November Week 1, 2022 Learning Together
Hello to you and your family! As usual, you are invited to listen and read and create and pray around one particular story, and this month the story is “God’s Messenger” found on pages 160-169 in The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
Children: Please start this lesson by listening to the story read aloud to you in this Learning Together email. If you like, follow along in your own book, making sure to check out the pictures. Any family member is welcome to join you!
So, let me ask you this … Do you always do what you’re told to do? When your parents ask you to clean your room, do you do it right away with a smile? Sometimes we don’t like to do what we are told to do. God told Jonah to go where he did not want to go, to do something he did not want to do.
Jonah was a prophet. A prophet is a person sent by God to deliver a message to a person or to group of people. We know from the Bible that Jonah was a man who listened and obeyed when God spoke to him… well, most of the time. This story is about one time that Jonah listened but chose NOT to obey God.
God had a plan for Jonah to go to a certain city to deliver His message to the people there, and He understood that Jonah needed to be convinced to do as he was asked. He arranged for a meeting between Jonah and a large fish, and after the two had met, Jonah decided that following God’s plan was the best decision after all.
Would cleaning your room when first asked be easier than trying to get out of it?
If you have questions or comments, please post them on this blog. Pastor Mary will respond. You may want to draw a picture of Jonah and what happened to him.
Adults: The biblical reference for this story is the book of Jonah. This book begins with Jonah receiving specific instructions from the Lord. “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their evil has come up before me’” (1:1-2).
Jonah is the only Hebrew prophet in the Old Testament sent by God to a Gentile nation. This event reminds us that God has a missionary’s heart and a plan for the Gentiles. Jonah is the Old Testament book that reminds us “God so loved the world,” including the Gentiles.
Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian empire, which had a reputation for strength and brutality, though at Jonah’s time they had not reached the zenith of their power. Still, God calling Jonah to Nineveh was like him telling us to pack our bags, move to Afghanistan, and preach the gospel to the Taliban. No wonder Jonah ran away. The wickedness of the Assyrians was well-known.
Jonah fled to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Tarshish was west, and Nineveh was northeast, nearly in the exact opposite direction. Jonah ran from God’s call and from God’s presence, but God planned a perfect storm for the purpose of intercepting the runaway prophet, who was now sleeping in the hull of the ship. It must have been a storm-of-the-century because it frightened the seasoned sailors on board the ship. God also appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah after the seasoned sailors tossed him overboard in a superstitious attempt to satisfy Jonah’s god and quell the storm (1:4-16).
~This week’s prayer: I pray that I will gladly accept God’s plan for me.
Enjoy your week!