God, Poet

God loves Israel.  He loves her for an early devotion.

“Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus said the LORD; I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your espousals, when you went after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness to the LORD, and the first fruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come on them, said the LORD.” (Jeremiah 2:2,3)

He loves her for early righteousness.

 “How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.” (Isaiah 1:21)

He loves her in a unique way, as a peculiar people.

 “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2)

And He loves Israel for her origination, known to Him from everlasting, but first manifest in the Patriarchs.

“When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.” (Hosea 9:10)

How unmistakably personal is God’s passion here.  This is great poetry; exciting and grand in conception.  In that personal light even the least lyrical elements of the Hebrew Bible: the genealogies, and enumeration of parts to the tabernacle, the numbering of the troops, the order in which the tribes of Israel must travel, are all very personal because they are the constitution of the Lord’s people, the foundation blocks of the family of Jesus, who branches out to save the entire world (which he loves equally as much.)  Much of the Hebrew Bible names what is essential to the making of the people.

It seems to happen frequently that a country’s great poet has a special claim to the deep spirit of the country.  For example Homer, Virgil, and Walt Whitman sing the epic of their people.  The Hebrew Bible, the whole Bible really, surpasses any other literature by successfully revealing the words, thoughts, and deeds of God, who is the most integral character. Israel is God’s nation, (and the elect are one flock in Israel), and in singing of God’s relationship with her, they are working in the greatest microcosm, even to a stone beneath Jacob’s head, up to the greatest macrocosm: the salvation of the world through the death of the Son of God.  In truth the book is composed for the entire world, through Israel, by the Holy One, author of life, the one God.


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