Thursday 20 November 2014

Thankfulness - and Knowing!

In the background of my thoughts, somewhere in the back over there, I have been reflecting on the reality of thankfulness. Last week everyone came alive with the reality of gratitude. And the Gratitude project is still on going. So because I love hearing from God and learning His Language on thankfulness, I looked at the Biblical Hebrew reality on thankfulness. There is no Biblical Hebrew word for gratitude so, its thankfulness. I know that many of you in the States are celebrating thanksgiving soon, we don't celebrate it here but gratitude and thankfulness is what I understand thanksgiving to be about.

Ancient Hebrew thought was (and is) completely different from much of our Western way of thinking. Out thinking of today is very Greek - orientated. Although the Jewish people are back in the land of Israel, the ancient Hebrew way of thinking (the kind of thinking that was prevalent in the Bible days) has disappeared from our society. As much as what is baffles the mind to perceive, the Greek culture came on to the scene in 800 B.C. and literally took over the world. It has shaped the European, American, South African and even modern day Israeli cultures. Researchers and people interested in Ancient Near Eastern studies, are rediscovering much of what was lost when Hellenism came on the scene. With this in mind, let me simplify where I am going and tell you two things;

1 - Greek thought is abstract in nature. It understands the world through abstract thought. Abstract  thought is independant of the five senses, like touch, taste, sight, smell etc. 

2 - Ancient Hebrew thought was and continues to be entirely concrete in nature. It involved all the five senses in understanding and it always explained things not in abstract terms but in wonderful concrete ways. That is why often one word in Ancient Hebrew can have two or three meanings depending on context. A good example of this is the Hebrew word for anger - it is "af" however the Hebrew word for nose is also "af." There is a cool reason behind this, because the Ancient Hebrews recognised that when people were angry, they would flare their nostrils almost like a bull! The nostrils flare down and breathing becomes heavier, therefore anger was not an abstract feeling it was associated with something noticeable, namely the nose. The Hebrew language is filled with these kinds of beautiful things. The last one I will mention is the name of our Saviour. In Hebrew the word "yasha" mean save or salvation, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary, the angel told her to call the Baby, Yeshua because He would "yasha" - save His people. So the name Yeshua means salvation. Complete salvation is experienced in all ways through the One true Sacrifice of Yeshua.

So how does this all relate to thankfulness? I'm building you up for this!
In hebrew the word for thanks, thankful and thanksgiving is the Hebrew word "Yada." In Hebrew yada is a verb and literally means "an oustretched arm or hand." It's root word is Yad - a hand. Praising God with outstretched arms and hands to say thank you is in fact not a modern day movement, it is a very Biblical reality of how we should praise God and as I told you earlier the Hebrews were a concrete people. So when they wanted to give thanks they lifted up their hands, they stretched out their arms and from their hearts and mouths they gave the Holy One pure praise and Love. Isn't that beautiful! 
On a deeper level, Yada can also mean "to know someone intimately." In Genesis it says that Adam knew his wife, in other words they were physically intimate. The ancient Hebrews understood that physical intimacy in a marriage was a connecting of yourself, your soul very deeply to another. In that way you begun to truly know someone else because you became in essence, one. In our thanksgiving we can grow and draw closer to God, also when one walks intimately with God, your eyes will be more open to all the wonderful blessings that God is bestowing daily. 

Psalm 63: 4 -5  I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;

    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

From a psychological perspective, when we involve our senses and our body in anything that we do, science has proved that we will remember it. So when we lift up our hands and feel a pumping beat of joy and we declare God's praises so that we can hear it, we will not forget it!
How may you praise God this week? When was the last time you lifted up holy hands to praise His Gracious Name? Let us stop this week and even reflect on the Biblical perspective of giving thanks, involving our body and our senses, how may we use all of this to praise the King? HalleluYah! 

Also sharing over at The Loft.... 


  1. Thank you for sharing this! Interesting and practical- I'm going to use this in my quiet time this morning :)

  2. That is so cool! I love how you dig into the Hebrew history. It definitely places new perspective on things :)

    1. Thanks dear friend :))) I pray you are most blessed, thanks for stopping by!

  3. I'm so with you on this - I tell my kids all the time that the more senses you involve in schoolwork, the more likely you will be to remember. :) It's the same with the Lord. Thank you for that great reminder! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hey Rebekah, it is always so good to see you! Amen and amen to that, it is so true isnt it invole our senses and things come alive! There is so much about our senses in the Bible, it is amazing. Have an awesome thanksgiving!

  4. I'm late stopping by from #TheLoft, but I really enjoyed that you delved into the Hebrew this week. I find the background information fascinating! Learning about words in other languages adds such depth to their meaning. Thank you for sharing this last week.
    Jen :)