Scripture Reference: Exodus 4:27-10:29
Suggested Emphasis: We should have a soft heart that wants to please God.
When Moses and Aaron told Pharaoh that the Lord wanted His people to leave Egypt, Pharaoh became angry. He ordered the Israelite slaves to produce more bricks with less of the required straw. One after another the Lord sent ten different plagues upon the Egyptian people. While suffering from a plague, Pharaoh would give Moses permission to take the people out of Egypt only to harden his heart and withdraw his offer when that particular plague stopped.
Note: The 10th Plague is covered in detail in another lesson: Death of the First Born
- What happened before this story?
- What happens after this story?
- List of all Bible stories and themes on this website.
Way to Introduce the Story:
Cut a heart shape out of a dry flat sponge. Pass the sponge heart around to all of the children and let them feel it. They can bend it and squeeze it because it is soft. Now pass around a stone on which you have previously drawn a heart with waterproof marker. Talk about how hard the rock is. Now show them a glass of water (you can put food colouring in it if you prefer). “This glass of water is like God’s word. God wants to pour his word into people’s hearts.” Now place the sponge heart in a pan or even one the table. Slowly drip one drop of water at a time and then pour faster. Talk about how a soft heart soaks up God’s word. Next place the rock heart in a pan. Repeat dripping and pouring the water and discuss how a hard heart does not listen to God’s work. It doesn’t soak it up so God’s word never gets inside. “What kind of heart do you want to have? Let’s find out what kind of heart that the Pharaoh had.”top
God had called Moses for a special task: to lead God’s people out of Egypt. Moses and Aaron asked Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to let God’s people go. Pharaoh refused to listen to Moses and his brother, Aaron. Pharaoh didn’t want to lose the Israelites, who were his slaves. They did all of the work!
Pharaoh wanted to show Moses and all of the people that he was powerful so he made the Israelites make lots of bricks. The slaves needed straw and mud to make bricks. Pharaoh took away the straw and told them they would have to find their own. Then he told them to make even more bricks. Because of this, the people suffered very much.
Now it was time for the Lord to teach Pharaoh Who was really the most powerful: God is! He told Moses to try again. Moses and Aaron obeyed the Lord and went before Pharaoh. When Pharaoh said, “Perform a miracle,” Aaron did as the Lord had commanded and threw down his staff. It became a snake.
Pharaoh summoned his magicians and using secret arts, they threw down their staffs and the staffs became snakes. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs! This miracle did not change Pharaoh’s mind. He would not listen to Moses and Aaron, and Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go. Pharaoh had a hard heart.
The Lord told Moses that, although Pharaoh had not been listening to him, Pharaoh would soon know that the Lord is God! God’s actions against Pharaoh and his people were about to begin.
Pharaoh kept making promises and then breaking them. Pharaoh did not listen to Moses and Aaron because he had a hard heart. God knew that He would have to bring a terrible lesson so that Pharaoh would finally change his mind and let the people go. Next week we will learn what the terrible lesson was.top
- What did the Pharaoh do to the Israelite slaves when Moses and Aaron first asked him to let them leave Egypt? He told them to make more bricks but he took away the straw that they needed to make them.
- What happened when Aaron’s staff turned into a snake? Pharaoh’s magicians made their staffs turn into snakes. Then Aaron’s snake ate theirs up.
- What were the 10 plagues on Egypt? 1-Water to blood, 2-Frogs, 3-Gnats, 4-Flies, 5-Death of Animals, 6-Boils, 7-Hail, 8-Locusts, 9-Darkness, 10-Death of the firstborn.
- What happened each time that Pharaoh said that the people could go? His heart hardened and he changed his mind.
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Many of the worksheets that you use in class today will cover all ten plagues. You might want to use some of this week’s papers next week too.
- Allow the children to make “slides” by drawing each plague on a transparency. Then let the children take turns retelling the story with a slide show.
- Give the children chenille wire (pipe cleaners) and let them retell the scene where Aaron’s staff changes into a snake.
- Let children draw each plague (one plague per paper) and blue-tac these to the wall.
- Paint hearts on stones and use a laundry marker to write: “Pharaoh had a hard heart. Exodus 4-10”
- Glue cotton wool to a heart shape. You could make a small one and attach magnet tape to the back for a refrigerator magnet. Talk about having a soft heart.
- Make any other heart craft.
- Look up more pictures of Egypt in library books. If you are fortunate enough to have a museum nearby with Egyptian items, arrange a field trip.
- Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
- Find other ideas on the Pinterest Board “Moses:Birth through Leaving Egypt“
Other Online Resources:
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets at http://calvarycurriculum.org/
- Colouring pages at http://www.churchhousecollection.com/
- Colouring page (scene 1-blood, frogs, gnats) at http://kids4truth.com/
- Colouring page (scene 2- flies and livestock) at http://kids4truth.com/
- Colouring page (scene 3- boils) at http://kids4truth.com/
- Colouring page (scene 4- fire and hail) at http://kids4truth.com/
- Colouring page (scene 5- locusts and darkness) at http://kids4truth.com/
- Colouring page (scene 6- death of firstborn) at http://kids4truth.com/
- Craft: For Pharaoh’s hard heart make a heart stamp from an empty toilet paper roll. Instructions at http://rustsunshine.blogspot.co.nz/
- Various activities and crafts for each plague at http://www.churchhousecollection.com/
- Fun activities for acting out each of the plagues at http://www.aish.com/
- A good selection of both online and printable puzzles, activities and story words covering Moses’ birth through plagues) at http://gardenofpraise.com/