silly idea?
  6. Why should God be more important than everything else?
  7. Read Matthew 6:24. What does it mean that we can’t serve two masters? How can money get in the way of our relationship with God?
  8. How will you apply this lesson to your life this week?

Live it out questions:

  1. Read Deuteronomy 6:5. Who should we love with all our hearts? How can you show God how much you love him this week?
  2. Read Matthew 6:19. What happens to our stuff here on Earth? What should we care about more
  3. Read 1 Corinthians 6:8. Who is the only one worthy of our worship and why?

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