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Summary: Sometimes we get a chance to learn from other people’s mistakes. The book of Jonah helps us to see the consequences of not responding to God’s leading as well as the blessings of responding well. What can we learn from this great book so we can better r

Jonah – Learning to Respond to God

Jonah 1:1 – 4:11

When God Commands, We should follow (1:1-3)

When God Corrects, We should listen (1:4-17)

When God Convicts, we should repent (3:10)

Where God is Concerned, we should be concerned (4:10-11)


Good morning.

I want to welcome our kids into the service today. I love when our youth team leads us in worship and our kids get to join us in the service. It is a great opportunity for our kids to learn by observing their parents and by participating with us.

Watching and doing is a great way to learn.

There are other ways that we can learn as well.

Sometimes we get to learn by seeing what someone else does and then not doing it that way. We learn from other people’s mistakes.

That is what I hope for today.

Today we are going to learn from the book of Jonah and hopefully, we will learn how to respond to God in a good way and not have to go through some of the things that Jonah went through.

If you have your Bibles with you, turn with me to Jonah, chapter 1. We are going to going to learn some things from the entire story of Jonah today, though we won’t be reading all of it.

Now as you are turning there, I want to ask the kids here

Have your parents ever told you to do something that you did not want to do?

Maybe they told you to clean your room or some other place.

Maybe they told you to do your homework.

Maybe they told you to say sorry to your brother or sister or a friend, but you didn’t really feel sorry about what you did, because you felt they deserved it.

Well, this is a little bit how Jonah feels when God tells him to do something He doesn’t want to do.

Let’s read the first couple of verses in Jonah and see what is going on.


Jonah 1:1-3

1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."

3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

Ok, so let’s pause there a moment.

We see that God had a job for Jonah to do.

He told Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell those people there I know all about the terrible things they are doing.

Nineveh = Big place with bullies

Now Nineveh was a big place where the Assyrians lived and the Assyrians were like the worlds bullies. They were always beating people up and especially the Jewish people which is what Jonah was. Jonah wanted them to face God’s judgment. Now Jonah thought that if God was sending him to Nineveh, they might change their ways and God would forgive them and Jonah didn’t want God to forgive them.

So Jonah didn’t want to go. So He didn’t go. Not only did he not go, he took off and went in the complete opposite direction of Nineveh.


God wanted him to go to the north east and Jonah heads due west!

Now let’s think about this a second. If there is something that we don’t want to do, any plan that gets us out of doing it would seem pretty good.

“I don’t want to go to Nineveh and if I get on this boat and head the other way, I won’t end up in Nineveh!”

But we also have to remember that it is the God of the universe speaking.

God doesn’t usually just tell us to do something for the fun of it. He has purpose and his ultimate purpose for us is our good.

He not only has purpose, but He is in complete control and He knows everything. So if we try to hide or run, He knows it and He can make it so we do follow.

So, one of the first things we need to learn about responding to God is that

When God commands, we should follow


We have got to learn that God is smarter than any one of us and smarter than all of us combined! God knows what He is doing.

So when He tells us something, we should do it.

Now, today, it isn’t too often that God speaks audibly to us.

How do we know the things that God wants us to do?

(By reading the Bible)

(By praying)

We know some things that God wants us to do or doesn’t want us to do by reading the Bible.

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