All That Glitters: The Golden Calf


Read: Read Exodus 32 (Use the Bible App for Kids by You Version for a fun, younger-kid-friendly version of the story)

The Israelites built a golden calf to worship. Sounds kind of funny to us doesn’t it? Why would anyone worship a cow statue? Moses had just given the Israelites the 10 commandments. Do you remember the first one? “You shall have no other gods before me.” The very first commandment, a law God had warned His people many times about, do not take up any idols that go above Him. Yet, they disobeyed God and his first commandment.

It all may seem weird to us, why would the Israelites break that commandment after being warned so many times? Why would they build a calf of all things? But the truth is, we sometimes do things that are similar to what the Israelites did.

Can you think of anything you have put before God? Anything, good or bad, put before the Lord could be made into an “idol.” Have you ever wanted to win a soccer game more than you have ever wanted anything else? Or have you ever wanted a toy so much, you couldn’t think about anything else? Winning a soccer game is not a bad thing, wanting a toy is not necessarily a bad thing, the desire to be the best at your favorite hobby doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and loving our friends and family is definitely not a bad thing! But, when these things become more important than God, we can turn them into an idol! Wow.

God created us in His being. He wanted us to live in the garden in relationship with Him, but we sinned and that created distance between us. Sin came into the world and it made the world imperfect and unfair. God rescued His people from the Egyptians and gave the commandments, so we might be able to come into His presence. We still couldn’t follow His instructions, we needed saving.

God loved us so much He sent His son, Jesus (we just celebrated the Easter story last week), to die and rise again so it was possible to be with Him! He has done everything just so He might have the chance to be in relationship with us. If we choose to love Him, He asks us to follow Him and that means putting no one and nothing else above Him.

That is why the Israelites building the golden calf was such a big deal. The great news about our Savior, there is forgiveness and we have the chance to turn away from sin. But it is something to remember, if we love God, we need to keep Him first.

Questions: What was the first commandment the Israelites broke? Why was building a golden calf a big deal? Is there anything you can think of that could easily become an idol? (sports, toys, friends, etc. think about what consumes most of your thoughts)

Parents: Share with your kids something that can come before the Lord if you aren’t careful. Share what you do to keep God first (or what you are going to try to do). Do you pray every morning or invite Him to be a part of your day, do you read your Bible or listen to worship music, do you attend church every week or take a moment to give Him the glory of every part of your day? Share whatever it is!


If your child(ren) want to commit to keeping God first, pray this prayer together, “Dear Lord, I haven’t always kept you first. But I love you and want to follow you, so show me what it looks like to keep you first in my life. Remind me of who you are throughout the day. Make me aware when I am tempted with putting something or someone else first. Guide me and direct me. Amen.”


Implement a way your family can keep God first. Have a discussion on what that could be, (gather together weekly for devotions, pray together every night, listen to worship music in the car, give Him glory for your day at the dinner table etc.) and do it together as a family.

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