I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul Psalm 31:7 NASB
Known – Omniscience. Oh, it’s a great doctrine. God knows everything that can be known. It’s a significant statement about the scope of His observation and understanding. But it’s kind of sterile. It’s one of the those big ideas that lends itself to debates like, “If God already knows what I am going to do tomorrow, can it really be my free choice?” I wonder if David ever concerned himself with such cognitive issues. David’s approach is far more personal. God knows the troubles of my soul. When it comes to my relationship with the Lord, this might be all I really need.
The verb is quite familiar. Yada covers the widest range of knowing in Hebrew, from knowing the facts about the enemy army to knowing the sexual intimacy of marriage. It’s worth reflecting on this range. We have many distinct verbal expressions for different kinds of knowledge. We categorize our information. There’s a box for facts, a box for opinions, a box for theories, a box for observations, a box for involvements, etc. Nice, neat compartments where we can “know” the right thing in one area but never let it touch the things we feel or observe in another area. But yada reminds us that everything is connected. It isn’t possible to “know” something and keep it neatly separated from the actions that make up who we are. If God knows the troubles of my soul, certain implications about this fact must follow.
God knows my tsarah. He knows the distress I encounter, the adversities I face, the troubles life hands me and the vexations that plague me. God knows these things. That does not simply mean He observes them as facts. Yada-ata. He knows them. He experiences my troubles.
Think about this. When I weep, is God weeping with me? When I rejoice, does He dance? When I shake with fear, is He there beside me? When I battle with decisions, does He fight for the right? Yada says “Yes!” The full range of relationship dynamics is known to Him. He is not the God of disengaged research or the moral policeman. He is as close as my breath, my sight, my thoughts and my sighs. He is the God in my need.
Would it make a difference in our struggles for righteousness if we contemplated the God of yada? Would we feel His comfort, His guidance or His warning just a little more intensely if we engaged the Hebrew umbrella of knowing? David worships a God who is intimately involved in life. He doesn’t sit on His throne in Zion waiting for quarterly reports on our progress. He sits by our side, asking us to lean on Him. He is the ‘ezer, the benefactor who comes to our aid in times of need.
Topical Index: known, yada, omniscience, Psalm 31:7