We knew a man once who said that since Jesus said you should not “let your right hand know what your left hand doeth,” that you should reach into your pocket before the plate is passed and take out whatever you find without looking at it. I wonder how he got whatever was in his pocket in there that morning without knowing what it was, or did he make sure nothing over $10 was lying on top of his dresser?
But you will also find those who deny there is any literary aspect to the scriptures at all. Try studying the psalms in detail and see if you think that’s so. The psalms are poetry. Like all poets, those inspired poets used poetic elements to make them catch our fancy, speak to us more keenly than prose would, and make us think deeper thoughts than we might have otherwise. You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure. Doesn’t that say more to you than, “These people are really upset”?
One place this is obvious are the fifteen Psalms of Ascents. Psalms 120-134 are presumed to have been sung while the Jews traveled up the hill to Jerusalem to worship on the various feast days. The word for “ascents” is the same Hebrew word translated “steps” in Ezek 40:26 and 31, as in the steps of a staircase. One psalm in particular uses words to show these steps.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Psalm 130.
Imagine each of the following words, taken in order from the psalm above, sitting on the steps of a staircase from bottom to top: depths, pleas, iniquities, wait, hope, steadfast love, plentiful redemption. Now add this to the mix: the word for “depths” is used several times in the scripture for the deepest places on earth, including the very bottom of the ocean. And that implies a man’s complete inability to get himself “out of the depths.” All through this psalm we see the literary devices of the poet, gradually pulling us out of the mire we are stuck in and up the staircase to the place of full—and even more than necessary, “plentiful”—redemption. God didn’t barely save us, He pulled us up on top of the mountains. Read through that psalm again now. Can you see it? Can feel it?
God is the one who made us able to appreciate art of all kinds, including literary art. He gave us the emotions that a good artist of any type can evoke. It’s one of the things that makes you different from your dog! God wrote the Bible. He made you and made you able to communicate. He speaks to us the way He knows is best for our understanding. Who am I to say otherwise?
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person discerns all things…1Cor 2:14-15.