“Daddy, where do babies come from?” If you have kids, at some point, inquisitive young minds may ask you this question. Fortunately, my oldest daughter is only 2 years old and this is the farthest thing from her mind.
When she does ask, however, I might go “pastor” mode on her and refer her to Genesis 4:1- Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.
Now, the Hebrew word for “lay” is Yada. Even if you haven’t taken a single Hebrew language class in your life, the definition of YADA seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? After all, babies don’t come from just cuddling and snuggling together!
So Yada just means sex, right?
It can represent sex but also goes beyond that to signify an incredibly deep sense of intimacy, vulnerability, and connection between two people. In fact, this word is used over 900 times in the Old Testament, including instances that describe how God “yada” (knows and respects) us deeply.
Be still and know [yada] that I am God. Psalm 46:10
O Lord, you have searched me, and you know [yada] me. You know [yada] when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. Psalm 139:1-2
So what is the significance of this in your marriage? Yada shows us that God’s gift of sex is more than just a purely physical and pleasurable act – it is part of a deeper gift of intimacy God desires for us to have in marriage. Godly sex, yada, is not just being physically naked but also being emotionally and spiritually naked with your spouse.
Now this is not easy. Just as there may be insecurities, tiredness, or other obstacles that prevent us from wanting to be physically naked, there are tremendous hurtles that prevent us from being emotionally and spiritual naked with one another.
Yada requires the fruit of the Spirit –love joy, peace, patience and self-control towards your spouse – which I’m sure many of us can agree is always not natural or easy (And this may be an understatement!). Yada requires work and commitment. Yada requires sacrifice and the killing of pride. Yada requires seeing the heart, vision, and beauty of marriage that God intends for us, and this goes beyond fulfilling the physical needs and desires.
For me, it was understanding that my wife craved a heartfelt conversation and the space to fully express her thoughts and be understood. For my wife, it was understanding that I craved respect from her and wanted her to be proud of her man, and that many of our fights stemmed from my insecurities in this area. All of this growth together has deepened our intimacy including sex. Godly sex, yada, is part of the holistic connection between husband and wife.
I was deeply impacted by these concepts of yada and everything it represented when I read about it in the book by Dannah Gresh called “What are you waiting for?” I highly recommend this book especially for those seeking to edify their marriage. It has helped me to see God’s heart for marriage and sex in a deeper and more beautiful light, and has encouraged me to truly yada my wife.1