Yada, Yada, Yada
I’m sure most of you are familiar with Seinfeld’s episode called “The Yada, Yada,” but did you know that yada in Hebrew means to ascertain by seeing. Today’s post is all about the yada, yada, yada from Psalm 139:23:
Search me, O God and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts.
The word know in Hebrew is yada which means observation, care, recognition, instruction, even punishment in some cases. It was fascinating to learn that it means to know people relationally – as when Israel and Pharaoh came to know God through the plagues. I’ve always thought that the plagues were mostly for Pharaoh’s benefit – to see the power of God, but the Israelites came to know their God during the ten calamities as much as Pharaoh did. So I suffice it to say that it is during trials that we come to know our God more than any other time.
How often do you hear yourself saying the words, “you know” at the end of a sentence? For example, I was having a conversation recently with a friend. We were discussing a neighborhood matter and she said, “It just really bothered me, you know?”
Yada. Yada. Yada. This is where the episode of Seinfeld came to mind. They used the word to gloss over details in a story, either assuming all parties already knew those details or the details were not important.
I beg to differ. The yada is likely the most important part of our relationship with each other and with our God.
Heart is lebab which is the place where the rational, thinking process occurs that allows a person to know God’s blessings. (Jos. 23:14) I wondered how often have I glossed over a blessing as a coincidence. Did I miss it just because I didn’t know it was from God?
Anxious thoughts is sar’appiym in Hebrew which is a disquieting thought or anxious feeling. The psalmist asks God to observe, study or discern all that is going on inside of him. The word know also means to instruct or care, so not only is he asking God to see his heart, but to care, instruct and even punish him. This is hard to grasp. But, then I remember the Israelites who came to trust God to deliver them after experiencing locusts, frogs, blood in the rivers, gnats or lice, flies, diseased and killed livestock, boils on man and beast, thunder and hail, darkness and the death of firstborn. Talk about an anxious thought! Each plague was worse than the one before. Yet, the Israelites trusted their God. The psalmist trusted God enough to accept HIS punishment. He was having disquieting thoughts – perhaps even doubtful thoughts – yet, he cries out for God to search those thoughts. Then in the next verse 24:
And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
The psalmist asks God to observe his heart to see if there was any hurtful way in him. This could be hurtful to himself, hurtful to others or hurtful to God. Then he asks to be led in the everlasting way.
How often have I wanted to dwell on my anxious thoughts? How often have I wanted to share these thoughts with others so they could sympathize or empathize with me and validate my feelings? More times than not, I do not want to “yada, yada, yada” over my feelings with the people in my life, but have glossed over them in my prayer life, not necessarily wanting God to look too close.
This leads me to Psalm 51:10…
Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.…
I pray that my God will yada my heart and I will yada HIS!