Tag Archives: God

To Know: the Power of Yada (Part 2 of 3)

The Hebrew word yada can be used broadly to mean “to know.” However, it can also be used in a specific way to refer to knowing personally and directly. Yada often means involvement, revealing, or relational intimacy. It can even refer to physical intimacy, as in Genesis 4:1: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain” (KJV).[i]

We learn through the Scriptures that God desires a yada relationship with us.

He wants to know us through direct involvement and committed relationship, creating spiritual intimacy with us. In Amos 3:2, God tells Israel, “You only have I known.” Yada here must refer to a special type of knowing, for certainly God has knowledge of every nation. God’s knowledge of His people is an exclusive experience.

Not only can God know us in an intimate way, but He offers Molnár József: Ábrahám kiköltözéseto be known by us in a personal way. Unlike Adam and his descendants who have a propensity for hiding from covenant partners, God offers to reveal Himself to those who have committed themselves to Him. After establishing a friendship with Abraham, God asks Himself, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?” God decides that He will not hide His plans from His friend; instead, He will reveal His intentions to Abraham. God explains, “For I have known [yada] him” (Genesis 18:17, 19, NKJV).

Several hundred years later, God announces that He is going to reveal Himself further to the Israelites: for the first time, He will let His covenant people know Him by His personal Name. He tells Moses, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known [yada] to them” (Exodus 6:3, ESV). This is a profound offer of personal disclosure and relationship.

knowIsaiah writes that God’s people have been chosen to know (yada) Him (43:10). Another prophet, Jeremiah, tells us that God will give us “a heart to know [yada]” Him (24:7, NIV).

Psalm 139

Psalm 139 begins with repeated amazement that there is nothing that God does not know about the psalmist. Certainly, God knows every detail of our lives, even when we are heavily masked, cleverly camouflaged, and deeply hidden in our best burrows. Yet at the end of this beautiful song, the writer invites God to know (yada) his heart and to know (yada) his thoughts. Having first acknowledged God’s factual knowledge of him, the psalmist is now asking for God’s experiential knowledge of him. Before God, to whom all things are laid bare factually, we can bring ourselves to be known experientially through relationship.

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[i] Vine, W.E. Vine’s Concise Dictionary of the Bible. Nashville: Nelson. 2005.

 

Hiding and the Power of Yada (Part 1 of 3)

Rough bark scraped across the man’s bare chest as he rushed to crouch in the gathering darkness of the trees.  An unfamiliar sense of guilt threatened to suffocate the man. His frantic attempts to cover himself had failed to ease his shame, just as the thin veil of dusk did nothing now to stifle his panic. With every beat of his heart, the man felt the urge to hide hammering throughout him. Suddenly, he held his breath.

“Adam, where are you?”

And so began our long history of hiding.

Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden of Eden, and all of humankind since then has shared in this hiding. In shame and in fear, we hide from God in spirit and from one another in soul.

Yet we were not made for hiding; we were made to be known. We long desperately to be known–fully known–and to be loved in the knowing. Despairing, though, of finding someone who will both know us well and love us well, we cling to our places of hiding, hoping that these will be safe, even if solitary.

When we were enemies of God, hiding was consistent with our position as lovers of darkness. But then the unexpected happened: the Son of God entered the darkness with us. He took our reasons for hiding and made them His own. As Christ became hidden from God in death, our reasons for hiding were destroyed.

There is, therefore, now no need to hide (Romans 8:1).

hiding

Our shame and guilt have been swallowed up by Christ Himself, and our fear is dissipated in the light of His intense love.

But even now, as friends of God, we hide from Him. To our own immense loss and to God’s great sorrow, we hide. In busyness, niceness, denial, and noise, we hide.

When invited to open ourselves in honest self-disclosure before God, we cry out, “But, Lord, there will be a terrible stench!” Just as Martha was afraid to open the tomb of Lazarus, so we fear opening to God areas in our lives that we have preferred to conceal. But to keep them closed to God means that those areas will suffer increasing decay.

However, when we are willing to open these places to the Lord, then the infinite kindness and power of God work miraculous healing in our tombs of rebellion and tombs of grief.

As surely as Jesus called to Lazarus, so He calls to us to come out.

We are invited to come out into the light of freedom, where we may be released from our life-stifling wrappings of fear and shame.

The deep longing of our hearts to be known is not unique to us as men and women, nor is it random. It comes by deliberate design, for it reveals the very heart of the One in whose image we have been made: it is the deep longing of God Himself to be known and to be loved in the knowing. This is the stunning message of Scripture.

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Seen Any Pictures of Worship Lately?

How can we best understand the essence of worship? There may be no better illustration of spiritual worship than physical marriage. What marriage is between a man and woman is what worship is between God and His people. Although marriage and worship are expressed in and enhanced by activity, both marriage and worship are primarily matters of relationship.

In marriage, I choose a man to be my husband, I commit to belonging to him, I celebrate him, and I value him above all else. This tells me what it means to worship God! To worship God is to choose Him to be my God, to commit to belonging to Him, to celebrate Him, and to value Him above all else.

In our marriages, we love by eagerly serving, by giving ourselves for another’s delight, and by delighting in another. We live lives of worship as we serve God eagerly, give ourselves to Him for His delight, and delight in Him.

Marriage is how we participate in an intimate covenant relationship with another human being; worship is how we participate in an intimate covenant relationship with God.

 

To the Husband who Seeks Reconciliation

I salute you!

reconciliationYour heart for reconciliation reveals the very heart of God, and your faithfulness to covenant reflects the faithfulness of God, which “reaches to the skies.” We will break our loyalty to our covenant partners the day God breaks His loyalty to us, His covenant partners.

I commend you for your commitment, even though it means battling upstream against the culture and against spiritual forces. Instead of harming you, this struggle will instead strengthen you into the greatness for which you were created.

When a man makes a covenant vow to a woman, he is bound before God to thatreconciliation commitment until death breaks the bond. Even if his covenant partner loses heart, he can remain committed to her, regardless of what she does, and remain committed to peace. Without pushing, pulling, or demanding, he can stand with his feet planted in unshakable, unmovable commitment to the partner. Her reactions do not change his commitment. The covenant-keeping husband, even when divorced, can be a rock of commitment to his covenant partner. He is willing to suffer for her good. His goal—his unchanging goal—is to love well.

God will fully satisfy and delight you. He may use your covenant partner to do that, or He may not. It does not matter how He does it; He will do it. He will do it so that you know that He is the great Treasure; anything else would be deception and disappointment. He knows how to love you, and He knows how to love you well.

“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Ps. 3:3, ESV

“For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” Ps. 84:11, NIV

Cheering for you,
Tami

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1 Corinthians 13: The Marriage Version (with my apologies to King James)

Though I speak to my spouse using diplomatic “I feel” messages and skillful conflict-resolution strategies, but do not love, I am become as sounding brass or as a car alarm that won’t shut off. And though I have an advanced degree in marriage counseling and understand the mysteries of why people do what they do and have all knowledge of psychology; and though I read a mountain of books on relationships, but do not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my good efforts to fulfill my duties, and though I burn up every drop of energy in being a great spouse, but do not love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love is patient even when a spouse does not change; love is kind even when a spouse is thoughtless; love does not envy another marriage; love is not impressed with its own marriage skills.

Franciscan Fine ChinaLove does not save its “fine china” manners for company; love is courteous and polite. Love looks out of a spouse’s eyes to see from another’s perspective. Love is not easily provoked and thinketh no evil; instead, love assumes a spouse’s best intentions. Love does not delight in any threat to the relationship, but rejoices in healing and in strengthening. Love always protects the marriage, always believes that a spouse is priceless and made in the image of God, always trusts the promises of God, and is always confident that God’s grace is deeper than any need. Love never shuts its heart, never forsakes its covenant commitment, and never rejects a spouse.

Child rolled tongueLove never faileth: but whether there be prophecies that “you should move on with your life,” they shall fail; whether there be tongues that say that “your spouse is a jerk,” they shall cease; whether there be knowledge that “you deserve better than this,” it shall vanish away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became married, it was time to put away childish things, such as self-centeredness and quitting and valuing what feels easy.

For now we see through a glass, darkly, and there is much that we do not understand about our spouses, about ourselves, or about God’s ways; but then, face to face with God, we shall know fully what glorious things He has been doing through our marriages, just as He knows fully now how to love us well.

And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Playing Cards with God

What card are you holding in your hand? One day soon, you’ll play that very card before God.

Imagine this: As you stand before God one day, He says, “Lay down your card.” On the table before you, you lay down your ragged card, the card which you’ve been carrying around and using all your life. It says, “Judgment without mercy.” God then spreads out His large stack of cards, each one representing different moments from your life. As each one is laid down next to your “Judgment without mercy” card, you begin to realize that your card is now the evaluating standard for everything you have ever done, and the cost to you is going to be enormous.

Now imagine a different scenario: As you stand before God one day, you lay down your well-worn card. It says, “Mercy!” God smiles at you as He sets His stack of cards aside without even looking at them. Then He laughs, saying, “Mercy trumps everything!”

Which card is in your hand?

(My rendering of James 2:13 and Matthew 7:2.)

Two Different Responses to Nakedness (part 1 of 4)

In the first few chapters of Scripture, we learn that Satan seeks to reveal our nakedness in order to shame us and to accuse us. But God seeks to cover our nakedness in order to honor us and to heal us. He was willing to give us His clothing at Calvary; He was willing to be naked and shamed and accused in our place.

Within marriage, spouses are revealed to one another. If they follow the serpent’s lead, they will use their “knowing” of one another to shame, to accuse, and to destroy. If they choose to reflect God instead, they will use their knowing of one another to honor and to heal. They will be willing even to suffer so that the other is healed.

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