Poetry: Old Testament Essence

This post is part of my personal blog. It is not intended to be representative of any church or other organization I am associated with.


As I read through the Old Testament this month, I reflected upon each book by writing a couple lines of poetry. As I finished each book, I sought to encompass the essence of what I had just read. Sometimes what I wrote came to me almost immediately when I finished the book. Sometimes it took over an hour of reflection before I chose the words. There are two lines per book, in accordance with the order and divisions of Tanakh. If you want to see what I wrote for a particular book, I labeled it all at the end of this post.

Man and mankind embrace death, then violence;
God is faithful to the faithful and the flawed.
Who would disregard him is crushed; in terror,
By covenant and friend, his presence is promised.
He instructs the chosen; his nation is pure
And just, giving and thankful, free.
His holiness, sought in recurrent rebellion,
Through death, brings victory to a new generation.
The land is a gift dependent on faith,
A blessing or curse brought by choices to make.
He knows; in this he brings low or lifts high
Every woman and man, impartially, mightily.
The land is accepted corrupted; it’s evil
Confusing the heart to seek darkness for pride.
Forsaking God’s freedom, fate left to mere men,
All suffer one’s failures; presumption consumes.
They seek power through murder, worshipping lies,
And their children scream as they burn them; God hears.

Doom is now certain; God’s servant embodies
The hurt to its end, to awaken renewal.
Resist false comfort; surrender to judgement
And live, with faint hope, for God will restore.
Having punished them all, he will dwell once again
With his people, flooding the earth with life.
He roars in passion and pain, calling
The rebellious to return; his people forever.
Rainfall on ash brings abundance to the land;
Releasing their guilt, he provides a rich harvest.
The oppressor, oppressed; their injustice and evil
Bring ruin, and God will rebuild the cities.
Deceived by their pride, who exploit God’s judgement,
Devoured in shame, will be lost to the earth.
Man’s hatred despises God’s mercies; God cares
For all life, and he seeks to turn hearts and forgive.
Walk humbly, for a ruler comes forth to bring peace,
Relief from sin, compassion and light.
He pours out his fury on those who do harm
To the world; all rejoice, none stay for their comfort.
The ruthless destroy the violent, though worse;
The proud are cut off, and the faithful arise.
He devours the earth, burning all its pollution;
The humble endure unto gladness and song.
They neglect for the sake of themselves and lack;
He chooses the lesser to receive greater glory.
A king, a shepherd, whose spirit poured out
On the day, unites the earth in a feast.
He blesses; their offenses increase till the fire
Refines, making those who would serve him his jewels.

True hearts seeking God suffer shame, crying out;
Impassioned, with power, he answers their cry.
The king invites the oppressed and the poor;
The reproached and humbled he delivers to glory.
With impossible wonders, God wills in affairs
Of the earth; he saves, and the wicked are ended.
Enthroned forever, he rules and sustains
All the earth; in his presence, his praises are sung.
His comfort, compassion, and confidence known
By devotion, he upholds who extols, crying out.
Instruction in wisdom, when heeded, gives abundance
Of life, when ignored causes senseless harm.
All who would stand will fall, only glimpsing
His creation; he alone understands and directs.
Who shares their love, impassioned, shares joy;
Its touch will ravage the heart in it’s time.
A loyal love wills to follow,
Giving life after loss, to nourish through honor.
The judgement of God is unsettling terror,
But wait for the Lord in hope; he remembers.
Good makes life’s vanity happy as days
Pass on and will end; the wise know God.
In peril the brave stand, the wicked
Enrage, and the innocent escape from all harm.
Great rulers of men are as beasts; he upholds
His loyal, and the beasts are shattered in their pride.
Many struggle to honor the God who bends
The will of the rulers to restore the land.
Unshaken, together, they work and defend
The city; they rejoice, serving God in his mercy.
The kingdom declines; no great king overcomes
God’s justice or their evil, but in hope they return.

GENESIS
Man and mankind embrace death, then violence;
God is faithful to the faithful and the flawed.

EXODUS
Who would disregard him is crushed; in terror,
By covenant and friend, his presence is promised.

LEVITICUS
He instructs the chosen; his nation is pure
And just, giving and thankful, free.

NUMBERS
His holiness, sought in recurrent rebellion,
Through death, brings victory to a new generation.

DEUTERONOMY
The land is a gift dependent on faith,
A blessing or curse brought by choices to make.

JOSHUA
He knows; in this he brings low or lifts high
Every woman and man, impartially, mightily.

JUDGES
The land is accepted corrupted; it’s evil
Confusing the heart to seek darkness for pride.

SAMUEL
Forsaking God’s freedom, fate left to mere men,
All suffer one’s failures; presumption consumes.

KINGS
They seek power through murder, worshipping lies,
And their children scream as they burn them; God hears.

ISAIAH
Doom is now certain; God’s servant embodies
The hurt to its end, to awaken renewal.

JEREMIAH
Resist false comfort; surrender to judgement
And live, with faint hope, for God will restore.

EZEKIEL
Having punished them all, he will dwell once again
With his people, flooding the earth with life.

HOSEA
He roars in passion and pain, calling
The rebellious to return; his people forever.

JOEL
Rainfall on ash brings abundance to the land;
Releasing their guilt, he provides a rich harvest.

AMOS
The oppressor, oppressed; their injustice and evil
Bring ruin, and God will rebuild the cities.

OBADIAH
Deceived by their pride, who exploit God’s judgement,
Devoured in shame, will be lost to the earth.

JONAH
Man’s hatred despises God’s mercies; God cares
For all life, and he seeks to turn hearts and forgive.

MICAH
Walk humbly, for a ruler comes forth to bring peace,
Relief from sin, compassion and light.

NAHUM
He pours out his fury on those who do harm
To the world; all rejoice, none stay for their comfort.

HABAKKUK
The ruthless destroy the violent, though worse;
The proud are cut off, and the faithful arise.

ZEPHANIAH
He devours the earth, burning all its pollution;
The humble endure unto gladness and song.

HAGGAI
They neglect for the sake of themselves and lack;
He chooses the lesser to receive greater glory.

ZECHARIAH
A king, a shepherd, whose spirit poured out
On the day, unites the earth in a feast.

MALACHI
He blesses; their offenses increase till the fire
Refines, making those who would serve him his jewels.

PSALMS, BOOK 1
True hearts seeking God suffer shame, crying out;
Impassioned, with power, he answers their cry.

PSALMS, BOOK 2
The king invites the oppressed and the poor;
The reproached and humbled he delivers to glory.

PSALMS, BOOK 3
With impossible wonders, God wills in affairs
Of the earth; he saves, and the wicked are ended.

PSALMS, BOOK 4
Enthroned forever, he rules and sustains
All the earth; in his presence, his praises are sung.

PSALMS, BOOK 5
His comfort, compassion, and confidence known
By devotion, he upholds who extols, crying out.

PROVERBS
Instruction in wisdom, when heeded, gives abundance
Of life, when ignored causes senseless harm.

JOB
All who would stand will fall, only glimpsing
His creation; he alone understands and directs.

SONG OF SOLOMON
Who shares their love, impassioned, shares joy;
Its touch will ravage the heart in it’s time.

RUTH
A loyal love wills to follow,
Giving life after loss, to nourish through honor.

LAMENTATIONS
The judgement of God is unsettling terror,
But wait for the Lord in hope; he remembers.

ECCLESIASTES
Good makes life’s vanity happy as days
Pass on and will end; the wise know God.

ESTHER
In peril the brave stand, the wicked
Enrage, and the innocent escape from all harm.

DANIEL
Great rulers of men are as beasts; he upholds
His loyal, and the beasts are shattered in their pride.

EZRA
Many struggle to honor the God who bends
The will of the rulers to restore the land.

NEHEMIAH
Unshaken, together, they work and defend
The city; they rejoice, serving God in his mercy.

CHRONICLES
The kingdom declines; no great king overcomes
God’s justice or their evil, but in hope they return.

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