The Story of Jonah

Has God ever asked you to do something that you just didn't want to do? Jonah had that happen to him. Here is his story.

Before You Listen

After you listen

Memory Verse

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.

Audio Icon   Jonah 1:3



Jonah’s story is about someone being rescued by God. Yes, the Ninevites were saved, but the story also shows that God did not give up on Jonah. God gave Jonah a second chance (and more). He didn’t let him run away, and he didn’t let him drown. He could easily have called someone else more faithful to go to Nineveh, someone who had some compassion and mercy toward others. Maybe he used Jonah because Jonah needed God’s rescue―not just from drowning, but from his hard heart.

Jonah thought the people of Israel were better than the Ninevites, so he didn’t want to preach to them because he thought God would be merciful to them, and he didn’t want Nineveh to receive God’s mercy! (He was right about God’s mercy by the way!) Maybe God chose Jonah to teach him a lesson about mercy.

How are you like Jonah? Do you struggle with always being right? Do you lack compassion toward others? Do you look down on others who you think are lazy or not doing the right thing? If so, God has promised to work on you too. He never gives up on those who belong to him. In his love, he will come to you and will go to the greatest lengths to rescue you. That’s what he did for Jonah. That’s what Jesus did later on the cross. That’s what he’ll do for you today.

Want to dig deeper and learn more about God rescuing us? Check out 2 Samuel 22:17-20, Psalm 18:16-19, and Hebrews 13:6.


How has God rescued you? Read the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection in John 18-20. In this story, God’s own son died in our place, paying for all of our sins. Today, ask God to soften your hard heart. Pray to God for his mercy and accept Jesus into your heart.