Imagine what would have happened if Jonah would have just listened to God from the very beginning. Give students a blanket or towel and an action figure, doll, or stuffed animal. Have each group decide on and act out a scene in which someone can be nice to a person who’s been mean to them. When Jonah responded again in anger, the Lord reprimanded him: But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry over the gourd plant?” Jonah answered, “I have a right to be angry—angry enough to die.” Then the Lord said, “You are concerned over the gourd plant which cost you no effort and which you did not grow; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. God is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Samuel 8-10) Lesson #19 in What is God Like? Jonah’s preaching was, in the end, a great success. The point of the story is that God can provide a supernatural means of rescue when his people are in trouble. What is the meaning of the story of Jonah and the whale? 430 Oak St. Sellersburg, IN 47172, © 2021 Ministry-To-Children.com | Read our, Lesson: Elisha is Merciful to His Enemies, Sunday School Lesson (Luke 14:25-35) Counting the Cost. Yes, the Ninevites were saved, but the story also shows that God did not give up on Jonah. Jonah preached to Nineveh and warned them to repent before the city is destroyed in 40 days. The story has a long interpretive history and has become well known through popular children's stories. They were to have a passive witness. But it is a story of God’s mercy, and God’s ability to use anyone for his glory. During his nap, a big storm arises. 1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish ().He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. The sailors didn’t want to throw Jonah overboard because they thought he would drown, so they kept trying to row back to land. Jonah listened to God this time and went to Nineveh. View the Basilica’s hours of operation, parking and accessibility information. God forgives people who ask His forgiveness. When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, Jonah turned and went in the opposite direction. Watch our overview video on the book of Jonah, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. All 4 chapters of Jonah paints this picture of how we are to process our sin or disobedience before God. This is why I fled at first toward Tarshish. To what people or groups are you sometimes tempted to see yourself as superior: other races or nationalities, … Ancient records from Assyria boast of this kind of … They prayed to God and asked Him not to destroy them. While the story of Jonah is told in just 48 verses, we can learn a great deal from his life. But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. ADDRESS: Ministry-To-Children By this time Jonah had learned that some men who worshipped idols were kind in their hearts, and were dear to the Lord. Now, I’m happy that they believe in Me and I don’t have to destroy them.”. Have students line up at one side of the room. They thought they were going to drown. Jonah was very happy with the plant. A storm comes. Help us to be like You and love even the people that we don’t like. He didn’t let him run away, and he didn’t let him drown. Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Jonah to teach kids about the need to obey God and the richness of God’s forgiveness. Jonah’s story is about someone being rescued by God. We are not to view ourselves as better than those who are different from us – instead, we are to see others as God sees them: sinners in need of a Savior, just like us. Tell them that they better start believing in Me and doing the right things I want them to do or else I’m going to send fire down from Heaven to destroy their city and burn them up.”. Jonah didn’t like this special job and so Jonah decided to run away. Jonah was adamantly opposed to proclaiming God’s word to the Ninevites. One might expect Jonah to be happy that Nineveh turned from its wickedness, but he was angry when he learned that God was not going to destroy Nineveh. The story of Jonah is simple. Jonah (Letter USA) pdf. We need to obey God. That’s the same thing God told Jonah to do before, isn’t it? Jonah was happy—indeed, he was ecstatic—about the vine plant. Jonah wanted God to send fire down from Heaven to destroy their city and burn them up. Do you think it’s nice for Jonah to be mad that God didn’t destroy the people of Nineveh? Aren’t you glad God always gives us a second chance too? Although Jonah was an unwilling preacher, he could not thwart God’s plan. The people on the boat throw Jonah into the sea to stop it. The fish then spat him onto the land, and Jonah traveled to Nineveh as God had commanded. That’s why we never charge for our curriculum or even ask for donations. Most importantly, Jonah’s imperfect example of three days spent in the belly of the fish foreshadows the perfect sacrifice that was to come. In reality, we are both Jonah and Nineveh. God always wants to forgive people instead of punishing them, and if people will believe in God and start doing the right things that He wants them to do, then God will forgive them. But it is a story of God’s mercy, and God’s ability to use anyone for his glory. The Basilica is a pilgrimage church and the nation’s preeminent Marian shrine. This is the only time in the OT where Israel is commanded to actively pursue the Gentiles. When the plant died and Jonah became angry, God revealed how hard Jonah’s heart was. Instead of allowing Jonah to drown, the Lord in his mercy caused a giant fish to swallow him. Nineveh was part of Assyria, a violent pagan nation, known for torturing its enemies. And that’s the story of Jonah. Ministry-To-Children.com helps you tell kids about Jesus by providing age-appropriate Bible study material and Sunday School curriculum – all 100% free online. Jonah’s story would have turned their worldview upside down as they saw his righteousness be surpassed by the pagan sailors. The story of Jonah is one with unusual characters: an unwilling witness, a giant fish, and an evil nation. T he book of Jonah is an Old Testament story which tells about how the prophet Jonah refused to follow the Lord. Jonah wanted God to kill the people of Nineveh, but God wanted to forgive them. When God had a message for the people, He spoke through the prophets. Then, God had the big fish throw up Jonah onto the shores of Nineveh. Jonah Flees From the Lord. And that’s the story of Jonah.     slow to anger and abounding in mercy. Maybe he used Jonah because Jonah needed God’… God always forgives us and gives us more chances to believe in Him and to obey Him. As he had mercy on the evil people of Nineveh, he is merciful to us. God has objectives we may not like. This post is the second installment in the Basilica’s Biblical Figures series, which highlights the stories of the individuals throughout the Scriptures who are portrayed in “America’s Catholic Church.” While some of them inspire us with their unwavering faithfulness, others serve as sober reminders of the consequences of sin. Game: Listening to God Then, God said, “Jonah, go preach to the people of Nineveh. So, he boards a ship headed to Joppa. Jonah 4:2-4 describes: He prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, is this not what I said while I was still in my own country? Jonah was almost going to drown, but God sent a huge fish to come and swallow him, and God kept Jonah safe inside the fish’s belly for three days and three nights. He willfully and deliberately disobeyed God. Then, God saved him by sending a fish to swallow him. Anyone who does something without the teacher having said, “Teacher says” has to pretend that they’ve been swallowed by a fish and taken to Nineveh at the other side of the room. But God made the storm even stronger, so the men had to throw Jonah into the sea. However, Jonah decides he will go in a different direction than God directed. Divide students into groups of two or three. Once again, instead of giving Jonah what he deserves, God instead gives him an object lesson about his grace, mercy, and sovereignty. The Story Of Jonah. God gave Jonah a second chance (and more). He could easily have called someone else more faithful to go to Nineveh, someone who had some compassion and mercy toward others. International Standard Version The LORD God prepared a vine plant, and it grew over Jonah to shade his head and provide relief from his misery. The LORD God made a plant grow up beside Jonah to give him shade and make him more comfortable. Students try to launch their action figure (Jonah) into the trashcan (fish’s mouth) using only their blanket (waves of the sea). In Nineveh, Jonah proclaimed that the city would be overthrown – and to his surprise, the people of Nineveh repented. Notice all through this story that, although Jonah was God's servant, he was always thinking about himself. The last student in the game becomes the new leader. God’s Covenant with Abraham mentioned that through Abraham’s descendants God would bless the nations, but no Israelite is ever commanded to go to the nations and tell them about God. So now, Lord, please take my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord asked, “Are you right to be angry?”. ), God said, “Jonah, you should not be mad. Jonah told the other sailors, “If you want the storm to stop, you have to throw me overboard into the sea.”. God sent a big fish, some call it a whale, to swallow Jonah and to save him from drowning. Students who are out wait there until the end of the round and then, join back in. As Christians, God has shown us incredible grace and mercy in the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus. God was happy that the people started believing in Him and so He did not destroy them. Tell them that they better start believing in Me and doing the right things I want them to do or else I’m going to send fire down from Heaven to destroy their city and burn them up.”. God commissions Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach repentance to the people. Seeing how they turned from their evil ways, God relented from his judgement. As Jesus says in Matthew 12:40: Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. Copyright © 2007-2020 Ministry-to-Children. Jonah then marched east of the city and sat and waited for it to be destroyed. Jonah only wanted God’s mercy for Israel, not its enemies. Though Jonah couldn’t see it, throughout each step of his journey, he was a willing recipient of God’s small mercies. On the third day, God told the fish to spit Jonah out, and the fish spit Jonah out on the land. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. That’s why I sent you to preach to them. But Jonah did want the people of Nineveh to die, and he didn’t want to preach to them. So, let’s start from the beginning. Josiah was a faithful king who followed God's word no matter what. After some time, the whale vomits him out, and Jonah does what God wants him to do. ), Jonah disobeyed God, so God sent a very bad storm to attack Jonah’s boat. The Basilica is open 365 days a year and hosts nearly one million visitors annually. APPLY—The Israelites of Jonah’s day had taken the distinction of being God’s people and construed from that a mindset of superiority to the surrounding nations. Lesson Guide – Jonah . Yet Jonah was unwilling to show that same mercy to the people of Nineveh. The story of Jonah is one with unusual characters: an unwilling witness, a giant fish, and an evil nation. The Lord sent a plant to bring him shade, but then killed it the next day. Jonah knew that it was God who had sent the storm and he knew that it was because he was disobeying God. And should I not be concerned over the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot know their right hand from their left, not to mention all the animals? God always wants to forgive people instead of punishing them, and if people will believe in God and start doing the right things that He wants them to do, then God will forgive them. For three days, Jonah was trapped in the belly of the fish, where he prayed to the Lord. The wind was blowing…. And I have too…many times. They outline the people’s sins, the consequences of those sins, and the proper … Some scholars believe the Ninevites paid attention to Jonah because of his bizarre appearance. (No. Review the events of historic significance that have taken place at the Basilica. Like a puzzle where every piece is unique and important to create a wonderful picture, we each have a part to play in God’s story which He wants us … This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Jonah tried to run away from God, learned a terrifying lesson, did his duty, then still had the nerve to complain to the Creator of the Universe. One day, God told the prophet Jonah, “Jonah, go preach to the people of Nineveh. Jonah is identified as a prophet and servant of God during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel (2 Kings 14:24-25)—between 792 and 753 B.C. We can take comfort in the fact that, no matter what mistakes we make, we are in no way powerful enough to spoil God’s plan! Jonah, had he not been eaten by the fish, would no doubt have drowned. Do you think the people of Nineveh will listen to Jonah and start believing in God? (Jonah 4:9-11). These Minor Prophet books record those messages. Key Points: God calls people to repent. Here are five lessons from Jonah on God’s mercy. In the Basilica, Jonah is depicted in the west buttress of the south entrance, as well as in a pewabic ceiling panel in the west apse of the Crypt Church. Story: A very long time ago lived a man named Jonah; God had a special job for Jonah, God wanted Jonah to go to the land of Nineveh and to tell the people that their evil ways had broken God’s heart. Jonah is the most widely known of the Minor Prophets, the last 12 books of the Old Testament. Do you think it was good for Jonah to go far away from Nineveh when God told him to go to Nineveh? But God is rich in mercy and will save all who call on him. Most of these book were written to the people of Israel and Judah, but Jonah, Obadiah, and Nahum are more concerned with surrounding nations. The story of Jonah also displays God’s sovereignty. I didn’t want to destroy them. (No. Jonah’s Unwillingness Jonah is depicted in the ceiling of the West Apse of the Crypt Church A Hebrew prophet living during the reign of Jeroboam II, Jonah was visited by the Lord, who asked him to go to Nineveh to warn them of God’s impending judgement upon them. When he confessed that he was running from the Lord, they tossed him overboard. In the end, God won and Jonah went to Nineveh to preach. While the ship heads out to sea Jonah decides to take a nap. Basilica Insider: The Art of Mary Stratton in America’s Catholic Church, Celebrating the Anniversary of the Incarnation Dome. Jonah was a prophet, basically, a guy that spoke on God’s behalf to others. Even though he still didn’t like the people of Nineveh, Jonah went and preached to them and warned them to start believing in God and doing the right things or else God would destroy them. God convinced him to mercy caused a giant fish, some call a... 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