After writing last week's poem, The Art of Brotherly Love (written about seven weeks ago), I immediately began my next one — that ultimately took three weeks to write — which (lately, at least) is a crazy-long time for me. Nearly two weeks into that period, with a little frustration setting in, I came across this passage from Leviticus in my Bible reading and jumped at the chance for a change.
I had nearly read the entire book Leviticus without writing a single poem because of all of the rules and regulations it contained, then I finally read these rules and regulations. There are 46 verses in Leviticus 26: 13 cover the blessings for obedience, 26 are on the punishments for disobedience, and the last 7 speak of how God will remember those who repent.
Blessings for Obedience
No carvings of statues nor idols of stone;
I am the Lord God to be bowed to alone.
Remember my Sabbaths, they can't be ignored;
revere where I'm worshiped for I am your Lord.
If you will obey my decrees and commands,
then I will send seasonal rains through your lands.
The crops from the ground will produce such a yield,
and trees will bear riches of fruit in your field.
Your threshing will last till your grapes have been grown,
your grape harvest lasting till grain has been sown.
And you will eat all of the bread you can stand,
while living both safe and secure in your land.
I'll give the land peace so you'll lie down at night
and sleep without trouble and worry or fright.
The dangerous beasts — I'll remove them for you;
your land will not witness the sword passing through.
Your enemies will be exhaustively chased,
and they will be felled by the sword and laid waste.
Five chasing a hundred, a hundred pursue
ten thousand — your enemies slain before you.
My favor on you will make you multiply,
confirming my compact between you and I.
You still will be eating from last harvest's store,
which you'll need to clear out to make room for more.
Among you my dwelling place I will erect,
and you, in my soul, will I never reject.
And I'll walk among you — be your God, divine;
and you as a people will ever be mine.
I am the Lord God, who from Egypt has saved
and freed you from those who would keep you enslaved.
I've broken the bars of the yoke that you wore
and freed you to walk with head high evermore.
Do not make idols or set up carved images, or sacred pillars,
or sculptured stones in your land so you may worship them. I am the LORD your God.
You must keep my Sabbath days of rest and show reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD.
If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands,
I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops,
and the trees of the field will produce their fruit.
Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest,
and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain.
You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.
I will give you peace in the land,
and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear.
I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land.
In fact, you will chase down your enemies and slaughter them with your swords.
Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand!
All your enemies will fall beneath your sword.
I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people.
And I will fulfill my covenant with you.
You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest!
I will live among you, and I will not despise you.
I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt
so you would no longer be their slaves.
I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.