God – A Masterful Poet

God – A Masterful Poet

It was 10 years ago this month that I first made the commitment to follow Jesus and became a Christian.

Shortly after, I wrote a poem that I remembered recently and managed to dig up from an old iPod touch (remember them?)

Over the last year I’ve been attempting to write some more poetry and, during this time of global pandemic, I’ve found it quite therapeutic.

Poems can be a bit like marmite. Some people like them, others not so much. Individual poems have the ability to move, repulse or bore, depending on the reader. 

Spurgeon once said that preachers should not place their fruits so high in the tree that no one can reach them. Sometimes poetry can feel a bit like that. Understanding it can seem out of the reach of the ordinary person (if they’re anything like me).

However, when done well, poetry can have a profound impact on the person reading it.

Something that I particularly enjoy about poetry is its ability to convey deep emotion and concepts in very limited words. 

Rita Dove, an American poet, has said “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.”

It is not surprising then that the Bible uses so many poetic devices.

I’ve recently started reading the Psalms. It is a book in the Bible full of prayers, hymns and poetry. To help me understand them better I have decided to use a commentary. (I chose one from the ‘NIV Application Commentary’ series. The series is not too technical, and spends time applying the scripture to present circumstances.)

The introduction provided some background on Hebrew poetry (Hebrew is the original language of the Old Testament). I found it really interesting to look at the different poetic devices used in the Psalms and throughout the rest of the Bible.

I was surprised to see how often God uses the medium of poetry to get His message across to us. There is poetry even right back in Genesis.

Hebrew poetry doesn’t follow all the same conventions as English poetry, e.g. it doesn’t use rhyming words. Some of the poetry can get lost in translation too, e.g. acrostic poems. (An acrostic poem is where the beginning letter of each line spells out a word or the alphabet. There are a few in the Psalms and one in Lamentations.)

David is one of the most prolific poets in the Bible.

Interestingly, David was also used to isolation. He was hunted, not by Covid-19, but by the King. King Saul was jealous of David and wanted to take his life. 

David was unable to see his family at this time. He left his parents in Moab to keep them safe (1 Samuel 22:3) and was forced to hide away in caves, forests and the wilderness (1 Samuel 22:1, 22:5 and 23:25). He was also unable to see his closest friend Johnathan (who was the son of the very man who wanted him dead)!

Though David suffered so much, he never stopped trusting in God’s word. He writes a beautiful piece of poetry on this subject in Psalm 19. Verses 7-10 particularly focus on the richness of the word of God;

‘The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. 
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. 
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. 
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; 
They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.’

Like masterful poetry, God’s word can teach us, it can lift our emotions, and it can change the way we think. However unlike other poetry, God’s word endures forever.

My encouragement to you then is this: if you find yourself with some spare time during this strange season, if you find yourself feeling alone, frustrated, fearful, or in need – read the Bible. 

I promise you it will not disappoint.

Something different

As a way to mark my 10 year anniversary of being a Christian, I have decided to add a new page to the website. It can be found by selecting ‘Poetry’ on the site menu.

On this page I have put a number of different poems I have written.

There is the one I dug up (from when I first became a Christian), and one I wrote last year, but most have been written, or completed, during this time of isolation. 

I even had an attempt at an acrostic poem – not easy!

If you are interested, please have a look – however, I am only just beginning to attempt poetry, so there is a lot of room for improvement.

Still, it is my hope and prayer that they will be a blessing to you.

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2 Replies to “God – A Masterful Poet”

  1. Thanks for this Rebecca. Just hopped over to your poetry section and the acrostic is wonderful. You have a real gift there so keep on going. Thanks again for the encouragement as always x

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