Why is this study so important?
The values and morals we teach our children by our words and byt the example of our lives will stay with them all of their lives. These living examples will help us to establish the ethical behavior of our children as adults. That is why it is so important that children understand Biblical truth and know exactly how to apply that truth to their daily life.
Learning about Jonah and the Whale and the fact that whales were created by God and understanding the great significance of the Whale's act of obedience can have a tremendous impact on your child's personal behavior. This process becomes even more important when we know that the facts presented in this Biblical story have been substantiated in modern times. In 1891, a sailor by the name of James Bartley was swallowed by a giant Sperm Whale. Bartley spent three days in the whale's belly and lived to go to sea again.
As the Whale in this story shares with us his experience with the prophet, Jonah, we can emphasize the main points of this Biblical account so they become a vital part of our daily lives. Thus our children can learn from us and remember these life-changing Biblical truths.
How to use this study
As you read this Story to or with your children, point to the pictures that illustrate the story so your children begin to associate the words with the actions.
By reviewing the Video with your child and by asking questions and reinforcing the truths and values in the film as detailed in this guide, you will be placing these concepts into your child's mind so that they are reinforced each and every time your child watches and enjoys this film.
The Audio can be copied to your computer where you can then transfer it to a CD or a portable media device such as an MP3 player. Then you can take the story with you. Remember to make this learning experience fun for you and your child.
The Quiz will allow you the opportunity to see what your child has learned from experience, so that you will be able to apply these truths to your child's daily walk with God. These questions can be asked in a conversational manner rather then like a test if you so desire.
Talk with your child about this Biblical story and what it means to them in order to reinforce these truths. This will lead to a proper understaning and application of this story to your children's daily walk with the Lord.
What are we learning?
The Whale tells us about his encounter with God who created all creatures, including the great whales. When God called to the Whale from out of the Water, the Whale immediately responded and obeyed the Lord's command.
Unlike Jonah who disobeyed God and fled to Tarshish in the opposite direction, the Whale was obedient to God's command. Fighting the storm, this air-breathing mammanl, fought his way to the surface to find the ship and the prophet Jonah.
The great storm was caused by Jonah's disobedience and, try as they could, the sailors could not row the boat to shore. Asking God for forgiveness, they reluctantly threw overboard into the sea where Jonah met the Whale.
there is one Whale that is really quite capable of swallowing a man whole and that is the mighty Sperm Whale. With its giant 20 foot lower jaw opened wide, this great Whale swallowed Jonah. This must have been a terrifying sight for Jonah as he tumbled down the mouth of this great creature which God had prepared for his trip to Nineveh. Jonah did not know God's plan, for he thought he was going to die. His prayer of repentance to God from inside the Whale's belly was (as are all of our prayers) heard by God. The Whale took Jonah to the shore and then spewed him out of his mouth.
When God called Jonah the second time, he obeyed and went to Nineveh to preach God's message of judgment. When the people heard the message of God and the King's decree they repented of their sin and God forgave them, so that they were spared from this great judgment. God showed Jonah that He alone is God and that He can and will forgive those who repent of their sin and call on Him. We too must call on God and serve Him each day.
To understand the importance of obedience to God and the need to serve Him each day: Jonah disobeyed God and fled. As a result he spent three days and three nights in the belly of a Whale, a place that God prepared for him but certainly not God's first choice. How much time do we spend in the belly of a whale, so to speak, because we do not do exactly what God wants us to do?
If Jonah had not disobeyed the Lord, he would not have been swallowed by a Whale. He paid dearly for his sin. In fact, because of the gastric juices inside the Whale's stomach, Jonah may have lost most of his hair. His skin may have been parched and he may have carried these scars the rest of his life. Sin mars our lives and we must learn to do what God wants us to do. We must obey God each day. We must learn to apply this truth always first as a child, and then as an adult. We must live our life in obedience to God's word.
When you see a Whale on a TV program or in an aquatic park, take the time to discuss this story and apply again these Biblical truths of eternal value.
In order for us truly to see these truths live in our children, we must teach by both word and example. Children must see these Truths in us as parents. To see a true change in our children's actions we must make these stories real in our own lives. We must also keep applying these Truths by constantly reinforcing them whenever and wherever the opportunity arises. We will only achieve our goal of a life-changing attitude geared toward eternal values in our children if we live our lives accordingly, obeying the Lord in everything we do, both in actions and words.
The purpose of making the Scriptures come alive can only be accomplished if the application is kept simple and these truths are understood. Thus we accomplish our spiritual objective by explaining the eternal consequences of our daily actions. Jonah's disobedience is sometimes discussed as an isolated event of the past. We must teach the consequences of sin and apply the results to our own lives so that our children will comprehend the importance of obeying God and the dangers of unconfessed sin in their lives. We need to emphasize the simple manner in which the Whale accepted God's Word and did exactly what he was told.
By watching this film and using the Student Guide children will learn by repetition and reinforcement. You will have the opportunity to explain, discuss and apply these spiritual truths in a real and meaningful manner that will truly have an eternal effect on your child's life.
As an added learning objective, a vocabulary test or quiz can be created from the story. Such a test could be difficult using words like "judgment" and "obedience" or very simple using words like "ship" and "storm", depending on your child's age. The "words to live by" section of the Student Guide provides an excellent beginning point for a vocabulary test as well as a way to test your child's comprehension of the subject at hand.
A similar test or quiz could be given on the vocabulary words mentioned above or on different words to challenge your child's spelling ability and to enhance the learning process. The level of difficulty and the number of words selected is up to you, but the more you utilize the tools provided in this series and reinforce these truths, the more you can expect living results in your child's actions and attitudes.
It is not necessary to force these activities on your child as tests in the formal sense, but you can make a game of it as somthing new to learn or a special fun time. These tests on vocabulary words or spelling do not need to be given at the same time or all at once. A few words each day while riding in the car or even while waiting in a line at some event, not only provides your child with an additional learning experience, but also opens the door to further discussion and allows you to emphasize again the important Biblical truths related to us by the story "The Tale of a Whale".
Some things to remember
The following questions are given to help your chilren understand the truths that are presented in "Tale of a Whale" and why it is so important that we remember these truths and obey God each day.
Discuss these questions with your children and have them write down their answers on a separate piece of paper or talk about them with you. Be sure that they understand how to apply these truths.
What did Jonah do when God first called him?
What was the result of his actions?
How did the sailors react? What did they do?
What happened when Jonah was cast in the sea?
What did Jonah do inside the belly of the Whale?
What did Jonah do when God called Him the second time?
What happened as a result of His preaching?
What does God's Word tell us about repentance?
How should you live your life each day?
Whad did you learn from the Whale about obedience to God and living in His Will each day?
Why did the Lord give such a warning in Matthew?
How will this study help you as you serve God and live for Him each day?