A Poetic Bible Overview

I have recently found a long lost poem written by my friend and former fellow Bible student.   He wrote it after a year of intensive book-by-book study, so some of it is biographical.  I now post it for your enjoyment.

 

Genesis should have been paradise but instead it turned to shame,

Exodus began in slavery but redemption saved the day.

Leviticus sanctified and made us holy for the task,

Numbers was my preparation but my inheritance I failed to grasp.

Deuteronomy the great covenant, the foundation of what was to come,

In Joshua I fought for my inheritance and the battle was victoriously won.

But Judges was my downfall, I did whatever I wanted,

And yet Ruth shone like a burning star reminding me that soon,

A King would come in Samuel, who would be the greatest King of all,

But first we had the failure of the people’s favourite Saul.

Kings and Chronicles said it all and I listened to the Kings,

Make excuses for the evil ways and many other things.

 

At some stage I went all negative and didn’t think I’d cope,

So I sat around complaining with some other guy called Job.

Everything seemed meaningless like there was nothing new under the sun,

Until Ecclesiastes came with its reminder to fear The One.

The Song of Songs reminded me, ‘My gosh, I have a wife!’

So I sought the wisdom of Proverbs to try and save my life.

The Psalms called me to worship, to pray, to lament and sing,

But as I read I kept on asking, ‘Is this synthetic parallelism?’

 

The exile sure did take a while with the ranting of the prophets,

Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, who I never thought would stop it.

But they kept on coming in their droves, calling us to repent,

‘Judgment’s coming’ is what they cried, ‘But there’s always hope at the end.’

At last the exile came to an end, the babble of Babylon silence,

And God’s faithfulness could be seen in the person of King Cyrus.

Ezra renewed the covenant and Nehemiah rebuilt the walls,

And somewhere in the midst of this Esther had a ball.

 

‘Elijah’s coming soon,’ cried the prophet Malachi,

But hundreds of years later, I thought he must have lied.

Then in the Gospels I discovered the One about whom all this had been written,

The King, The Servant, The Perfect Human Being.

In Acts I was commissioned, which followed spiritual birth,

And was told to go through Jerusalem, Samaria, even to the ends of the earth.

In Romans I met theology and saw the detail of God’s salvation,

And wondered if Paul himself had heard of the doctrine of pre-destination.

Corinthians reminded me that not everything’s black and white,

Idols, headships, tongues and money, not to mention the internal church fights.

But at least Galatians brought me freedom,

And Epesians gave me strength.

Philippians taught me the source of joy and in everything to be content.

Colossians led me to Jesus and the supremacy of Christ,

Whilst Thessalonians reminded me that He’ll come like a thief in the night.

 

Then, I lost my way in Timothy, as I struggled with my beliefs,

What is the point of having these books if they cause me so much grief?

But time moved on and so did the books as I continued to re-think ideas,

The race was hard but Hebrews came and encouraged me to persevere.

So my faith grew strong but James came along and pointed out my deeds,

My hypocrisy will be the death of me and James brought me to my knees.

Then Peter came to encourage me but also give a waring,

That I must be aware of the enemy as I wait for the Second Coming.

 

Speaking of which –

The writings of John moved me on and reassured me of my faith,

Until we reached Revelation and theology came up to my waist.

The visions, the seals, the trumpets and bowls, such confusion led me to groan,

So I focused on Christ, the source of my life and discovered that the Lamb’s still on the Throne.

 

Revelation was full of mystery much like some of God’s Word,

But I’ve learned that even in mystery God’s Voice can still be heard.

I’ve learned that in Christ we are loved, unique, chosen by grace,

We may see through a glass darkly, but in time we’ll see face to face.

The Old Testament in 64 Sentences

• God created the universe, the world and people and it was all very good.
• Mankind disobeyed the one thing and the curse of sin and death came in.
• Sin increasingly spiralled so God brought a flood, saving animals & 1 family.
• Sin increased and God scattered the nations at the Tower of Babel. The world was bleak.
• What was God going to do?
• God initiates His salvation plan by calling Abraham and making promises with him.
• Abraham’s family are chosen and God works in their lives.
• The family end up in Egypt to escape a famine.
• The Hebrews become slaves in Egypt for 400 years.
• As with Abraham, God calls Moses, with the message to Pharaoh: ‘Let my people go!’
• The Israelites are rescued from Egypt with signs and wonders (ten plagues)
• At Mt Sinai they learn what this rescuing God is like: He is holy.
• God gives them laws, religious, social, medical, legal and Ten Commandments.
• They immediately break the rule and worship a golden calf (seriously, you couldn’t make it up)!
• That generation do not enter the Promised Land. They die in the wilderness.
• Joshua leads the new generation into the promised Land.
• They are told to drive out all the idolatrous nations (Canaanites).
• They drive out most of them and then settle and divide land between 12 the tribes.
• The Philistines become their main enemy and oppress the Israelites.
• The Israelites are oppressed because they keep breaking God’s Laws.
• Every time they get desperate they cry out to God for help.
• God always sends a deliverer, or Judge to rescue and lead the people.
• Then they do well for a short time before sinning worse than before and crying out again.
• This goes on for between 200-400 years. These days are very dark, the sin very bad.
• Despite the bleakness, the story of Ruth and the line of David happens here.
• Then the people demand a King ‘like the other (idolatrous) nations’ thus rejecting God’s Kingship.
• The people choose Saul. He looks good on the outside but is bad on the inside.
• God appoints David as King when Saul dies. Saul persecutes David.
• David becomes King. God makes a very special covenant with him: Messianic promises.
• Although David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’ he still had a human heart & it was bad!
• David murders, commits adultery, lies, steals and disobeys, but God never forsakes him.
• David’s time is marked by wars and warriors. David is trying to finish what Joshua began.
• David’s son Solomon reigns in peace and builds a world wonder: God’s Temple.
• Although Solomon is very wise he’s also very stupid. He commits mass idolatry in later years.
• His peaceful reign is superficial. When he dies, the Israelite Kingdom is torn in two.
• Ten tribes to the north. Two in the south.
• Multiple dynasties rule the north for over 200 years. All kings were idolatrous & evil.
• Because of God’s promise to David, his family rule the south for 400 years.
• After 200 years, the Assyrians capture the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and Exile all the people.
• They are destroyed forever and it was all spoken by the prophets and the Law.
• The prophets to the North were Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, Jonah and others.
• The South (Judah) were captured by Babylon 200 years after that.
• Persistent idolatry, covenant unfaithfulness were Judah’s downfall.
• They were Exiled and held in Babylonian captivity for 70 years.
• Many prophets came to warn them this would happen.
• Prophets such as Jeremiah, Amos, Obadiah, Habakkuk, and others.
• The people didn’t believe it? Why?
• Because God had made unconditional promises to Abraham and David. God wouldn’t lie.
• They forgot to add into that the conditional promise made to Moses at Sinai
• “If you disobey, then this (curse) will happen…” “If you obey then this (blessing) will happen….”
• Prophets also spoke during and after the Exile. God was speaking and acting all the time.
• Prophets such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zephaniah, and others.
• During the Exile, the Jews were saved from annihilation by a brave Jewish girl, Esther.
• After Exile, the Hebrew people were freed to go home (a new generation).
• This historic return was led by Ezra who re-taught the religious laws of God to the people.
• And led by Nehemiah who rebuilt the city walls and the Temple (a poor imitation of Solomons).
• But the people soon forgot the Law and broke the covenant.
• God sent more prophets to warns them back: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
• The OT ends in some disarray. It’s a cliff hanger.
• God’s word is ignored. Sin keeps spreading. Prophets are ignored. Lessons not learned.
• The last prophet and word in the OT is Malachi. He promises a special messenger.
• This messenger will announce the way for God Himself to come.
• Then the prophets stop prophesying. God is silent for 400 years (as he was in Egypt).
• Until we hear the shouting of John the Baptist in the NT: “Prepare the way of the Lord…”

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