Friday, April 19, 2024
HomeFHE LessonsOld Testament Come Follow Me FHE Lesson - Jonah and the Whale

Old Testament Come Follow Me FHE Lesson – Jonah and the Whale

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The prophet Jonah despised the people of Nineveh and refused to teach them the gospel. The people of Nineveh were wicked almost to the point of destruction. Whether we are missionaries, prophets, or vile sinners, we all need to accept the Lord’s mercy through repentance.

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Scripture

Micah 7:18

Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

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Hymn

I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go | Hymn #270

1. It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.

[Chorus]

I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
I’ll be what you want me to be.

2. Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin
Some wand’rer whom I should seek.
O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,
Tho dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet:
I’ll say what you want me to say.

3. There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth’s harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life’s short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.
So trusting my all to thy tender care,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I’ll be what you want me to be.

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Lesson

FOR CHILDREN

Storyboard or Video: Revisit the story of Jonah with this storyboard or video.

Ask: Why didn’t Jonah want to go teach the people of Nineveh the gospel?

Teach: Sometimes Jonah is depicted as being cowardly, but he wasn’t a coward. In fact, he volunteered to be thrown into the sea to save the people on the ship from the storm. He didn’t refuse his calling because he was a coward. He didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he despised the people of Nineveh.

Ask: What would you do if you felt the Spirit telling you to share the gospel with a bully or mean kid? How would you feel?

Teach: Jesus Christ taught that we will be known as His followers if we have love for each other (John 13:35).

We are also commanded to “gather scattered Israel” or share the gospel with all people. It’s not our job to decide who is good enough to receive the gospel–we just share it with everyone and let the Lord do the rest.

Teach:The Lord used Jonah’s experience in the belly of the fish to humble him and help him be willing to share the gospel with the people of Nineveh. Interestingly, the prophet needed humbling while the people Jonah despised were already humble and ready to receive the gospel when he taught it to them.

Testify: If we trust the Lord, and are humble enough to follow His promptings, we can be part of the great work of sharing the gospel to our brothers and sisters.

FOR TEENS & ADULTS

Review: Either read Jonah 1 together or review the storyboard or video found above in the children’s section.

Ask: Was Jonah’s sin cowardice? Why did he run away rather than go to Nineveh to preach the gospel?

Teach: Jonah was not a coward. He didn’t run away in fear. He ran away in hatred. He hated the people of Nineveh so much that he would rather be thrown into the sea during a violent storm (he volunteered to do this in Jonah 1:12) than to go among them to teach them the gospel.

Ask: Then, once Jonah was in the sea, the Lord both punished and showed mercy to Jonah by having him swallowed up by a giant fish (possibly a whale). How was it both a punishment and mercy?

Teach: Jonah was humbled by his time in the belly of the fish. When the fish spit him out on the shore, he finally obeyed the Lord and went to the people of Nineveh.

Read: Jonah 3:2-3

2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.

Ask: How did the Lord respond when the people of Nineveh heard the gospel, repented, and fasted?

Read: Jonah 3:10

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Teach: The Lord had warned (through Jonah) that if they did not repent, they would be destroyed. But then they did repent. There are consequences for sin, but the Lord is always ready to forgive us and provide us mercy when we repent–no matter what we’ve done or how bad it was. The people of Nineveh were spared–despite their previous wickedness–because their hearts were changed and they repented of their ways.

Testify: Whether we have committed great sins over years (like the people of Nineveh), or we refuse to forgive someone we dislike (like Jonah), the Lord will be merciful to us if we repent. Each one of us is in need of mercy and forgiveness–from the vilest sinners to missionaries and prophets. We all have a need to repent and become more like the Savior.

FOR SINGLE STUDY

Review: Briefly review the initial story of Jonah by reading Jonah 1, or by reading the storyboard or watching the video above in the Children section.

Consider or Journal: Jonah was swallowed up by a great fish after throwing himself into the sea to save the ship from being destroyed in a storm. The storm was caused by Jonah’s refusal to go to Nineveh to preach the gospel.

Jonah was in a desperate situation. How might you feel if you were Jonah, stuck in the belly of the fish? What might your prayers be like?

Read: Consider reading all of Jonah 2, or at a minimum, read the following:

3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.

Consider or Journal: In Jonah’s most desperate situation, he wasn’t praying for relief from the fish. He wasn’t praying for release. He wasn’t praying to be saved. He was praying in repentance and in gratitude for the Lord.

Challenge: What great trials are you facing right now? For one week, commit to making your personal prayers focused on repentance and gratitude rather than praying for deliverance from your trial. Write in your journal the blessings you find from remembering the goodness of the Lord and striving to be closer to Him through repentance.

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FHE TreatTreat

Ocean Floats

In remembrance of Jonah’s stint in the sea, try these Ocean Floats.

FHE Game / Activity

Activity

As a family, make a list of five people you could extend an invitation to by the end of the year. Maybe you give them a Book of Mormon for Christmas and invite them to read it. Maybe you invite them to your ward Christmas party or Sacrament Meeting Primary Program. When you have a list of names, commit to praying about it and then let the Lord guide you by the Spirit how you can be a missionary to someone who is seeking the truth of the gospel. Maybe their lives will change like the people of Nineveh.

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Rebecca Wright
Rebecca Wright
Becca loves audiobooks, dark chocolate, singing, hiking, walking,  going out with her husband, and raising their chickens and children. She still wants to meet her hero Sheri Dew, see flowing lava and a blue whale in person, and uplift others with her words.

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