22 The golden calf

Start the challenge by finding and reading a Bible verse from Exodus 32:14.

It can be dangerous not to follow instructions! What if you were going skiing or mountain climbing? Or what about an everyday thing like crossing the road or making a warm drink? What can happen?

It’s dangerous to know what God wants but not to do it! Why?

What is the only safe way to live? Do you want to say sorry to God for times when you knew the right thing to do but didn’t do it?

(Hint: you can do that right now!)


Read more…

The story so far…

Moses was away from the Israelites up the mountain for a long time. God was telling him how he wanted his people to live. Meanwhile, the Israelites started to forget about all that God had done for them. They also decided that Moses wasn’t coming back!

Now read Exodus 32:1–14 together.


What happened next…

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai and saw the people drinking and dancing around their idol, he was very angry and threw down the stones on which God’s laws were written – and they smashed. God was angry with the people, too, but Moses pleaded with God to forgive them. Moses had a special friendship with God and often talked with him. He called Moses back up the mountain and gave him a second set of the Ten Commandments.


Explore the Bible

Answer the questions from Big Bible Challenge page 36 together.


Did you know…?

Idol An idol is an object that someone has made and that is worshipped in some way. Aaron made a statue of a young bull or calf from the gold earrings that the people were wearing. God had already told the people that they must worship only him and not anything that was made by a human being. But they quickly came to think that the statue was the god who brought them from Egypt.

Tabernacle or tent of meeting God told the Israelites how to make a large tent that would be set up in the centre of their camp. This tent was a place to worship God and it could be set up, taken down and carried from place to place, as the people travelled. Inside the tent there was a table where fresh bread was put out and two altars where sacrifices were placed. A lampstand with seven lamps was kept alight all the time. God gave instructions for a wooden box covered in gold: the stones with the ten rules were kept inside this box. It is known as the covenant box or “Ark of the Covenant” or sacred chest.

Priests Aaron, Moses’ older brother, was the first priest. His job was to lead the worship of God in the tent of meeting and to offer the sacrifices that the people brought to God. Read Exodus chapter 28 to find out about his special clothes.


Try it out

God’s people made serious mistakes in the story! They forgot what God had told them and what they had promised.

As you take the Big Bible Challenge, you will be discovering new things about God. Here’s a way to help you not to forget what he tells you.


  • Find five sheets of white or coloured paper and a piece of cardboard that is the same size.
  • Fold the paper in half to make book pages and fold the card to make a cover.
  • Use a hole punch to make holes along the folded edge and thread ribbon or string through the holes to tie it all together.

You will now have a book with 20 pages – one for each challenge.

Look back at the challenges you have already taken and write or draw about the new things that you have discovered. Do the same with Challenge 5 when you have completed it. And keep adding to your book as you continue the Big Bible Challenge.


Talk to God

At times we all disobey God, even though we have been given so much. Can you think of a time when you’ve disobeyed God? Talk to God about it now.

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