Young at Heart –

We will look at a familiar passage today – the story of Jonah. Here is an ordinary guy going about his own business and living a life that pleases God. He was a good man, so to say. However, one day God decided to give him an errand which was to bring a message to the people of Nineveh. This guy or Jonah to be precise was absolutely disappointed with the errand for he disliked those people.

The passage is from Jonah 1; 2:10 – 3:3. Sorry, that this is rather a long passage but hopefully, you will enjoy the story.

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

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. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

10 This terrified them, and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So, they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.

17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 

Questions –

  1. Who was Jonah? What did God tell him to do?
  2. Did Jonah listen? What did he do?
  3. What happened when Jonah was on the ship?
  4. After Jonah was thrown overboard, what happened?
  5. How did our story end? What did Jonah do?
  6. When we get disappointed, what should we do?

Memory Verse: Jonah 3:3 –
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.

Dear God, you know the many times, I get frustrated and disappointed mainly because I insisted on my own ways. Guide me gently along your paths and try not to put me into the belly of a fish. When I am wilful, show me the bigger picture of what your plans are. Amen.