This picture may not truly depict the actual fish that swallowed up Jonah, but it sure does get my heart pumping!

If you love the ocean, this picture excites you! If you are fearful of the ocean, this picture doesn’t help…

Regardless of the size or look of the fish, the fact still remains that Jonah spent three days in the belly of one. As nasty as this seems, this was actually to keep him from drowning.

You see, Jonah was given a task to go Nineveh and give them a message. The thing is, Jonah was scared to go to Nineveh because the people weren’t very nice. So, he decided to go the other direction.

He found his way on a boat, and out on the ocean there was this great storm. The ship’s crew was worried about it so they cast lots to see who is causing this trouble. The lot fell on Jonah.

They couldn’t figure out what to do, so Jonah told them to throw him overboard. So, they did. When Jonah hit the water, the storm stopped. The ship’s crew began to worship God!

However, Jonah couldn’t swim well. So, God sent a fish to swallow him up. For three days and three nights Jonah sat in the belly of the fish praying to God.

But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9 NIV)

After the fish spit him onto dry land, he went to Nineveh. He gave them the message that God would destroy them in forty days if they did not repent! What a message to give to a hostile crowd!

Thankfully they did repent. What we take from this story is God’s mercy. Jonah wasn’t a fan of God’s mercy to the Ninevites. However, Jonah forgot God’s mercy that was given to him out in the ocean.

Mercy is showing compassion when you can give punishment. 

We discussed God’s mercy yesterday in Kids Worship. Here are the Conversation Starters:

  • How was Jonah shown mercy?
  • Do you think you would do well in a fish for three days?
  • How was Nineveh shown mercy?
  • Did Nineveh deserve to be destroyed?
  • Have you ever been shown mercy? (Parent: tell of a time?)
  • How did God show us mercy?
  • How can we show mercy around our house? Our school?

As always, adjust where needed! God bless.