Summary: The first of eight sermons on praise: yadah. It means extend your hands and praise God.
For twelve years of my life, God blessed me with the ability and opportunity to participate in the world’s best sport: track & field. He gave me (by way of my parents) decent speed, somewhat award-winning, and championship caliber jumping ability. My best and favorite event by far was the long jump. To most of yall, long jump is nothing more than run down the track and jump. Let me assure you it is much more than that. There are three basic portions to the long jump: runway, air, and the landing. And within those portions you’ve got to set marks, your first step must hit in the same place everytime, your legs have to be right, your arms have to be right, your mind, your eyes have to be right, or else you’ll foul, you’ll fail, you won’t go very far. Through the miracles of modern technology, I was able, when I was at the Naval Academy, to have my jumps recorded from start to finish then go up to my coach’s office and watch them with him and we could pick them apart and analyze what I did well, and what I could improve upon. I made pretty standard mistakes in long jump when I first started: I looked down at the board at times. I slowed down through the take off. But the more mature I got, and the more seasons I did it, I picked it up and those bad habits went away. But there was one thing I’ll never forget Coach telling me.
In the landing phase, you have to understand that they measure from the farthest point back. This means that no matter where you’re feet go, if your rear end is behind that, they measure from the behind. I was having issues with my hands. They were the farthest points back on my body and that was costing me critical feet and inches. Coach then told me, you’re problem is you’re not extending your hands. If you were to extend your hands out in front of you, they wouldn’t land behind your feet-actually nothing would because momentum would make your body follow your hands and carry you through your landing. Such is the lesson I wish to teach yall today!
Some of yall been wondering why you aren’t getting as far you thought you should! Some of yall rack your brains sayin I pray and fast, I give my tithes and offering, I don’t cuss, drink, or smoke! Why am I not getting as far as I folk that do those things? I’m negged out and I can’t understand why God has forsaken me! Let me suggest to you that you need to extend your hands! Extend your hands and be carried through your issues! Extend your hands and be carried through your financial difficulty! Extend your hands and be carried through your messed up relationship! Extend your hands and be carried through your unemployment! Extend your hands! Yadah—extend your hands!
Yadah is a Hebrew verb with a root YAD meaning "the extended hand, to throw out the hand"; therefore, "to worship with extended hand." The antonym is to bemoan by wringing of the hands. The second part of this is AH which has reference to Jehovah. Together they are rendered Hands to God.
The first time this word appears in Scripture is in Genesis 29:35. Jacob is married to Leah and Rachel. He apparently shows favoritism to Rachel. We see this prevalent in homes where one weak member can cause a great deal of tension, disturbance, pain, and hurt. Jacob’s home was filled with tension because Jacob had been weak, spiritually weak. He lacked courage enough to stand up to Laban and refuse to marry Leah. He did not love Leah; he loved Rachel. And he had made this perfectly clear from the start. Instead of rebuking Laban and insisting on the right thing he gave into worldliness, the sin of bigamy, and as a result he brought undue tension between Rachel and Leah.