Summary: A Study of the Names of God - Jehovah Sabaoth ¡V The Lord of Hosts.
Getting to Know God ¡V Jehovah Sabaoth ¡V The Lord of Hosts
This day and age is unique in the art of war in that we are able to see first hand ¡V blow by blow - how a battle is unfolding. It is not unusual these days for the journalists to end up getting killed because they are sitting right there in the front line, bullets whizzing around their ears and really don¡¦t have any training or survival savy. It was interesting watching the recent Iraq war and to see how swiftly it ended. Now I know there were some hiccups, but there was really no doubt what so ever and what we saw on TV was a victory of firepower.
The Iraq army did not really have a hope did they? They were out numbered, out muscled and out technologied if there is such a word. It was no surprise really to see America and the Allies sweep to victory. Believe it or not, the events we witnessed in the last couple of months have a lot to teach us about God. Just as the Allies¡¦ victory was assured because of superior fire power and resources, so God¡¦s ultimate victory is assured because of superior fire power and resources.
Tonight I want us to look quickly at another of the names of God that we find in the Bible. It was a name which the people of Israel used when their backs were against the wall. It was a name which reminded them of God¡¦s vast fire power and resources and gave them the confidence to trust in him. That name was Jehovah Sabaoth ¡V The Lord of Hosts, of the Lord Almighty all you with the NIV.
Before we begin to unpack this name and what it has for us, let¡¦s pause and pray.
Lord, life is not always easy. Often we face situations in life which seem insurmountable to us. We sometimes feel that our backs are against the wall so to speak and we wonder where help will come from. Tonight as we look at your name ¡V the Lord of Hosts, help us to see that our help comes from the Lord who made both the heaven and the earth. Help us to recognise the vast resources that are ours in Jesus Christ and the victory that we are assured. This we pray, in Jesus¡¦ name. Amen.
The Origin of the Name
The name Lord of Hosts seems simple enough. The ¡§Lord¡¨, part is usually the word Yahweh, which we¡¦ve spoken about before, but on occasions, (particularly in Amos), we see a slightly different combination - God of hosts or LORD God of hosts.
The word ¡§hosts¡¨ comes from a Hebrew root meaning a mass or a large quantity. It became common to use this term in reference to a large group of people like an army. And so in Scripture, it was used of the large congregation of Israel in Numbers. It was also used to describe the hordes of spiritual beings ¡V both angelic and demonic when used in the context ¡§host of heaven.¡¨ And then we find it as part of the name ¡§Lord of Hosts.¡¨„Ã
Use of the Name
The name Lord of Hosts or the Lord Almighty is interesting because it is a name which is quite late in its development. The first use of this name is in 1 Sam 1:3. This is the story of a man who had 2 wives. One of them had children, but the other ¡V his favourite, Hannah, had none. The story goes that every year, Elkanah and his wives went up to offer sacrifices to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh ¡V where the tabernacle was located. Each year they prayed to the Lord of hosts for a child. Do you find it interesting that they prayed to the Lord of mighty armies, asking for a child? It¡¦s not so strange when you think back to our analogy about the Allied army in Iraq. The Lord of hosts has great power and resources to bring plans to fruition. Power is a plenty with the Lord of Hosts ¡V power even to grant the request of a barren woman. This is why the NIV translation the Lord Almighty is quite reasonable.
The next time it is used is in 1 Sam 4:4. The Philistines had made war on the people of Israel at a place called Ebenezer and had defeated them good and proper. 4000 Israelites were killed in one battle. The leaders couldn¡¦t work out why God had seemingly abandoned them and so they arranged for the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Hosts to be brought down from Shiloh. Now you have to recognise that the ark was the symbol of God¡¦s presence and the people almost worshiped it as an idol. To have it on the battle field was a physical sign that God, the Lord of the mighty armies and infinite resources was present. This buoyed the spirits of the Israelites and made the Philistines shake in their boots.