Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 107:8’

Oh: Word for the Day

January 17, 2016

O

In November of last year I posted a blog entry devoted to the Word for the Day, rather than the Verse of the Day. In these entries I examined a particular word or phrase, expounding upon its meaning and personal application. Two such entries were developed last year, and I would like to post an entry today that targets the word “Oh.” Whether spelled with one letter (O) or two (Oh), the word is an interjection, a familiar part of speech that is used to express a wide range of emotions, including pain, sorrow, joy, excitement, hesitation, recognition, and many others.

Throughout the Bible “Oh” or “O,” depending on the translation, is used to express surprise, acknowledgement, or regret, as in the first time that the word is used in the Bible. E.W. Bullinger points out that the first time that a particular word is used in the Bible marks its significance and importance when studying the word. The first usage in Bible is found in Genesis 17:18 (Amplified Bible) in this exchange:

And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael [my firstborn] might live before You!”

Throughout the Psalms the term is used 67 times. Here is an instance where a cry out to God is expressed in this way:

Psalm 25: 17

My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all!

A number of places in Psalms express wonder, amazement, and absolute awe of God, such as Psalm 31:19 (AMP):

Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!

Psalm 32:1 in New Living Translation expresses David’s delight in God in light of His forgiveness:

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight.

In Psalm 34:8 the Psalmist offers an invitation which opens with the interjection:

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

This particular verse was the inspiration behind this this scripture memory song:

Oh, Taste and See

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.
Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

Partake of the Word of God,
Taste and see that it is good.
It will fill you up
More than any kind of food.

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.
Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

Partake of the Word of God,
Let it richly dwell within.
It will help you grow.
It’s better than a vitamin.

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.
Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

Partake of the Word of God,
Read the Word and put God first.
It will feed your soul
And satisfy your thirst.

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.
Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

In a striking contrast, David calls out to God in desperation. Feeling overwhelmed and beset by his enemies on every hand, David calls out in Psalm 55:6 which introduces another scripture memory song:

Oh, That I Had Wings Like a Dove

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove!
for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Psalm 55:6

Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
wings like a dove, wings like a dove.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
I would fly away and be at rest.

Then I would fly away to the cleft of the rock
And find my refuge in His secret place.
For there’s safety in the cleft of the rock.
He wraps my soul in His mercy and grace.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
wings like a dove, wings like a dove.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
I would fly away and be at rest.

There’s safety from confusion and strife
Where all fears dissolve and all worries cease.
Resting and nesting to bring forth new life,
He surrounds me with His love and peace.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
wings like a dove, wings like a dove.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
then I would fly away and be at rest.

Psalm 107 opens with this exclamatory statement:

Psalm 107:1

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

A similar expression is repeated as refrain throughout the psalm in verses 8, 15, 21

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

This refrain from Psalm 107:8, 15, and 21 is rendered in song:

In addition to the various places in the Psalms and in other books of the Old Testament, the expression “Oh” is used sparingly throughout the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as some of the epistles of Paul: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians, with the last use of the word found in 1 Timothy 1:14 (NLT):

Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

At times we are so overcome with gratitude to God for His goodness and for His graciousness, and all we can say is “Oh, my goodness, Oh my gracious. . . Oh, my goodness, Oh, my gracious Lord!”

To close out our discussion of the Word of the Day, listen to a song based on Psalm 105:1-5, 7-8a: “Oh, Give Thanks to the LORD” by Esther Mui.

We take time for tea: A New Take on an Old West African Tradition

September 20, 2013

In 2003 while on sabbatical leave from Otterbein College (now Otterbein University), I participated in a faculty development seminar in Dakar, Senegal. While on my first visit to West Africa, as a tea drinker, as opposed to one who drinks coffee, I encountered the culture of preparing and serving tea called attaya, an elaborate process whereby Senegalese-style mint tea is served in three separate stages, called “the three concoctions”:

Eat Your World, a guide to regional food and drinks around the globe, describes the ritual:

Attaya: The word itself really describes the act of making the tea, a three-cup ritual during which the attaya maker boils the tea; pours a serving into a tiny glass; pours it back and forth into another glass, creating foam and mixing the sugar; and passes the glass around. This is done three times, with each glass becoming progressively sweeter and mintier. For the tea drinkers, there’s plenty of time to sit around and socialize after a meal, which is the primary goal of attaya.

attaya tea

Here is a young child preparing tea attaya near Dakar, Senegal.

Recently I thought of this ritual when I decided to spend some time with a dear friend, a talented fellow-believer who has been a chef by profession, who is also a fellow prostate cancer victor (I prefer the term as opposed to “survivor”). He introduced me to kombucha tea, an ancient tea that has proven to be beneficial in a number of physical conditions; my friend also taught me how to make the tea on my own.  Since I wanted to spend more time with him, I decided that we would get together once a week for “tea.” As I was on my way to his house, I recalled the ritual of serving tea attaya in Senegal, and I determined that I would introduce a variation of having tea attaya style by changing the kind of tea that would be served along with a change in the conversation during “tea time.” I express my thoughts in the following poem which is literally “hot off the press:”

“We take time for tea”: A New Take on an Old West African Tradition

 That I may make the voice of thanksgiving heard

       and may tell of all Your wondrous works.

                         Psalm 26:7

Seasoned soldiers, two elder brothers get together.

On this phase of our lifelong journey we take time for tea,

Using this practice to encourage one another.

Tea, not prepared attaya for my brother and me

But with a soulful Western touch, not green tea with mint

But kombucha, compounded after the art of the apothecary.

We transform this ancient tradition to this extent:

We don’t talk politics but may throw that in the mix,

Not what President Obama did or did not do.

We won’t complain about the “gummit” that folks can’t fix.

We look at life through new eyes and see another view.

To some folks our conversation may seem a bit odd.

We don’t dwell on sports and reality shows:

All that we say is in context of the Word of God.

Our love for God and one another steadily grows.

Thinking about lots of things, we consider our ways.

From the teapot of God’s favor, we pour and re-pour,

Telling of God’s goodness in these last and evil days.

We sip and savor the sweetness, then we tell some more.

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness,

and for his wonderful works to the children of men!   

The accompanying video shows a Senegalese man preparing tea attaya/