Jonah Runs from the Lord - One day the Lord told a man named Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and tell the people there, "The Lord has seen your terrible sins. You are doomed!" Nineveh was a city in Assyria, east of Israel, and at one time the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The people of Nineveh were enemies of Israel. Jonah did NOT want to go to Nineveh, so he ran away. Instead of going east to Nineveh, he got on a ship and sailed away to the west. But while the ship was at sea, the Lord made a terrible storm come up, and the ship was about to break to pieces. The sailors said, "Let's ask our gods to show us who caused all this trouble." They cast lots to find out, and the lot fell to Jonah. They threw Jonah overboard, and the sea calmed down.
The Lord sent a big fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish for three days. From inside the fish, Jonah prayed. Finally the Lord commanded the fish to vomit Jonah up onto the shore. And it did.
Jonah Goes to Nineveh - Once Jonah was back on dry land, the Lord told him again to go to Nineveh and preach his message of doom. This time, Jonah obeyed and went to Nineveh. The city was so huge that it took three days just to walk through it. After walking for a day, Jonah warned the people, "Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed!" The people believed God's message, and they fasted and wore sackcloth to show their sorrow. Even the king of Nineveh dressed in sackcloth, and he left the royal palace and sat in dust. Then he sent out an order for everyone in the city to obey. It said: “None of you OR your animals may eat or drink a thing. Each of you must wear sackcloth, and you must even put sackcloth on your animals. You must also pray to the Lord God with all your heart and stop being sinful and cruel. Maybe God will have mercy on us, so we won't be destroyed.” When the people stopped doing evil things, God did have pity and did not destroy them.
Jonah Gets Angry at the Lord - This made Jonah MAD. He was so mad he wanted to die! He said to God: “I KNEW it! I knew from the beginning that you wouldn't destroy Nineveh. That's why I ran away. You are KIND and MERCIFUL and PATIENT. You ALWAYS show love, and you don't like to punish anyone, not even foreigners. That makes me so mad I can’t stand it! So just let me die! I'd be better off dead.” But the Lord merely replied, "What right do you have to be angry?"
Jonah went outside the city and sat, sulking and waiting to see what would happen to Nineveh. The Lord made a vine grow up to shade Jonah's head and protect him from the sun. Jonah was very happy to have the vine, but early the next morning the Lord sent a worm to chew on the vine, and the vine dried up. Then the Lord sent a scorching wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head, making him feel faint. Jonah was so miserable he shouted, "I wish I were dead!" But the Lord asked, "Jonah, do you have the right to be angry about the vine?" "Yes, I do," he answered, "and I'm angry enough to die."
But the Lord said: “Think about it, Jonah. That vine grew up in one night and died the next. You did not plant it or take care of it, but yet you’re concerned about it. Now in the city of Nineveh there are more than 120 thousand people who cannot tell right from wrong — not to mention all the cattle! Don't you think I should care about them?”
"But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15 NSRV
Use puppets to learn more about obeying and God’s love and patience in Praising Puppets
Hear the story of Jonah’s Stoplight and make a stoplight bracelet in Good News
In Holywood, watch The Story of Jonah and the Whale and identify power and mercy elements
Play a game about Jonah using the Big Wheel in Antioch Arcade
Create batik picture of Jonah running from God in Creation Station
Creation Station – Beth Williams
Holywood – Sandra Clark
Praising Puppets – Lawson & Kathryn Rankin
Good News – Carol Parks
Antioch Arcade – Laura Heintschel/John Leonard
Thank you to our Curriculum Design Team: Carole Rhodes, Lee Smith, Sara Ridings, Allison Connors, Angela Farthing, Robin Morris, Amy Woynicz, and Lori Houck.