A few years ago, I read through all the prophets on the order they appear in the Bible, over the course of some months. I had thought the prophets were mostly pronouncements of judgement and doom with a few prophecies of Jesus’ coming mixed in.
But my perspective changed as I saw the heart of God for His people in the prophetic books. Everywhere, He is seeking His lost ones. The judgements were intended to draw them back to His heart, not to drive them away. And there were always the promises of restoration, when Israeal would be returned to their homeland from the land of their captivity.
I was so blessed by these threads of mercy that I eventually compiled some of the verses into a collection, tweaked some phrasing, and added some of my own words to connect them.
I just told a friend last night that I don’t usually write long poems. But is this a poem? I can’t decide. I can only pray that the words will bless you.
I. Cry of the Creator
O mountains, hear my controversy,
and you mighty foundations of the earth,
listen as I plead with the one I love:
Though I have bound together and built the sinews of
strength in your arms,
Yet you imagine mischief against me,
strengthening resolve for sin.
Though I have redeemed you out of the land of servants
you have made your hearts as an adamant stone,
hardened against my words.
You are an empty vine,
bringing forth shrivelled fruit for yourself alone,
and your good deeds are as morning clouds
that melt in the heat of day.
Therefore I have given you cleanness of teeth,
the gift of famine to show you your sin;
I have withheld the rain from your fields,
and given you pestilence.
I said, “Surely you will fear Me,
surely you will receive my instruction,
that you may live and be spared from destruction”—
but you do not listen.
Now turn to Me, my beloved,
turn to me with all your heart and with weeping;
rend your heart, and not your garments.
For I am slow to anger,
gracious and merciful, of great kindness,
and willing to repent of the evil I have done to you.
Sow to yourself in righteousness,
and you will reap in mercy;
break up your fallow ground,
the long-neglected soil of your soul—
for it is time for you to seek Me,
to seek me until I come and rain righteousness upon you.
O, my beloved, what shall I do with you?
What have I done to you?
How have I wearied you?
How have I driven you out of my arms?
Return to me, and I will return to you.
Return, my beloved,
II. Faint Answer
Come, and let us return to the Lord:
For He has torn, and He will heal us;
He has struck us, and He alone will bind us up;
He will turn again and have compassion on us.
Though we have fallen, we shall arise;
Though we have sat long in darkness,
The Lord shall be a Light unto us.
III. Assurance of Mercy
The Lord your God has come into your midst,
And He is mighty. He will save,
He will rejoice over you with heaven’s joy,
He will nestle you down in His love,
And joy over you with singing.
And the Lord your God will save you
In that day of repentance and mercy;
He will lead you forth as the flock of His people,
For you shall be as gems in His crown,
Lifted up and honored in the fruitful land.
For how great is His goodness,
And how great is His beauty!
IV. His Promise
“And you shall be mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
In that day when I make up my jewels.
I will spare you,
And to you that fear My name
Shall the Sun of Righteousness arise
With healing in His wings.”
Then they that feared the Lord
and hoped in His Word
Spoke often to one another.
And the Lord turned His ear toward them;
A book of remembrance was written before Him
For them that feared the Lord
And that thought on His name.
And we will walk in the name of the Lord
forever and ever.