God is All Knowing
Introduce the Lesson:
Say: We’re spending a few months finding out the answer to this question: Who is God? Today we’ll learn that God is all-knowing. None of us are all-knowing, but there might be something you know a lot about!
Set the Scene
You will need to draw a giant fish that fills a huge paper (Bristol board size), another drawing of a large boat, and one picture of a city. (you can use three different locations in the room instead of drawings if you wish). Place each picture/designate each area in three different places around your room.
Say: Thanks for drawing those pictures! You’ve helped set the scene for our Bible story today. Set the city drawing near a wall, and set the boat and fish in the middle of the room.
Say: Our story begins with God assigning Jonah a job.
Read Jonah 1:1-2.
Say: God is all-knowing, so he knew the people in Nineveh were evil.
He wanted Jonah to tell them that! But Jonah didn’t want to go, so he tried to hide. Let’s try that now.
Have kids form pairs and determine which partner is younger. The younger partner will try to hide from the older partner somewhere in the room. Most likely your space doesn’t have a lot of hiding places, so it should be very challenging!
Then have kids switch roles so the older partners hide from the younger kids.
Ask: • What was hard about hiding from your partner?
• Explain how you knew where to find your partner.
Hide in a Boat
Say: Hiding from God is silly because God is all-knowing. But Jonah tried to hide by getting on a boat that went the opposite direction from Nineveh. Let’s hide behind our boat.
You and another adult can each hold up an end of the boat paper while kids hide behind it.
Say: But since God is all-knowing, he knew where Jonah was. God sent a storm to rock the boat.
Shake the boat paper with your helper.
Say: Jonah knew why the storm happened.
Read Jonah 1:10-12.
Say: At first the sailors tried to get the ship to land instead of throwing Jonah overboard. But finally they did it. And the storm stopped.
Set the boat paper on the ground, and have kids stand on it and then jump off.
Hide in a Fish
Say: God is all-knowing, so he knew Jonah was in the sea. God still had an important job for Jonah, so he sent a big fish to swallow Jonah.
With your adult or teen helper, pick up the fish paper and hold it in front of kids so they are “inside” the fish. If your group is small enough, you could even wrap the fish paper around the kids.
Say: While he was in the fish, Jonah talked to God. He thanked God for saving his life and promised to do what God asked. Let’s pray.
Have kids pray, thanking God for what he has done and promising to obey him.
Say: After three days of praying in the fish, something happened.
Read Jonah 2:10. Have kids jump from behind the fish, coming out at the mouth end.
Go to the City
Say: As he promised, Jonah went to Nineveh.
Read Jonah 3:1-3. Have kids go to the city drawing.
Say: Let’s share Jonah’s message.
Read Jonah 3:4, and have kids repeat Jonah’s message to each other.
Say: The people of Nineveh were very sorry they’d been disobeying God.
Read Jonah 3:5-6.
Say: The people heard God’s message from Jonah and started obeying God. And God is all-knowing, so he knew about their change of heart.
Read Jonah 3:10
Say: God gave the people of Nineveh a clean start. Have kids help you flip the city paper over to show the blank side.
Pray for a Clean Start
Give each child a marker, and have kids gather around the paper.
Say: We’re going to pray for God to help us have clean hearts. Draw a heart on the paper while you silently talk to God about the things you’ve done wrong. God is all-knowing, so he already knows what you’ve done, but he wants to hear you say you’re sorry. Tell God you’re sorry, and ask for a clean start.
Allow time for drawing and silent prayer.
Pray: God, thank you that you are all-knowing but you still love us. Thank you that you give us clean starts when we disobey you. We love you! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Lesson and Talk About It Video:
Say: We’re learning that God is all-knowing. When the people in Nineveh weren’t obeying, God knew! When Jonah ran away, God knew! Let’s watch.
Ask: • Why do you think Jonah ran away instead of going to Nineveh?
• How can you tell God knew where Jonah was?
• What are some things God knows about you?
Say: God is all-knowing. He knew exactly what was happening with Jonah, as clearly as we could see it in our video! There’s nothing we can hide from God. But God loves us and gives us second chances.
- 16-ounce plastic cups (1 per child)
- rubber bands (2 per child)
- construction paper (in a variety of colors)
- transparent tape
- googly eyes
- ping-pong balls (1 per child)
- permanent markers
- download fish instructions here
Make a sample craft to show kids.
Show kids the sample craft you made. Give each child a cup and a ping-pong ball. Set out the remaining supplies to share, and have kids follow the directions on the “Urpity Fish Instructions” handout to make Urpity Fish.
- Use a thumbtack to poke a hole in the bottom of your cup.
- Cut a piece of string to be roughly 2 feet long.
- Poke the string through the hole in the cup.
- Cut four slits around the rim of the cup, evenly spaced.
- Stretch rubber bands over the cup, sliding them through the slits to make a plus sign.
- Tie the end of the string that’s inside the cup to the center of the rubber bands.
- Staple the rim of the cup above the rubber bands to close up the top of the slits.
- Decorate your cup to look like a fish. To make scales, you can cut small half-circles out of construction paper and tape them in rows around your cup. You can also add fins and a head with googly eyes.
- Draw a Jonah figure on your ping-pong ball using a permanent marker.
Try It Out
Say: When Jonah tried to run away, God knew where he was. God is all-knowing. God sent a fish to swallow Jonah and later had the fish spit Jonah back up onto the shore. Let’s see if you can get your fish to spit Jonah out.
Have kids follow these directions to get their fish to spit Jonah out. It may take a few tries to get Jonah to pop out, but working in pairs will help.
- Hold the cup in one hand and use the other hand to pull the string down as far as you can.
- Have a friend place your Jonah ping-pong ball right in the center of the rubber bands.
- Release the string and watch your fish spit Jonah out!
Talk About It
Ask: • What do you think it would be like to live inside a fish for three days?
• What do you think it would feel like to get spit up by a fish?
• Why do you think God caused this very unusual thing to happen to Jonah?
Say: God is all-knowing. Jonah couldn’t hide from him, because God knew where he was all along. But we don’t need to hide from God! He loves us, just like he loved Jonah even when Jonah disobeyed. He sent the fish to keep Jonah safe and to spit him back onto dry land.
Have kids take home their Urpity Fish and use them to tell the Bible story and Bible point to their friends and families.
Closing: Ask and Listen
Say: We’ve been learning that God is all-knowing. He knows everything about you! We can never know everything about God, but we can always get to know him more. Let’s do that now.
Pray: God, we’re going to listen to you. Tell us what you want us to know about you. We want to hear only your voice, not our own thoughts.
Allow a minute or so for listening.
Ask any kids who heard something from God to share what they heard.
Pray: God, you are all-knowing, and you love us so much! Help us get to know you more. In Jesus’ name, amen.