When we last left Jonah, he had emerged as one of the world’s most successful evangelists. He had a very simple message…”In 40 days, Nineveh shall be overthrown…So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.” This passage in Jonah 3:5 is one of the most miraculous scriptures in the Bible, in my opinion. Now Jonah knew God’s character from the passage in Exodus 34, yet he was really ticked off that the LORD was being merciful. After indulging in a pity party he asks the LORD to take his life but is gently questioned by his Sovereign who asks him,”Is it right for you to be angry? Now the same LORD God who had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, now prepares a plant to grow up quickly and shade Jonah who has trudged out of the city, built a shelter, and sat watching to see what God would do. “Jonah was very grateful for the plant.” Next, God prepares a worm to damage the plant so that it withers and offers no protection from the hot sun and wind. He again pouts and wishes to die. Jonah’s anger is due to selfishness and he continues to justify his rebellious attitude. Jonah’s mixed-up values of putting more importance on his reputation and comfort are challenged by the LORD , who reminds the whining prophet that His character extends to all of His creation. I think Jonah finally learned his lesson and the story of Jonah can encourage kids and teachers to “put off” pouting when we don’t get our way.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering…and above all these things put on charity…and let the peace of God rule in your hearts…and be thankful.” Colossians 3: 12-15
Color and separate the worksheet on the solid line above Jonah’s head. Cut out Jonah and the leaves and glue them as in the sample above. If you have access to vine tendrils, they can be glued on before the leaves. Color the worm brightly so he stands out! For younger children you may want to add some magnification to the worksheet when printing, so the leaves are easier to cut out. They will have fun giving Jonah some shade!
Text is from Jonah 4:5-8 – “So Jonah went out of the city…there he made a shelter…And the LORD God prepared a gourd and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery… But as morning dawned the next day… God prepared a worm… and it so damaged the gourd that it withered… God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint…”