Summary: A Study of the Names of God - Adonai - The Lord and the need for us to found out lives on Him

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Getting to Know God – Adonai – The Lord


Buyer: "I want this pearl. How much is it?"

Seller: "Well," "it’s very expensive."

Buyer: "But, how much?".

Seller: "Well, a very large amount."

Buyer: "Do you think I could buy it?"

Seller: "Oh, of course, everyone can buy it."

Buyer: "But, didn’t you say it was very expensive?"

Seller: "Yes."

Buyer: "Well, how much is it?"

Seller: "Everything you have," says the seller.

Buyer: (Thinking for a while and then making up your mind) "All right, I’ll buy it," we say.

Seller: "Well, what do you have? Let’s write it down."

Buyer: "Well, I have ten thousand dollars in the bank."

Seller: "Good- -ten thousand dollars. What else?"

Buyer: "That’s all.. That’s all I have. Well … I have a few dollars here in my pocket."

Seller: "How much?"

Buyer: (Starting to rummage around in your pocket). "Well, let’s see--thirty, forty, sixty, eighty, a hundred, a hundred twenty dollars."

Seller: "That’s fine. What else do you have?"

Buyer: "Well, nothing. That’s all."

Seller: "Where do you live?"

Buyer: "In my house. Yes, I have a house."

Seller: "The house, too, then."

Buyer: "You mean I have to live in my camper?"

Seller: "You have a camper? That, too. What else?"

Buyer: "I’ll have to sleep in my car!"

Seller: "You have a car?"

Buyer: "Two of them."

Seller: "Both become mine, both cars. What else?"

Buyer: "Well, you already have my money, my house, my camper, my cars. What more do you want?"

Seller: "Are you alone in this world?"

Buyer: "No I have a wife and two children....."

Seller: "Oh, yes, your wife and children, too. What else?"

Buyer: "I have nothing left! I am left alone now."

Seller: Suddenly the seller exclaims, "Oh, I almost forgot! You yourself, too! Everything becomes mine--wife, children, house, money, cars--and you too." Then he goes on. "Now listen--I will allow you to use all these things for the time being. But don’t forget that they are mine, just as you are. And whenever I need any of them you must give them up, because now I am the owner."

Let’s pray, Lord – that is an awesome word which we don’t often grasp the full significance of. It rolls off our tongues so easy, but the meaning often alludes us. Help us this evening to understand this word in its entirely so that when we say it, we mean it.

Background and Meaning of the Word Adonai

Well, we’ve been studying over the past months some of the names of God and we’ve now come to one which is translated through your bible as “Lord” – the word Adonai. Now be careful here. You will find in many of your bibles (e.g. NIV, NRSV, RSV, NKJV) that the word Lord appears either as Capitals “LORD” or Small Letters “Lord”. Where it is “LORD”, that is the word YHWH or Jehovah. Where it is “Lord” – that is the word Adonai.

This word Adonai, occurs over 300 times in the Old Testament, and when it is used of God, it is almost always plural and possessive. So like the name Elohim which is also plural, this word supports the idea of the Trinity.

The singular form of this word is Adon and is often used to refer to men. It is found about 215 times in the Old Testament, and is usually translated as master, but sometimes is also translated as Lord, sir, or owner. The word Adon is used by slaves and servants when referring to their master or owner, by wives to their husbands, and men to Kings.

For example, in Psalm 110

1 The LORD (YHWH) says to my lord (Adon): “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

2 The LORD (YHWH) will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies.

3 Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.

4 The LORD (YHWH) has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

5 The Lord (Adonai) is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.

6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

7 He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head.

In the New Testament, the equivalent of Adonai is Kurios is used hundreds of times of the Lord Jesus. God as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is Lord and master.

It is somewhat difficult for us to understand first hand what a Lord or Master is. We don’t live in a feudal society any more where there are lords of the manner, but because of these pictures we do understand a little of what it means.

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