- Chapter 13—Mental and Spiritual Culture
- Chapter 14—Science and the Bible
- Chapter 18—Mysteries of the Bible
- Chapter 19—History and Prophecy
- Chapter 20—Bible Teaching and Study
Chapter 17—Poetry and Song
The earliest as well as the most sublime of poetic utterances known to man are found in the Scriptures. Before the oldest of the world's poets had sung, the shepherd of Midian recorded those words of God to Job—in their majesty unequaled, unapproached, by the loftiest productions of human genius:Ed 159.1
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the
Or who shut up the sea with doors,
When it brake forth; ...
When I made the cloud the garment thereof,
And thick darkness a swaddling band for it,
And prescribed for it My decree,
And set bars and doors,
And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further;
And here shall thy proud waves be stayed?Ed 159.2
“Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?
Or hast thou walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee?
Or hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death?
Hast thou comprehended the breadth of the earth?
Declare, if thou knowest it all.Ed 159.4
“Hast thou entered the treasuries of the snow,
Or hast thou seen the treasuries of the hail? ...
By what way is the light parted,
Or the east wind scattered upon the earth?
Who hath cleft a channel for the water flood,
Or a way for the lightning of the thunder;
To cause it to rain on a land where no man is;
On the wilderness, wherein there is no man;
To satisfy the waste and desolate ground;
And to cause the tender grass to spring forth?”Ed 160.1
“Lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree ripeneth her green figs,
And the vines are in blossom, T
hey give forth their fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” , R.V.Ed 160.4
“From Aram hath Balak brought me,
The king of Moab from the mountains of the East:
Come, curse me Jacob,
And come, defy Israel.
How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?
And how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?
For from the top of the rocks I see him?
And from the hills I behold him:
Lo, it is a people that dwell alone,
And shall not be reckoned among the nations....Ed 160.6
“Behold, I have received commandment to bless:
And He hath blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob,
Neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel:
The Lord his God is with him,
And the shout of a King is among them....
Surely there is no enchantment against (margin) Jacob,
Neither is there any divination against (margin) Israel:
Now shall it be said of Jacob and of Israel,
What hath God wrought!”Ed 161.1
“He saith, which heareth the words of God,
Which seeth the vision of the Almighty: ...
How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob,
Thy tabernacles, O Israel!
As valleys are they spread forth,
As gardens by the riverside,
As lign-aloes which the Lord hath planted,
As cedar trees beside the waters.”Ed 161.2
“He hath said, which heard the words of God,
And knew the knowledge of the Most High: ...
I shall see Him, but not now:
I shall behold Him, but not nigh:
There shall come a Star out of Jacob,
And a Scepter shall rise out of Israel....
Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion.” , R.V.; 24:4-6, R.V.; 24:16-19.Ed 161.3
Above the new-created earth, as it lay, fair and unblemished, under the smile of God, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” . So human hearts, in sympathy with heaven, have responded to God's goodness in notes of praise. Many of the events of human history have been linked with song.Ed 161.5
“I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously:
The horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He is become my salvation:
This is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father's God, and I will exalt Him.”Ed 162.2
“Thy right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power,
Thy right hand, O Lord, dasheth in pieces the enemy....
Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders?”Ed 162.3
It was with songs of praise that the armies of Israel went forth to the great deliverance under Jehoshaphat. To Jehoshaphat had come the tidings of threatened war. “There cometh a great multitude against thee,” was the message, “the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside.” “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.” And Jehoshaphat, standing in the temple court before his people, poured out his soul in prayer, pleading God's promise, with confession of Israel's helplessness. “We have no might against this great company that cometh against us,” he said: “neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee.” .Ed 163.1
Then upon Jahaziel a Levite “came the Spirit of the Lord; ... and he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou King Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.... Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord.... Fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” .Ed 163.2
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters....
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” .Ed 164.2
“O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee:
My soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee,
In a dry and weary land, where no water is....
Thou hast been my help,
And in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.”Ed 164.4
The same trust is breathed in the words written when, a dethroned and crownless king, David fled from Jerusalem at the rebellion of Absalom. Spent with grief and the weariness of his flight, he with his company had tarried beside the Jordan for a few hours’ rest. He was awakened by the summons to immediate flight. In the darkness, the passage of the deep and swift-flowing stream must be made by that whole company of men, women, and little children; for hard after them were the forces of the traitor son.Ed 164.7
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-
According unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies
blot out my transgressions....
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” .Ed 165.5
In his long Life, David found on earth no resting place. “We are strangers before Thee, and sojourners,” he said, “as all our fathers were: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is no abiding.” , R.V.Ed 165.6
“There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the City
The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved
God shall help her, at the dawn of morning....
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.”Ed 165.8
With a song, Jesus in His earthly life met temptation. Often when sharp, stinging words were spoken, often when the atmosphere about Him was heavy with gloom, with dissatisfaction, distrust, or oppressive fear, was heard His song of faith and holy cheer.Ed 166.1
“The sorrows of death compassed me,
And the pains of hell gat hold upon me:
I found trouble and sorrow.
Then called I upon the name of the Lord;
O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
Yea, our God is merciful.Ed 166.5
“The Lord preserveth the simple:
I was brought low, and He helped me.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul;
For the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes
from tears, and my feet from falling.” ; .Ed 166.6
“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah;
We have a strong city;
Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
Open ye the gates,
That the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.
Trust ye in the Lord forever:
For in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” .Ed 167.1
“The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” , R.V.Ed 167.2
“They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together unto the goodness of the Lord: ... and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.” .Ed 167.3