A Story About Jonah
How would you feel if you were riding your brand new bicycle down your street and suddenly a garbage can blew into your path and caused you to wreck? And not only did you destroy your brand new bicycle, but you broke your arm and both legs! Then if that wasn't enough, the wreck knocked out all your front teeth. Wouldn't that anger you?
Now imagine that while you are lying there bleeding and in extreme pain, your father runs up to the garbage can and begins crying aloud because you had dented his garbage can. How would you feel if your father fell on his face in the dirt and began screaming and kicking the ground and crying, "Oh, my poor garbage can is dented! What ever shall I do? I wish that I were dead!"
"Unbelievable!" you might declare. "This would never happen. My father would never do that!"
How about if I told you a different story about an older man, very dignified and proper, who fell on his face and cried because a worm had eaten and killed a weed? Still won't believe my second story?
Supposing I told you that the man was more concerned about his dead weed than about the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and cattle. No Way? You think that there is a better chance that your father would cry over the garbage can before someone would cry over a dead weed?
Believe it or not, the story about the man and the weed is true. The story is about a prophet of God named Jonah.
Perhaps you've heard the story about Jonah, a prophet of God, and how he was called by God to go to the wicked city of Nineveh. God had instructed Jonah to proclaim to the people of Nineveh to repent or face God's judgment. As the story goes, Jonah fled from God's face and tried to escape to Tarshish in a boat, but God sent a great storm upon the boat and everyone on board feared the ship was going to sink. The Captain could do no more to save his ship so he called upon all the men on the ship to call on their God for Mercy.
Just as the boat was about to be destroyed, Jonah confessed his sins to the Captain. Jonah informed the Captain that he was to be thrown overboard into the sea. Reluctantly the Captain obeyed Jonah, and immediately after Jonah landed in the water, he was swallowed by a whale.
It took Jonah three days for him to repent and for the whale to spit Jonah out onto the shore. Sad, and looking like he had been through the worst three days of his life, Jonah proceeded to Nineveh. After some time, Jonah, smelling like half-digested seaweed, entered the city of Ninevah. Reluctantly, Jonah proclaimed God's message and urged the people to repent.
The King was moved by the message and made a decree that all his people should repent and turn from their wicked ways. The King prayed to God for mercy and compassion.
Here's where I want to start today's story.
Silently and angrily, Jonah stomped his way to the east side of the city and built himself a booth. Even though the people of Nineveh had repented of their sins, Jonah felt that the people had committed so many sins that God would not forgive them nor spare them the wrath of His judgment.
How long Jonah waited for God to send down judgment upon the city, the Bible doesn't say. However, the Bible does say that God caused a gourd (similar to a squash or type of vegetable) and its vine to grow up over the top of Jonah, to give Jonah shade from the hot sun. This made Jonah very happy.
But the next morning, God allowed a worm to infest the gourd, and the vine withered and died. Next, God prepared a strong, east wind to arise, and allowed the sun to beat down upon Jonah's head so that Jonah fainted from the heat. This is when Jonah threw his little tantrum. He pouted and cried and even wished that he were dead. "It is better for me to die than to live," wailed Jonah.
The Bible goes on to say that God finally spoke to Jonah and asked Jonah why he was so angry, even unto death. What do you think Jonah responded?
A. "I'm mad because I lost a lot of money."
B. "I'm mad because there are still wicked people in Ninevah."
C. "I'm mad because I smell worse than half-digested seaweed." Phew!!!!
D. "I'm terribly angry because my weed died."
If you guessed "D," you were right. Jonah was more concerned about the weed that gave him shade than he was about all the people that had repented and been spared from God's wrath!
God rebuked Jonah for having more pity on the gourd than on the great city that God spared because they repented. The Bible says that there were more than six-score thousand (120,000 people) that were too young to tell their right hand from their left. This number didn't even include the teenagers and adults! God wanted Jonah to have mercy and compassion on the people of Nineveh.
Now we may never cry over a garbage can or a weed, but so many times we put little, unimportant things ahead of telling others about God's saving grace. We would rather play a game or watch a movie instead of telling others about God. Or maybe we are more concerned with how our hair looks than about whether or not our best friend is going to heaven.
No matter what the weed, or item that we love so much, we must remember that God wants to save everyone from their sins, no matter how bad they've been. We must also remember that God also wants us to care more for the sinner and his salvation than for the little things that have no eternal value at all. We are to have mercy and compassion on all people.
What vegetable grew up and gave Jonah shade?
What ate and killed the vine?
Why was Jonah angry?
People are more important than things.
A VERSE TO LEARN
"The Lord is...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9b).
Dear God, thank You for the stories in the
Bible that teach us how we should live. Help me
to remember that being concerned about people
is much more important than being concerned
about things. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
Jonah and His Gourd
Jonah and His Gourd (with memory verse)
Cut and Scramble Memory Activity Page 1
Cut and Scramble Memory Activity Page 2
Jonah in the Whale
Jonah and the Great Fish (Adobe Acrobat Reader Required)
Colour the Bible Book 3: Hosea - Malachi
Bible Stories to Color and Tell (ages 3-K)
Bible Story Cards Coloring Book - Old Testament
Bible Story Coloring Pages (Reproducible)
Children's Coloring Books
My Bible Coloring Book (Shirley Dobson)
Old Testament Scenes Stained Glass Coloring Book
Smart Coloring Books
Jonah Crossword Puzzle
Jonah Word Search
Jonah Is Humbled By God (Adobe Acrobat Reader Required)
Fill In the Blanks
Jonah's Fish Ride Pencil Fun Books
Jonah Inlaid Puzzle (Veggie Tales)
Best Book of Bible Activities
Encyclopedia Of Bible Games For Children's Ministry
The Humongous Book of Games for Children's Ministry
Amazing Bible Mazes
Memory Verse Games for Kids (Take Me Through the Bible Series)
Big Book Of Bible Puzzles (Reproducible)
Bible Puzzles: Word Search
Big Book Of Bible Story Activity Pages V1 (Gospel Light Big Books)
Christian and educational toys
Children's Activity Books
Bible Word Search
Bible Fish and Whale Crafts
Make Your Own Bible Game
Puppet Crafts For Kids
Craft Ideas For Any Story
Bible Crafts On A Shoestring Budget (Grades 1 & 2)
Bible Crafts & More (Ages 6-8)
Bible Crafts On A Shoestring Budget (Ages 5-10)
Big Book of Bible Crafts (Ages 3-12)
Encyclopedia Of Bible Crafts For Preschoolers
Praise God With...Craft Series
Praise God with a Paper Plate (PreK-Grade 2)
Really Big Book Of Cool Crafts For Kids w/CD-Ages 4-12 (Reproducible)
Children's Crafts & Hobbies
Shouldn't I Care About Them?
Jonah and the Whale - Song #11
Gaither Homecoming Church In The Wildwood (Audio CD)
Jonah and the Whale Song
Jonah, Are You Gonna - Song #2
A Big Fish Story: The Story of Jonah
Carry-me: Jonah and the Big Fish
Jonah: First Word Heroes Books
Beginners Bible/Jonah & The Big Fish (I Can Read)
Jonah and the Whale
Jonah Comic Book
Jonah: The Runaway Preacher (Bibletime Books)
Whale and Jonah Read and Listen Online
Jonah & Very Big Fish (Arch Books)
Big Bible Stories: Jonah Video Story Signed For The Deaf
Prophets, Captives and the Kingdom Rebuilt Manga Bible Vol. 5
Read the story in the Bible
The Runaway Prophet or the Chick of the Sea
The Story of Jonah
Whoops! Jonah and the Fish
More Books about Jonah
100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs w/2 CD
Baby's First Bible
Bible in Pictures For Toddlers
Early Reader's Bible
Five Minute Devotions for Children (ages 4-8)
Little Hands Story Bible
The Children's Illustrated Bible
Pilgrim's Progress for Kids
Spanish Children's Books
The Picture Bible (also in Spanish)
Online Fish Matching Game
Print Out Fish Matching Game
Jonah Overboard Adventure Game by Veggie Tales (2-4 Players)
Jonah Fishin' Card Game by Veggie Tales (2-4 Players)
Watch amazing little girl tell the story of Jonah!
Greatest Heroes and Legends/Jonah and the Whale DVD (Good Times Entertainment)
Jonah: A Great Fish Story DVD
Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie 2 DVDs)
The Story of Jonah - Listen online
Kids Favorite Bible Stories and Songs: Jonah DVD
What's in the Bible DVD 9: God Speaks - Isaiah, Jeremiah & the Prophets
Bible Plays: Volume 1
Bible Comes Alive CD Album 4
Amazing Bible Stories
Read and Share Ultimate Bible Storybook with 2 DVDs
Resources for Parents and Teachers
Alone With God: I Can Study Jonah and Ruth
Wrong Way, Jonah! (Bible Studies for Kids by Kay Arthur)
Go To Work For God
Jonah Lesson 4
Bible Query From Jonah
Have you any right to be angry?
801 Questions Kids Ask About God (Focus on the Family)
African American Resources
Almost Every Answer for Practically Any Teacher (Bruce Wilkinson)
Bible Crafts and Activities for Any Story
Big Book of Bible Games (Gospel Light)
Bulletin Board helps
Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul
Children's Church Resources
Church Nanny Sos: Teaching Discipline Essentials for Preschool Ministry Volunteers
52 Games That Teach The Bible
Flannel Graph Story Sets to Purchase
Free educational videos
God's Servants Teach Me (Instant Bible Lessons)
God's Wisdom for Little Boys: Character-Building Fun from Proverbs
Help! I'm a Sunday School Teacher (Focus on the Family)
Hermie Scripture Memory
How To Lead a Child To Christ
King James Version Award Bibles
Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teachings
Lord Teach Me To Pray For Kids (Kay Arthur)
Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours
Memory Verse Ideas
Memory Verse Resources
Pray & Play Bible for Young Children
Resources for Teachers
Seven Laws of the Learner (Bruce Wilkinson)
Sunday School Attendance Boosters: 165 Fresh Ideas
Sunday school resources
Talking to God (Instant Bible Lessons)
Teachers' Reproducible Classroom Pages
Teaching Children Memory Verses Ages 4-5
Teaching Children To Pray Ages 4-5
Teaching to Change Lives (by Howard Hendrickss)
The Big Book of Bible Skits
Things To Make Craft Activities
Vacation Bible School
What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know
(by Elmer Towns)
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Last updated February 11, 2013.
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