The Ten Commandments
Tabernacle Game Workshop
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Students will review and extend their understanding of The Ten Commandments and the historical setting in which they were given in a game of Wheel of Fortune. The idea that God’s rules were broken even as He was giving them and His people continue to struggle with obedience is one with which all can identify. Most importantly, students will learn God doesn’t write us off as hopeless sinners when His commandments are broken. When we are sorry and repent, God forgives and gives us an infinite number of “second chances” to live as His people.
Background: The image of Moses on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God stands out as one of the most vivid scenes in the Bible. Amid thunder and lightning, smoke and fire, we are told, God appeared to Moses and engraved two stone tablets for him to deliver to the Hebrews waiting for him below.
Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving God’s revelation, and to his followers this seemed an inordinate amount of time. As they waited, their initial awe at witnessing God’s presence on the mountain turned to impatience. Ultimately believing that Moses—their link to God—would never return, they decided they needed a new god to lead them and they created a pagan idol, a golden calf.
When Moses came down from the mountain carrying the tablets with the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, in his hands, he saw the golden calf and shattered the tablets in anger. He destroyed the idol, and when those responsible for its manufacture were punished, he returned to the mountain to plead with God on behalf of the people. God agreed to renew the covenant and to give Moses the Decalogue again.
Isn’t this the story repeated again and again of God’s reaching out to humanity with His covenant promise, humanity’s unwillingness to keep its end of the bargain, and God’s offering yet another chance?
The Ten Commandments give us rules to live by and we must know them well in order to worship God properly and live in peace with each other. Just as important for our children to know is that everyone will break the commandments but the good news is that we are forgiven when we truly repent of our sins.
Workshop teachers should read Exodus 19 (the story of before Moses went to the mountain) 20 (the commandments) and 32-34 (what happened afterwards) for inspiration and insight into the struggles of Moses and the Hebrews in receiving God’s Commandments. Thoughtful preparation in the background of this part of the story will help leaders pass on the story of God’s plan for us, His people, and His redemptive power when we fail to follow His plan.
- Read the background and scripture ahead of time.
- Gather the materials.
- Wheel of Fortune
- Whiteboard and markers
- Bibles and Bible storybooks containing the story of Moses and the Ten
- Charts titled “What We Think We Know” and “What We Found Out”
- Markers for recording on charts
- Chart with closing prayer litany.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
1. Welcome students to the Tabernacle where we learn about God by asking questions, reading the Bible and other books to learn answers and often play games to help us remember what we’ve learned.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
2. Tell them we’ll start today by finding out what we think we know about the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments. Ask children to take turns telling about this subject. (Remind them we have to tell just about Moses’ story as it relates to the 10 commandments. We just don’t have time to go into other parts of his story!) Let the children give facts at random and record what they say on chart paper (Shepherd’s could do the recording) under the title “What We Think We Know”. Discourage criticism from students who may want to question the validity of what’s said. Tell them we’ll discuss statements later, for now, we’re brainstorming. If students get stuck, prompt them with questions such as:
- Where were the Hebrews at this time?
- Who was their leader?
- What are some of the commandments?
- Where did the commandments come from?
- How did the people know about them?
- What happened after Moses got the commandments?
- What happened after that?
- What is the purpose of the commandments?
Ten minutes at most should be enough for this activity.
3. Read from a Bible storybook (appropriate for the age group) the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments. Check back to the chart made in #2 above when appropriate to validate or revise statements. Older students may want to consult Bibles directly to supply additional information. Students could pair up to consult a variety of books and then report their findings to the group. When revisions and additions are noted, record them on a new chart titled “What We Found Out”. Another ten minutes should be enough for this step.
Note: Remember, the important learning that should come out of the above activities, is not “Just the facts, Ma’am”, but that (a.) God chose a human to pass on His rules. (b.) Even though the setting was dramatic and God gave the leader great charisma and power, the people didn’t always get the message. (c.) God’s rules are absolute, no exceptions. (d.) God won’t give up on us when we break His rules.
4. Now it’s time to learn/review what those rules are. Let’s play Ten Commandments Wheel of Fortune!
WHEEL OF FORTUNE — To play this game you will need to draw the blanks on the whiteboard and have point values for each color on the wheel. See how many total points the class can score in solving the puzzle. Have students guess letters until they can guess the Commandment. Spin the wheel before each guess. Give points for guessing correct letters. To enable everyone to get a turn to guess, allow each player to guess only one letter even if they choose a correct letter. When the puzzle is guessed, double the score for the entire commandment if someone can tell you a modern day example of the keeping or breaking of this commandment. (The teacher will have to be the judge of whether the example is worthy to receive extra points.) Give 10 extra points if someone can tell which number this commandment is.
Draw blanks on board as follows, one at a time, drawing a new blank grid after one is guessed in its entirety. Obviously, the commandments should be presented out of sequence if points are given for being able to identify the commandment number.
- - -/- - - - -/- - - -/- -/- - - - -/- - - -/- - - - - -/- -.
1. You shall have no other Gods before me.
- - -/- - - - -/- - -/- - - -/- - -/- - - - - - - -/- -/- - - -.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
Continue drawing blanks for the following commandments:
3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.
4. Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet what is your neighbor’s.
(This is a dialog between Moses and God, as Moses prepares to take the commandments to the people a second time. It should be written on a chart so all can read together with the teacher reading God’s part and the students reading Moses’ part.)
(Exodus 34:6 – 11 from "The Living Bible")
God: I am Jehovah, the merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in steadfast love and truth. I, Jehovah, show this steadfast love to many thousands by forgiving their sins; or else, I refuse to clear the guilty, and require that a father’s sins be punished in the sons and grandsons, and even later generations.
Moses: If it is true that I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, then please go with us to the Promised Land; yes, it is an unruly, stubborn people, but pardon our iniquity and our sins,
and accept us as your own. God: All right, this is the contract I am going to make with you. I
will do miracles such as have never been done before anywhere in all the earth, and all the people of Israel shall see the power of the Lord—the terrible power I will display through
you. Your part of the agreement is to obey all of my commandments.
All: Hear our prayers, O Lord. Amen
A lesson written by Amy Crane for Desoto Presbyterian Church
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