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The Royal - Book Three: Soul Food (Week 1)
Miles McPherson - August 22, 2010

Message Recap

In this message series entitled The Royal, we have covered Biblical Narrative (stories about the past) and Biblical Law (legal contracts that outline what should happen).  In September, we’ll cover Law Enforcement (the consequences of breaking Biblical Law), but today we begin the third “book” of the series, Poetic Language, or as Pastor Miles calls it, “Soul Food.”

1. There are 5 poetic books in the Bible; Job Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon however poetic language is used through out the bible.

Throughout the Bible, God refers to our relationship with Christ in terms of a marriage; the church is the bride and we are being prepared for the groom in the kingdom of heaven.  The reason for the marriage metaphor is that God wants to have a relationship with us, but it isn’t an open relationship.  It is governed by rules and expectations, just as we expect in our own marriages.

2. Poetic language, like soul food, empowers our hearts and minds to communicate to God and like God.

The Psalms are songs and prayers that demonstrate different types of  communication with God, such as praise, the expression of our struggles, motivation, and more. (There are 150 different chapters in this book alone!)  Isn’t it wonderful that if we are feeling down and need help, we can pray Psalm 74?.  If we are feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the world, we can pray Psalm 69. If we want to praise God “just because,” we can pray Psalm 117.

3. Poetic language includes both prayers and songs written for stringed instruments that teach our hearts to worship God.

Don’t worry about the stringed instruments part!  The important thing is that we remember something that Pastor Miles pointed out in Psalms 8:3. It says that God created the heavens with his fingers, all the planets and stars and galaxies and things we don’t even know of! The universe is immensely huge and God made all of it. So when we pray to Him, we should remember that our problems are rather small and completely fixable by Him (though not always in the way we think they should be fixed).

4. Poetic language, as soul food, reveals the attributes and actions of God for us to contemplate.

Now we move to the next book, Proverbs. This book is heavy on instructions of life – what to do and what not to do. Proverbs 14:1 says, The wise woman builds her house. But the foolish pulls it down with her hand. (That goes for men, too). Which brings us to…

5. Poetic language includes wise proverbs and riddles that empower practical decisions on life.

Proverbs 15:18 says to keep a cool head.  Proverb 10:4 instructs us not be lazy. Proverbs 12:26 says to be careful with whom you associate. There are too many wise instructions to list them all, but reading proverbs helps us to deal with the day-to-day struggles of being human.

6. Poetic language uses various forms of parallelism, where two or more parts of one sentence refer to the same subject in complementary ways.

Synonymous Parallelism: the second line reinforces the meaning in the first line with little or no added meaning:

I WILL sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.  Psalm 89:1

Antithetical Parallelism: The second line asserts the opposite of the first line (look for the word “but”):

 A wise son makes a glad father. But a foolish son is the grief of his mother. Proverbs 10:1

In summary, when we read the Poetic Language we need to ask two questions:

1. What God attribute is the text empowering my soul to contemplate? Forgiveness? Power? Grace?

2. What emotion is the text empowering my soul to communicate to God? Worship? Praise? Confession?

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