Yada, Yada, Yada

"I think I just met the Lord..."

I sat befuddled, trying not to show my shock.

In front of me was what I believed to be a seasoned Christian, soaked in the knowledge of all things God. And yet what they were telling me railed against anything I thought I knew.

In 1 Samuel 3 we find a similar situation. An adolescent Samuel, dedicated to the Lord after being weaned from his mother Hannah, and currently living in the Temple with an elder priest named Eli, is sleeping on the floor by the Ark of the Covenant when a strange thing begins to happen to him.


A voice calls out in the dark and assuming it's his elder priest, he runs to his bedside only to find a very groggy Eli who quickly shoos him away.


Again he doesn't recognize who is calling him and runs to Eli.


A third and final call, it is actually Eli, not Samuel, who realizes what is happening here, instructing Samuel to listen and answer if the voice calls back again. And scripture tells us why in verse 7.

It says that Samuel did not yet know the Lord.

Samuel who had lived in the temple most of his memorable life. Whose mother had dedicated him to the Lord's service as an infant. Who had watched the priest's daily activities, sat under the teaching of Eli, slept by the Ark of the Covenant, and knew in every academic sense of the word about God.

Clearly God has another definition of the word know.

This word, yada (yah*dah), is used multiple times in scripture to reference the sexual and intimate connection between a man and wife. It speaks of relationship, not knowledge.

Samuel's story tells us this; that we can know all the theology, scripture, and rituals we want. We can attend bible college or seminary. We can be pastors, missionaries, teachers, and preachers. We can give to the poor, and spend our lives in service. We can write books and blogs, and expound on ideas. We can do all of these things and still not know Him.

Because the knowledge of God is always a counterfeit to truly knowing Him.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7


  1. This makes me so sad. There is someone dear to me who knows all about the bible and God, and yet I wonder if she really KNOWS God. I'm glad you're friend met Him.

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