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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6 KJV

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    Monday, July 15, 2013

    The story of Jonah and the whale is one of the most famous bible stories of all time. That one simple story could be used to teach kids many different life lessons. Today our Sunday school lesson is going to focus on 'obeying God'.

    At first, Jonah chose to run from God instead of obey him.

    Where did that get him?

    Inside the belly of the whale (or big fish).

    Jonah and the Whale
    Sunday School Lessons
    Photo: James Tissot (1836-1902), French painter

    Sunday School Lesson

    At the beginning of the bible story, God told Jonah he was to go to a city called Nineveh. He was to tell the people there to turn from their sinful ways and turn to God instead.

    For some reason, Jonah didn't want to help the people of Nineveh.

    Ask, "Does anyone know what Jonah did?"

    Wait for answers.

    Instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah went to the boat docks and paid for a ride. The ride he paid for was on a ship. The ship was going to a place called Tarshish not Nineveh. It was going in the complete opposite direction!

    Ask, "Did Jonah obey God?" (No.)

    Wait for answers.

    Ask, "Where was Jonah supposed to go?" (Nineveh.)

    Wait for answers.

    There are many times God needs us to do things for him, but we ignore him because we are scared or think we don't have time or that we can't do it.

    Use yourself as an example.

    Say, "What if I didn't obey God when he wanted me to teach Sunday school? I love to teach Sunday school. But, if I chose not to obey God because I was scared, God would have chosen someone else and I wouldn't be here teaching you today. I wouldn't want to miss out on God's blessing because I was too scared."

    Go on to explain that God blesses those who are willing to obey him and do his will.

    Bible Verse for this Sunday School Lesson

    Teaching bible verses with your Sunday school lesson helps reinforce your lesson with God's word. Go over your weekly bible verses more than once as repetition helps kids remember.

    John 12:26 KJV

    26 If any man serve me, let him follow me;

    Another bible verse you can use with this lesson is as follows:

    John 14:15 KJV

    15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.


    So, What Happened to Jonah?

    As the ship sailed away with Jonah, God sent a strong wind onto the sea. The ship rocked back and

    forth so badly the men on the ship was scared. They thought they were going to die.

    They began throwing things off the ship thinking that if they made the ship lighter, it wouldn't sink.

    The men found Jonah asleep down in the ship and woke him up.

    When they discovered the storm was because Jonah ran from God instead of obeying, they wondered what they should do.

    Jonah said, "Pick me up and throw me overboard into the water."

    At first, the men didn't throw Jonah overboard, but finally they realized it was the only way to stop the storm.

    As soon as Jonah hit the water, the storm stopped.

    But, this wasn't the end of Jonah. You see, God still needed Jonah to go to Nineveh to tell the people there to stop sinning and turn to him.

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    Jonah and the Whale

    The bible doesn't say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, but since the fish had to be big enough to swallow a man whole, people believe it was a whale.

    So, God prepared a big fish to come along at just the right time. The big fish opened his mouth up wide and swallowed Jonah whole.

    God wanted Jonah to know that he couldn't run away. He needed to obey.

    After three days in the belly of the great big fish (maybe a whale?), Jonah knew he must obey God and agreed to go to Nineveh.

    You see, God heard Jonah praying in the belly of the fish.

    God allowed the fish to swim near the shore and spit Jonah out on dry land.

    Jonah then knew he must obey God and went to Nineveh just as God needed him to do.

    What We Learned in this Sunday School Lesson

    No matter where we are or what we are doing, God can see us and hear us just as he heard Jonah in the belly of the great big fish. When God needs you, you can be sure he'll find you.

    Obeying God the first time will lead to a life of blessings from God instead of a life of running from him.

    Obey him when he calls.

    Some ways God may need children:

    • telling friends about him
    • inviting friends to Sunday school or VBS
    • helping mom or dad
    • leading others to ask Jesus to come into their hearts
    • keeping parents in God's word
    • reading the bible to those who can't read
    • praying for other
    • becoming a Sunday school teacher
    • becoming a preacher
    • the list goes on and on

    Jonah and the whale teaches kids that obeying God the first time is much better than trying to hide or run away. Don't be scared if God needs you. He won't leave you. He'll be by your side the whole time.



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