JONAH - Digital Download
This is a 5-week study on the book of Jonah. The unit includes a theme verse, theme song, and review game. Also included are suggested decorating themes.
Each lesson includes:
- 30-minute format
- Activity suggestions
- Teacher devotional
- Lesson for teaching
- Application points
- Review questions
Week 1: Jonah the Runner (DIRECT DISOBEDIENCE)
Lesson overview: Jonah receives the assignment from God. Rather than obedience, Jonah immediately does the exact opposite and sets sail for Tarshish. This is “direct disobedience.” God, because of his love for Jonah and his love for the Ninevites, refused to let Jonah get away with his rebellion. However, that root ran deep, and Jonah was determined not to obey, and instead told the sailors to simply throw him into the sea to die. However, even in this mess Jonah made, we see good things happening: the pagan sailors repented and made commitments to follow God.
The cliffhanger: Jonah is thrown overboard – what’s going to happen to him?
Week 2: Jonah the Resigned (RELUCTANT REPENTANCE)
Lesson overview: Jonah was thrown overboard, but God didn’t let him die. Rather, he sent a large fish to swallow him. Oddly, Jonah was in the fish for 3 days and 3 nights before he began to pray (chapter 2). Jonah’s stubbornness and pride refuses to let him repent. It’s likely the reason that he waited so long to pray is that he was hoping to die first. But after 3 days in the digestion system of the fish, he must have finally realized it wasn’t going to be that easy. But even when he prayed, Jonah never technically repented. He acknowledged God’s character and nature, thanked him for saving his life, and agreed to go to Nineveh. On the outside, everything looks good. But was his heart right? Was Jonah really thankful to be kept alive? Was he really going to go to Nineveh?
The cliffhanger: God causes the fish to vomit Jonah onto land. Now that he’s out, will he follow through and go to Nineveh?
Week 3: Jonah the Reluctant (PARTIAL OBEDIENCE)
Lesson overview: Immediately, God commands Jonah again to go to Nineveh. Again, the instructions are clear. And shockingly enough, Jonah goes. But he does the bare minimum. In fact, his sermon is perhaps the shortest sermon in the history of ever – only 5 words in the original Hebrew! And his message is lacking some important things: Jonah doesn’t tell them what they did wrong (their sin), he doesn’t tell them how to fix it (repentance), and he doesn’t even mention God! All he does is tell them judgment is coming. While Jonah was technically obedient, as he went to Nineveh and he did preach, he lacked any sort of effort and did the bare minimum to get by. Obedience with the wrong attitude is not really obedience – and neither is partial obedience.
The cliffhanger: Jonah preached the message, but what’s going to happen the city? Did they get enough information to know what to do? Will they repent?
Week 4: Nineveh the Repentant (CONTRAST IN REPENTANCE)
Lesson overview: In direct contrast to Jonah, the people of Nineveh were sensitive to God and immediately cried out in repentance of their sin. The king declared a fast, and even the animals repented! Their repentance was complete – it included forsaking their sin and committing to obedience. And they only hoped God would hear them and deliver them, as Jonah had offered no such hope. And God did! All in spite of Jonah. But when Jonah finds out, he get angry. Super angry. Huge angry. At this point, Nineveh is more godly than God’s own prophet.
The cliffhanger: Why is Jonah angry? What’s going to happen to him?
Week 5: Jonah the Resentful (DIRECT DISOBEDIENCE)
Lesson overview: When Jonah gets angry with God, we finally learn why he didn’t want to go to Nineveh. He hated the Ninevites and he knew God would relent if they repented. Here we learn just how selfish Jonah is – and how arrogant – as he stands in judgment of God’s mercy on Jonah’s enemies. God decides to teach Jonah a lesson using a vine, which Jonah cares about since it provides him shade and relief. When God causes the vine to die, Jonah again becomes angry. God questions Jonah, if he cares so much about a plant that he had nothing to do with and doesn’t even have a soul, why shouldn’t God care about the 600,000 ignorant people in Nineveh? Rather than answer, Jonah sulks and the book ends with Jonah resenting God for showing mercy – mercy that he, himself, had benefited from time and time again.
Final application: How do you respond to the fact that God loves your enemies? Are you resentful? Or do you recognize that you needed mercy and forgiveness just as much as they do?