The Lord gave the Ten Commandments in a miraculous way on Mount Sinai. There was thunder, lightning, and thick cloud on Mount Sinai. The Lord descended and the whole mountain quaked (see Exodus 19:16,18). The Lord called Moses to come to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. These miracles show us that the Ten Commandments are Divine laws from God.
Read or retell the story in Exodus 20:1-18.
After giving the commandments, the Lord told Moses to tell the children of Israel, “You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven” (Exodus 20:22).
Key parts of the story to discuss with children:
- The Lord gave us ten rules telling us how to live a good life. They are called the Ten Commandments.
- Who went up on Mount Sinai to receive the commandments? (Moses)
- What did the children of Israel hear and see when the Lord gave the Ten Commandments? (thunder, lightning, thick clouds, the sound of a loud trumpet)
- The miracles around the giving of the commandments showed people that they are Divine laws from the Lord.
- We need to obey the commandments because they are from the Lord. Disobeying the commandments will bring unhappiness to us and to others.
- Why is the commandment to love the Lord the first commandment? (We need to keep this commandment in order to obey all of the other commandments.)
Ideas to help us apply this story to our lives:
- God wrote the Commandments on tablets of stone, because stones symbolize fundamental truths of the Word. The Ten Commandments give us an excellent foundation for our lives.
- When we look at the literal meaning of the commandments, it may not seem difficult to obey them. The commandments have many layers of deeper meaning, so there is endless opportunity to learn how to apply these Divine laws. The Heavenly Doctrines can help us understand the deeper meaning.
- The commandment “you shall not murder” is a good example of a commandment that might seem easy to obey at first. But it also forbids spiritual murder, such hating another person.
- If we strive to keep the commandments on all levels, we can help bring peace into the lives of those around us and draw closer and closer to our Heavenly Father.
Read more about the Ten Commandments:
- “The Lord Gives Moses the Ten Commandments” by Kurt Horigan Asplundh (ages 3-8)
This story is beautifully illustrated by Marguerite L. Acton and retells the portions of Exodus 19-20 and 32-34.
- “The Lord on Mount Sinai” by B. David Holm (ages 7-14)
If we learn these commandments and do our best to obey them, the Lord will lead us to heaven.
- “Why We Need Rules” by Willard L. D. Heinrichs (ages 7-14)
The most important rules in the Word are the Ten Commandments. They are the Lord’s rules and obeying them brings peace and happiness.
- “The Ten Commandments” by Ormond Odhner (teens and up)
The Ten Commandments are laws of God and if we obey them, we will be eternally happy in heaven.
- “The Importance of the Ten Commandments” by Patrick A. Rose (ages 18 and up)
The Ten Commandments are the summary of how we must live if the Lord is to give us happiness. To order our lives according to these commandments should be of the greatest importance to us. These ten rules should be at the center of our lives.
Projects and activities for various ages:
- Moses Goes Up on Mount Sinai Coloring Page
Show Moses seeing lightening as he climbs up Mount Sinai.
- Picture Giving the Ten Commandments (ages 8-12)
Make a picture of Moses bringing the two tablets of stone down Mount Sinai to help you focus on the miraculous way the Lord gave us the Ten Commandments.
- Moses on Mount Sinai Coloring Page
This illustration shows Moses seeing the two tablets of stone on Mount Sinai.
- Mount Sinai Diorama (ages 6-8)
Print the figures of Moses and the Children of Israel, use playdough to make Mount Sinai, then arrange in a diorama.
- Children’s Prayers on Keeping the Ten Commandments (ages 7-14)
Four prayers with a lovely illustration.
- Imagine Being on Mount Sinai (ages 8-10)
How would you feel if you were near Mount Sinai, seeing the lightening and hearing the thunder and trumpet?
- The Two Tablets
Use a modeling compound to make small tablets.
- The Ten Commandments Song Video
Ten Commandments in song for easy learning.
- Moses Receiving the Ten Commandments (ages 10-14)
Color and cut out the pieces to assemble a project showing Moses receiving the Ten Commandments.
- The Ten Commandments Calligraphy
Color the border around this calligraphy of the Ten Commandments.
Just as the Lord wrote the commandments on the tablets of stone, we should try to let the Lord write these commandments upon our minds and hearts. We do this when we learn the Ten Commandments and seek the Lord’s help to apply them in our lives.
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