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Reply to "BIBLE SKILLS & GAMES Workshop Lessons and Ideas for Temptation in the Wilderness"

Originally posted by member "Nansi" February 28, 2008 in the Exodus forum.

This game was moved into this Tempation in the Wilderness forum from it's original location in the Golden Calf forum. Why? Because the lesson writer has intriguingly LINKED the two concepts/stories. The story of the Golden Calf is the story of false worship. And in the NT, Satan tries the same trick.

We also thought Nansi's lesson works as a STORYTELLING concept as well. But by adding something to 'play' at each altar, it becomes a Game workshop activity!

The concept of "tempting altars" is very intriguing, and we hope someone will develop this lesson idea further and post it here.

Temptations in the Wilderness / Worshiping the Golden Calf

Games Workshop Idea

Scripture Reference:
(Exodus 32:1-40:38. Gospel resonance: Matthew 4:1-11- Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness)

Have 5 different altars, with different things to worship: 4 things have a ‘golden calf’ on the altar; the fifth has a hand holding a heart on the altar. Each altar has a different ‘priest’, trying to convince the students why they should worship at that altar. The students move from one altar to the next. At the end, have all the students ‘vote’ for their altar by gong over and bowing before it; each gets an appropriate prize.

Prizes: Money altar- one money sticker
Gun altar- one mean face sticker
Friends altar- one happy face sticker
God altar- MANNA IN THE WILDERNESS! (cookies!)

4 priests: 3 in bright, gaudy ‘priest’ clothes with lots of flashy jewelry
1 with a staff and a plain, simple white robe like Jesus might have worn; hold a big red heart.
4 altars:

  1. (with golden calf)- a big money jar with lots of change in it (or a big dollar bill)
  2. (with golden calf)- a toy gun
  3. (with golden calf)- lots of people dolls (or Beanie Babies)
  4. (with hand holding a heart)- Bible verse: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”


Script Outline for Each Altar:

(‘priests’- ad lib as the Spirit moves you: you are trying to convince the students to worship what is on your table. Encourage them to get on their knees and bow down to your altar.)

1) Money jar: Worship of money and power
If you have enough money, you can have whatever you want! You can make people do whatever you want! Money is power! If you just bow down and worship this money, you will always be happy, because you can buy anything. You can even buy friends! People will always want to be around you, because you’ll be the one with the big swimming pool, and the carousel, and the trampoline, and anything else you want!

And if you kept making money until you had all the money in the world, you could buy things for everyone else in the world too. You could buy food for all the hungry children, and homes for all the homeless people. And you could dig wells for all the people who don’t have any water, and you could give medicine to all the people who are sick.

And if you had all the money in the world, people wouldn’t ever dare to say ‘no’ to you, because you could take away their homes and their jobs. You could make people serve you.
All you have to do is bow down and worship this money…

2) Toy gun: Worship of security and power
Sure it would be nice to have all the money in the world, but who would stop someone from stealing it from you? Money is nice, but you need an army to make sure it isn’t stolen. And you need guns to scare people so they couldn’t take anything from you. And if everyone else is afraid of you, then you won’t every have to be afraid of anyone else. They wouldn’t dare try to take your house, or your pool, or your trampoline, because you could throw them in jail or just kill them.

And if you had all the armies and all the power in the world, you could help people who were being bullied or cheated. With your gun, you could be like a superhero, gong around and forcing people to be good and kind to each other. And if anyone wasn’t good or kind, you could shoot them, or put handcuffs on them and put them in jail.
All you have to do is bow down and worship this gun…

3) Lots of friends: Worship of being popular
Sure you can have money and power, but can that make people really love you?

  • Who thinks that love is more important than money?
  • Who thinks that love is more important than guns?
  • Well, how do we get love? By having lots of friends and by being really popular! Because the worst feeling in the world is being left out. But if you always do what everyone else does, then you won’t ever be left out. If you always do what all your friends do, they will love you.

And if that means turning your back on other kids who don’t fit in, then that’s okay, because it’s more important to fit into the group than anything else, right? Because that’s the only way that you’ll be accepted and loved, is if you fit in and are popular.

And if you REALLY fit in, and are REALLY popular, you can be the one who decides who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’. And if you don’t like someone, you an make sure that no one else will like them either. And if you’re the most popular person in the whole world, then no one will ever dare do anything you don’t like, because you can make sure that no one will ever speak to them again, because everyone else will be afraid of not being your friend.
All you have to do is bow down and worship all your friends.

4) God: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,
and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Well, worshiping God is sort of hard. When Moses was up with God on Mt. Sinai, Moses told all the Hebrew people to stay behind and wait for him. And don’t get into mischief! But then Moses was on a mountain for 40 days. That’s a really long time to wait for someone, and the Hebrews started to wonder if this God was really someone they should trust, or if they should find a god they could control easier. A God who would be there when they wanted a god to be there, and do the things that they wanted a god to do- right then! But the Lord God isn’t like that. The Lord God is different. You can’t control God, and you can’t make God do anything. You just have to trust.

And besides which, God isn’t anyone you can see; God isn’t anything you can hold, or eat, or play with. It’s much easier to worship something you can touch, like money and houses and trampolines. It’s much easier to worship something that makes other people obey you, like guns and soldiers. It’s much easier to worship someone who is popular, like a rock star or the coolest kid in school. But God isn’t like that. God is different.


  • How do you think we can worship God?

(praying, caring for the poor and hungry, singing hymns, trusting that God loves us even when
other people don’t think we’re popular, having the courage to stand up for another person if they’re being bullied, other)

  • Why would you want to worship God?

(because God is the only person who will always be there and love us no matter what; because God made us in the first place; because God is the only One big enough and wonderful enough and kind enough to deserve our worship; because God is there when we’re scared or hungry or nervous or sick, and will never let us go)

  • What could keep you from worshiping God?

(Being worried when God didn’t talk to me when I was worried, or not making things happen that I really want to happen, like bringing my grandma back from the dead when she died. Wanting to have all the money-power-strength-popularity myself, so I wouldn’t have to share, and I wouldn’t have to depend on God to give it to me. Asking forgiveness is easier than asking permission)

Nobody trusts God all the time. Sometimes, we just want what we want, and we don’t want anyone to say ‘No’ to us. When we do that, what do you think God feels?
(Happy? Sad? Angry? Disappointed? Doesn’t care?)

  • Will God stop loving us if we stop loving and trusting God? Will God love us if we won’t worship God? (No!)
  • So why does it matter if we worship God or not, if God will always love us anyway?


Written by member "Nansi" February 28, 2008

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

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