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Moses' messages from the Mountain

To introduce the Ten Commandments and to look at the first one.

by Gordon and Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To introduce the Ten Commandments and to look at the first one.

Preparation and materials

  • Read through the story in advance.


Ask if anyone has heard of the Ten Commandments. Does anyone know of any specific commandment? Introduce them by telling the following story.

Moses' messages from the Mountain
(Based on Exodus 19-20)

This is a very old story about the Israelites - the people of Israel. Maybe you've heard of the baby Moses who was left in a basket at the water's edge and was brought up by an Egyptian princess. Moses was an Israelite and his people were slaves in Egypt. There's an exciting story of how the grown-up Moses led his people out of slavery. The Egyptians were chasing them and they came to the edge of the Red Sea. There was no way they could all get across and the enemy were closing fast. People began to be afraid and to doubt that they would escape.

'Call this freedom?' they said. 'We might have been slaves in Egypt, but at least we didn't drown!' Moses believed that God would save them, and even though the situation looked impossible and hopeless, he said, 'Don't be afraid - let's see what God will do for us. Trust me, trust God and you'll never see your slave masters again.'

Moses held his stick out over the water and a wind began to blow. It blew all night and moved the water aside - there was dry land. The Israelites were able to cross over to the other side. The watching Egyptians were furious and began to chase the Israelites, but when they did, their heavy chariots became stuck in the mud. The waters returned, and none of them escaped. The people of Israel were free.

They believed that God would lead them to a new country, and so they became a wandering people as they looked for the Promised Land. They had many adventures along the way and sometimes they found it hard to work out how they should behave. Moses was still their leader, and one day God called him up to a high mountain and something very special happened. When Moses came back down the mountain, he knew the most important laws that God wanted his people to live by. They're called the Ten Commandments and people all over the world use them as the basis for their laws today.

The first commandment was: 'Worship no God but me.'

In those times, many people made their own gods out of wood and stone and worshipped and sacrificed to these idols. The important message from the God of the Israelites was that there is only one God - worshipping anything else is a waste of time.

This was the first of Moses' messages from the mountain. There were nine more still to come, so it was quite a day!

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Thank you that when things seem impossible and hopeless,
you give us hope and help -
just like you helped Moses and the people of Israel to escape from slavery.
Thank you for the old, old story of the Ten Commandments
that still helps so many people today.


'What about being old Moses' (Come and Praise, 81)

Publication date: March 2001   (Vol.3 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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