Series: Creation (toddler, preschool lesson)
Theme: Day 5: God made the fish and the birds
Lesson Number: 2 of 4
Lesson Title: A Special Fish
Lesson Plan: 2 A special fish-lesson plan To download and print this entire lesson, click on links below.
Bible Verse: Ephesians 6:1; Children, obey your parents the way the Lord wants. This is the right thing to do.
Before class, prepare a visual using the large fish picture. Use this visual when telling the story. Color and cut it out and cut a slit in its mouth. Mount it on a sheet of blue cardstock. Leave a pocket space around the mouth area. Make a small shape of a man. It should be able to fit into the slit of the fish mouth. Use lots of drama with this story. Have children act out wind and waves, rowing a boat, etc.
What does OBEY mean? What happens when you DISOBEY? ( Discuss with the children about obedience and the consequences of disobedience. (Examples: timeout, or loss of a privilege) Generally, obedience to parents or to God results in happiness and disobedience results in sadness and loss of relationship)
Jonah chapters 1-3 tell a story about someone who disobeyed God. There was a city called Nineveh. The people in this city did not know God. The Bible says they were wicked and they disobeyed God. But God loved them anyway. That is because God loves everyone. God wanted them to know about Him so He sent Jonah to tell them.
But Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. Maybe he was afraid of what the people there would do to him. Remember that God said they were wicked. Do you think that God would be able to protect Jonah?
So Jonah ran away. He went in the opposite direction. Then he got on a boat to sail far away from God. But people can’t run away from God. God always knows where we are. And God knew where Jonah was. Jonah was sleeping in the boat. God sent a big storm. A big storm is dangerous if you are on a boat. The wind was very strong and the waves became bigger and bigger until the sailors became afraid that the boat would sink. They began to pray to their gods to save them. The captain of the ship found Jonah sleeping in the boat. He woke Jonah up and told him he must pray to his god too but the storm only grew worse. They decided that one of them must have done something wrong to cause such a big storm. Then Jonah told them it was his fault. He said he had disobeyed God and the sailors must throw him out of the boat to make the storm stop. The sailors did not want to throw Jonah overboard, they tried everything else first. They threw some of the ships’ cargo out of the ship to make it lighter and they rowed as hard as they could but nothing helped. Finally they knew that they must throw Jonah overboard or they would all drown so they picked Jonah up and tossed him out of the ship and then the storm stopped. But what happened to Jonah? He was sinking down into the water, will God save him?
Do you remember when we learned that God made all kinds of fish to fill the water? Well God made a very special fish that He sent to save Jonah. That big fish came along just as Jonah was sinking in the water and it swallowed Jonah up. Now Jonah was in the fish’s belly. What do you suppose he was doing in there? Well the Bible says that Jonah prayed to God! He said thank-you to God for saving him from drowning and he said that he would obey God. But Jonah was in the fish’s belly! How would he get out? Then God told the big fish to spit Jonah up on the shore. Do you think Jonah was thankful? What should he do now?
Well, God again told Jonah to go to Nineveh so Jonah went to Nineveh and told the people about God. He told them if they kept on doing bad things God would have to punish them and do you know that something very special happened! The people listened to Jonah and when they heard about God, they were sorry they had been wicked. They decided to obey God. Even the king of the city was sorry he had been wicked. The king told everyone in the city they were to not eat any food or drink any water and they were to dress in rough clothes. They were to pray to God and ask God to forgive them. God listened to them and He saw that they were sorry. God forgave them and did not punish them.