FOLLOW THE PLAN
Jonah chapters 1 to 3
Here is the initial preparation with the title.
God made the first people, Adam and Eve, and gave them a wonderful home called "Paradise", where everything was good.
- They loved God, and He wanted them to be happy, to enjoy knowing Him, to enjoy all the good things, and to have lots of children so that the world would be filled with happiness and love. There was just one thing they must not do - a special tree in the garden, and God said "Do not touch, for you will die if you do". (Genesis chapter 2 verses 16 and 17)
- Would they FOLLOW THE PLAN (God's plan) or not? Would they obey God just because He said so? Sadly (the saddest story ever) they did not obey God, and lost everything - happiness, peace of heart, comfort (Genesis chapter 3). They had to leave their beautiful home in Paradise and go out into a cursed world, where the animals had turned dangerous and the ground grew weeds faster than food.
- They would not FOLLOW THE PLAN, and so they LOST HOME and everything.
- Things went from bad to worse - their first child became a murderer (Genesis chapter 4). After many years, when Adam & Eve's grandchildren had grandchildren, and their grandchildren also had grandchildren, the whole world was filled with wickedness. People were killing, fighting, stealing, lying, hating everywhere, till God said "No More!" and destroyed them with a great flood. God made a new beginning with a new family (Noah - Genesis chapter 6)
Much later, no better - hardly anyone obeyed what God had said was right.
- Nineveh, a great city, but people had forgotten who God is - thought he was an idol who liked bad things
- Nineveh became a bad city with bad people. Killed, stole, hated, lied (Jonah chapter 1 verse 2)
- even the kids - yelled nasty names at other kids, and punched smaller kids
- again, God said "No More!" and sent Jonah to tell them "40 days, and Nineveh will be destroyed!" God cannot be good and put up with bad things forever. He is good, and He must wipe out evil at last.
- The people did not FOLLOW THE PLAN God gave all people to live by, and so their great city was about to become LOST NINEVEH.
Jonah, God's messenger, did not FOLLOW THE PLAN
either. He did not want to obey God. ("Not to the Ninevites!" who were a cruel people that he hated).
- packed his bag, bought his ticket, and hopped aboard a ship going as far away from Nineveh as you can go!
- a terrible storm comes - the sailors are scared stiff, and throw the cargo overboard to save the ship. No good, for God has sent this storm!
- "Throw me overboard!" says Jonah - "it's your only hope". He knows the storm has come because of him. Sailors don't want to, but at last they must, or all drown together.
- As Jonah sinks in the sea, he meets another messenger from God - a big fish, with a great big mouth! (Jonah chapter 1). Jonah would not FOLLOW THE PLAN God gave him, and so he becomes LOST JONAH (almost!).
- to eat Jonah? No, to save Jonah! The fish swallows him, to keep him from drowning. No ordinary fish, this! God had sent this big fish just for this purpose.
- for 3 days Jonah is kept alive by God, inside the fish - he remembers why he is there, and he prays to God, and promises to obey God again.
- the great fish coughs up Jonah on the beach, and he sets out towards the city of Nineveh, to do what God told him to do. (Jonah chapter 2)
God's messenger Jonah ended up inside God's messenger the fish, so that he could learn to obey God's good commands, to FOLLOW THE PLAN.
- We all have a little messenger from God inside US! It's called "Mr Conscience" - a little voice inside that tells us "no, that is wrong" or "good, that is right". When we want to tell a lie to cover up, and blame someone else your Mr Conscience tells you "uh -uh!". "Did you take that cake I just baked?" - "not me Mum! Maybe Mary did." Listen to Mr Conscience - don't shut him up, or you will become as bad as the Ninevites. Mr conscience is part of FOLLOWING GOD'S PLAN for us all.
- Jonah gets to Nineveh and cries out in the public places "40 days and Nineveh will be destroyed!".
- The king hears, and is terrified. He tells all his people to stop being bad, and to go without food and water, and to pray to God with all their hearts, that He might forgive them and not destroy them. (Jonah chapter 3)
The King said -
Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion (pity) turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.
- God sees and hears (He sees and hears everything!) and He has pity on them and so does not destroy them after all. "When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened." (Jonah chapter 3 verse 10)
- We make ourselves LOST, but God is the Great One who SAVES.
GOD IS GOOD
God is good and fair, and must punish all sin and evil (your sins and my sins too) but He is kind, and waits for us to turn around and come back to Him, the only Person who can make us truly happy at last. He waited for Nineveh, and He is waiting for you. Trust Him - He IS Good.
Here is the whole sketch, now complete.
Click here to download a PDF copy of the whole story - good for printing
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Last updated: 29 Mar 2022
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