Jehovah Sabaoth – The Lord of Hosts (1 Samuel 1: 3)

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Jehovah Sabaoth -The Lord of Hosts (1 Samuel 1: 3). “Sabaoth” comes from the Hebrew word “tsaba”, which means a “mass of persons” particularly those “organized for war”, such as an army. It’s used in Scripture to mean “army, host, war/warfare, service, (or) go out to war”. God reveals himself as Lord Sabaoth – the Lord of Hosts – more than 285 times in Scripture.[7] The first time this name is used is in 1 Samuel 1:3, when Scripture tells of Elkanah (the prophet Samuel’s father), going to Shiloh “yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts”.

Modern western culture doesn’t like to think of God as a God of war, as the Lord of armies. But truth doesn’t depend on what modern culture thinks.

When Isaiah sees the Lord, “sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, with his train filling the temple,” his response is, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts”. (Isaiah 6: 5)

Facing Goliath, David said, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear, and with a shield, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17: 45)

In (Psalm 24: 9-10), David writes, “Lift up your heads, O you gates; yes, lift them up, you age abiding doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.”

And we see these armies and hosts of heaven throughout Scripture. When the king of Syria sent “horses, chariots and a great army” to surround the city of Dothan looking for the prophet Elisha (2 King 6: 14-17), Elisha told his servant, “Fear not; for those with us are more than those with them”. Then, Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes would be opened: “And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and he saw, and behold, the mountains was fill of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha”.

In the New Testament, we see the Lord of Hosts as the protector and defender of the powerless. This is the name of God used to warn the rich who mistreat others (James 5: 1-4).

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.”

And in revelation 19, we see the Lord of Hosts returning-the same Jesus who first came as the baby in manger, but this time coming as a conquering King.

In Revelation 19: 11-16, John writes, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns… The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nation. “He will rule them with an iron scepter”…. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords”.

This is the same Jesus before whom “every knee will bow and every tongue acknowledge that He is Lord”. (Isaiah 45: 23, Romans 14: 11, Philippians 2: 10-11)

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