Many Christians don’t realize the books of the Bible are organized by genre instead of chronologically. This genre-oriented organization is most prominent and noticeable throughout the Old Testament. The first five books ranging from Genesis to Deuteronomy, often called the Pentateuch, are regarded as the Books of Law. Picking up after Deuteronomy with the book of Joshua and continuing on through the next twelve books are the Books of History. Then, after the close of Esther, come the five Books of Wisdom: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.
At ViewPointe assisted living, we encourage residents to continue to deepen their relationships with God, and the poems, songs and deeply profound bits of sagacity found all throughout these five books are incredibly beautiful, humbling and reassuring all at the same time. These passages ring with peace, honesty, vulnerability and insight. Here’s a look at some poems and songs from the Bible and what you can learn from them.
“Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, Lord – come quickly to help me.”
The Bible knows no other psalmist like David. Psalm 40 may be one of the greatest examples of this. As you read each successive line of the poem, you can see how intimate, honest and vulnerable David’s relationship was with the Lord. He throws everything in his heart before God’s feet and says, “My heart fails within me.”
The humility and faith in his expression of these words is something you can experience in your walk with God, too. Keeping a prayer journal is a great way to facilitate a stronger relationship with your faith. Take a leaf out of David’s book (literally) and use it as a mindful writing tool in which you make yourself completely open and vulnerable to God every day. If troubles without numbers begin to surround you, remember you always have a refuge in your closeness to God.
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away. For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, and the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.”
The Song of Solomon (also called Song of Songs) has been interpreted differently by many people. To some, it’s a sort of prophetic symbol of the love between Christ and the human soul. Some see it as a pure expression of romance that gives the Bible a certain amount of relatability. Themes of love, infatuation and marriage run all throughout the Song. Some have even suggested it must be read in context of the Garden of Eden, as it paints a sort of picture of what the Garden must have been like before the fall and the rapture of Adam and Eve falling in love.
Regardless of the lenses you choose to view the Song of Solomon through, chapter 2 is an excellent indicator of the richness and sincerity dripping from each line of the Song. The color, imagery and passion throughout the book put the concept of love under the same pure and liberating light that an intimate relationship with God can. It’s a lush, melodic expression of joyous love and blossoming springtime.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations is nothing short of a poetic cry out to God, but certainly not in the same way David’s psalms often are. It begins with the prophet Jeremiah penning the line, “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.” Throughout the chapter, he relates feelings of isolation, doom and being forsaken by God. If you’ve never read it before, reading Lamentations 3 for the first time may throw you for a loop. Unlike Psalms, which often lift up the Lord’s name in worship, Lamentations is a brutally honest expression of powerlessness, frustration and loneliness.
While you may experience inner darkness or feelings of being forsaken or forgotten, you can keep your thankful outlook by submerging yourself in the love God has for you and the ways He has blessed you. If you find yourself isolated, reach out to your friends and support system around you, and remember that God has placed them in your life for that. And above all, maintain openness and vulnerability in your relationship with God to cultivate intimacy and stronger faith in your day-to-day life.