Jesse Tree - Day 16

Day 16 – Jonah and the Big Fish

Bible Ref: Jonah, Ornament: Big Fish

God had a job for Jonah.  But Jonah didn’t want to go.  “Go to Nineveh,” God said, “and tell your worst enemies that I love them.”

“No!” said Jonah.  “Those are bad people doing bad things!”  “Exactly,” said God.  “They have run far away from me.  But I can’t stop loving them.  I will give them a new start.  I will forgive them.  You must go and tell them.”

“No!” said Jonah.  “They don’t deserve it!”  So Jonah decided to run away from God, where God wouldn’t find him so he didn’t have to do what he had told him.

But this was a very silly plan, because you can’t get away from God.  He will always come and find you.

Jonah went ahead with his not-very-good plan. “One ticket to NOT Nineveh, please!” he said and boarded a boat sailing in the opposite direction to Nineveh.

Well, it wasn’t long before a fierce wind blew, and the boat started to lurch and pitch and roll – and everyone started to turn green.  Jonah sat bolt upright in his bed.  You see, the first thing that went wrong with Jonah’s not-very-good plan was that God sent a big storm after him.

The sailors couldn’t sail the ship properly.  “We’re sinking!” they screamed and they started throwing everything overboard – suitcases, food, whatever they could find.

By now Jonah knew that the storm was his fault. “Throw me in, instead!” he shouted to the sailors. “And the storm will stop.  The sailors weren’t sure.  “It’s the only way you can be saved!” Jonah cried. 

And so, one...two....three...SPLASH!

No sooner had Jonah hit the water than the waves crew calm, the wind died down and the storm stopped.  Just then when Jonah thought it was all over, when he was sure he was going to drown, God sent a big fish to rescue him.  The fish swallowed Jonah whole – with one big gulp!

Jonah must have thought he’d died, it was so dark in there.  But then he smelled the rotting food and felt the slimy seaweed and knew he wasn’t dead.  He was in the belly of the big fish!

Sitting there in the darkness for 3 whole days, Jonah had plenty of time to think.  Pretty soon he realised his plan had been a very silly plan indeed.  He was sorry for running away.  He prayed to God from inside the great fish and asked God to forgive him.

After 3 days, the fish spat Jonah safely out onto a sandy beach!  Just then, Jonah heard someone calling his name.  “Go to Nineveh,” God said.  And this time?  Jonah said “Yes!” and he went straight to Nineveh and told everyone God’s wonderful message.

“Even though you’ve run far from God, he can’t stop loving you,” Jonah told them.  “Run to him! So he can forgive you.”

The people of Nineveh listened to Jonah, and they started loving God.  They learned to do what God said and to stop running away from him – just like Jonah.

Many years later, God was going to send another Messenger with the same wonderful message.  But this messenger would be God’s own Son.  He would be called “The Word” because he himself would be God’s Message.  God’s Message translated into our own language.  Everything God wanted to say to the whole world – in a Person.