That They Might Know Him

Preface:

This is a poem I wrote as a project for a seminary class. It is a poetic narrative of the Bible as a whole. It is quite lengthy, but, objectively speaking, I think it is quite worth the read! Feel free to let me know what you think.

Also there is a project description/summary at the end of the poem which describes in some more details what some of the pieces are referring to, as well as the structure and style it was written in.



His creation
:

That they might know Him,
they were made.

They were created, by Him.
They were brought from dust, from nothing,
given a place in the stars,
given breath, life.

The world they were given, expressed who He was.
To be found was beauty, grandeur, might.

Out of chaos, He brought forth order.

They were to tend this land, fill this place;
they were to live.

They were given authority and dominion. They were given
food and drink, but
most importantly, they were given the Almighty.

That they might know Him,
they were made.

They were created with His nature imprinted upon their very being.
They were to walk by His side,
as He loved them,
provided for them,
and sustained them with His very Being.

For a time, it was perfect.
They knew not sin, they knew nothing but
communion with Him.

It was but a brief picture of
what was to be.

Sin:

That they might know Him,
they were given the freedom to choose.

Freedom was necessary, for
if He was to love and to be loved,
it could not be forced.

As robotic love is not love,
freedom of will and choice was ordained.

He was to be chosen, His desire was to be desired.

He loved them.
And His desire was for them to know and love Him.

That they might know Him,
they were given the freedom to choose.

And that freedom was their undoing.
While they had the imprint of His nature,
they were not Him.

Insufficient in strength on their own,
they chose themselves.

They chose sin.

They were fooled by the snake,
into thinking they could become like Him.

And when presented with an option besides Him,
they desecrated themselves,
for themselves,
to become themselves
like He who created them.

They knew not the depth of their folly, yet
the gravity of their fall was insurmountable.

He who was holy, and without sin,
by His very nature, could not and cannot be in the presence
of sin.

They were separated from the very origin and source
of their life,
of their breath,
of why they were.

Death entered the picture,
brokenness,
fear,
loss,
chaos broke through the order.

Creation and Creator were rent.

They found themselves lost and forsaken,
separated
with no way back.

Solution:

That they might know Him,
the gap had to be bridged.

He was so in love with His creation,
that no matter the cost
He was
to get them back.

A plan was in play.
A plan to return His people
to their Creator,
to their Source,
to their life.

They had no power
to hoist themselves back,
they had not the means
to reconcile themselves.

That they might know Him,
the gap had to be bridged.

In His love for them,
in His mercy,
and grace,
He desired them to be returned to Him.

In His infinite wisdom,
He had a way.

He was the only one with the means to
bridge the gap.

He is the only one. It
had to be
Him.

Outside of time, He looked at His creation, beginning to end,
watching them kill and curse,
watching them turn their back to Him
again
and again.

He looked at them in compassion and love, and
had a plan to satisfy the required punishment,
while still allowing
His beloved creation
the chance for communion
with Him.

To the first:

That they might know Him,
He made His first covenant with them.

One of them was chosen,
to be the recipient of the
first covenant,
the first promise of reconciliation.

They knew not its full implications,
yet it was all they had
to cling to.

And that was part of His plan.

Abraham was the one,
to whom the deliverance was promised.

That they might know Him,
He made His first covenant with them.

It came first as a call,
to abandon his life,
to up and go where He would will,

and in return He would bless him,
and make him into a nation,
a people,
that would number as grains of sand
on a beach,
or stars in the night sky,
His people.

And Abraham would be the father,
that they might ultimately know their Father.

His promise seemed far fetched.
For Abraham was old,
as was his wife,

but he believed,
and He delivered.

A son was born to him,
and the seed of the first promise was
sewn.

The first covenant, their inheritance,
that He would be their God,
and they
would be His people,
everlasting,
forevermore,
was made.

To the second:

That they might know Him,
He painted them a picture.

Generation gave way
to generation, and as time
passed,
they, His people,
found themselves enslaved.

They were destitute,
held captive by the power of others,
seeking freedom.

They knew not the meaning of their captivity,
as equally as they did not realize
what their captivity represented.

They cried out for freedom,
and in love,
He delivered.

This deliverance came through a man,
Moses,
and through his faithfulness,
they were set free from slavery and oppression,

and also through Moses,
He showed them,
though they realized it not,
their plight, and the depth of
their brokenness.

He gave them their
second covenant.

That they might know Him,
He painted them a picture.

He made another promise to His people,
one that was temporary,
that in so many ways,
revealed the depth of the gap between

Creator
and creation.

He gave them Law.
He gave them a system,
to show their inability to make right
what had been wronged.

He promised them,
that if they obeyed His commands,
if they obeyed His Law,
He would bless them.
Their enemies would fall like
dead grass in the
wind.
They would be set high,
above the others in their created place.
He would protect and provide.

If they did not,
they would find their strength
gone,
they would find themselves cursed
and defeated
at the hands of their enemies.

If they did not
obey,
they had to make atonement
before Him,
they had to cover their wrongs with
innocent blood.

Sacrifice was shown to them,
to be the necessary
atonement.

Death was revealed,
in full light,
to be the compensation
necessary
to right their
wickedness, their
depravity.

To the third:

That they might know Him,
He gave them a king.

As they seemed to be eternally
wont to do,
they oscillated,
back and forth.

They would one day call upon His name
and trust in His provision,
obey His Law,
and find themselves exalted
as His people.

The next,
in their arrogance,
would find themselves trampled.
They would forget Who set them
to their high place,
and they would in turn
be brought
to heel.

They did not seem to understand,
that He was enough,
and so they cried out to Him,
and asked for a ruler.

They wanted a king, that they
might have victory over their enemies,
as if that was the solution.

They seemed to forget
they already had
a King.

So He provided,
in such a way,
to give them what they wanted,
but also a promise
of what they needed.

That they might know Him,
He gave them a king.

As they faltered,
in love,
and mercy
and unmerited grace,
He provided them a king
after His own heart,
a king that would
point them to the King.

He gave them David,

and to David, and through him,
to His people,
He gave them another covenant.

He promised them a place, that
would provide rest forevermore.
He promised them a King to come,
from the offspring of Abraham, and
of David,
whose dominion,
whose kingdom, whose throne,
would endure for eternity.

This King, that they
were promised, was what
they did not know they needed,
what they
did not know
was their rescue from their sin.

To the fourth:

That they might know Him,
He promised them Himself.

Their kings came and went,
they were divided,
brought low,
captured,
humiliated.

His people found themselves waiting
for this promised King,
and they did not know
when their plight would end.

He gave them one final covenant,
to a prophet of Him,
one named Jeremiah.

His word came, and they were promised
that they would receive Him,
in a way that they had not
before.

That they might know Him,
He promised them Himself.

They were incapable of keeping Law
from the beginning,
as their own freedom
to choose
allowed for their sin.

So He promised to write His Law on
their hearts.
He promised to them again that
He would be theirs, and
they His.

He promised to forgive them
their depravity,
their wickedness,
that their sin He
would remember not.

He promised them Help,
that they would have Him
in their hearts,
that they would begin to know Him
on their own,
without the need
for prophet,
or king.

They knew not what
this meant,
nor how it would
transpire.

Their only option was to
believe,
and hold fast to
their promised inheritance,
their promised King,
their promised Help,
their promised forgiveness.

He promised them a coming day,
when all would be made right.

Immanuel:

That they might know Him,
He left His throne.

Generation gave way,
yet again,
to generation.

Their teachers had exalted themselves.
They focused on Law,
and waited.

At the right time, a day came,
and He left his dwelling place,
to come down to His creation,
to right the wrongs
His creation
could not.

He came down as His Son,
as one of them.
Their God came to live with them as
a man.
To do what they could not.

Jesus.

He lived the life laid out by Law
to perfection.
He never faltered.
He never chose Himself.
He gave Himself entirely over
to the will of His Father.

Law had shown them,
though many were blind to see,
that they could not, by action or by atonement,
alter their course.

Law had shown them
that death
was the necessary atonement,
the required punishment
to absorb His wrath.

That they might know Him,
He left His throne.

And he died.

The cost was great,
and they had not the means or resources
to pay it.
Only He could. Only Jesus,
the very Creator come down to them.

He was the only man to not deserve the punishment,
and He, freely submitting to the Father’s will,
died in their place,

and, as He was Himself their Creator, their God,
He beat what held them all in captivity,
the very thing
that was required:
death.

He rose to life again, bridging the gap.
He, in His infinite wisdom,
and love
and mercy,
fulfilled His plan
to reconcile His beloved creation.

Reconciled:

That they might know Him,
they received the promised Help.

He had come to save them,
and provided them with
a gift,
with no strings,
a gift that would save them.

They need only believe in Him,
the Son,
who came to die in their place,
to make right
what they could not.

They need only to believe,
that they are redeemed,
restored, reconciled,
by this Jesus,
by Him who created them.

They need only faith,
that when death would take them,
they would be brought before
He who made them,
and He would look at them
and see the blood of Himself poured out,
and they would
be declared righteous,
and spend forevermore in relationship
with their God.

That they might know Him,
they received the promised Help.

Until that death took them,
they were tasked with seeking Him,
only now with their covenant Help.

By this faith, they received Law written on
their hearts.
They received the Spirit of their Creator,
come to live inside them.

They were shown, by this Help,
by His Spirit,
the picture of their plight,
the picture of their rescue,
of their salvation.

They were tasked to
go,
and with Help,
spread word of this salvation,
this gospel,
this good news,
to the ends of their created place,
to every ear.

For it was His desire, from before
time began,
to reconcile all His creation to
Himself.

They were to choose Him,
to desire Him,
and to believe in Him,
that they would receive Him.

To the end:

That they might know Him,
their covenant promises would one day be fulfilled.

He had promised them
they would be His people.

He had promised them
a King,
to reign forevermore.

He had promised them
rest forevermore.

He had promised them
Himself.

That they might know Him,
their covenant promises would one day be fulfilled.

From the beginning, He
had shown them
that He was faithful to
His promises.

The day would come,
where He would fulfill
the covenants He made with His
creation.

By faith in His Son, by faith
in Him,
they were adopted to Him.

By faith in Him,
when death came knocking,
they would receive rest.

The day would come for them,
when the promised Kingdom, will be established
forevermore.
The King, Jesus,
will sit on the throne and they
will receive restoration.

Creation will be made anew for them,
and what was once but a brief picture,

before they were separated by their sin,

would be redeemed, and they
would be able to walk side
by side with
their Creator,
for all of time,

that they might know Him,
forever.



Project Summary:

I chose poetry as a medium because of how I relate to it. My walk with the Lord has been marked at many times with journaling and a writing-out of my thoughts, prayers, etc., and I have found it very cathartic. I have gotten into writing in poetic form more recently, and thought it would be the best way to for me show my understanding of the gospel, as well as help propel associated emotions to the forefront of the presentation of it. The story of how God made us so that we might know Him is a story that spans the entirety of humanity and, though it is long and full of details and important theological concepts, paints a beautiful story of His love and our redemption.

I chose to repeat a common theme, that God created us to know Him, which is one I believe spans the entirety of the Bible. The idea is that everything that He has ordained and orchestrated was for that purpose. I wrote the poem in a mildly abstract manner, avoiding certain words like Earth, or humans, and minimizing the use of words such as man, or God. I refer to God and mankind predominantly through the use of pronouns, the former being “He” and the latter being “they”. I specifically used capital letters in all pronouns associated with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and use lower case when referring to humans in the pronouns. I also specifically wrote from a narrator’s point of view, allowing for knowledge of how God was working even when people in the narrative did not.

The poem is broken down into 10 sections, depicting ten different stages of the overarching story. Each section repeats the phrase “That they might know Him”, followed by a phrase specific to each section, hereafter referred to as a “modifying phrase”. Each particular phrase is, more or less, the idea that ties each section to the overall idea of His purpose being that we might know Him. Below details a bit further each section, and its place within the narrative of the Bible.

The first section, titled “His Creation”, begins as we might expect: the creation account in Genesis. The modifying phrase “they were made”, is perhaps the most straightforward of any of the sections. We would never know Him if we were not ever created. While not quite explicit in stating, it reflects the idea that God’s creation was good, as iterated in Genesis 1 throughout several verses (v. 4, 10, 12, 18, etc.). Also expressed is God’s call to mankind to “have dominion over… every living thing…” (Gen 1:26) as well as His provision of food (verse 29). The last line in the first section shows us the pre-fall perfection of our relationship with God, which is what is to be again one day, once Jesus has returned.

The second section, “Sin”, is the account of the fall. I chose the modifying phrase “they were given the freedom to choose” with a specific purpose. Sin itself was not to the end of knowing Him, but rather what has kept us. Sin does, however, more or less result from our freedom to choose. This section paints the picture of our free will being a gift given to us out of love, because God wants us to choose Him, rather than force it, nullifying our love for him to nothing more than robotic, pre-programmed emotion. It was in that choice that we had where humanity chose ourselves. Satan’s temptation is added briefly (Genesis 3), although he is never mentioned again. I did this to, hopefully, spur on the idea that our desire to choose something other than God was not entirely inherent to man, at least in the beginning, but the result of some external temptation presented to Adam and Eve, but this is a very minor point and not crucial to the narrative. I tried to use this section to very clearly articulate the ensuing effects that sin brought to humanity, namely, death.

The third section depicts a “Solution”, but does not paint the picture as a whole. It’s aim is twofold: first. to give the reader the notion that even before the events were set into motion, God had always had a plan to redeem us, and, second, as the modifying phrase (“the gap had to be bridged”) suggests, there was a need for some remedy. There is also emphasis on this remedy being something that humanity could not provide on its own.

The fourth section, “To the first”, is the story of God’s first covenant with Abraham (modifying phrase: “He made His first covenant with them”). This covenant is found scattered in a few places in Genesis, first in chapter 12, and concluding in chapter 15 and 17, as well as the birth of Isaac in chapter 21. This section hits on the main idea of the covenant. It mentions a nation of people that would be His people, and that they would be numerous and wide-reaching. It also hints at the idea of a promised inheritance.

The fifth section details “To the second” covenant. The modifying phrase, “He painted them a picture”, was chosen carefully. This section lays out the Mosaic covenant God makes in Deuteronomy, and depicts the idea of the “Law”, as displayed throughout Exodus (10 commandments) as well as the book of Deuteronomy. The Law itself, including the sacrificial system, give us a small piece of scope of how perfect we would need to live in order to be righteous in God’s eyes. The Law brought into light our inability to be righteous, and the sacrificial system shows us the need for atonement. I wrote this section is longer than the others due to the need to adequately convey our inability to be righteous and our need for atonement. This is to set the stage for Jesus, as He was the only one who could fulfill this Law. It is important to note that this covenant was a conditional covenant. The blessings of this covenant were dependant on their obedience. This contrast the other three covenants, which had no strings attached, and were unconditional.

The sixth section (“To the third”) tells of Israel’s clamoring for a king and their blindness to the fact that this would not solve their problem. They had need for Him and He was already there. God gave them David (modifying phrase: “He gave them a king”), and made a covenant with him (2 Samuel 7:1-17). This was one of the first Messianic promises. The covenant tells of a coming king whose reign would be eternal, which we know is a promise that Jesus has partially fulfilled. He is this revealed King, and one day when He returns He will establish His permanent throne.

The seventh, titled “to the fourth”, tells of the New Covenant, God’s final covenant. This covenant, as shown in the modifying phrase, “He promised them Himself”, was telling of the Spirit, and how our faith in Jesus transforms our heart. God Himself will live in us through the Holy Spirit and push us genuinely closer to Him. This covenant is found in Jeremiah 31:31-40.

The eighth section tells of Jesus, who is “Immanuel” (or God with us), and how he was the fulfillment of many of the covenant promises God gave us. The modifying phrase, “He left His throne”, was used specifically to convey the idea that Jesus is not only the Son of God but is also God Himself, as well as the idea that He left his throne in heaven to take on humanity. The account of Jesus is in each of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This section also has the only instance where the repetition of “That they might know Him, __________” is altered. The phrase “and he died” is added in the second instance in this section, and is formatted in such a way to pause before and after. It is underlined to signify it is a more important statement than any other in the entire narrative. He did not just leave His throne, He left it and died. He left it SO that He could die. The goal was to stress this.

The ninth section, “Reconciled” depicts the period of time we find ourselves in now. Jesus has come and died and has gone to heaven, and we await His second coming. This section details further the gospel, and what it really means to be saved and acquire God’s covenant promises. The modifying phrase, “they received the promised Help”, is used to denote the coming of the Holy Spirit into our hearts as as byproduct of our faith in Jesus. This is a fulfillment of part of the New Covenant promise. This section also mentions, though not entirely explicitly, the great commission found in Matthew 28:16-20. The goal is to help the reader understand his/her own part in this narrative; that we are called to share it to the rest of us.

The final section, “to the end”, is the only section where the modifying phrase is not in the past tense (“their covenant promises would one day be fulfilled”). This section hits on the day of Jesus’s second coming, as well as the coming New Age, where New Heaven and New Earth will collide and God will come down to be with His creation for eternity, as He always intended (depicted in Revelation 21-22).

 

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