God of Israel

What have I to do with thee,
O God of Israel?
Deity of dusty travellers
Traversing lands, and in defiance of foreign tongues
Found their God on the mountain

Your law beckoned and threatened
The horde and mixed multitude
Can a man of modern sentiment
Dwell here with a God
So alien and austere?

I read with curiosity
How your people thronged
At your ceremonies with too much blood
How they thrilled to participate
In many a peculiar sacrament

And you found a residence
In a tent, a caravan of sorts
And later still you dwelt in a house
Made by hands of credulous men
Yet blessed it all the same

Amongst judges, savage kings
Who subdued kingdoms, people, settled thrones
Warriors renown, what peace is there
In these bloody men, what love
Can be found, for the irenic hearts of our time?

Your hoary prophets, all tolerance
Wrung out by fierce contempt
Of Philistine, Phoenician and
Canaanite divinity
What God of Israel, shall I only acknowledge thee?

Is there a bridge that can be built
To reconcile my cultured mind
With that God of old?
Would we want it to be so?
Or, would we dare to hope so greatly?

When I scan those archaic documents
I catch a glimpse, sometimes a vision
Of someone fair yet terrible, awesome yet lovely
So holy, so like this God of Israel
And yet a man, just like me

I found him not, no he met me
He came to me and claimed me
He said I would belong to that
People, that way of life, above all else
That God of Israel

Oh favourite, beloved one of Israel
How can you look at this dog
Licking at the crumbs?
What kind of beast am I without the fold
To you O Lamb of God?

But you, O Messiah, Anointed One
You, you know this God of Israel
You are his son, his eternal son
And I your willing servant
How merciful to Japheth, Canaan’s sons

So may all proud and worthless men
Of defiled pedigree
Bow to this Lord, this royal spokesman
Of ancient book and people too
Who witness to all earth’s inhabitants, what faith is

What have thou to do with us,
O God of Israel?
Fully, freely take us in
May we abide forever in the tents
Of our master, brother, friend

-Daniel Kok © 2018

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