For many years I lived with an intense fear that God would forget me. I thought, it I wasn’t on my A game, with my best foot forward and I missed my one opportunity to walk out His plan for my life, then I would be left behind. Forgotten. Replaced. It’s a secret fear, I hid in shame for years. In hiding, I spent much of my time trying to be sure He didn’t forget me. If I went into ministry, He would know me. If I wrote Bible studies, He would know me. If I helped teenagers love Him more, He would know me. And if He really knew me, then He would know my heart. And if He knew the innermost desires of my heart maybe I wouldn’t have to be so afraid of not getting them.
Somehow, in my fight to be known, I actually missed him. In my pursuit of security, I blew right by Him. While I worked and performed, He waited and prayed. In my secret place, He waited for me. Because He knew me all along and He chose me long before. He purposed those dreams in my heart for His glory. He counted the number of hairs on my head for His delight. He knows my biggest fears, my hardest doubts. He understands my hesitations. He recognizes my struggle to always choose love and He actually battles with me as I choose to forgive.
He knows me – and so my question must become, do I know Him?
Genesis 4:1 says, “Adam knew Eve.”
Yada (יָדַע) – The Hebrew word for knew
Yada isn’t simply the word for “know”. It’s the action for knowing. The best way I can describe it is when we use a word twice to over emphasize what we are implying. Like the famous question every high school girl asks before the homecoming dance, “Do you like him?” or “Do you like him, like him?”
The double use of it isn’t correct grammar, yet we’ve all been there. We could say, “Do you want to eat?” because if you do, then we can just hit up Chipotle.
Another way to ask , “Do you want to eat, eat?” because if you want to eat, eat, then I know you are really hungry and we better head over to the steakhouse.
The double meaning implies the real deal. To yada someone means to completely know them. It means we know;
- What they are like
- What they sound like
- What they feel like
- What they smell like
- Even what they taste like
In Adam’s case he yada’d Eve because he knew her in every way possible. Eve was his wife. He intimately knew her. He closely held her. He watched her, listened to her, felt her. She was an extension of him. They were bonded together, permanently connected.
Yada is the most intimate knowing you can have. It involves bringing all you know of yourself before all you know of someone else, without withholding anything. Open hands, open eyes, open arms and an open life.
The reality is, we go through life knowing all kinds of people. I know my family. I know my friends. I know my co-workers. Sometimes I choose to know them and sometimes life circumstances force me to know them. Yada is always a choice. I will always choose to yada someone. I choose to fully invest all that I am and all that I have into someone. To yada someone is a gift.
We were created to yada Jesus
“Jesus said, ‘You will know (yada) the truth, and the truth will set you free,’” (John 8:32, NIV.)
“We have been given a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know (yada) Him better,” (Eph 1:17, NIV.)
“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know (Yada) you and continue to find favor with you,” (Ex. 33:13, NIV.)
We cannot yada Jesus and stay the same.
As I spend time with Him I begin to know Him and knowing Him changes everything. Knowing Him leads to transformation. Knowing Him leads to growth, trust and worship. The more I know Him, the more I trust Him. The more I trust Him, the more I can do with Him.
My girls don’t worry for one single second that I will forget them. They know me. They know how much I love them. They have my full attention, all of my heart and access to all of my life. I will not stop taking care of them. I will not walk out on them. I enjoy them, delight in them and try my best to always be there for them. Their confidence in knowing me builds trust.
Because I know Him, I trust Him.
Because I trust Him, I follow Him.
Two years ago, in a desperate place, I called out to God, “Please, tell me who you really are?” I was done. Done with myself and the small God who appeared to be leading my life. I needed more of Him. If we were going to go into impossible places and do impossible things, then He was going to have to be bigger. I didn’t trust Him enough to follow Him where He kept leading me. And yet, I wanted to. I wanted to go. I wanted to know. I wanted His invitation.
I called out to Him, praying He would be bigger. Instead of showing up to transform my circumstances, He showed up to transform me. Instead of telling me what to do, He told me where to go.
“Come to me,” He said. Change would come only from knowing Him. Knowing Him would come only from being with Him. He called me to Himself. He asked me to make time, to readjust my schedule, to lay down my commitments. Yada is not developed in a checklist. It is not a once a week check in. It takes a daily, intimate interaction. Time together. Getting to know one another. Growing to love.
“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, the way a person speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his servant, Joshua son of Nun, a young man, did not leave the tent,” (Ex 33:11, NIV.)
Joshua was Moses’ sidekick. Following Moses he would learn best, how to lead the Israelites. The journey before them was a hard one. It took many miracles to rescue God’s people from slavery in Egypt. They may have been out of the hands of their captors, but they had miles of heart work to travel before stepping into their Promised Land.
God would partner with Joshua to lead His people, but, before He did a mighty work through Joshua, He intended to do a mighty work in Joshua. Moses left the tent. He would leave God’s presence and go back to the people to do his job. But Joshua stayed. Joshua stayed because God wasn’t finished yet. In that tent God built a secret history with young Joshua. In that tent, Joshua got to know His Father. In that tent, over time, yada was developed.
Joshua wasn’t expected to live off of Moses’ story or through Moses’ relationship. He got his own. Joshua had to know God himself because one day he would have to trust God himself. The more time I spend with Him, the more my eyes open. Sitting in His presence changes everything. As I sit with Him, He speaks to me. As He speaks to me, I began to see. With newly opened eyes, things look different. Knowing Him leads to freedom. It leads to life in the full. It leads to reckless abandonment, because trust breaks through all barriers. Love conquers all battles and faith endures all hardships.
Yada changes everything.
I know longer worry about being known. I no longer fear being forgotten, misplaced or left out. He is my everything and He holds me in His hands. In His hands there is nothing this world can do to me and that is all the reassurance I need to keep moving forward.
How well do you yada the one who created you?