I was fairly concerned about teaching the story of the golden calf to the children in junior church. I’m working my way through the stories of Moses and had come to the part where the Israelites turn their back on the covenant that they had just made with the LORD God of Israel. While Moses is up on Mount Sinai receiving the pattern for the tabernacle and a written copy of what they had already agreed to, the Israelites decide Moses is gone, we need to keep moving, let’s make another way.
I wondered if the children would understand why making a golden calf was so wrong. I approached it from the angle that the Israelites still wanted to enter the promised land (Up, make us gods, which shall go before us), but they were doing it their own way without the one true God. I described how they approached Aaron and pressured him into making something to be their gods. After Aaron formed the golden calf, the Israelites began to sing, dance, and worship the golden calf.
Then I turned the attention back up to the LORD God speaking with Moses on the Mount. I asked the boys and girls how they thought God would feel about them making a golden calf. A blonde, second-grade girl responded, "I think God would be upset because they replaced Him with the golden calf."
Please note: I never used the word "replaced" as I described the story for them. This young girl grasped the story, the thought processes of the Israelites, and articulated it in her own words. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit’s ability to teach children. At the end, I talked about how we should never replace God with anything. Anytime we make any one thing more important than God, we have replaced Him with something else. I’m so glad that little girl used that word because it actually helped me to understand so much better the lesson I had prepared (for two weeks I was preparing).
Hey Dave and Leighan, guess who that little girl is?
Have fun and stay busy -Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman