The Story of Jonah

Jonah's song (music edition)

Jonah's story (spoken edition)


Hi! I’m Jonah. You can find my story in the part of the Bible that has my name: the book of Jonah.

My story is all about how God is with you wherever you go. If you go in the wrong direction, God is there to turn you around. If you make a mistake, God’s love is there to show you what’s right. No matter where you are, God is there.

Here’s how I found that out for myself.


Jonah lived a long time ago in a place called Israel. He was a prophet. That means his job was to listen to God and to tell other people what God had told him.

But one day, Jonah heard a message he didn’t like very much. God wanted him to go to a city called Nineveh. He asked Jonah to tell the people there to stop doing bad things and to worship God instead.

Jonah didn’t want to do that. Those people were Israel’s enemies.

Did Jonah stomp his feet? Did he shout, “No way!” The book of Jonah tells us he did something even more naughty. He decided to get on a boat that wasn’t going to Nineveh but away from it!

Jonah thought he could run away from God! But no matter where you are, God is there.

Jonah? Are you listening?

Jonah thought he was sailing all the way to a city called Tarshish. But he didn’t get very far. One day, there was a huge storm. The sailors were worried. The wind was so strong, and the waves were so big, that they thought the ship might break into pieces!

What was Jonah doing during all of this? He was asleep.

Jonah? Wake up!

The captain of the ship woke him up. He asked Jonah to pray for the storm to stop. But Jonah knew there was only one way the winds would calm down. He had to get off that ship. And the only way off when you’re in the middle of the ocean is . . . going overboard!

Jonah? Have you learned your lesson?

But even in the middle of the ocean, God was there. God had prepared a whale to swallow Jonah. And that’s where Jonah stayed for three whole days and three whole nights. In the whale’s belly.

God had been with Jonah back in Israel. He’d been with him even when Jonah thought he was running away. And now He was with Jonah when he was in the belly of the whale, praying to be saved. And where was God when the whale spit Jonah out onto dry land? God was there, too.

After three days in a whale’s belly, Jonah probably wanted to take a bath and have some breakfast. But wait. He still had a job to do. And God was there to remind him.

“Go to Nineveh,” God told Jonah again.

This time, Jonah listened.

He went to that city of his enemies, and he told them what God had told him. The people listened. They stopped doing bad things. 

The city was saved because God was there, too. Just like God was with Jonah. And God is with you, and me, and everyone. Always.


Can you see now that my story is all about how God is always with us? But that’s not the only thing it’s about. Every story can have lots of meanings, depending on how you think about it.

Here’s what one kid learned: “Jonah taught me that even when we do a bad thing, God doesn’t see us as bad. God is good and sees only good. God keeps knowing us as good always, and that’s what helps us remember that we are good—and then we can do good!”

And here’s what another said: “I learned in Sunday School that there is no spot where God is not. Because of Jonah, I know that’s true. God was even with him deep in a whale’s tummy!”

What did you learn from my story?

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