Parents' Corner | March 1 ,2020
Jonah lived during the time Jeroboam II was king over Israel, mere decades before the Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed. Jonah was a prophet—and while he is best known as the man who was swallowed by a big fish when he tried to run away from God, his story continues beyond chapter 2 to reveal what Jonah knew all along: God is “a gracious and compassionate God” (John 4:2b).
Jonah’s account centers around the compassion of God, not only for the people of Israel but for people throughout the earth—even Israel’s worst enemies!
Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and the rulers of Nineveh were notoriously evil and cruel. That was the very reason God called Jonah to go to them: “their evil has come up before me” (Jonah 1:2). God is the Judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25), and He is sovereign over all the nations.
Jonah discovered that no one can flee from God’s presence. (Ps. 139:9-10) Through a storm and some time in the belly of a fish, God got Jonah’s attention, and Jonah went to Nineveh. For three days, Jonah walked around the city. His message to the Ninevites was brief: “In forty days Nineveh will be demolished!” (Jonah 3:4)
The people of Nineveh immediately repented, and God withheld His judgment. “Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious” (Jonah 4:1). God rebuked Jonah. He left Jonah—and the reader—with a question to consider: “May I not care about the great city of Nineveh?” (Jonah 4:11).
Emphasize to your kids that Jesus is greater than Jonah. (Matt. 12:41) God called Jonah to go to his enemies and call them to turn away from their sin, but Jonah refused. Instead, he ran away. Later, God sent Jesus to His enemies to call us to repentance. Jesus willingly obeyed. Jesus died on the cross to rescue us from sin. God shows His mercy in the gospel, forgiving those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. God sends us out, like Jonah, to share the good news of salvation.
Children’s Ministry Director
The Well Community Church
Family Starting Points
Scripture Memory (3rd-5th): Romans 10:9-10
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”
Help your kids memorize these verses by listening to a song together throughout the week! Click here to listen to the 3rd-5th grade memory verse song or visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdtHUABFfpY
Scripture Memory (Pre-K and K-2nd): Ephesians 6:1
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Help your kids memorize the verse by listening to a song together through the week! Click here to listen to the PreK-2nd grade memory verse song (you do not need to purchase the song to listen) or visit: https://jumpstart3.com/product/ephesians-61-3/
Big Picture Question:
What is God like? God is slow to anger, merciful, and loving.
Bible Story: Jonah, Prophet to Nineveh (Jonah 1-4)
- God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the people to stop doing bad things.
- Jonah got on a boat to go away.
- God sent a big fish to swallow Jonah for three days.
- Jonah went to Nineveh.
- The people said they were sorry.
- Jonah was mad that God showed mercy to the Ninevites.
Family Discussion Starters:
- Name a time when you did something you did not want to.
- Why did God show mercy to the Ninevites?
- What ways does God show mercy to us?
- Learn to appreciate other cultures. Visit an ethnic restaurant or grocery store. Attend an international festival. Play with children at a refugee center. Attend a worship service in a different language.
Next Week: Joel, Prophet to Judah (Joel 1-3)