Land trespassers are given fines,
but also might get harmed or hurt
– for dangers lurk beyond the signs
– pollution, pits, fierce creatures, dirt.
Encouraged morally to roam,
experimentally tasting all
like Eve – forbidden pleasures known,
soon poisoning like bitter gall.
If boundaries are scorned, transgressed
such trespassing will sadness bring;
new life delights in (and is blessed)
in keeping from the fields of sin.
(Jonah chapter 1)
The sailors, frightened in the storm,
found idol-gods dead, deaf to cries.
The real, true God they had not known,
and guilty Jonah sleeping lies.
What God d’you worship? – Jonah speak!
– his God, he told them was not weak.
His God, he said, had made the sea,
the land, the sky, and taught his Word,
but disobedient Jonah, he
his God’s chastisement had incurred.
They from the storm would be set free
by throwing Jonah in the sea.
A God who speaks? A powerful God?
who teaches, judges, rules the waves?
Must they throw Jonah overboard?
– surprising will of One who saves.
They had to trust he would not blame,
and great their reverence for his name.
Their boat to land they’d tried to bring,
but could not, for the storm increased.
So now they called, and sought this King
to be from any guilt released.
At once the raging sea was calm,
and God saved Jonah too from harm.
Tune: 88 88 88 eg Melita by J B Dykes (tune of ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’)
or Sagina by Thomas Campbell (tune of ‘And can it be that I should gain’)