Outline of the Old Testament (7): Poetical, Prophetical

The poetical books come between the historical and prophetical sections and are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.

Job is a book of sorrows and reveals the trials of Job who was upright, feared God, and hated evil. His sorrows were brought about by Satan and allowed by God. His three friends were miserable comforters during his trials. In the end, God blessed Job. The book unravels the problem of trials and sorrows.

Psalms is a book of songs. It is a collection of psalms and is really the hymn book of Israel. Inward feelings are expressed in many of the Psalms. The book has five sections in keeping with the Counsels of God: (i) Counsels of God in relation to blessing through obedience; (ii) Counsels of God in relation to Israel’s ruin; (iii) Counsels of God in relation to the Sanctuary; (iv) Counsels of God in relation to the earth, and (v) the Counsels of God in relation to His Word. The Psalms unfold the way to sing.

Proverbs is a book of sayings. Watch the main actors – the Wise son and the Strange Woman – the Wise Woman and the Foolish Woman – the Tale Bearer and the Slothful or Sluggard. Take note of the contrasts and comparisons. Proverbs unlocks the door of wisdom.

Ecclesiastes is a book of sighs. It tells of the experiments of Solomon (“my heart” or “mine heart” occurs 12 times). In it we have personal observations (I saw, I considered) and practical morality (it is better than). The main message and conclusion of the book is that there is only One who can satisfy the heart of man- the Creator God. Ecclesiastes uncovers the vanity of this life.

Song of Solomon is a book of secrets. Behind the language of this book there is an actual story of the wooing and winning of a bride. The relationship of bride and bridegroom sets forth the relationship between Jehovah and Israel. The book can be applied to the relationship of Christ and the Church or to the relationship between the individual believer and Christ. It unfolds a love that transcends human relationships and unveils the affections of the heart.

The Prophetic Books

These 17 are divided into 5 books and 12 books. The first 5 books speak of Christ coming as King – Isaiah 11:1, 10; 24:23; 32:1: “A King shall reign in righteousness.” Jeremiah 23 gives us the same thought and tells us how God will install this King and how He shall reign. The little book of Lamentations is joined to Jeremiah and is an acrostic book arranged according to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each verse beginning with the respective Hebrew letter of the alphabet. It is a lament for Israel’s sin – repentance which is necessary to enter into the kingdom of the true King of Israel. Ezekiel tells us that the temple of God shall be built (Eze 40-42) the Lord is going to reign in Jerusalem and its Name shall be called Jehovah Shamah (Eze 48:35).

Daniel tells us that unto the Messiah Prince will be 70 prophetic weeks (weeks of years) – we are living between the 69th and 70th week (Dan 9:24-27) – God is not dealing with Daniel’s people today but, through the gospel, is forming the Church which is the body of Christ. When the Church has been removed from the world, God will begin dealing again with Daniel’s people (Israel) and at the end of the 70th week Christ will return to the earth as the glorious King and set up the kingdom as in Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45; 7:13-14, 27. They all focus upon this one glorious point – the coming of the Messiah King.

The 12 so-called minor prophets have the same goal before them and they all speak of the coming reign of the Lord Jesus when He shall have His throne in Jerusalem. Hosea says in chapter 1:11 that Judah and Israel shall be gathered together and appoint themselves One head; in chapter 2:23 he tells us that they shall say, “Thou art my God.” In chapter 3:4-5 he speaks of many years and then they shall seek David their king. In chapter 13:10 he mentions God as their King.

Joel tells us of the great and notable day of the Lord when the Lord shall be in the midst of Israel (Joel 2:26-27). Amos tells us that God will raise up again the tabernacle of David and that there will be an abundance of blessing (Amos 3:11-15). Obadiah speaks of the same blessing (vv17, 21). Micah tells us in chapter 4:7-8 that the Lord will reign over Israel and that the kingdom shall come to them. In chapter 7:14-20, he tells us of God having compassion on Israel and that Israel will be abundantly blessed.

Nahum 1:15 tells us of the feet of the Lord upon the mountains bringing them good tidings. Habakkuk 3 tells us of the coming of God in judgment, of His salvation, and of Israel walking in the high places (Habakkuk being a representative of Israel). In Zephaniah 3 we are told of the day when the Lord, the King of Israel, Who is just and mighty, shall be in the midst of Israel (vv5, 15, 17). Haggai 2:20-23 tells of how God will shake the heavens and the earth and overthrow the throne of the kingdoms to set up His kingdom.

Zechariah 6:13 tells us that the temple of the Lord shall be built and that He shall sit and rule upon His throne. He also tells us that the Lord shall be King over all the earth and that all shall go up to Jerusalem to worship the King (Zech 14:9, 16-17). Malachi 3:1-3 tells us that the Lord shall suddenly come to His temple to purify. In chapter 4:2-3 he tells us the Lord shall come as the Sun of Righteousness. Thus all these books have a glorious message for Israel. But have they no message for us? Yes, there are practical lessons for us in these prophetical books.