I was recently reminded of a message I wrote back in September, of 2013. It was entitled “Adonai-Tzva’ot!” which is Hebrew for the Lord of hosts. The brother who reminded me of this message has joined the list of those who receive these Morning Messages, and I wanted to resend the post because it is something we need to be reminded of again and again. Hang with me, because I hope it pierces your heart as it has mine.
Something has been bothering me, lately. Now, I may be wrong on this, but it seems that many Christians are not comfortable with the Holy attributes of God. Now if I am correct in my observation, I have to question the quality of our worship. The word “Holy” means a whole bunch more than just saying that God “is a Holy God.” It is an ecstatic ascription of glory to the Triune God!
We need to discount everything that appears to be worthwhile for men and women because we are humans. Abraham, David, and Elijah, Moses, Peter, and Paul were undoubtedly all good men, but each one of them had their human flaws and weaknesses, and one of these days we will examine this. But each one of them had to find his own place of repentance. Again, if all of this is true, we should be honest and confess that much of our problem in continuing fellowship with a Holy God is that many Christians only repent for what they do, instead what they are!
For quite some time I have believed that believers in the Old Testament knew their God better than those of us living in New Testament times. Followers of Yahweh had a keener view of His Holiness, His Majesty. New Testament believers tend to dismiss that aspect of their God, almost view Him as a kind and jolly, Grandfatherly fellow, who overlooks our sin with a sigh and a wink. But over 200 times in the Old Testament — from Samuel through Malachi — God is referred to as the Lord of hosts — Adonai-Tzva’ot! (Pronounced: Sabboah).
“A person who has sensed what Isaiah sensed will never be able to joke about ‘the Man upstairs‘ or the ‘Someone up there who likes me.’ One of the movie actresses who still prowled around the nightclubs after her supposed conversion to Christ was quoted as telling someone, ‘You ought to know God. You know, God is just a livin’ doll!’
“I read where another man said, ‘God is a good fellow.’ I confess that when I hear or read these things I feel a great pain within. My brother or sister, there is something about our God that is different, that is beyond us, that is above us—transcendent. We must be humbly willing to throw our hearts open and to plead, ‘God, shine Thyself into my understanding for I will never find Thee otherwise.'”
Tozer stated it well! Amos 4:13 declares,
“Elohim forms the mountains and creates the wind.
He reveals his thoughts to humans.
He makes dawn and dusk appear.
He walks on the high places of the earth.
His name is Yahweh Elohe Tsebaoth.”
Amos is clearly implying Yahweh’s attributes of sovereignty, omniscience & omnipotence when he uses the majestic Name: Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot.
As Tozer suggested, Isaiah understood the One called the LORD of hosts:
“Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh Tsebaoth!
The whole earth is filled with his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).
I Chronicle 11:9, states that “David continued to grow more powerful [Why?] because Yahweh Tsebaoth was with him.” This majestic title is also repeatedly found in the Psalms:
“Adonai-Tzva’ot is with us, our fortress, the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:7)
“Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot! Who is as mighty as you, Yah? Your faithfulness surrounds you” (Psalm 89:8)
“Adonai-Tzva’ot, God of armies, hear my prayer . . .” (Psalm 84:8)
“Who is he, this glorious king? Adonai-Tzva’ot — he is the glorious king.” (Psalm 24:10).
What might be helpful for you to know is that the Hebrew word for “hosts” is צָבָא tsbah. It means “an army ready and poised for battle.” Soldiers, horses, and chariots are ready to go to war at an appointed time; an army assembled and mustered, waiting for instructions.
An illustration of how important this is seen in II Chronicles 32. The Assyrian army was coming against King Hezekiah and Judah. But you have to admire this king because he was completely unmoved about being surrounded by a ferocious army. He told God’s people,
“Be strong and courageous. Don’t be frightened or terrified by the king of Assyria or the crowd with him. Someone greater is on our side. The king of Assyria has human power on his side, but Yahweh our Elohim is on our side to help us and fight our battles.” ” (II Chronicles 32:7-8).
Now, how about that? Verse 8 ends by assuring us, “The people were encouraged by what King Hezekiah of Judah said.” I sure hope so. Are you be encouraged to know that your Holy Father will never leave you alone? The king knew where he confidence came from, do you?
The Old Testament saints were able to remain firm in their faith because an almighty God whose all-powerful, unseen army was assembled for their protection. David boasted, “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them . . .” (Psalm 68:17). According to the psalmist, their whole purpose for being there is for us: “Adonai is your guardian!” (Psalm 121:5).
Look, we don’t overcome the enemy through our own power and energy; we don’t do battle with the satan our own wisdom or intellect. No, way! The Lord of hosts — Adonai-Tzva’ot — will do the keeping! He is our hope and strength during our trials. This is what the Bible says:
“He reached down from high above and took hold of me.
He pulled me out of the raging water.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
because they were too strong for me” (Psalms 18:16-17).
So why are you all weirded out about your situation? As it says in Jude’s letter,
“God can guard you so that you don’t fall and so that you can be full of joy as you stand in his glorious presence without fault” (Jude 24)
When you read that, I want to hear a loud shout: “Amen!”
“Father, you are supreme, and I know you will be my victory over ____________!” (name whatever it is that has enslaved you and you ned victory from). Say it, and receive your victory!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.