Term 2 – Week 3

Big Idea – The people turned away from God to worship a fake god (idol).

Exodus 32:1- 33:17

Lesson Background

This unit of work is an overview of the Old Testament from creation in Genesis 1 up to God’s promise to King David in 2 Samuel 7.  The theme for the unit is: God always keeps His Promises.

The story so far…. God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and were now on their way to the Promised Land. The Israelites are in the desert near Mt Sinai and Moses is up the mountain talking to God. While at Sinai, God gave the law to help the Israelites live as God’s people in the Promised Land and He commanded Moses to build his very Special tent (The tabernacle) so He could live with His people.

The story of the Golden Calf may seem shocking and surprising. How could the Israelites turn away from God so quickly, the one who had rescued them from slavery and Egypt? Hadn’t they seen his power and his mighty acts of judgement? Hadn’t they received God’s good rules? Hadn’t they explicitly agreed to do everything God said (Ex.24:3)? Hadn’t they been recipients of God’s undeserved kindness? So why build a golden calf to worship, an idol?

The terrifying truth is that God’s people were sinners, who didn’t need more miraculous experiences or better laws. They needed new hearts. Moreover, the same is true today for us. Our sin makes God angry and deserves judgement, so we desperately need a Mediator because of our Idolatry. Key Words (1) Mediator = Middleman & Peacemaker (2) Idol = anything we make more important than God or put in God’s place.

Exodus 32: Sin, Judgement and Forgiveness. The camera moves from God speaking to Moses on the mountain, to the Israelites at the bottom. Without their leader, they turned to Aaron to ask for a “god that will lead us.” God became angry, and Moses mediated for the people asking for mercy because of God’s promises, but before he knew what they’d done. When Moses came down and found out what happened, he became so angry that he smashed the two stone tablets God gave him, destroyed the idol and punished the people as Judge. The chapter finishes with Moses asking God to forgive the people, and God promises both to forgive and to punish.

Exodus 33: God’s Presence. The big question in this chapter is: will God go with his sinful people to the Promised Land? This chapter can raise big theological questions like “Does God change his mind?” but the key thing to see is that God has a uniquely special relationship with Moses and agrees to go with sinful people because he is pleased with Moses.Ex.34: God’s Glory. The lesson finishes at Exodus 33:17. But in chapter 34, God gives Moses new tablets, shows his glory to Moses and proclaims his name to Moses, which reveals God’s character. Moses responds by worshipping God, identifies himself with the people and asks God to forgive them and go with them for Moses’ sake.


The children will understand that the people turned away from God and worshipped the fake god because of their sinful heart.

The children will know that the Israelites needed Moses to as a mediator (go-between) to ask God for forgiveness.   The children will recognise that they are sinners just like the Israelites, and give thanks for Jesus who died on the cross for our sin and mediates between us and God.  


My God is so Big (Colin Buchanan – Remember the Lord)

Memory Verse

He said, “I am the Lord, the Lord. I am the God who is tender and kind. I am gracious.

I am slow to get angry. I am faithful and full of love….

But I do not let guilty people go unpunished.


Exodus 34:6-7

Leaders PDF

this has been put together using purchased external material and therefore this resource may only be used by Dundonald Church. For more information please contact natasha.small@dundonald.org

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Dundonald Kids

Dundonald Kids is the team led by our Children's Minister Natasha Small that aims to partner with parents in growing young disciples of Christ.

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