GOD’S SPECIAL POETRY
Scripture: Books of Poetry; Psalms 95:1–6, 100:1–5
Memory verse: Psalm 100:2
"Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs."
Introduce this study by leading in a discussion about poetry. Start by reading an entertaining, fun poem. After you have read the poem, ask the students if they like poetry and if they have ever had to memorise or write poems in school. Let volunteers briefly share poems they may have written or learned.
Explain that although not everyone is enthusiastic about reading or hearing poetry, to some it is a meaningful, beautiful, and often powerful way to express important truths and thoughts. Well-written poems can often convey messages better than books or speeches. Poems are short “word pictures.” Many songs are poems set to music.
Since poetry is so effective, several Bible writers used poetry in different forms to communicate God’s truth. That is the focus of the next major division of the Bible—the five books of poetry.
Hearing God’s Word
The third group of books in the Old Testament is called the books of poetry. Poetry is included in other books of the Bible, but the majority of biblical poetry is found in these five books:
Ask: “Can you name the books of poetry?” (Allow responses.)
The books of poetry are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs (Solomon).
Hebrew poetry is different from our poetry. Most of the lines we shared during worship time rhymed. Hebrew poetry does not rhyme. When you look up these books in your Bible, you probably will not think they are like any poetry books you have seen. In some Bible versions, the poetry is written out in short lines like our poems, but they do not rhyme. The books of poetry contain some of the most frequently read passages in the whole Bible. Because the verses are written in simple phrases, the five books of poetry are easy to read and memorise. Let us look briefly at each of the five books to find out what they have to say to us.
Ask: “What is the first book of poetry?” (Allow responses.)
Ask: “Can anyone tell us about Job?” (Allow responses. If no one can answer continue with the lesson.)
The Book of Job tells the story of a man named Job. He was a rich man who loved God. One day Satan challenged Job’s love for God. Satan said Job only served God because he had everything he wanted. Then Satan asked for permission to test Job’s devotion and prove his theory to God. So God gave Satan permission to try Job.
Satan began his test. Job lost all his children, his herds of animals, and all his wealth. Finally, he lost his health. His body became covered with painful boils. His friends came to comfort him, but they only condemned him. Even his wife told him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Through all this, Job’s testimony was, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15.)
In the end God blessed Job and gave him twice as much as he had in the beginning. God honoured Job for staying true to Him through suffering.
Sometimes hardships come our way and there seems to be no escape from them. But Job teaches an important lesson for every Christian: God is with us, even when things seem their worst. Paul also learned God would help him, no matter what his situation. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 he wrote what God said to him: “My grace is sufficient for you”. God will never leave us, no matter what.
The next book of poetry is probably the most familiar.
Ask: “Can you name it? What familiar verses do you know from the Psalms?” (Allow student responses, giving as many as possible an opportunity to share.)
The Psalms were the hymnbook used in the temple. Music was important in the Israelites’ worship. Many of the 150 psalms in our Bible were written by King David.
Ask: “Do you remember what job David had when he was a youth? (Allow response.)
He was a shepherd. Psalm 23 compares David’s experiences as a shepherd to the Lord being our shepherd. (Read the psalm together.) Other psalms or songs deal with praise and prayer. Even today, we sing many psalms in our churches. (At this point name some psalms you sing in your church.) The Book of Psalms is also unique in other ways. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It has 176 verses. Psalm 119 tells about God’s laws. It uses a variety of words to describe God’s laws, such as His decrees, His ways, His precepts, His statutes and His commands. It also tells us the benefits of knowing and memorizing God’s Word. (Have the students read Psalms 119:11, 105 aloud together.)
Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible. It has only two verses. (Have a student read Psalm 117.)
The Book of Psalms is useful to us because it helps us in our prayer and praise to God. We can worship by reading and singing the Psalms. That was the purpose for which the Book of Psalms was written. David and the other writers were musicians. They wrote the songs as part of their worship to God. We can be encouraged when we read the Psalms.
As we look at the next book of poetry, let us take a quiz. I will read twenty familiar sayings. If you believe they are from the Bible, raise your hand. If you believe they are just sayings, do nothing. (Choose a scorekeeper to mark the totals on the chalkboard. Make two columns. Write Bible at the top of one and Saying at the top of the other. You and the scorekeeper count the number of hands raised and not raised each time. Record the totals on the chalkboard.)
1. “Wisdom is better than rubies.” (Proverbs 8:11)
2. “A stitch in time saves nine.” (Saying)
3. “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” (Proverbs 13:24)
4. “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” (Saying)
5. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” (Saying)
6. “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” (Proverbs 15:2)
7. “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22)
8. “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent.” (Proverbs 17:28)
9. “A word to the wise in enough.” (Saying)
10. “Use what you have, that you may have more to use.” (Saying)
11. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
12. “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1)
13. “He who learns nothing from the past will be punished by the future.” (Saying)
14. “Many are our wants; few are our needs.” (Saying)
15. “He who falls down gets up faster than he who lies down.” (Saying)
16. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)
17. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)
18. "While there is life, there is hope.” (Saying)
19. “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips” (Proverbs 24:26)
20. “The early bird catches the worm.” (Saying)
(Check the totals recorded on the chalkboard and have the students look up the verses from Proverbs.)
Proverbs is a book of wise sayings written or collected by Solomon, David’s son. They teach us about good living. During King Solomon’s reign, Israel prospered and his fame and wisdom was known far and wide. In Proverbs he writes that people should seek wisdom. In Solomon’s day that meant, “to seek the knowledge of God.” These wise sayings, inspired by the Holy Spirit, show us clearly the wisdom of living to please God, and the folly of having our own way.
Ecclesiastes is the fourth book of the books of poetry. It is a poem about life written by “the teacher.” Some people believe King Solomon was the author of this book too.
The teacher looks back over his life and realizes he has done many foolish things. In the end he comes to an important conclusion, which is reflected in Ecclesiastes 12:13. “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
A special message is given for young people in Ecclesiastes 12:1: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.” The teacher realized the value of living for God throughout one’s entire life. It is important for young people to serve God now and not wait until they are old. If you wait, you will suffer from many of your own mistakes and might miss the path to heaven.
Song of Solomon
The last book in the section of poetry is Song of Solomon. This book is a beautiful poem that symbolizes the love between God and His chosen people, or Jesus and His Church. Solomon uses the love of a bride and groom to illustrate God’s love. His love is much better than any love we could have. It lasts forever.
Accepting God’s Word
Many have used the book of Proverbs for their daily devotional time. You can read one chapter a day and it will take you through an entire month. Suggest to the students that everyone should make this a reading project for the coming month. Then, each week, ask the students to share what they are learning from the book of Proverbs.
Jesus, My Saviour
Several years slipped by for my friend and his wife. On a visit to a neighbouring country, he met some Pentecostal Christians. They shared with him the good news of the gospel, and he observed how they practiced their faith by living godly lives. The love they showed to him and the message of the “JESUS” film convicted him of his sins. The following Sunday, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.
Returning home and declaring his faith in Jesus, he faced a lot of persecution from his family. Fortunately, he found employment and was able to sustain his wife and children. Later, he had the opportunity to study at a Bible school, after which he became pastor of a small church made up of various people groups. He went throughout the area, openly preaching the gospel among fellow Tuareg and seeing good response. However, many returned to Islam when they discovered that they would not be given handouts for converting to Christianity.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Tamajaq Tuareg to Receive Divine Revelation
1. Become acquainted with a believer is Christ Jesus,
2. See Jesus love demonstrated by a Christian friend,
3. Jesus to appear to Tamajaq individuals in a dream.
"He (God) rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).
Remember: GOD’S SPECIAL POETRY
Memory verse: Psalm 100:2
"Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs."
1. Write a poem in your own language about your love for Jesus.
2. Select a song and put your words to that melody.
3. Memorize your favorite Psalm. Put the words to your indigenous music.
Pray for Tamajaq Tuareg to Receive Divine Revelation.
Study 8 | Preach Christ/Our Bible | africaatts.org/go-teach