49 Jonah

Start the challenge by finding and reading a Bible verse from Jonah 4:2b.

How do you feel when someone asks or tells you to do something you really don’t want to do – annoyed, angry, bored, or grumpy?

Do you ever refuse to do what you’ve been told to do? Or do you do it, but moan and be as unhelpful as you can be?

What do you think God would do if he asked someone to do something and they tried to get out of doing it?


Read more…

The story so far…

God told Jonah to go to a foreign city called Nineveh. He wanted Jonah to tell the people about their sins so that they could turn away from their wrongdoing. Instead, Jonah tried to run away from God and got on a boat that was going to Spain. There was a huge storm and the sailors were very frightened. Jonah thought that the storm was his fault because he had disobeyed God, so he told the sailors to throw him overboard. The sailors didn’t want to do this, but…

Now read Jonah 1:15–17; 3:1–10 together.


What happened next…

The fish spat Jonah out on the beach! Safe on dry land, God told him again to go to Nineveh. This time, Jonah obeyed. To his amazement, when he preached, the people repented of their sins. Jonah was cross with God for being so forgiving and merciful to these foreigners! It was hot and Jonah found shade under a vine – but then the vine died. Jonah was cross about that, too. God pointed out to him that if Jonah was so upset about an unimportant plant, how much more should God be concerned about all the people in the city of Nineveh.


Explore the Bible

Answer the questions from Big Bible Challenge page 66 together.


Did you know…?

Nineveh This was an important city in Assyria. There were palaces and libraries. The Assyrians had a strong army and their great city was a sign of their power and strength.

Date Jonah probably lived in the eighth century BC.

Vine In Jonah chapter 4, a plant grows quickly and gives Jonah shelter from the hot sun. It may have been a castor-oil bush, which is fast-growing and has large leaves (though it would still need God to make it grow as fast as it did!).


Try it out

Do you think God could forgive someone who had done something terribly wrong? Are there people who do not deserve God’s forgiveness? That’s how Jonah felt about the people of Nineveh – and he was not pleased when God showed them “mercy” and gave them something they did not deserve: he heard their prayers and did not destroy them and their city.

God’s mercy really is for everyone. Try this fun quiz to see how “merciful” you are!

Someone accidentally pushes your bag off your shoulder in the school corridor. Do you:

  • a pick it up and swipe them around the head with it?
  • b pick it up and walk away with it, muttering under your breath?
  • c accept their apology?

Your best friend tells everyone your most embarrassing moment. Do you:

  • a tell everyone an even more embarrassing story about them?
  • b tell them later that if they do that again you will get them back?
  • c shrug it off and join in the laughter?

Some children who have a different religion are being picked on in your school. Do you:

  • a join in?
  • b ignore it all and pretend it has nothing to do with you?
  • c step in and tell people they shouldn’t pick on others?

Your church is organising volunteers to visit an old people’s home regularly. Do you:

  • a think that you wouldn’t want to waste your time on them?
  • b volunteer but only go occasionally?
  • c really get involved and make new friends?

There is a charity collection for charity relief. Do you:

  • a give nothing?
  • b give any money you have left over from your pocket money this week?
  • c think about it and decide to give the money that you were saving for something special for yourself?


Mostly a – you seriously need to think about how you can show God’s mercy to others.

Mostly b – you’re trying but are not quite there yet.

Mostly c – well done, you are a real mercy-giver!


Talk to God

God sees you, inside and out. Tell him how that makes you feel.

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