4 Big (and Simple) Principles the Mosaic Law Teaches Kids

While it's easy to be intimidated with the teachings of the Mosaic Law, author Leura Jones breaks it down into four manageable principles in this insightful article.
5 min read

The Mosaic Law.

Important? Yes.

Easy to grasp? Not so much.

Most adults struggle to understand the Old Testament books of Law. So how can we make it interesting and relevant for kids? For younger and older alike, we can pull out four big (and simple) principles that kids can learn from the Mosaic Law.

1. God’s law laid the foundation for a lot of what we do today.

What do our laws today say about stealing another person’s property? Taking another person’s life? What do we know about keeping our bodies clean and separating people with contagious diseases until they heal? What about being presumed innocent until proven guilty? These are all basic principles we live by today, and they originated in the Mosaic law.

God knew the best way for us to live, so He gave His people rules and instructions to follow. Those instructions still help shape the way we live today.

Silhouette of boy looking at stars through telescope
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2. God wants His people to live differently.

We don’t have to get into the gory details of animal sacrifices to make this important point. It’s enough to explain that God gave the Israelites rules for how to worship Him and how to treat one another. In both cases, they were vastly different from the surrounding culture.

God’s people were to be faithful to Him, the one and only God, and worship Him alone. They were not to craft idols for themselves. That alone made them very different from their pagan neighbors.

God gave them very specific rules for temple worship, sacrifices, and offerings. He gave them rules about purification. They couldn’t eat certain foods, touch a dead body or do other things that would make them “unclean.” God went to great lengths to help them understand His holiness and their sinfulness.

He told them not to steal from each other or lie to one another. He told them to pay their workers a fair wage and root out injustice from their courts. His law provided a way for the poor to eat. God’s people were to love one another in a radically different way.

You Are Mine

Through all of these commands, God was telling His people, You are mine, and that makes you different. Leviticus 20:26 is a great memory verse that conveys this idea: “You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”

We can teach kids that “holiness” means “set apart.” God wanted His people to be set apart 3,500 years ago, and He wants that for His people today. We can ask the question, “How does God call us to be holy, or different, today?”

Then we can help kids come up with some examples (respecting their parents by not talking back, sharing their possessions with others, memorizing Scripture, etc.).

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3. Knowing the Mosaic Law helps us understand the New Testament.

In Acts 10:9-16, Peter learns that no food from God should be considered unclean. Why was this important? Because Peter was a Jew, and he’d grown up with the Mosaic Law, which prohibited God’s people from eating certain animals. After Jesus came, God’s people were under a new covenant, and He wanted Peter to know that.

Stories like this make much more sense when we understand the Old Testament Law. We understand why it’s such a big deal that Jesus pardoned the woman caught in adultery. Or why it was so scandalous that He healed people on the Sabbath and hung out with Gentiles.

We can use the New Testament to teach kids how to come to saving faith in Christ. But until they understand the new covenant of Jesus in light of the old covenant of Moses, they won’t fully grasp the significance of what God did.

We can use the New Testament to teach kids how to come to saving faith in Christ.

4. The Law points to Jesus.

Why are there 50 chapters (at least) in the Bible detailing the construction of the tabernacle, the rituals, and the priesthood? Because they all pointed to what was to come.

God sent His Son to be not only the great high priest (Hebrews 4:14) but also the sacrificial lamb (John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:7) who would take on the sins of the people.

The tabernacle and the ark of the covenant showed that God wanted fellowship with His people, and that fellowship became complete when He took up residence in His church and the people of God were filled with the Spirit.

The veil inside the tabernacle needed to be perfectly constructed so that Jesus, on the cross, could rip it apart. No longer was God off-limits; through Jesus, He is accessible to everyone.

Young girl looking through window at sunset
Image Credit: Justin Paget/ DigitalVision/Getty Images

God’s Design

The most important thing kids can learn about the Mosaic Law is that it was impossible for fallen humans to keep. God designed it that way. He wanted us to know just how perfect we have to be in order to fully dwell in His presence. And since we aren’t perfect, the Law showed us there is no way we can earn His favor.

It’s not good enough to keep most of the law most of the time. God’s standard is higher than that: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).

God’s standard is so high that only one person could ever keep it. That person was Jesus, who lived a spotless, sinless life and died in our place.

We don’t need to teach kids all the details of the Mosaic Law, but with these four big points, we can help them see what an important part it plays in God’s redemption plan. 

Find more articles like this one and help kids learn about the hard parts of the Bible.

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  Updated on January 14, 2022

About the Author

Post Author
  • Leura Jones is a writer and editor, and most importantly, a wife and mom of three teenage girls and a college-age son. Her family lives in Colorado Springs, where Leura has been an AWANA leader for 13 years at Woodmen Valley Chapel. Inspired by a discipleship group her son was part of for nine years, she also leads and has written curriculum for three small groups for each of her daughters. She loves discipling women and girls and walking outside on her prayer track while her prayer partner, Oakley, chases birds.

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