I am going to teach on the Names of God tonight at our church. I really enjoy these lessons because they teach to know our God specifically, by name. The Name of God is the same as the character of God. The previous lesson was about peace, Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord is peace. Peace is one of the most talked about subject today. Everyone wants “peace” but few know the key to attaining it successfully. God is the source of real peace and if we want it, we must bow our knee to His Lordship. This lesson ties in with the idea of peace.
The children of Israel came to know God as the Lord of Hosts at a time when there seemed that there was no hope for them. The Name Jehovah-Sabaoth is not used until I Samuel. Israel had experienced some difficult times in their history and the Lord had rescued them. After coming into the Promised Land, there was a leadership crisis and as a result, everyone did what was right in their own eyes and chaos ensued. The people turned their backs on God and wanted to be like the Gentiles, having a king lead them instead of the Lord. They had gone through a period of over 400 years of slavery, salvation, and sin (disobedience) that caused the process to repeat often over this 400 year period. The people had dug a hole for themselves and had hit rock bottom. When they hit rock bottom, they continued to try and dig. They were doing everything that they could think of except to turn to God. They were not desperate enough but they were going to get to the point when they would have nothing and no where else to turn but to God. This is when people experience Jehovah-Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, when they are at their wits end and have no where else to turn.
I. Hannah knows God as Jehovah Sabaoth
Here example is found in I Samuel 1. Hannah was married to Elkanah. Her husband, Elkanah, knew the Lord by Name as the Lord of Hosts. Hannah was barren and ridiculed and mocked because of her situation, a situation that she had little control over. Hannah may have learned about God as being the Lord of Host from her husband. She turned to Him with pure motives. She cried out to the Lord of Hosts for deliverance and God heard her cry and answered. God allowed her womb to be closed so that she would turn to Him. She came to that realization and the Lord blessed her. Even if the people around her did not understand her, God did and He met her where she was. God opened her womb and she conceived a son, Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord. Samuel was the last Judge, a man chosen by God to anoint the first and second kings of Israel. Hannah was at her wits end and turned to the Lord of Hosts who heard her and answered her.
II. David knows God as Jehovah Sabaoth
The next example that we see of a person who knew God as the Lord of Hosts is David. His story is also found in I Samuel 17. David is a young boy about to face Goliath. David was angry because of the things that Goliath was saying about the God of Israel and the people of Israel. David has no hope of defeating Goliath. David does not focus on his circumstances. Instead, David focuses on the Lord of Hosts. God hears David when he cries and intervenes on David’s behalf. David’s motives are pure. He does what he does for the glory of God. He is not calling out to God to try and manipulate God. He genuinely cries out to God for help for the glory of God. David knows God personally, intimately and runs to Him in his time of need. David and Hannah have these things in common, they both know God’s character and they appeal to God based on that knowledge. They both have pure motives.
So far, we have seen individuals calling out to God as the Lord of Hosts, but what about nations? Will God intervene as the Lord of Hosts on behalf of entire nations? Let’s take a look at Israel and find out.
III. Israel comes to know God as Jehovah Sabaoth
Our next example is a negative one and I believe that we should pay attention because we have a lot to learn about ourselves in this example. This example is found in I Samuel 4. The children of Israel had an intimate relationship with God yet, in the midst of their walk with God, they became proud and began to trust in themselves and their religion instead of trusting in God. Mankind loves religion because we can turn it into a bunch of rules and regulations and depend upon ourselves to carry out those rules instead of depending upon God. Hannah learned to depend upon God. David learned to depend upon God. Israel had learned to depend but they slipped away. Instead of turning back to God in the midst of a difficult time, they turned to themselves and were really let down. They did not do what they did for the glory of God. As a result, the Lord of Hosts did not answer them in their time of need. He allowed them to suffer. They should have come to their senses but they did not. They slipped further and further away from God until Samuel reminded them of their mistake.
IV. Practical advice on knowing God as Jehovah Sabaoth
What should I do based on what I learned from Hannnah, David, and Israel’s example? According to Proverbs 18:10, I need to run to the Lord and seek refuge, coming under His protection. As I walk with Him, He makes me righteous, keeping me right with Him. As I am walking with Him, Haggai 1:7 teaches that I must consider my actions each and every step of the way. I must examine my motives. If I am not acting for the glory of God then I should not expect help. On the other hand, if I do have pure motives and do it for the glory of God then according to Jeremiah 20, God will answer and rescue me. As I cry out to the Lord, according to Psalm 46:7, I must have confidence in the fact that God will rescue me for His honor and for His glory.
My dear friend, do you know the Lord as Jehovah-Shabaoth, the Lord of Hosts? When in need, do you cry out to Him or do you seek to “fix” everything yourself? Do you trust in yourself, maybe your religion, trying to manipulate God or, do you seek to do everything for the glory of God? May the Lord help us learn to know God as the Lord of Hosts so that we can live to glorify Him in all that we do.