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Lesson Focus: Even when we don’t understand, it’s important to do what God wants us to do.
Scripture: Jonah 3:10 & Jonah 1:17
Jonah 3:10 “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”
Jonah 1:17: “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and nights.”
Ask the children– Have you ever chosen not to follow directions from your teachers or parents? (Allow responses)
Ask the children– Why didn’t you want to follow the directions? (allow responses)
Sometimes we might not want to follow directions because we don’t understand why we must do something. We also might disagree about it, or we might even be afraid.
In the book of Jonah, we learn about a man named Jonah who didn’t want to do what God wanted him to do. He chose to disobey God, and he had consequences.
God wanted Jonah to go to a place called Nineveh, but Jonah didn’t want to go!
God really needed Jonah’s help because He wanted to help the people of Nineveh. They were making bad choices, and God wanted Jonah to go warn them and help them turn their lives around and worship God. Jonah didn’t want to go because he didn’t want to help the people that lived in Nineveh. He didn’t want to love them.
God helped Jonah learn a very important lesson about listening to and following God’s plans.
Ask the children– When you choose not to follow directions from your teachers or parents, what might happen? (allow answers)
Well, God had an even bigger way to get Jonah’s attention! When Jonah refused to follow God’s directions, God used a giant whale to get his attention!
When Jonah was trying to run away from God, God used a whale to swallow Jonah! He stayed in the whale for 3 days and 3 nights. During that lonely time, Jonah did a lot of praying. He told God that he was ready to listen and that he would go to the city of Nineveh and let the people know that they needed to change their ways and follow God.
And do you know what? The people in the city listened to Jonah, and they asked God for forgiveness. They changed their ways and promised to live better lives and make better choices. God used Jonah to help save the lives of many people in the city of Nineveh.
Jonah 3:10 explains what God did after Jonah spoke to the people of Nineveh and after they chose to change their lives and follow God. “When God saw what they did and how they chose better ways to live, He forgave them and protected them.”
Even though Jonah didn’t understand why God wanted to help the people of Nineveh, he DID learn to listen to God. Jonah learned to follow God’s directions, even when he was afraid, and didn’t agree. God was trying to help Jonah learn to have compassion for others and to learn that because God loves and forgives us of our sins, we should forgive others that have done wrong things. Even when we don’t understand God’s plans, it’s important that we listen to and obey God.
Thank you for loving us. When you ask us to do something, it’s hard sometimes. Please help us remember to follow your commands, even when we don’t understand all of your plans. Help us learn to listen to you, and help us to love and forgive others.
Listening to God (The Story of Jonah) – Children’s Sermon on Jonah and the Whale – Jonah 3:10