I’m a word girl, and so I’m having a lot of fun working on a book about words in the Bible. Right now I’m working on the chapter on the word “praise. ”

There are several Hebrew words translated “praise.” One of them, halal, is where we get our English word Hallelujah. (and nearly every other language on the planet gets a similar word).

Another is the word yadah.  What a great word. Unlike its meaning in our culture (thanks to reruns of Seinfeld), yadah literally means to hold out the hand, and came to mean to laud, give thanks or praise. Yadah is part of the vocabulary of praise. Psalm 34:1 says,  “I will bless the LORD at all times;    his praise (yadah) shall continually be in my mouth.”

That’s my goal, whether my circumstances are easy or difficult, whether things go my way or they don’t seem to be doing so. To have God’s praise be continually in my mouth, as the text says. That does not mean pretending everything is always great, or ignoring the obvious challenges. It means choosing to praise God at all times, not because life is easy but because God is always with us. As we extend our hands to God, God reaches out to us. Yadah, yadah, yadah.