Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 25:14-15’

Verse of the Day on Black Poetry Day 2020

October 17, 2020
October 17 is the birthday of Jupiter Hammon, the first person of African descent to publish a poem in America was born October 17, 1711.

Today’s blog post spotlights a special celebration. Although not recognized as a national holiday, October 17 is designated as Black Poetry Day. During this time, we celebrate poets of African American heritage and their contribution to the literary landscape of the nation and of the world. Why was this particular day selected for the celebration? For the answer we go back to America’s literary beginning and the “Father of Black Poetry.”

Jupiter Hammon, the first person of African descent to publish a poem in colonial America, was born on October 17, 1711. Publishing a literary work of any kind during this period was a remarkable accomplishment for anyone, but for a man born into slavery, writing and publishing “An Evening Thought” in 1761 was nothing short of a miracle.

Born on the estate of merchant Henry Lloyd of Oyster Bay, NY, Hammon was believed to have been a lay minister. As a devout Christian, he expressed his religious convictions in all of his poetry and prose. In addition to An Evening Thought, his works include “An Essay on the Ten Virgins,” 1779; “A Winter Piece,” 1782; “An Evening’s Improvement,” 1783; “An Address to the Negroes in the State of New York,” 1787. In 2013, a University of Texas at Arlington English professor, Cedric May, and his doctoral student, Julie McGowan, located an unpublished poem, “An Essay on Slavery,” handwritten by Hammon around 1786.


Today, October 17, 2020, is a special day of celebration for me as a Black poet strongly influenced by the Bible, and I think of Hammon as my literary forefather. Other than the Psalmist, David, no poet has influenced me more. I am revising and re-posting the Biblegate Software Verse of the Day for October 17, 2020, that comes from Psalm 25:14-15 and contains an original poem written in a similar manner as the poetry of Jupiter Hammon.


The passage is rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:


Psalm 25:14-15:


The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.


The reference to “He teaches them his covenant” brings to mind an account whereby David extends a covenant of grace to the descendant of someone with whom David had previously established a covenant, his beloved friend, Jonathan. Here we find Mephibosheth, the only remaining descendent of Saul, whom David replaced as King of Israel. David’s response to the crippled son of his friend occurred in a place called LoDebar, recorded in 2 Samuel 9:6-7.


6 His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.”
Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”
7 “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!”


The following poem refers to this account and speaks of

The Power of Covenant


When covenant relationships are re-established,
you enter into a place of safety and kindness.
Apostle Eric L. Warren


To redeem, restore, and then supersede is God’s plan:
To see His faithfulness, examine this account:
God’s favor extended beyond any earthly amount
That can be measured or assessed by the mind of man:
Mephibosheth displays the power of covenant
To children’s children, to countless generations–
First to Israel, then extended to all nations,
God’s loving-kindness above and beyond abundant.
Covenants demonstrate the faithfulness of God.
Spiritual covenants supplant natural relationships,
Beyond the authority of all earthly kingships,
For we know that in truth, “Spirit is thicker than blood.”
From LoDebar–barren place of nothingness–
He takes us to abide in safety and loving-kindness.

We seal our blog entry for today with “Covenant Song” by Caedmon’s Call:

On Black Poetry Day and every day, may we never forget God’s covenant made to His people.

Power of covenant

October 17, 2016

psalm-25-14

Verse of the Day for October 17, 2016 comes from Psalm 25:14-15 in the New Living Testament:

The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

The passage is rendered this way in the Amplified Bible

Psalm 25:14-15:

The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.

The reference to “He teaches them his covenant” brings to mind an account whereby David extends a covenant of grace to the descendant of someone with whom David had previously established a covenant, his beloved friend, Jonathan. Here we find Mephibosheth, the only remaining descendent of Saul, whom David replaced as King of Israel. David’s response to the crippled son of his friend occurred in a place called LoDebar, recorded in 2 Samuel 9:6-7.

His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.”

Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”

“Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!”

The following poem refers to this account and speaks of

 The Power of Covenant

When covenant relationships are re-established,

you enter into a place of safety and kindness.

Apostle Eric L. Warren

 

To redeem, restore and then supersede is God’s plan:

To see His faithfulness, examine this account:

God’s favor extended beyond any earthly amount

That can be measured or assessed by the mind of man:

Mephibosheth displays the power of covenant

To children’s children, to countless generations–

First to Israel, then extended to all nations,

God’s loving kindness above and beyond abundant.

Covenants demonstrate the faithfulness of God.

Spiritual covenants supplant natural relationships,

Beyond the authority of all earthly kingships,

For we know that in truth, “Spirit is thicker than blood.”

From LoDebar–barren place of nothingness–

He takes us to abide in safety and loving kindness.

We seal our blog entry for today with “Covenant Song” by Caedmon’s Call:

Two images of escape from two Psalms on Black Poetry Day

October 17, 2013

The Verse of the Day for October 17, 2014 brings to this previous blog entry which is modified and re-posted below:

In this mosaic a retiarius (net-fighter) named Kalendio is fighting a secutor named Astyanax. In the bottom image, the secutor is covered in the retiarius's net. The Verse of the Day relates to the Lord who rescues from the net those who fear him.

In this mosaic a retiarius (net-fighter) named Kalendio is fighting a secutor named Astyanax. In the bottom image, the secutor is covered in the retiarius’s net. The Verse of the Day relates to the Lord who rescues from the net those who fear Him.

The Verse of the Day for is a selection from the Book of Psalms:

Psalm 25:14-15 (Amplified Bible):

The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.

My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.

As is sometimes the case, I prefer a reading from another translation, such as this rendering from the New Living Testament:

 The Lord is a friend to those who fear him.
He teaches them his covenant.
My eyes are always on the Lord,
for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

Caged bird

The Verse of the Day in the New Living Testament also brings to mind a similar image of escape expressed in Psalm 124:7 (AMP)  relating to a captive bird:

We are like a bird escaped from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!

Paul_Laurence_Dunbar_circa_1890

This particular verse of escape also brings to mind “Sympathy” one of the best loved poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ohio-born African American poet of renown:

Sympathy

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!

When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;

When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,

And the river flows like a stream of glass;

When the first bird sings and the first bud opens,

And the faint perfume from its chalice steals–

I know what the caged bird feels!

 

I know why the caged bird beats its wing

Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;

For he must fly back to his perch and cling

When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;

And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars

And they pulse again with a keener sting–

I know why he beats his wing!

 

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,

When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,–

When he beats his bars and he would be free;

It is not a carol of joy or glee,

But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,

But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings–

I know why the caged bird sings!

The closing line of this poignant work by Dunbar is the title celebrated teacher, poet, author, Maya Angelou selected for the first in her series of autobiographies I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Listen Tom Obedlam’s recitation of Dunbar’s Sympathy:

Since today is Black Poetry Day, sharing this particular poem is especially noteworthy, as we celebrate the birthday of Jupiter Hammon,  a devout Christian who rose to become the first of his race to publish a poem in America.

“Constant Reminders”: Inspired by the Verse of the Day

October 17, 2012

This morning as I began my day, I thought of Psalm 46 and decided to look up that particular psalm on the Bible software on my laptop. I couldn’t help but marvel at how my routine has changed over the past 45 years since I was first made reading the Scriptures a part of my daily routine. I was drafted into the US Army in 1967 in the midst of the Vietnam crisis, which served as a backdrop to my commitment to Jesus Christ and my introduction to the Word of God upon which I decided to build my life. Before I left for basic training, the members of my former church in Gary, Indiana had given me a small leather-bound Bible with a zipper. I still have the well-worn Bible with frayed pages and though the place where my name was embossed in gold has been worn away, I have endeavored to “hide the word in my heart that I might not sin against God.” Back then with the Bible in hand, taking a “good look at the Good Book” was part of my daily routine. Now that routine often involves reading the Word of God from my laptop.

For the past 45 years I have tried to implement the discipline of reading the Bible as a way of beginning my day.

As I went to pull up Psalm 46, the “Verse of the Day” caught my eye. When I read the two verses, a melody came to mind while meditating on this passage from the New International Version:

Psalm 25:14-15

The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Verse 14 caused me to think of a poem that I had written nine years ago after hearing a message by Apostle David Puplompu who used six words as the foundation for his teaching: God-faith-hope-promise-covenant-love. I used to those six words in crafting a particular kind of poem called a “sestina” which is structured using six words which serve as the ending word of lines of a series of six stanzas plus a three-line closing stanza. One of the six words used is “covenant” mentioned in Psalm 25:14.

 

  Constant Reminders

   for Apostle David Puplompu

 

Quick and powerful is the Word of God.

Once heard, it generates within us faith,

Arising to anchor our souls in hope,

Linked to a sure and unfailing promise,

Sealed with an everlasting covenant:

Constant reminders of His endless love.

 

Never failing, always abounding love,

Still overflowing from the heart of God,

Expressed in the oath of His covenant,

Salted before the offspring of great faith,

From God, who cannot lie in this promise:

That through the Scriptures we might rest in hope.

 

Though we do not see, yet we wait in hope,

For we are rooted and grounded in love

And know that God fulfills every promise.

We place our ears near to the lips of God

And learn to walk, not by sight, but by faith,

Assured that He will keep His covenant.

 

God makes known to us a new covenant,

Quickened within us by a lively hope,

Energized by ever-increasing faith,

That we might know and be known by His love,

Surpassing even the knowledge of God:

How great and how precious is each promise.

 

To us and our children is this promise,

For we are joint-heirs of the covenant.

Grace, mercy and peace from our Father, God:

His plans to give us a future and hope.

As His dear children, we must walk in love,

Since we know that the just shall live by faith.

 

Born again into the family of faith,

As God sent, so we received the promise,

A measure of the fullness of His love.

Bound by words of a righteous covenant,

We shall never be ashamed of our hope:

We know that faithful and true is our God.

 

The seed of faith planted in covenant,

Rooted in its promise, blossoms in hope:

Rich harvest of love from the Word of God.

 

Verse 15 and its reference to “my eyes are ever on the Lord” caused me to think of the lyrics to this original composition:

 

The Servant’s Song: My Eyes Are Only on You

 My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

 

As the eyes of a servant look to the hands of His Lord,

As the ears of a servant know so well his master’s voice,

So my mind stays focused to watch and learn how you move.

Create in me a servant’s heart; teach me to serve in love.

 

 

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

 

As I continue to wait upon my Master and Lord,

I will quickly obey and gladly submit to His will.

I fulfill my calling as I watch and wait to see

When He bids me to the wedding feast, and He will wait on me.

 

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

 

What a wonderful way to begin my day.  My routine of reading the Word of God is still the same yet somehow different because of the technology that I did not have access to 45 years ago when I first began to “hide the Word in my heart.”

 

Though I may not literally read the Bible everyday, I still endeavor to apply Psalm 119:11, one of the first scriptures that I committed to memory more than 40 years ago.