Posts Tagged ‘Can I Get a Witness?’

God Himself asks, “Can I get a witness?”

September 26, 2019

The Verse of the Day highlighted on Logos Bible Software for September 26, 2019 comes from Deuteronomy 30:19 (New King James Version):

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you, life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

The authors of the Apologetics Study Bible discuss this verse in more detail:

To call heaven and earth as witnesses is not to suggest that they somehow represent living and sentient beings. This is a literary device (an “apostrophe”) the purpose of which is to provide an element in covenant making, namely, witnesses to the mutual pledges made by each party. God is here swearing to act upon the decisions Israel is required to make. In treaties outside Israel, the “gods” of the partners are invoked as witnesses. Since there is only one true God, He invokes His creation (“the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 2:1) as His two witnesses.

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind the expression “Can I get a witness?”, a phrase originating in the African American Church during the 19th Century. Members of a congregation would often share their personal testimony and “bear witness” of God’s divine presence and intervention in their lives. After sharing their personal account of how God came through and made “a way out of no way,” speakers would then address the audience by asking, “Can I get a witness?” Within the community, those who had experienced a similar move of God in their personal lives would respond with a hearty “Amen” or vigorous hand-clapping or raising hands or some other form of affirmation.

In reflecting on the Phrase of the Day, I also thought of the expression “Call and response” which I also discuss in a previous blog post from which this excerpt is taken:

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.

“Can I get a witness?” is the call, and the group being addressed responds in some way to affirm the speaker and to bear witness of the same. The question raised is also the title of the following:

Can I Get a Witness?

This is the third time I am coming to visit you
(and as the Scriptures say, “The facts of every case must be established
by the testimony of two or three witnesses”).
2 Corinthians 13:1

Can I get a witness? Tell me what do you see?
Can you testify God is who He said He would be?
Probing the depths of God’s love, what do you discern?
We embrace afflictions that we might truly learn
To please the Master, striving toward our destiny.

As we stand, do you see bond-slaves now set free?
Those transformed who yearn for deeper intimacy,
As the passion for God’s Word continues to burn.
Can I get a witness?

Assess the whole of our life’s work done heartily
As to the Lord, who reigns for all eternity.
By grace, far beyond any wages we might earn,
Wherein we boldly stand blameless at Christ’s return
When we will hear “Well done, you have served faithfully.”
Can I get a witness?

Philipps, Craig, and Dean raise the same question: “Can I Get a Witness?”

Call and response: Can I get a witness?

May 10, 2018

Instead of the typical Verse of the Day, we are going to take a close look at the Phrase of the Day for May 10, 2018:

“Can I get a witness?”

The phrase is said to have  its origin in the African American Church during the 19th Century where members of a congregation would share their personal testimony and “bear witness” of God’s divine presence and intervention in their lives. After sharing their personal account of how God came through and made “a way out of no way,” speakers would then address the audience by asking, “Can I get a witness?” Within the community, those who had experienced a similar move of God in their personal lives would respond with a hearty “Amen,” vigorous hand-clapping or raising hands or some other form of affirmation.

In reflecting on the Phrase of the Day, I also thought of the expression “Call and response” which I discuss in a previous blog post from which this excerpt is taken:

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.

“Can I get a witness?” is the call, and the group being addressed responds in some way to affirm the speaker and to bear witness of the same. ”The question raised is also the title of the following:

Can I Get a Witness?

This is the third time I am coming to visit you
(and as the Scriptures say, “The facts of every case must be established
by the testimony of two or three witnesses”).

2 Corinthians 13:1

Can I get a witness? Tell me what do you see?
Can you testify God is who He said He would be?
Probing the depths of God’s love, what do you discern?
We embrace afflictions that we might truly learn
To please the Master, striving toward our destiny.

As we stand, do you see bond-slaves now set free?
Those transformed who yearn for deeper intimacy,
As the passion for God’s Word continues to burn.
Can I get a witness?

Assess the whole of our life’s work done heartily
As to the Lord, who reigns for all eternity.
By grace, far beyond any wages we might earn,
Wherein we boldly stand blameless at Christ’s return
When we will hear “Well done, you have served faithfully.”
Can I get a witness?

Philipps, Craig, and Dean raise the same question: “Can I Get a Witness?”

Can I get a witness?

October 8, 2016

isaiah-43-10-11

Once again, from the Prophet Isaiah come words to encourage and strengthen our hearts, as the Verse of the Day for October 8, 2016:

Isaiah 43:11-12 in the Message Bible

Get the blind and deaf out here and ready— the blind (though there’s nothing wrong with their eyes) and the deaf (though there’s nothing wrong with their ears). Then get the other nations out here and ready. Let’s see what they have to say about this, how they account for what’s happened. Let them present their expert witnesses and make their case; let them try to convince us what they say is true. “But you are my witnesses.” God’s Decree. “You’re my handpicked servant So that you’ll come to know and trust me, understand both that I am and who I am. Previous to me there was no such thing as a god, nor will there be after me. I, yes I, am God. I’m the only Savior there is. I spoke, I saved, I told you what existed long before these upstart gods appeared on the scene. And you know it, you’re my witnesses, you’re the evidence.” God’s Decree. “Yes, I am God. I’ve always been God and I always will be God. No one can take anything from me. I make; who can unmake it?”

Here is how the New Living Testament puts it:

Isaiah 43:10-13

“But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the Lord.
“You are my servant.
You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
and understand that I alone am God.
There is no other God—
there never has been, and there never will be.
11 I, yes I, am the Lord,
and there is no other Savior.
12 First I predicted your rescue,
then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world.
No foreign god has ever done
You are witnesses that I am the only God,”
says the Lord.
13 “From eternity to eternity I am God.
No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.
No one can undo what I have done.”

In this passage the phrase “you are witnesses” brings to mind an expression said to have its origins in the African American Christian Church: “Can I get a witness?”

Many times an individual will testify of the goodness of God and relate an incident whereby God intervened in that person’s life in a divine and supernatural way. The speaker who is sharing his/her testimony will seek affirmation from the congregation from those who can agree and bear witness of the same. The question is raised “Can I get a witness?” also the title of the following:

Can I Get a Witness?

This is the third time I am coming to visit you

 (and as the Scriptures say, “The facts of every case must be established

by the testimony of two or three witnesses”).

2 Corinthians 13:1

Can I get a witness? Tell me what do you see?

Can you testify God is who He said He would be?

Probing the depths of God’s love, what do you discern?

We embrace afflictions that we might truly learn

To please the Master, striving toward our destiny.

As we stand, do you see bond-slaves now set free?

Those transformed who yearn for deeper intimacy,

As the passion for God’s Word continues to burn.

Can I get a witness?

Assess the whole of our life’s work done heartily

As to the Lord, who reigns for all eternity.

By grace, far beyond any wages we might earn,

Wherein we boldly stand blameless at Christ’s return

When we will hear “Well done, you have served faithfully.”

Can I get a witness?

Philipps, Craig, and Dean raise the same question: “Can I Get a Witness?”