April 8, 2010

Bible Verses and Hebrew Poetry

Christians often refer to portions of the Holy Scriptures as “Bible verses,” suggesting poetry. That’s exactly what you’ll find throughout the creative word of God, especially in the Psalms and poetic Prophets such as Isaiah.

Unlike the overly saccharine, sing-song poems often written for Christian readers today, however, Bible poems are honest, metaphorical, and rhythmic, but not always upbeat.

In poetic books such as Job, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes, biblical poets wrote through their fears, doubts, worries, anger, envy, pride, and other powerful emotions. For example, Psalm 6:1 says:

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger! Chasten me not in your wrath.

Sometime during Lent, most Christians feel the chill of Psalm 22 as the words are read from the prophetic poem Christ recited from the cross:

“My God! My God!
Why have you forsaken me?”

Keep reading, though, and you’ll see how that Psalm also provided a message of hope for those who heard those words during a terrible time.

Psalm 22 and other poems that “get real with God” provide credibility, too, as readers, then and now, discover and believe the upbeat reassurance of God’s ongoing love in the very next poem, the beloved 23rd Psalm.


(c) 2010, Mary Harwell Sayler

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