By Michael Clack –
Man, God is so good. Lately I’ve noticed how difficult it can be to realize this and be thankful for all that He has done for us and all that He gives us. I have allowed circumstances to rob me of my joy, rather than throwing myself into God’s goodness. In this post my hope is to give us some tools to stand above our circumstances with thankful and humble hearts before God.
The first word we are looking at today is yadah which comes from two root words: Yad (meaning hand, open hand, direction, or power) and Ah (a reference to the Lord, Jehovah). Put them together and you get:
To lift up hands in thankfulness to God, to revere or worship with extended hand, or to give oneself to God.
This word also carries with it the connotation of complete surrender to the Lord as a child surrenders to his/her parents. It expresses an inward attitude and hearts cry with an outward expression! Because yad also means ‘power’, it reveals the great power involved in thankfulness. This is definitely the beginning to stand above our circumstances!
When praise is born
The first time this word is used in Scripture is in Genesis 29:35, where Leah gives birth to Judah; Judah stems from our word yadah. In giving birth, Leah shot her hands up in the air in adoration and thankfulness to God for her fourth son – ‘this time I will yadah the Lord’. That is when this type of praise was literally born. It reminds me of the first time I lifted my hands in praise; something different happened in me. I was birthed into a new place of intimacy with God. I forgot about what was happening around me as I became completely aware that He is worthy of my all. Just as Leah lifted up her hands in praise, we can do the same thing today to birth newness and intimacy between us and God.
I found another interesting account of this praise in 2 Chronicles 20:21 where it says that the singers gave thanks (yadah) to the Lord, for His steadfast love endures forever. The singers were literally walking around with hands in the air, giving God honour and adoration. This set the tone for others who were inspired to lift up their own hands. It seems like yadah praise can truly happen when we get beyond our circumstances and beyond ourselves, reaching hands to the Father with a humble attitude of love and trust. How powerful! I hope that I never underestimate this type of praise.
The second word, which is very similar to yadah, is towdah. It also means to lift up your hands in thanksgiving, except it is for what God is going to do, rather than what He has already done. Included in the rich definition of this word are the phrases:
To agree with, to speak the truth, to confess the truth, or to declare freely and openly.
We are proclaiming truth about things that have not yet been received. The action of lifting up our hands with humble hearts declares that everything God has said and done is true, and we must speak these truths over our lives.
Say it how it is
This expression does not necessarily see the victory yet, but thanks God for what is to come. Psalm 50:23 tells us that God will show salvation to the one who orders his way rightly by offering thanksgiving (towdah) as a sacrifice. God will reveal more of Himself to us as we thank Him in this way! Psalm 100:4 begins with ‘enter His gates with thanksgiving (towdah)’. We are to enter His gates with a proclamation of truth, a declaration of His promises, and a thankful heart for what He is going to do.
As we go on living our daily lives, it is the proclamation of God’s truth that will release freedom into our circumstances and relationships. His presence has the power to transform us and help us walk in step with Him. As we grow in the knowledge of His promises, we will see the power of God in our lives.
It’s time to be free
It is easy to let our circumstances rob us of believing that God has a design and promises for our lives. I think we believe that whatever is happening in our lives is greater than God at that moment. My heart’s desire is to see people freed from hopelessness and to see God restore His hope and joy in every circumstance. I truly believe that our thanksgiving has the power to do this, especially when it is physically expressed from a humble attitude! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in everything, so I don’t think there is ever a bad time to give thanks. May thanksgiving be a quality that marks our daily living so that we can see God’s power in our circumstances.