The Word of God includes five poetic books, also known as “books of wisdom” or “wisdom”: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. In these books, God speaks to the heart of his people when he is suffering (Job), worshiping (Psalms), facing life’s decisions (Proverbs), doubting (Ecclesiastes) and expressing the intimacies of marriage (Song of Songs). God’s desire is that we be changed from the inside out, these books speak to the personal areas of life and provide direction on how to live a godly life.
Introduction to Biblical Poetry: The Language of the Heart
The Outward Man and the Inward Man
This lesson introduces the poetry section of the Old Testament. The book of Job is written for the suffering. Psalms is written for those who are worshipping. Ecclesiastes is for those who are doubting. Proverbs helps us deal wisely with daily life. Song of Solomon shows us God's good intent for marital love. Here, we learn how Scripture can speak powerfully to the inner man to change us from the inside through a transformed heart.
Job #1: Hurting Hearts
This lesson introduces the story of suffering in the life of a righteous man named Job. Through his experiences, the Book of Job teaches us about dealing with hurting hearts. As a wisdom dialogue, the reader witnesses in Job the truth about Job’s suffering, and hears an ongoing debate between Job, who insists on his own innocence, and three friends who each insist in their own way that Job MUST be guilty. In the end, a fourth friend, and divine appearance reveal deeper truths about God and suffering. God has used suffering to make a godly man, more godly yet.
Job #2: Look In, Look Up, and Look Around: The Story of Job and His Friends
Look In, Look Up, and Look Around
This lesson focuses on the wisdom dialogue between Job and his three friends as they try to make sense of Job's suffering. Thought Job appears innocent, the theology of the three friends demands that his suffering be understood as proof of secret sin, because people always get exactly what they deserve. The situation is put in proper perspective however when Elihu lends a prophetic voice and God manifests to question the debaters. He uses suffering to make a godly man godlier. We too need a divine perspective to understand the complexity of suffering in the world.
Job #3: Biblical Reasons Why God's People Suffer
Thirty Biblical Reasons Why People Suffer
This lesson gives an overview of biblical reasons for human suffering. Many, like Job’s three friends imagine that life gives the wicked and the righteous exactly what they deserve. They are puzzled, therefore, when they see the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. Taking many biblical books together, however, Scripture presents a rich tapestry of explanations for world suffering. It teaches us that though suffering is unpleasant, God is always good and He uses suffering to accomplish great things in our lives.
Job #4: More Biblical Reasons Why God's People Suffer
Responding to Life’s Trials and Problems
This lesson continues the overview of biblical reasons for human suffering. Sometimes the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer. Scripture presents a rich tapestry of explanations for world suffering. It teaches us that though suffering is unpleasant, God is always good and He uses suffering to accomplish great things in our lives. It just may be that we have yet to suffer what we need to suffer to become the person God wants us to be in order to do the work that God wants us to do.
Psalms #1: The Good Shepherd
He Maketh Me Lie Down
This lesson is an introduction to the song book of Israel—Psalms. It is a book of poetry, worship, prayer and powerful emotion poured out to and about God. As such it speaks to us as we struggle with our own emotions. Psalms as many themes, like the "Blessed Man," Messiah, Lamentation, Thanksgiving, and Wisdom, and Worship. This lesson will consider Psalm 23, where David the great Psalmist of Israel celebrates his sheep-like relationship to God, the Good Shepherd.
Psalms #2: The Blessed Man
Profiles of a Blessed Man
This lesson explores the theme of the "Blessed Man" in Psalms. These psalms give us the key to living a blessed life. It starts with a consideration of Psalm 1 as one of the best examples of the "Blessed Man" psalms. It contrasts the Blessed Man with the ungodly man. The blessed man believes God, loves Him, and follows His Word. He flourishes. The ungodly man does the exact opposite, and is destined to perish. We must choose our path.
Psalms #3: The Blessed Family
Blessed is Everyone
This lesson continues the exploration of the “Blessed Man” theme, by considering Psalm 128 and 127. In Psalm 128, Solomon tells us that the blessings of the blessed man are not a coincidence but are a result of values and choices. Psalm 127 gives us great insight into the importance as parents that we build the spiritual lives of our children. We can build a lot of things in life, but if God is not in it then it is of no eternal value.
Psalms #4: Solutions to Stress
Solutions to Stress
This lesson considers Prayer Psalms. These psalms are written through the prayer’s experiences with the ups and downs of life like joy, sorrow, fear, rejection, envy, and frustration. The important thing to notice in these psalms is how the psalmists handle their painful experiences and emotions. God uses our stress to help us grow in love, faith, trust, and worship so that we can serve Him better in our generation. God hears the cries of the righteous.
Psalms #5: Seeing the World through God's Eyes OR The Destiny of the Wicked
The Blessedness of Forgiveness
This lesson focuses on Psalms of doubt, envy and conviction in Psalm 73 and 139. In Psalm 73, Asaph struggles with angry and envy when he sees that the righteous often suffer and the wicked often prosper. He also overcomes these thoughts and feelings when he has an encounter with the Lord. In the same vein, Psalm 139 tells how our lives can be totally transformed when we truly encounter God.
Psalm #6: The Coming and Going of Worship
The Coming and Going of Worship
This lesson considers Worship Psalms. One of the most common ways to worship God is by praising God for who He is and by thanking Him for what He has done. Worship Psalms teach us what worship is, how to worship, what is supposed to happen when we worship, and what the results of our worship will be. The Worship Psalms teach us that we should enter God’s presence with thanksgiving and go out from His presence singing about His goodness to a lost world.
Psalms #7: The Coming Messiah
Taste and See
This lesson considers psalms about God’s promised Messiah, His anointed servant coming to restore Israel, usher in the Divine Kingdom on Earth, and bring retribution to the wicked. It has a special focus on Psalm 2 and Psalm 110. The promises about the Messiah are partially fulfilled through David’s line of reigning sons, but finds ultimate fulfillment through Jesus.
Proverbs: The Wisdom of Solomon
The Wisdom of Solomon
This lesson introduces the Book of Proverbs, which was largely written or collected by David’s son, King Solomon. It explains the nature of wisdom sayings and how to interpret them. Proverbs teaches people how to live well, giving inspired advice on various topics, like sex, marriage, parenting, money, anger, self-control, and even dealing with authority, the wicked, and fools.
Ecclesiastes: Solomon's Final Message
Solomon's Final Message
This lesson introduces King Solomon’s end of life confession about his doubts and struggles for meaning—His wisdom dialogue, Ecclesiastes. After achieving all the success one could hope for in his age, Solomon has learned that real meaning and purpose are discovered when we acknowledge God, seek Him, and strive to live out His word. In the end, all that matters is that we fear God and keep His commandments because He is going to judge our every act, whether good or bad.
Song of Solomon: The Finest Love Song
Jesus Loves Me
This lesson introduces the Song of Solomon, also called Song of Songs or Canticles. It is the last of the Biblical poetry books. Through a series of poetic vignettes, Solomon explores the beauty and power of marital love and devotion when it is cultivated properly before the Creator who instituted marriage and declared it a "good" thing. This lesson also explores some powerful devotional applications rooted in the ongoing biblical metaphors of God and Christ as Husband, and Israel and the Church as bride..