Posts Tagged ‘call and response’

Call and God will respond

August 4, 2017

Jeremiah 33--3

The post for the Verse of the Day for August 4, 2017 is actually a compilation of comments taken from two previous entries based on Jeremiah 33:2-3 (AMP):

“Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is His name, ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand

This passage begins with a declaration of who God is and what He says He will do. Most remarkably, God can share great and unsearchable things because He is a great and mighty God. This magnificent portrait is repeated in Job 5:9 and 9:10 in the Holman Standard Bible:

He does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number.

Indeed, the Psalmist declares:

Psalm 145:3 (NKJV)

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable

Job 36:26 in the Amplified Bible makes it plain as to who God really is:

Behold, God is great, and we know Him not! The number of His years is unsearchable.

As believers, all we have to do is call to Him, but Isaiah 65:24 reveals that God knows our heart’s desires and responds to our requests, even before we articulate what we need:

I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

I recall the lyrics to a gospel song that speaks of a problem that we can’t solve:

“While you’re trying to figure it out/God has already worked it out!”

To summarize the wonders of God’s matchless ways which seem so far above all that our finite minds can comprehend, take a look at Romans 11:33 in the Amplified Bible:

Romans 11:33

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!

To tap in the depths of these riches, to access to the unsearchable, we simply have to call, knowing that God will answer.  In reflecting on the exhortation found in the passage from Jeremiah 33, the expression “Call and response” comes to mind.

In music, particularly in jazz which incorporates improvisation, we find this technique whereby a musician issues a phrase or line, and another player answers with a phrase or comment in response. The same technique is also seen other areas of African American culture involving speakers, such as preachers or ministers of the gospel or worship leaders who issue a series of calls and the audience, the congregation, or group being addressed answers with  responses. A frequent response is “Amen.”

Derived from the Hebrew word aman, “Amen” has been translated “it is so!” “so be it” or “thus shall it most surely be.” When repeated, the word is translated “verily, verily,” or “truly, truly” or simply “Amen” and “Amen.” Not only do Christians commonly respond to proclamations from the Bible with the widely used word, but Jews and Muslims likewise use this expression in a variety of languages across the world. According to Klyne Snodgrass, “Amen” is one of the most widely known words in all the world.”

The expression is used throughout the Bible in declaring the blessings of the Lord, as recorded in

Psalm 41:13

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting [from this age to the next, and forever]. “Amen” and “Amen” (so be it).

In the New Testament the expression follows the words of the Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:13 (AMP):

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. “Amen”.]

The powerful apostolic prayer of Ephesians 3 ends with this bold declaration:

20 Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. “Amen”.

Jesus Christ is the means whereby the Father affirms and confirms every promise that He has made to His people. The Savior is the resounding “yes” when a question arises as to whether God will fulfill his promises. Paul makes known this profound truth in 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 (New Living Translation):

19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.

20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory…

Most amazingly, ““Amen”” is the last word in the Bible. When all is said and done, God has the last say so, and the last word means “It is so!” The Scriptures unfold in their entirety and crescendo with a grace note:

Revelation 22:21:

The grace of the Lord Jesus (the Christ, the Messiah) be with all [the saints—all believers, those set apart for God]. “Amen”.

To tap into the depths of the vastness of God beyond anything we can comprehend, to access the unsearchable, we simply have to call, knowing God will answer. Amen.

We conclude our discussion with this illustration of Jeremiah 33:3 as God’s Emergency Number:

Jim Hendricks offers this Worship Song based on Jeremiah 33:3:

 

 

 

 

 

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Lord, you are good

November 29, 2016

psalm136-1

Five days after Thanksgiving Day, we continue to encounter reminders to be thankful, as the Verse of the Day for November 29, 2016 encourages us:

Psalm 136:1, 26 (NKJV):

[Thanksgiving to God for His Enduring Mercy] Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.

In the opening verse of Psalm 136 we note the refrain: “For His mercy endures forever.” The same refrain is repeated to conclude verse 26, the last verse. In fact, the expression punctuates every verse of the Psalm in the same way.

In reflecting on this passage, a previous entry that discussed the expression “Call and response” comes to mind. In music, particularly in jazz which incorporates improvisation, we find a technique labeled “call and response,” whereby a musician issues a phrase or line, and another player answers with a phrase or comment in response. The same technique is also seen in other areas of African American culture involving speakers, such as preachers or ministers of the gospel or worship leaders who issue a series of calls, and the audience, the congregation, or group being addressed answers with responses. In the case of the Verse of the Day, there is an opening exhortation or call to give thanks to the Lord, followed by the response: “For His mercy endures forever.”

One of the awesome attributes of God is that He is a God of mercy, and His mercy never fails. In Psalm 126 the term mercy is also translated “lovingkindness or grace.” Although our Father is a God of justice, he tempers justice with grace and mercy. Justice has been defined as “getting exactly what one deserves.” Whereas grace is said to be unmerited favor or getting something that one does not deserve, while mercy is defined as “withholding merited judgment” or “not getting what one deserves. God ever displays His mercy toward

His children, as Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us:

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Throughout the Psalms, we see God abounds in mercy:

Psalm 119: 64:

The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy: teach me Your statutes.

Psalm 57:10

For Your mercy is great unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds.

Psalm 69:13

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of Your mercy hear me, in the truth of Your salvation.

Psalm 103:17

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

Israel Houghton and New Breed conclude this entry with this reminder: “Lord, You are Good and Your Mercy Endureth Forever.”