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Jonah and the Fish

Jonah being swallowed

Theme:

God's desire is that we live according to what He tells us to do in the Bible.  If do these things, God's blessings will rest on us every day.

Materials You Need:

Scissors.
Make copies of the two patterns from the links below:
Figure 1: Copy Jonah onto white thin card.
Figure 2: Copy the Fish onto dark blue thin card.

Effect:

The whale is cut out and displayed.  Later when Jonah is spat out, he is pulled out of the mouth as shown in the photo.

Text:

Jonah 1:1 - 3:10.

 

Lesson:

(Fold Figure 1 vertically, cut out and display Jonah).  One day God spoke to a man named Jonah.  God said, "I want you to go to a city called Nineveh, because the people there do wicked things.  I want you to warn them of what will happen to them."  But Jonah did not want to go.  "I won't go!" he shouted and decided to run away as far as he could go in the opposite direction.  Is it right for us to disobey God?   (Let the children respond).

Running Away!

Anyway, Jonah went to a city called Joppa that was by the sea and looked for a ship that was sailing far away.  He eventually found one that was going to a city called Tarshish.  "Here captain," he cried, "Take my fare.  I want to sail away as soon as possible!"

I wonder what he thought as he sailed away that day and watched the shore disappear over the horizon.  When you do wrong things, do you feel really bad afterwards?  (Let the children respond).  Do you then lie and try to cover up what you have done?  I'm sure that only makes you feel worse!

(Begin to cut out the Fish's tail in Figure 2).  As the ship sailed toward Tarshish, Jonah went below deck and found a bed to lie on.  He said to himself, "Ha, I got away with it.  Now the Lord won't be able to send me to Nineveh and put my life in danger there.  I'm sure they would have stoned me alive if I tried to warn them that God is going to destroy them.  But, not me!!"  With that happy thought he stretched out and fell fast asleep.

The Storm!

In the meantime, God knew exactly what Jonah was doing.  God then sent a strong wind and soon a furious storm was raging around the ship.  The waves beat against the ship from all sides.  The sailors hung on for dear life and were afraid the ship would soon break up.  They even started throwing the cargo into the sea to make the ship lighter.

(Cut out the rest of the Fish).  The crew finally realised that the storm was caused by someone's wickedness.  They got together to find out whose fault it was that such a bad storm had come upon them.   Finally they shouted to the captain, "It must be that man Jonah's fault."

It's My Fault!

During all this commotion Jonah had been asleep.  The sailors woke him up and dragged Jonah up to the main deck.  "Who are you?" they shouted.  Jonah timidly replied, "I'm a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of Heaven, who made the sea and the land."

"We've found him, Captain," the sailors cried, "It's his fault that this terrible storm has come upon us."  The captain frowned at Jonah, "My good man, what have you done wrong?  Pray to your God and perhaps He will help us!"  Jonah hung his head in shame and muttered, "I know why this storm has come.  It's because I'm running away from God."

(Cut out Jonah but leave him attached to the Fish).  The sea in the meantime was getting rougher and rougher.  The sailors begged Jonah, "What can we do, man?"   Jonah cried out, "Just throw me into the sea!"  The sailors at first didn't want to do this, so they tried to row the ship to the shore, but the storm only grew worse.  At last the captain shouted, "It's no good men, we will have to throw the Hebrew into to sea!"

Swallowed by a Giant Fish!

Reluctantly they threw Jonah into the sea and immediately the storm stopped!  The waves died down and the ship sailed on into calm waters.   "Truly he served a big God," remarked one sailor, "What a pity that he had to die this way."  But that was not to be, God sent a huge fish to swallow Jonah.  We think it was it might have been a whale.

(Hold up the fish and fold Jonah into the Fish's mouth).  Jonah felt himself sliding down the fish's throat and landed with a splash in it's stomach.  What do you think it was like to be in a fish's stomach?   (Let the children respond).  I am sure it stank.  As the fish swam and dived, every now and then Jonah would let out a yell, "Oh no, not again!"  And a wave of stomach juices would roll over his head and he would fight for breath.  This went on for three days and three nights until Jonah was sure that the next time this happened he would be a dead duck.

I'll Obey Now!

Finally Jonah pitifully cried out to the Lord, "I'm ready to do what You want me to do."  God heard Jonah's prayer and told the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land.  (Pull out Jonah to show the fish spitting him out, and then tear him off as he obeys God).  God then spoke to Jonah a second time and said, "Go to the city called Nineveh and tell the people the message I gave you before."  This time, Jonah wasted no time and went straight to Nineveh and warned the people, "In forty days time the city will be destroyed!"

I am sure that Jonah looked a sight, all bleached white by the fish's juices.  The people must have asked what had happened to him.  After he had told them his experiences in the fish's stomach, they believed God and stopped doing their wicked things.  God then had compassion on them and did not destroy their city.

Application:

God's desire is that we live according to the Bible.  In John 14:23-24 Jesus said,

"If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching,
My Father will love him and We will come to him,
and make our home with him."

It always pays us to always do the right thing and try to please God.  When we do wrong, we can say sorry to Jesus and ask Him to forgive us and change us inside, so that we will never want do it again.  Obeying God shows that we love Him.  The verse also says that God will not only love us, but that God and Jesus will live in our hearts!

Remember, don't be like disobedient Jonah!  Obey God and your parents, and then God's blessings will rest on you every day.

God bless!
 

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