The Outward Man and the Inward Man
God's Word includes five poetry books, also known as "wisdom books" or "the writings": Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. In these books, God speaks to the hearts of His people when they are suffering (Job), worshiping (Psalms), coping with the decisions of daily life (Proverbs), doubting (Ecclesiastes), and expressing the intimacies of marriage (Song of Solomon). God's desire is for us to be changed from the inside out.
The Book and life of Job gives us a great perspective on how to face our own suffering and trials. God's people have always suffered. Life is difficult and perplexing, and becoming a Christian does not take us out of our troubles. But God has a message for us when our hearts are hurting: Pain and suffering are inevitable, but misery is optional. That is the message of the book of Job.
Look In, Look Up, and Look Around
Taken from Job's time of suffering, we learn three perspectives of life when we face trials. Our difficulties can lead us to ask the right questions. Suffering can also lead us to listen to God for the right answers. And finally we can let our mourning bring us to a place of believing God's answers to our questions. When we do these three things, we will experience the blessing and comfort of salvation.
Thirty Biblical Reasons Why People Suffer
Why do the righteous suffer? That is a question people have asked for thousands of years. We normally do not ask or even wonder when bad or evil people suffer, but why do good people suffer? Not only does the book of Job address that question, so do many other parts of Scripture. In fact, the issue of suffering comes up in nearly every book in the Bible. The Bible gives many reasons that help us understand why we suffer.
Responding to Life's Trials and Problems
The Book of Job shares great insights on how to respond to life's storms. When we first encounter suffering in our Christian life, we usually do not really understand why. As we grow and learn from the Bible, however, we begin to find many reasons why people suffer. Great benefits can come out of the trials we face, especially when we are able to stand firm in our faith through them.
He Maketh Me Lie Down
The book of Psalms is biblical poetry of worship, praise and prayers. The Psalms have four major themes: psalm telling us about those who are blessed, psalms expressing the emotions we feel, psalms of worship, and psalms of prophecy of the coming Messiah. The best-known psalm, and most beautiful description of the relationship between God and man, is Psalm 23. This "blessed man" psalm portrays God as a wise and gentle shepherd.
Profiles of a Blessed Man
The Psalms are God's hymnbook of praise! Psalm 1, like many "blessed man" psalms, presents both positive and negative truths. We learn what blessed people do not do, and then what they do. Our convictions and our choices in life have a lot to do with how God blesses us. We learn how the godly are blessed and the ungodly are not. As we read the Psalms it is important to ask ourselves: Which one am I?
Blessed is Everyone
Many believe God should bless everyone regardless of the choices and the convictions they have made and held. But the Bible is very clear that many of the blessings from God are conditional. The blessed man is blessed because of his faith and his choices. The psalms promise blessings to those who love and fear the Lord and walk in His ways. Psalm 127 teaches how the family is one of the great building opportunities we are given by God.
Solutions to Stress
Psalms with an emotional theme are often prayer psalms, where the psalmist is talking to God about human beings, usually himself. They teach us that when we bring our feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, discouragement, despair, or anything else to God, He helps us through those feelings and leads us into gratitude and worship. When we are experiencing emotional distress, we can always turn to Psalms and find rest, trust, and peace to overcome our stress.
The Blessedness of Forgiveness
In Psalms 32 and 51, among others, David speaks of emotions we can all relate to: the feelings associated with guilt. Psalms of confession and forgiveness show us the relief and joy found in God's forgiveness of our sin and the blessings of God's grace and restoration. Psalm 139 describes the God to whom we pray. God knows and understands everything about us, so He is the perfect counselor in times of difficulty.
The Coming and Going of Worship
David described the only appropriate way to enter into God's presence is with thanksgiving and praise, and one of the best ways to express those attitudes is through music. In God's presence, we can experience how good He is, we learn of His desire to be worshiped by all people in all nations, and we learn to joyfully serve Him. Worship leads us to greater depth in our relationship with Him and results in greater growth and fruitfulness for Him.
Taste and See
Hopelessness is a huge problem in our world, but God's desire is for the hope He has planted within us to lead us to faith and a personal relationship with Him. God invites us to "taste and see" that He is good, to follow Him in obedience and trust His Word. Those who trust in God will be blessed as they grow strong in hope and faith as they experience God's faithfulness to provide, protect, and deliver them.
The Wisdom of Solomon
The book of Proverbs is the most practical book in the Bible, so "that God's people might know how to live." Solomon was considered the wisest man in the world. Much of Solomon's wisdom was learned from his failures. He wanted to teach young men not to do as he did. His purpose was for the wise to become wise leaders, the simple-minded to become wise, and for all people to discern how to live right.
Solomon's Final Message
Ecclesiastes speaks to the hearts God's people when they are searching for answers to the perplexing dilemmas of life. Solomon urges the younger generation to learn from his experience as he searched for the meaning and purpose of life. The only worthwhile purpose he found in life was to fear God and keep His commandments. He told young people to remember God and live their lives well, because everyone will face Him and eternal judgment in the end.
Jesus Loves Me
The Song of Solomon is the last of the poetry books and is a love song that records the romance of two lovers and is a beautiful allegory of what the relationship is between Christ and His Church. The Song contains important truths. One is God considers the sexual relationship in marriage to be a very good part of His creation. Another important truth is it teaches us much about our intimate relationship with the risen, living Christ.