The Kingdom of God in the Psalms
THE dominant note in religious poetry is personal. The poet pours forth the rapture or the plaint of his own soul to God. Yet the individual can neither live nor die, rejoice nor sorrow, to himself alone. In our own complex society we are touched and influenced in innumerable ways by the impact of the spiritual life around us. The poets of Israel were still more vitally affected by their environment. In the earlier period the nation was the real spiritual unit. And, though the individual emerged to full personal consciousness from the fiery discipline of the Exile, his spiritual life was still wrapped up in that of the community. He shared the same faith and hope as his people. His heart was upborne on the tide of their joys and triumphs, and equally sunk to the depths by the crushing weight of their griefs. Thus in the Psalms the personal note easily passes to the national. The two may even blend. As we have seen, it is often impossible to decide whether the poet's 'I'