When the boys learned we would be taking our Bible time to the kiddy pool this week, they would not stop begging to hear the story of Jonah! Music to my ears. When I have taught this story in winter months, we used the bathtub or just a big bowl of water. Any way you teach it, kids are amazed with the story of Jonah.
Before we dive into our story, why are we talking about Jonah if our focus is Obedience? Well, we are learning from Jonah’s mistakes! God didn’t put Jonah in the Bible by accident. He knew that we (his children) would need examples about what not to do, so we would understand that God’s faithfulness never fails. And God still used Jonah, just like he still uses us today even when we don’t make the right choices. However, we are going to see that life goes a lot smoother when we obey God’s commands!
Is Jonah in the Old or New Testament?! OLD! Yes, in my Bible it is only four pages. That’s not very long but there are some BIG lessons for us to learn! Let’s get started.
Can you see the excitement in their faces? We filled the kiddy pool with water and plenty of sea creatures. I had the boys find a boat (although a pirate ship was not exactly what I had in mind we used it anyway) and figures to use for Jonah and the sailors. Then they made two signs, one with an N for Ninevah and the other with a T for Tarshish.
As I started telling the story, I asked the question, where did God tell Jonah to go?
Yes, Ninevah! But he did NOT obey, the bible says he ran away from God. Jonah boarded a boat headed for Tarshish, but God sent a huge storm with fierce waves! Can you make the water look like there is a huge storm?
The sailors were wondering who was to blame for the huge storm. They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. The sailors began asking Jonah questions, but the sea was getting rougher. “What should we do to make the sea calm down?” Jonah told them to throw him in the sea! He knew it was his fault. The men did not want to do this, so they tried to get back to shore but the storm was so strong so they threw him into the sea!
Immediately, the sea became calm. Because of this, the men greatly feared the Lord! God used Jonah’s disobedience to bring others to know him. Meanwhile, God sent a BIG FISH to swallow Jonah!
While inside the fish, Jonah prayed for God to save him. After three days in the stinky fish’s belly, God commanded the whale to spit Jonah out onto dry land! Then, the word of the Lord came to Jonah again, and God told him to go to Nineveh and share a message with the people. This time Jonah OBEYED and went to Nineveh!
I wonder what it smelled like inside the fish’s belly?
I wonder if you ever have to be asked more than one time to do something, like Jonah?
I wonder what God wants us to learn about Him through the story of Jonah?