People have been saying “yada, yada, yada” since a 1997 Seinfeld episode made it a popular phrase. The television show used the phrase in a way that doesn’t belong in this essay so I will not be embedding any video links from You Tube! Suffice it to say, the show uses the phrase “yada, yada, yada” as a substitute for describing the private encounters of other people. I thought the phrase meant “etc., etc., etc.” That is not what yada, yada, yada means. Who knew that writing and reading a blog post could enhance, or maybe I should say, “control” our vocabulary!
I am working hard at the office writing Bible studies which will be available on my website. By the way…they will be free and you are free to use and share them! Back to the subject…Imagine my surprise when, as I was doing research for an upcoming study, I ran across the word “yada.” Yada is a Hebrew word that I’ve been using without knowing what it meant. In fact, much to my chagrin, using the phrase like that Seinfeld episode intended is more right than wrong! So the purpose of today’s post is to help you know what you have really been saying all of these years. It was an interesting discovery!
Yada means, “to know” intimately, deeply and with compassion. The word is used in the Bible to describe your most important relationships. Genesis 4:1 says, “Now Adam knew (yada) Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” The word “yada” is used for the intimate relationship between a husband and wife. The word is used again in the book of Proverbs to teach the difference between a good person and an evil one. Proverbs 12:10 says, “The righteous know (yada) the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” In other words, if a person has great compassion for their animals, they will know how to have compassion for people too. I’ve never been a “pet” person so I find this verse disturbing…and I can hear the quiet, or maybe not so quiet, laughter of my friends even as I type this! Moving on…as quickly as possible…to the main point! The next verse uses the word “yada” as well, and it should give all of us something to ponder today. What does it mean to “know” (yada) God?
God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah, warning the unfaithful son of King Josiah, saying: “Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know (yada) me? declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 22:15-16). You might need to read that verse a few times to really understand what God is saying – but it is a biggie! God told King Josiah’s son that greatness is not about wealth or power. Biblically, greatness is about justice, righteousness and compassion for others. And God said that those characteristics indicate a person who really “knows,” or has an intimate, deep relationship, with Him. The question for today: “Do you know (yada) God?”
And let me throw in one last point! Anytime a word is repeated three times in the Hebrew language it means the highest level of that word. For example, Isaiah 6:3 says, “And they were calling to one another; “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The seraphs were angelic beings, announcing God is most holy. To say, “yada, yada, yada” therefore, means you “know” at the highest, deepest most intimate level. I hope when I stand before God the Father and God the Son one day and tell them, “I love you” they will look at me and respond, “Yada, yada, yada.” What about you?