The Poetry of Heaven
by Adam Howard
Content Coordinator, CBN Europe
According to the oracle of all things, that is Google, today (3rd October) marks National Poetry Day here in the UK. So, to keep on-trend I thought it would be good to look at an incredible book of poetry and song; Psalms.
As a songwriter myself, it always intrigues me to think of David sat down with his harp thinking and praying these verses. I wonder how many drafts he may have written, or verses discarded as he crafted these timeless words; the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). A man after God’s heart and a creative supremo, David knew the power of word and song. The intertwining of melodic delicacy with poetic flair, bringing the truth of the ages to a nation.
I love reading the Psalms because it is real. There are highs, lows, questions and clamours of pain. A roller-coaster story. Flesh battling against the spirit within; doubts and disappointments and celebrations of praise. In other words, it’s life. David knew both the loneliness and preparation of the sheep-pen and experienced the trappings of the royal court. Vilified and hunted. Honoured and revered. It’s all there.
I am encouraged as I read David’s words and see that despite his expression of difficulty, there is always a turning point in his writing. He is unafraid to come before God and lay his heart out, but then reminds himself of the character and nature of God in the midst of it all.
Today, I’d love to set you a little task. It’s something that I would often do as part of my own devotional time and have done with worship teams across the world. If you have a particularly favourite Psalm you could start there, or maybe start with Psalm 1. Read through the text a few times, then put the Psalm into your own words. Here’s one I prepared earlier from Psalm 23;
Lord, You are my guardian. You watch over me and make sure that I lack nothing. Like a shepherd with his sheep, You keep me safe and secure. You take me to the places of rest and recuperation. You nourish me and refresh me with good water.
I am led down the right paths; paths that lead to good things. You are a good shepherd, who wants the best for me.
You are known for being good.
Even when we go through the tough times and danger looms overhead, casting its shadow and plunging all into shade, I am never scared. I need not be concerned because you are with me always. The weight of heaven is behind you and nothing can stand against you.
I can rest in the comfort of your track record; you have never failed before and you never will. My life bears the marks of your past triumphs. In the midst of my trial, you still prepare good things for me, to nourish me and to fuel me to keep going.
You chose me and I am blessed.
I carry Your family crest upon my heart. I am marked as Yours and so I know that no matter what is before me, good things will lie ahead. I will be surrounded by the fragrance of mercy, leaving it in my wake as I go.
You always have a place for me and I will abide with you for the rest of my days here on earth and beyond.
Be brave and get the creative juices flowing. Use your everyday vocabulary to expand and expound the words on the page. It’s not only a great exercise in letting your creativity loose, but I have found that it helps me better understand what I read. If you enjoy it, don’t stop with the Psalms. Why not try another passage?
Check out the inspiring video below from Dai Woolridge, that shows us just what an incredible resource we hold in our hands; the Word of God.
Come on and give it a go. There is a poet inside you!