O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron. ―Psalm 107:1-16
Lord I keep forgetting and so, I thank You for reminding me…wait that’s wrong…thanking You is what this journal entry is all about and I cannot “thank” You―at least by my studies, not appropriately.
As I dig into the language of Your instruction, and the epiphanies of those diggers far more ancient and wiser than myself, I have been taught that the Hebrew script has no word for “thanks”. In fact the word typically used paints a picture of a far more descriptive, yet primitive act: I imagine it as someone so insignificant that they might be considered an insect to be squashed under foot. I imagine being that insect and looking up to see the mighty wonder of the foot and the Being whose foot I behold. He is so great that I cannot possibly take in His power and complexity. I prepare to die for that is my plight.
But instead, the Being reaches out with another appendage, a hand and carefully, gently picks up the insect-me. He beholds in return and speaks. I am astounded that I can understand him. He whispers (as to not destroy His creation with the power of His full voice) a word, “Yada”.
That is all. That is enough. It is a word that can only be perfectly conceived and spoken and acted upon by the Being. In my feeble reckoning and small measure I know it (through a lifetime of spiritual and mental wrestling) to mean a conjoining of many things into one: Truly intimate and passionate relationship, leading to growing familiarity, resulting in a new word: Ahav―Love. There is a Greek word which I have come to realize also describe this greatest quest for relation: Agape.
So the Great Being recognizes the insect in the most profound of ways, offering Yada. The insect at that moment has no idea of the magnitude and resulting blessing of The Gift. All the little-one can do is to offer what the little-one has in return. He picks up a stone (perhaps a pebble to the Being) and tosses it in His direction, acknowledging, out of fear and trembling, with wonder and appreciation that he, or she, has been recognized and…loved beyond understanding.
So, when I read Psalm 107, where David exclaims, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his lovingkindness endures forever,” I was drawn to that word, thanks. I didn’t know what I could properly do to thank Him. I looked up the translation and the Hebrew says Yadah. Wait, Lord, to this insect that word is strangely familiar, but added-to. It is not the word You spoke on our first encounter. There is something, more. That “h” on the end is the same thing You added to Abram’s name to redefine him as Abraham―from father of height to father who worships the Higher One.
Lord God, am I to assume that Abraham and I have something in common? That we both have encountered You…respectfully perhaps, You have made Your presence known to us…and we both have tossed the pebble? And so we Yadah―recognize and honor the one who "Yadas"― Seeks a truly intimate and passionate relationship, leading to growing familiarity―us.
And it is as simple, and overwhelmingly comprehensive, as that. We cannot aptly thank You, but we can acknowledge and praise You, seeking to join You in an ongoing, on-growing relationship.
One astounding aside Lord, I am blown away at discovering the first being in the Biblical record to speak the word Yada. It was the serpent, enticing Eve to yada good and evil! And that is where the true questions begin―Is it possible that there is an Almighty Being to whom I can throw the pebble? And then Is there an antithesis, a being not almighty, but diabolical enough to entice my attention another direction? Even in the asking, there is a question―Do I have a choice in Yadah-ing One or the other? And there is one answer to it all―Of course I have a choice! True Ahav-Agape will allow nothing less.
Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, I praise You with my pebble and appreciate as best I can that You first offered Yourself as a sacrifice-resurrected, in order that when sometimes my attention is distracted by the “other” choice, I can be forgiven.
And though I cannot properly thank You for all of this, I can be thank-filled for all You provide. My life, my family, friends, yes even turkey and all the trimmings, but most of all for Your offer of redemption and Your eternal desire for our Yada together.
Yadah to You, my God and Happy Thank-filled-Giving to you other journeyers out there.