God s Unfolding Story

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1 Old Testament Unit 11: Elijah, Elisha and Jonah Lesson 4: Jonah and the Fish God s Unfolding Story Bible Story: Jonah and the Fish (Jonah 1 3) Bible Phrase: Listen to Me and keep My commandments (Exodus 19:5). Bible Truth: God wants me to listen to Him and follow His commandments. 1. God created everything. 2. People disobeyed God. 3. God chose a special people. 4. God sent Jesus to help us. 5. Jesus began the Church. 6. Jesus is preparing heaven for us. Suggested Schedule: Arrival Centers 25 minutes Clean-up Time 5 minutes Bible Story Time 15 minutes Craft Time 10 minutes Snack Time 10 minutes Game Time/Dismissal Hour B Unfolding God s Story for Teachers Jonah s Plight Please read the four short chapters of the book of Jonah. Jonah was a well-known prophet in Israel. In 2 Kings 14:25 we read that through Jonah, God authorized King Jeroboam II of Israel to extend the Northern Kingdom s territory. This action made Jeroboam an even greater king, which in turn made Jonah a great prophet. Yet in this case, greatness had limitations. Jonah showed no compassion when God asked him to warn the pagans of Nineveh to repent, lest they be destroyed. Instead Jonah got on a ship and sailed away from Nineveh. God sought out the wayward prophet and sent a violent storm over the sea that compelled even unbelieving sailors to pray. In an ancient way of finding the will of gods or of God, Jonah s shipmates cast lots and discovered Jonah was the reason for their plight. Jonah told them to throw him overboard, so they reluctantly tossed the prophet into the raging sea. Immediately the waters became calm and everyone aboard praised the God of Israel. Meanwhile, a very large fish was swallowing Jonah whole! Jonah s Prayer Jonah knew this was no accident. He and God were having a confrontation, and only God, if He chose, could save him from a watery grave. As Jonah grew weaker, he thanked God for His deliverance even though he still was inside the fish. God graciously commanded the fish to spit Jonah onto dry land. In contrast to Jonah, the fish obeyed! Jonah s Preaching God gave Jonah a second chance to go to Nineveh and preach. He went but there was no newfound burning in his heart for the Ninevites wicked souls. He went out of obedience. Once in the city, Jonah preached a sermon consisting of five Hebrew words. Translated, it means, In 40 days, Nineveh will be overthrown! Jonah did the least God had asked of him, yet all of Nineveh was converted. Jonah s Problem The question must be asked of Jonah, What was your problem? While only Jonah and God can fully answer, Scripture gives us certain clues. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria and the cruelest nation on earth. It was Israel s fiercest enemy. Fear may have been a factor for Jonah. When a believer begins to serve fear, it may compel him or her to do the opposite of what God wants. Also, Jonah may have felt the Ninevites deserved to be destroyed because of their wickedness. How often do we compare ourselves to others and determine that we are better? We may think we deserve God s grace but that others don t. Yet no one deserves grace! Also, God s love extended outside the boundaries of what Jonah wanted to believe. Jonah could not wrap his heart around the fact that God loved the whole world. Despite Jonah s stubbornness, God used the reluctant prophet. His obedience changed lives for the better for all eternity. Lesson Plan Arrival Greet children at eye level and express how happy you are to see them. Be sure each child has a name tag and the security measures of your church are followed. Label all coats and personal belongings. Strongly encourage children who have brought items from home, such as toys and books, to place them on a shelf while they are working with other materials. Assure children their items will be safe and they can take them home at the end of the session. Help each child make a choice where he or she would like to begin his or her Center Time. OT11 Lesson 4 Hour B Page 1

2 Puzzle Center: Work Puzzles Offer a variety of non-fantasy wooden or cardboard puzzles for children to work. What to Do: Encourage preschoolers to finish puzzles they begin. Affirm children as they work together to complete the puzzles. Link to the Bible Story: As children work, look for opportunities in conversation to say the Bible phrase or to briefly tell the Bible story. Art Center: Tissue Paper Art Copies of Coloring Page, Jonah and the Fish (Reproducible 1 copy per child) Crayons Blue tissue paper cut in squares, glue sticks What to Do: Invite children to color the Bible story picture and then glue on the blue tissue paper squares to represent the water. Link to the Bible Story: As preschoolers work, say something like, In our Bible story today, a prophet named Jonah did not want to do what God asked him to do. In fact, Jonah tried to get as far away from God as possible. He thought he could escape by getting into a boat and sailing out to sea. A very strong storm came up, and after trying hard to save the boat, the sailors threw Jonah overboard. God caused a really big fish to swallow Jonah. After spending 3 days inside the fish, Jonah was ready to do what wanted him to do. Center Time Home Living Center: Make a Fish Small rocking chair, sink and stove unit and small table and chairs; plastic dishes, child pots and pans; pretend food items; doll, doll bed, and doll accessories Option: large cardboard box, crayons and washable markers, large sheet of black or brown butcher paper, adult scissors, tape What to Do: Home living items naturally encourage children to act out roles and activities they observe at home. If the option to make a whale is chosen, freely draw a large fish or whale on the paper and tape it to one side of the box. Invite children to color the fish. Children can get inside the box and pretend to be Jonah. Link to the Bible Story: As children work and play together, listen for opportunities to talk about the Bible story. Say, Our Bible story today is about a prophet named Jonah who did not want to do what God wanted him to do. In fact, Jonah tried to get as far away from God as possible by getting into a boat and sailing out to sea. A strong large storm came up, and after trying hard to save the boat, the sailors threw Jonah overboard. God caused a large fish to swallow Jonah. After spending 3 days inside the fish, Jonah was ready to do what God wanted. Talk with children about what they think it would be like living inside a fish. Bible Learning Center: Picture Search Activity Page: Picture Search, Jonah and the Fish (Reproducible) Crayons and washable markers What to Do: Invite children to search the larger picture to find the smaller pictures at the bottom of the page. Children should circle each picture when they find it, and then color the Bible story picture. Link to the Bible Story: As children work, you might say, This is a picture of a man named Jonah. Jonah was a prophet who taught people about God. God wanted Jonah to preach to the people in a city called Nineveh, but Jonah did not want to because he thought the people in Nineveh were very mean. Jonah tried to run away. He got on a boat to sail far away. A storm came and almost tore the boat apart. Jonah s shipmates threw him overboard to try and save the boat. A big fish swallowed Jonah. Later the fish spit up Jonah on the shore, and Jonah was ready to go and preach to the people of Nineveh. Block Center: Build with Blocks Wooden blocks Plastic boats Large sheet of blue paper What to Do: Provide a small carpet if possible. Blocks are best located in a corner of the room away from the traffic flow. Cut the blue paper to resemble a lake or pond, and tape it to the floor or carpet. Place the plastic boats on the water. Link to the Bible Story: While children are engaged in building with the blocks or playing with the boats, listen for opportunities to share part of the Bible story, Bible phrase or Bible truth. OT11 Lesson 4 Hour B Page 2

3 Clean-up Time Encourage preschoolers to help at clean-up time. Assign specific tasks for preschoolers to do such as placing all the crayons in the basket, throwing away the trash, gathering all the glue sticks, etc. Guide children to the Bible Story Time area. Bible Story Time Bible Teaching Picture Jonah and the Fish (Reproducible) God s Unfolding Story Cube (Reproducible/Cardstock) Introduction Show the God s Unfolding Story Cube. Express to the boys and girls that even though we find many stories in the Bible, the Bible really tells one big story, and all the little stories are a part of the big one we can call God s Unfolding Story. Tell children that each picture represents a chapter in God s Unfolding Story. Turn the cube and talk about each part of the story. (Refer to page 1.) Express that every story from the Bible is from one of these main chapters in God s Unfolding Story. Today s story is from the third chapter, God chose a special people. Introduce the story by saying something like. Has anyone ever been fishing? How big a fish did you catch? When we go fishing, we go to catch fish, but in our Bible story today, we are going to hear about a fish that caught a man. Bible Story Jonah and the Fish (Jonah 1-3) Jonah was a prophet like Elijah and Elisha. He told people about God and how God wanted them to live. One day God spoke to Jonah and asked him to do something very important but also very difficult. God said to Jonah, Go to the city of Nineveh and tell the people they are not following My commandments. Jonah told God, I do not want to go to Nineveh. The people in Nineveh are very mean. I am afraid to tell them they are not obeying You. Jonah decided he was going to go as far away from Nineveh as he could. He thought he could run away from God. He got in a boat that was sailing away from Nineveh. Jonah went down to the very bottom of the boat and went to sleep. As the boat sailed out into the sea, a great storm came up. The winds howled and blew the boat from side to side, and large downpours of water rushed in over the sides of the boat. The sailors were very afraid their boat would break into pieces. They began to throw everything they could overboard to make the boat lighter. The captain of the boat was watching all the men as they worked to fight against the storm, but he didn t see Jonah. He found him asleep in the bottom of the boat! He woke up Jonah and said, Pray to your God, because if God does not save us, we will die! Jonah did not want to pray because he knew he was not doing what God had asked him to do. Yet when Jonah saw the big waves and the storm, he became very frightened. Jonah realized the storm was occurring because he was disobeying God. He told the men to throw him overboard, and that if they did, the storm would stop. The men did not want to do this, but nothing they had tried had helped. Finally, they threw Jonah over the side of the boat. As soon as Jonah landed in the water, the storm stopped, but God wasn t finished with him. God sent a very large fish to swallow up Jonah! Jonah lived safely inside the big fish for 3 days and 3 nights. Then the big fish spit up Jonah on the shore. God spoke to Jonah again and said, Go to Nineveh and tell the people they are not obeying my commands. This time Jonah obeyed and went to Nineveh. Because Jonah obeyed, the people of Nineveh believed in the one true God, and God did not destroy them. Talk Time 1. Show the teaching picture for today s Bible story. Review by using these or similar questions. Why was Jonah in the boat? What happened as Jonah slept in the boat? What did Jonah tell the men to do in order to stop the storm? What happened to Jonah when they threw him overboard? Did God give Jonah a second chance to obey? What happened as a result of Jonah s obedience? 2. Read the Bible phrase on the teaching picture. Say the phrase together, Listen to Me and keep My commandments (Exodus 19:5). Explain: When Mommy or Daddy says, Please go help clean up the toys in the yard, you may or may not want to do what you ve been told. Should you do what they ask of you? Yes, because they are your parents and the Bible teaches us to obey our parents. It is important to listen to our parents and follow their instructions. There are many things that God asks us to do in the Bible such as be kind, share, give to the poor, help one another, pray for one another, and love one another. Can you think of others? It s important to listen to and to follow God s commands. Sometimes we choose not to obey like Jonah, but because God loves us, He often gives us another chance to obey. Still, obeying God the first time is always best. 3. Close the Bible Story Time by inviting children to join you in prayer. Thank God for the story of Jonah. Ask God to help the boys and girls listen to Him and obey Him always. OT11 Lesson 4 Hour B Page 3

4 Craft Time: Make a Fish Copies of Make a Fish (Reproducible, cardstock recommended, 1 copy for every child) Crayons or markers Large paper plates, glue sticks, tape or stapler What to Do: Cut out the heads and tails of the fish. Give children a head and a tail to color. Assist with taping, gluing, or stapling the fish heads and tails to the backs of the paper plates. Each head should be taped on one side and the tail on the other side. Invite children to draw the figure of Jonah in the center of the paper plate. Link to the Bible Story: Talk to children about the Bible story by asking them to tell their favorite parts of the story. Review the Bible phrase by saying it together, Listen to Me and keep My commandments, (Exodus 19:5). Snack Time Be sure to wash hands or use hand sanitizer. Say a thank-you prayer to God for the snack. When snack time has ended, encourage preschoolers to help with cleaning up. Game Time / Dismissal: Teacher, Teacher, How Many Fish? Masking tape or yarn What to Do: Use tape or yarn to make a line on the floor at the back of the Game Time area. Ask children to stand on the line. Instruct the children to say the following chant: Teacher, teacher, how many fish? The teacher calls out any number from 1 to 5. The children then hop that many times toward the teacher. Sometimes the teacher should say, Zero, the whale ate them! At this, all the children should run back to line so they won t be caught by the whale (the teacher). Continue the game until the children finally reach the teacher. At the close of the game say today s Bible phrase, Listen to Me and keep My commandments, (Exodus 19:5). Dismiss children as parents arrive. Be sure to follow the security procedures of your church. OT11 Lesson 4 Hour B Page 4

5 Resources and Supplies Old Testament Unit 11: Elijah, Elisha and Jonah Lesson 4: Jonah and the Fish Hour B Standard Art Supplies (Supplies that are generally in the room) Washable markers Crayons Child scissors Playdough and accessories Drawing paper Easel (optional) Glue/glue sticks Tempera paint, 4 colors Tape/masking tape Pencils/colored pencils Hole punch Teacher scissors Stapler/staples Permanent markers Watercolors Paintbrushes Yarn Standard Equipment (Equipment that is generally in the room) Bible Small beanbag for Bible Story Time Assorted wooden/cardboard puzzles Set of wooden blocks Small cars and trucks Doll bed Baby doll (soft plastic) Stove/sink unit Play dishes/pots and pans Small table and chairs Small carpet for block area Play food items Storage shelf for blocks Tables and chairs for art, puzzles, and Bible Learning Center CD player/children s Worship CDs Reproducibles (Included with the lesson plan downloads) Activity Page: Picture Search, Jonah and the Fish (1 copy per child) Make a Fish (1 copy for every child, cardstock recommended) Teaching Picture: Jonah and the Fish (1 copy per class) God s Unfolding Story Cube (Cardstock 1 copy per class) Parent Page (1 copy per child) Coloring Page, Jonah and the Fish Additional Art Materials Blue tissue paper cut into squares Additional Block Materials Large sheet of blue paper Small plastic boats Additional Home Living Materials Option: large cardboard box Large piece of black or brown butcher paper Additional Craft Materials Large paper plates (1 per child) OT11 Lesson 4 Hour B

6 Listen to Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 19:5 Coloring Page Jonah and the Fish OT11 Lesson 4 Optional

7 Jonah and the Fish Activity Page: Picture Search, Jonah and the Fish Instructions: Copy one sheet per child. Search the larger picture to find the smaller pictures at the bottom of the page. Circle the pictures when they are found. Color the Bible story picture. OT11 Lesson 4 Hour B Bible Learning Center

8 God s Story Cube Instructions: Cut out on dotted lines, fold on solid lines. Glue or tape to form a cube.

9 Craft Make a Fish Instructions One copy for every child. Cut out the heads and tails of the fish. Follow the instructions in the Teacher Pages to make the fish. OT11 Lesson 4 Hour B Craft Time

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