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Jonah and the Whale Jesse Tree symbol

A dark fish belly

December 17

Read: Jonah 3:1-5

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

Read the full story of Jonah.


Jonah was not a very good listener. Or actually, maybe he could hear just fine, but he wasn’t so great at obeying. When God told him to go to Nineveh, he hopped on the first boat in the other direction!

God loved the people of Nineveh and wanted them to know him, so he stirred up a big storm to get Jonah’s attention. Jonah asked the sailors to throw him off the ship to get the storm to stop, which they did. And then a giant fish came along and gulped him down. Jonah stayed in that fish’s belly for three days.

When the fish spit him back out, Jonah decided to obey God and go to Nineveh. He arrived in Nineveh, told the people God’s message, and they believed!

Jonah wasn’t the only person to hang out in a dark, damp place for three days. That’s what Jesus did while he was in the tomb. Jesus was much more willing to obey than Jonah was, and Jesus’s obedience also meant that lots of people had the chance to trust God!


Why do you think the people of Nineveh believed God?


God, help me to obey you so that other people can know you. What things do you want me to do to follow you? Amen.

This devotion is part of

The Jesse Tree Story:
A Family Advent Devotional

Each devotion in this family Advent devotional invites you into the story of someone on Jesus’s family tree. These devotions will show young children how God was preparing for Jesus to be born across many generations. Each story pairs with a symbol you can hang on your own Jesse Tree.

Get the devotional
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