Elementary kids often laugh about slimy, gooey, gross stuff and about names for slimy, gooey, gross stuff.
And that includes having many slang words for “vomit.” (In our family we often say “berk” instead of vomit. Long story.) One of the slang words sometimes used is “hurl,” as in “I feel like I’m gonna hurl.”
Interestingly hurl (not in the vomit sense) is a word used in the first chapter of Jonah and can be the start of a great Bible study with your kids … when you think about the things that were hurled in Jonah’s sad adventure.
First read the book of Jonah with your kids. Talk about Jonah running away from God. He was supposed to go to Ninevah, a town 500 miles to the east, but headed west toward Tarshish instead; the most remote location possible. Some estimates say Tarshish was more than 2000 miles away. Jonah tried, but he couldn’t hide from God.
Now for the hurling!!!
1. The Lord HURLED a great wind.
Jonah 1:4 — But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.
Picture this. Jonah was asleep when the Lord hurled a great wind. The ship’s crew knew they were in big trouble, and knew they had to do something!
2. The ship’s crew HURLED the cargo.
Jonah 1:5 — Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep.
Jonah was oblivious to all the hurling at this point, but that was soon to change.
3. Jonah said they should HURL him into the sea.
Jonah 1:12 — He said to them, “Pick me up and HURL me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.”
So the captain woke Jonah and told him to call out to his god.
Then the crew looked at each other and said “let’s cast lots.” (We don’t know exactly how they did this in Old Testament times: whether they used sticks or stones or some kind of dice – but it was a method of singling out one person. Not an exact illustration but this was kind of like flipping a coin.)
Then they asked Jonah a bunch of questions about where he came front, his home country and who his people were. The men understood that Jonah was running away form the Lord.
4. The crew HURLED Jonah into the seas.
Jonah 1:15 – So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.
They did what Jonah said and hurled him into the water and immediately the wind stopped.
One of the key messages of Jonah is God’s grace. If the fish hadn’t come along and swallowed the prophet, he would’ve drowned. His adventure with the fish was actually the beginning of a second chance. Because of the fish, he lived.
Of course, Jonah’s story doesn’t stop with all the hurling – but this might be a good start for you to engage in a Jonah study with your personal kids and your ministry kids.