People from the Bible: Moses and the Ten Commandments
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To reflect that, although rules may not be easy to keep, they are a good way to help us live in peace and harmony.
Preparation and materials
You may wish to display the Ten Commandments, in which case you will also need the means to do so. A version of the Ten Commandments that has been made simpler for children is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ybjso6cr. The full version of the Ten Commandments can be found in Exodus 20.1-17.
Ask the children if they have heard of Moses from the Bible, and if they can tell you anything about him. Some children may have seen the film The Prince of Egypt, which could help them with ideas.
Remind the children that Moses is one of the great biblical heroes and is revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims. There are many stories about this great and inspirational leader, but one of the things that we most associate with Moses is the Ten Commandments.
Ask the children whether they know what the Ten Commandments are. Explain that they are ten instructions about the way people should live if they are to be happy and live together in peace.
The story starts when Moses leads the Hebrew people to escape from slavery in Egypt. They began a long and dangerous journey into the desert. Moses told the people that God would be their guide and would help them. They knew that they were now free to go wherever they wanted and do whatever they wanted. At first, everyone enjoyed the freedom, but it was not long before some people began to complain. The desert was a dangerous place and they wanted to know how long they would have to wander there. The people also complained that they were hungry. Although they had been slaves in Egypt, they had still had enough food. Looking back, the people began to say that they had been better off before and that life was easier in Egypt.
Moses tried to keep the people’s spirits high and led them on through the desert until they came to the Oasis of Sinai. Here, there was water and food and they could set up their tents for a while. It was on Mount Sinai that God gave Moses a list of rules about the best way to live.
Ask the children if they can think of their own rules as to the best way to live in school. You may wish to record these for display later. Examples could be ‘speak kindly to people’, ‘don’t take what isn’t yours’, ‘be polite’ and ‘don’t hurt people’.
Show the children the list of the Ten Commandments.
Compare the two lists to see whether any of the ideas are the same.
Point out that the first three commandments are about loving God, but the others are about loving other people.
Ask the children if they think rules are necessary. Explain that the world would not be a good place if everyone just did whatever they felt like doing all the time. If there were no rules, people could do bad or unkind things and get away with it. Rules are important so that we learn about what is right and wrong, good and bad, helpful and unhelpful. Rules are there for a reason: to help us stay safe.
Ask the children for examples where breaking the rules could be dangerous or could end in trouble or unhappiness. Examples could be crossing a busy road without walking to the crossing, stealing something that isn’t ours and being unkind to a friend.
Time for reflection
In the New Testament part of the Bible, Jesus spoke about a new commandment that has two parts. He stated that people should love God and love others.
Ask the children, ‘How could we do that today?’
Help us to see that rules are there to keep us safe and happy.
Help us to love other people and to act in a way that shows care for them.
Help us to follow the best ways.
Be near to us when we find it difficult.
Guide us to live together in peace and harmony.
‘Shalom’ (Come and Praise, 141)
‘Peace is flowing’ (Come and Praise, 144)
Moses is often described as one of the greatest leaders in the Bible. Find out more about the life of Moses.
Think about the qualities that make a good leader.