Dearly beloved, Are you facing an insurmountable obstacles and losing all hope of victory? Do you feel overwhelmed and powerless in your present circumstances? Then run into the Strong Tower of Jehovah Sabaoth, crying out to the LORD of hosts. "May Jehovah answer you in the day of trouble! May the NAME of the God of Jacob set you securely on high (see sagab)...Some boast in chariots, and some in horses, but we will boast in the NAME of Jehovah, our God. (Psalm 20:1, 7 Spurgeon) Our Redeemer, the LORD of HOSTS is His NAME, the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 47:4)
LORD of Hosts
(Click for Pt 2)
THE LORD OF HOSTS
THE LORD OF HOSTS
|LIVING IN LIGHT OF THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LORD OF HOSTS|
From Amos' description, God's attributes of sovereignty, omniscience & omnipotence are clearly implied by this majestic Name.
Another prophet, Is, helps us understand the One called the LORD of hosts:
A W Tozer writes that…
A person who has sensed what Is 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."
For thus says Jehovah to me, "As the lion or the young lion growls over his prey, against which a band of shepherds is called out & he will not be terrified at their voice nor disturbed at their noise, so will the LORD of hosts come down to wage war on Mt Zion and on its hill. Like flying birds so the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem. He will protect & deliver it. He will pass over (pacach also describes the "Passover" cf uses in Exodus) & rescue it. (Is 31:4, 5)
Picture the fearless lion jealously guarding his prey - so too the LORD of hosts is our Warrior (cf Ex 15:3) & He will protect, deliver & rescue His covenant people "for the gifts & the calling of God are irrevocable." (Ro 11:29+). The fulfillment of this prophecy is most likely when the LORD Jesus returns at the end of this present age as Commander of "the armies ("hosts" which include saints & angels cf Rev 17:14-note) which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white & clean … following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations & He will rule them with a rod of iron & He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty ("pantokrator" see word study)." (Rev 19:14,15-note) "and so all Israel will be saved just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, (Jerusalem) HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB" (Ro 11:26 note)
In Israel's greatest hour of need the LORD of Sabaoth will return & wage war & rescue His covenant people Israel for all eternity (see Zech 13:8, 9). Believers today must remember that this is the same Name that all in covenant with Him can run to, crying out in their hour of need, when all hope seems to be lost & defeat appears inevitable. May we all learn to cry out to our Warrior, the LORD of hosts it is He, for the battle is His. (discussed at right).
Comparing Scripture with Scripture we find that in Re 22:13 (note) Jesus identifies Himself as "I am the Alpha & the Omega, the first & the last, the beginning & the end." which clearly parallels the Is passage. So Jesus is our Jehovah Sabaoth (similar affirmation by Jesus are found in Rev 1:17 [note], Rev 2:18-note)
Who is the LORD of hosts according to Zechariah?
"Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. Zech 14:16
In this passage which in context (Zech 14) appears to occur during what is known as the "millennium" (Rev 20:4, 5, 6, 7+), we see that the King (of kings) (Rev 17:14+, cp note Rev 19:16+) Who is the Lord Jesus Christ is also referred to as the LORD of hosts.
The NET Bible translates LORD of hosts as "the LORD Who commands armies." What a great picture to keep in mind when we are fearful! We need faith like Elijah when he affirmed to his servant when surrounded by the enemy (2Ki 6:15) "Do not fear, for (term of explanation) those who are with us are more than those who are with them." (2Ki 6:16, cp 1Jn 4:4-note) What happened? "Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And Jehovah opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and belold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." (2Ki 6:17).
Indeed, LORD Who commands armies, when we are fearful open the eyes of our heart to see Your armies guarding us. In Jesus' Name. Amen
The Hebrew for "host" is tsaba used ~ 486x with most uses having something to do with warfare, armies or fighting. In general, "Host" can describe (1) a multitude of men (army), (2) angels (good & bad) or (3) physical stars. (Click discussion of the phrase "host of heaven")
Although one might disagree on what "host" refers to in a given verse, the important truth is that Jehovah is LORD over ALL HOSTS, whether they are the host (armies) on earth, the stars or the angels (good or bad).
Stated another way Jehovah Sabaoth is in complete command and total control of all HOSTS and there are no "troop movements" so to speak without His knowledge. This should give those who run into the strong tower of Jehovah Sabaoth a great deal of comfort & reassurance.
Nebuchadnezzar the greatest king of his time was humbled by God for 7 years after which he came to proper understanding of the LORD of host …
"All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the HOST of HEAVEN & among the inhabitants of earth & no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, 'What have You done?" Da 4:35
The psalmist affirms God's sovereign control over the angelic forces…
Bless the LORD you His angels, mighty in strength who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! Ps 103:20 - Spurgeon
For He will give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Ps 91:11 - Spurgeon
Who will give His angels charge? Is this not Jehovah Sabaoth? O to know Him with such confidence & total reliance as the One Who gives the angelic host "charge concerning" us. These truths make it clear that the focus of our adoration & praise should go to the Commander of the angels, not to the angels who serve as His "ministering spirits".
They will bear you up in their hands that you do not strike your foot against a stone. Ps 91:12 Spurgeon
Although this promise was applied specifically to Jesus, it is also a marvelous representation of the ministry of angels on behalf of the "heirs of salvation" (Heb 1:14+).
A wonderful story from 2Ki 6:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23 illustrates the authority Jehovah has over the armies of heaven & should serve to encourage us all to cry out to Jehovah Sabaoth. The context is an angry Aramean king who seeks to destroy Elisha surrounding the city where Elisha lived with his horses & chariots & a great army. But Elisha knew Jehovah as LORD over the angelic armies (host) of heaven and so when his frightened servant said
Alas, my master! What shall we do? (2 Ki 6:15)
Elisha responded with complete confidence…
Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Then Elisha prayed & said, "O Jehovah, I pray, open his eyes that he may see. & Jehovah opened the servant's eyes & he saw & behold the mountain was full of horses & chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2Ki 6:16, 17)
You can read the rest of this faith building story in 2Ki 6:8-23.
So in 2Kings 6 we see that in the face of insurmountable odds & no hope humanly speaking of escape, Elisha cries out to Jehovah to open the eyes of his servant to see that Jehovah is in command of countless ANGELIC HOST and is ready to send His ARMIES (HOSTS) as ministering spirits to those who are being saved (Heb 1:14+). While our experience may not be as dramatic as Elisha's, we need to remember that "we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (Ro 5:2+) & we can cry out to the same LORD that Elisha cried out to, the One Who has at His disposal "an innumerable company of (NIV "thousands upon thousands") angels" (Heb 12:22+).
When like Elisha's servant you reach your "extremity", run to the sufficiency of the Strong Tower of Jehovah Sabaoth confident that…
LORD of Sabaoth is translated with at least 3 different Greek phrases in the Septuagint (Lxx):
1) Kurios Sabaoth - almost identical to the Hebrew in meaning, "Lord of hosts". Gk = "Sabaoth" which is a straight transliteration of the Hebrew.
2) Kurious ton dunamon - can be translated the "Lord the Able (One)", a great truth to remember about Jehovah Sabaoth when we find ourselves facing insurmountable odds &/or are experiencing unrelenting assault by the enemy.
Cry out (play song and then cry out) to Jehovah Sabaoth Who upon hearing the sound of your anguish is ever able to come to your side and to rescue you (boetheo in Heb 2:18+) either out of the fire or through the fire, always with the intended purpose of conforming you more to the image of Jesus. (cf 1Co 10:13+)
3) "Kurios pantokrator" (pantokrator (pas = all + kratos = might, dominion, power) is the most frequent Greek phrase used to translate Jehovah Sabaoth and literally means the "Lord Almighty", the One Who holds sway over ALL things.
It is certainly not an accident that in the NT pantokrator is found almost exclusively in the Revelation (2Co 6:18; Rev 1:8, 4:8, 11:17, 15:3, 16:7, 16:14,19:6, 19:15, 21:22) where we see final drama in which the LORD ALMIGHTY exercises His full dominion & final triumph over all forces of evil, both human & angelic! PTL! This One beloved is your strong tower Jehovah Sabaoth of the OT in the Person of Jesus, the Lord Almighty of the NT. In His unchanging character (immutable) we can find assurance that He will win the victory over all the hosts of evil. And so we can confidently cast all our burdens upon the LORD of hosts, the Almighty One, knowing that He cares for us (Ps 55:22).
THOUGHT - Keep these truths about Jehovah Sabaoth in mind as you study the Scriptures. May these insights motivate us all to run without hesitation or reservation into the Strong Tower of His wonderful Name, the LORD of hosts.
Click to read revival speaker Sammy Tippit's gripping personal encounter with Jehovah Sabaoth. as he sat in a train stopped by Romanian soldiers as he was trying to enter Communist Romania and saw 10 soldiers running toward the train! They were coming for Sammy! He writes:
I came to know God that night as Jehovah Sabaoth, the LORD of Hosts. He is Supreme Ruler of the universe. He is the Captain of all the angelic forces in the heavenly places. There's none that can compare to Him, because He is the LORD of hosts… It's also during our times of weakness that we come to know God as Jehovah - Sabaoth. It's when we feel so small and that our enemies are so strong that God reveals Himself to us as Jehovah - Sabaoth. It's in those overwhelming moments that we come to know Him as the Sovereign God who rules over all the celestial armies of heaven. Draw near to Him in your day of weakness. He will be your strength because He is truly Jehovah - Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts. (Ref)
Clearly this passage shows that the one who would cry out to Jehovah Sabaoth in the hour of need and find "life" in His presence is the one who seeks good rather than evil (a good pattern - focus on good first which will make it much easier to avoid evil. cp the "order" in John 3:30) He who is seeking evil would be unlikely to even cry out to Him.
Matthew Henry adds:
"This is the sure way to be happy ourselves and to have the continual presence of God with us: "Seek good & not evil, that you may live"… that you may have the favor of God, which is your life, which is better than life itself, that you may have comfort in yourselves and may live to some good purpose. You shall live, for so the Lord God of hosts shall be with you and be your life.’’ Note, Those that keep in the way of duty (ed note = obey) have the presence of God with them, as the God of hosts, a God of almighty power.… & whatever good we do, we must do it from a principle of love, do it of choice and with delight. Those who thus love good will seek it, will contrive to do all the good they can, enquire for opportunities of doing it, and endeavor to do it to the utmost of their power. They will also hate evil, will abhor the thought of doing an unjust thing, and abstain from all appearance of it. In vain do we pretend to seek God in our devotions if we do not seek good in our whole conversations (ed note = our general manner of life)."
A W Tozer said that as believers we must seek to…
Acquaint thyself with God. To regain her lost power the Church must see heaven opened and have a transforming vision of God.
But the God we must see is not the utilitarian God who is having such a run of popularity today, whose chief claim to men's attention is His ability to bring them success in their various undertakings and who for that reason is being cajoled and flattered by everyone who wants a favor. The God we must learn to know is the Majesty in the heavens, God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, the only wise God our Saviour… Knowledge of such a Being cannot be gained by study alone. It comes by a wisdom the natural man knows nothing of, neither can know, because it is spiritually discerned. To know God is at once the easiest and the most difficult thing in the world. It is easy because the knowledge is not won by hard mental toil, but is something freely given. As sunlight falls free on the open field, so the knowledge of the holy God is a free gift to men who are open to receive it. But this knowledge is difficult because there are conditions to be met and the obstinate nature of fallen man does not take kindly to them…
Knowledge of such a Being cannot be gained by study alone. It comes by a wisdom the natural man knows nothing of, neither can know, because it is spiritually discerned. To know God is at once the easiest and the most difficult thing in the world. It is easy because the knowledge is not won by hard mental toil, but is something freely given. As sunlight falls free on the open field, so the knowledge of the holy God is a free gift to men who are open to receive it. But this knowledge is difficult because there are conditions to be met and the obstinate nature of fallen man does not take kindly to them.
Lord of hosts is found in association with the ark of the covenant (cf. 1Sa 4:4; 2Sa 6:2); as well as the temple (cf. Hag 1:14; 2:7; Zech 7:3); and Mt. Zion (cf. Is 8:18; 24:23).
The "Divine Warrior" motif is often linked with this title in conjunction with the armies of Israel (cf. 1Sa 17:45; Ps 46:11; LORD God of hosts in Is 1:24).
The "Lord of hosts" often refers to God in the role of establishing his kingdom on earth (cf. Is9:7; Zech 8:3; 14:16); and the eschatological renewal of the kingdom of Israel (cf. Micah 4:4; Zech 1:17). The title also reflects the judgment and wrath of God (Is 9:19), whether it be directed against the enemies of Israel (e.g., Is 10:26; 13:4; 19:12; Nah 2:13; Zech 8:2) or against his own people (cf. Jer 6:6; 8:3; 11:22).
This name is combined with Elohim, to give the compound name Lord God of hosts (34x NAS) or rarely only with Elohim, God of hosts. (Ps 80:7, 14) The meaning is essentially the same. God is thus described as the divine warrior of Israel (2Sa 5:10); the transcendent God of heaven (cf. Ps 80:14); as the one Who will judge his people for their sin against Him (cf. Is 10:23; Jer 35:17; Amos 3:13); and as the One Who will punish His enemies (Jer 46:10; 49:5; 50:31).
The ISBE writes of Jehovah of Hosts that…
Evidently the meaning of the title is that all created agencies and forces are under the leadership or dominion of Yahweh, who made and maintains them (Ge 2:1; Is 45:12).
Where is Jehovah Sabaoth first encountered in Scripture?
The LORD of hosts & the related names, "LORD God of hosts" and "God of hosts", occur over 270x (NAS) in the OT (but not in Pentateuch! So not until 1 Samuel) which make it the most frequent compound title for God in the OT.
Most of the uses are subsequently found in the prophets (click for all uses below-Is (59x), Jeremiah (80x), Amos (9x), Haggai (12x), Zechariah (46x) & Malachi (24x). In Psalms (6 of the 15 uses are associated with prayer for His aid) . The specific phrase "Lord of Sabaoth" is found twice in the NT (click to read in context - Ro 9:29+ [quoting Is 1:9] & Js 5:4+ in context of judgment as are a number of passages in the prophets)
Note: You may wonder why you cannot find the name "LORD of hosts" in the NIV? Answer - NIV substitutes the name LORD Almighty for the LORD of hosts. I personally think it is less accurate and creates some confusion with God's Name EL Shaddai = God Almighty!
Although not revealed until 1 Samuel 1, there is a "preview" of Jehovah Sabaoth in Joshua 5:14,15. What is the occasion? (See notes)
Joshua in obedience to Jehovah had just commanded circumcision & Israel had kept the Passover. Now on the verge of a major military campaign (a picture of the spiritual warfare of all believers) not only against Jericho but against all of the Canaanites throughout the land was surely in need of Divine encouragement. And so we come to this fascinating encounter…
Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, & Joshua went to him & said to him, "Are you for us or for our adversaries ?" He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as CAPTAIN (Prince) of the HOST (Sabaoth) of Jehovah (NIV = commander of the Lord's army] and Joshua fell on his face to the earth and bowed down and said to Him, "What has my lord to say to His servant?" The captain of the Jehovah's host said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so." (Joshua 5:13, 14, 15+)
It is interesting that the NKJV capitalizes "Commander", clearly indicating that the translators feel this individual is divine. The context supports this encounter is almost certainly another "Christophany" (pre incarnate appearance of the Messiah). (cf "Angel of the LORD"). Note that although there is a chapter break at, the narrative seems to continue without break & in (Josh 6:2, 3, 4, 5+) Jehovah addresses Joshua with encouragement & instruction…
"Jehovah said to Joshua, "See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king & the valiant warriors. "You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for 6 days. Also 7 priests shall carry 7 trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. Then on the 7th day you shall march around the city 7 times & the priests shall blow the trumpets (Josh 6:2, 3, 4, 5+)
And so we see the "Captain of Sabaoth" meeting Joshua, a man preparing for war & in need of assurance of God's presence, provision & power, which provides a great preview of truth revealed in the revelation of the LORD of hosts.
In 1 Samuel what is the setting for the initial revelation of Jehovah Sabaoth? (read 1 Sa 1-2:11)(See commentary)
First Samuel takes place during the dark, desperate days of the "Judges" when most of Israel was doing what was right in their own eyes (Jdg 21:25+). There was however (as there always is) a godly remnant who sought the Living God in the midst of all of the pagan counterfeit "gods". Hannah & her husband Elkanah were certainly representative of the godly remnant of those declared righteous by faith (cf Ge 15:6+). But there were a few problems in the Elkanah household - what were they?
1Sa 1:2+ He (Elkanah) had 2 wives: the name of one was Hannah ("Grace", "favor") & the name of the other Peninnah ("pearl"); & Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
God's plan was always one man & one woman for life & we can understand from subsequent events in 1Sam1 why polygamy was never the ideal - not only 2 wives vying for Elkanah's attention (I might add another penalty of bigamy is two mothers-in-law!) But worst of all "Hannah had no children" in a day when childlessness was considered a sign of God's displeasure. which Peninnah probably taunted Hannah with.
HOW DO WE KNOW ELKANAH WAS A GODLY MAN IN THE UNGODLY days of the JUDGES?
1Sa 1:3+ Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas were priests to the LORD there. (1Sa 2:12+ adds that "the sons of Eli were worthless men; [sons of belial - see , NT name for Satan!] they did not know Jehovah" - i.e. they were not OT "believers")
Three times a year every male Israelite was required to appear at the central sanctuary (at this time in Shiloh) at the feasts of Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost (Harvest Feast or Feast of Weeks) & Tabernacles (Booths, Feast of Ingathering)
As an aside, Elkanah's yearly pilgrimage should encourage us that godliness is possible even in the most decadent of times. So don't lose heart but "discipline (present imperative see need to depend on Holy Spirit to obey) yourself for the purpose of godliness" (1Ti 4:7, 8+) in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (see note Php 2:15+ Spurgeon) which for the most part has forsaken God the "fountain of living waters to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jer 2:13). God will honor your pursuit of holiness (sanctification) (Heb 12:14+) even as He did Elkanah & Hannah.
HOW DO WE SEE ELKANAH'S LOVE FOR HANNAH?
1Sa 1:4+: When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters;
Elkanah demonstrated his for Hannah "love" not with just his lips but with his actions - love is an "action" verb. Notice too that Peninnah had at least 4 children ("sons", "daughters") making Hannah's sense of rejection all the more intense.
WHAT DOES the name "Hannah" mean?
"Grace" - God's transforming power to live a supernatural life. Hannah must have felt like anything but the possessor of God's unmerited favor for she knew it was "the LORD had closed her womb." (1Sa 1:5+).
In addition to her barrenness, why else did Hannah need grace?
HOW LONG HAD HANNAH EXPERIENCED BARRENNESS & FAMILY VEXATION?
1Sa 1:7+ It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke (anger, trouble, demoralize) her; so she wept and would not eat.
"Year after year" - imagine the pain & hopelessness Hannah must have felt week after week, month after month, etc
How did Hannah react? (1 Sa 1:7-8+)
1Sa 1:8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"
She wept, could not eat & her heart was sad (cf 1 Sa 1:7) Can't you imagine some "comforter" saying something like "Come on Hannah chin up – just live up to your name 'Grace' ".
You may be asking yourself - Why is Hannah suffering barrenness?
Compare Hannah's "illness" to Jesus' teaching in John 9: When queried by His disciples regarding whether the blind man or his parents had sinned, (Jn 9: 3) 'Jesus answered,
It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him
What Jesus meant was that God had created a condition so that when He relieved it, new insights, new glory would break forth for His own name & people would understand more of His mercy, grace & power than they ever could have had the affliction not been present. God does not allow hindrances or difficult circumstances to torment us or to lead us into bitterness or resentment. We often turn our "barrenness" into bitterness. God gives "barrenness" to us in order that as we bring it back to Him in prayer, so that in turn He might lead us to a solution we never would have found otherwise, a greater answer than we ever could have dreamed of. That is what Hannah's story is revealing about the LORD of hosts. He gave her the problem in order that she might bring it to Him to find the solution He had in mind.
How did "Elkanah her husband" console her?
"Am I not better to you than ten sons?"
Elkanah cherished Hannah & showed his love with his words and actions (double portion) (cf Eph 4:29+)
How did Hannah respond to Elkanah's kind words?
1 Sa 1:9+ Then (when is "then"? after "pleasant words") Hannah rose after eating & drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD
Elkanah's pleasant words had begun the healing process deep within Hannah's soul. Kind words from a husband can have a powerful effect as taught in Proverbs:
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul & healing to the bones. Pr 16:24
How did Hannah feel?
1 Samuel 1:10, 11, 12+ She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD & wept bitterly. She made a vow & said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, & a razor shall never come on his head." Now it came about, as she continued praying before (in front of, to the face of) the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth"
Distressed is mar = bitter, bitterness & phrase in the literal Hebrew reads "bitter of soul". Bitterness because of years of barrenness & provocation from her enemy Peninnah. Hannah made a crucial choice - instead of focusing on her bitterness, she accepted God's appointment to brokenness & ran in her extremity to the sufficiency of Jehovah Sabaoth, a wonderful illustration of Php 4:6, 7:
The Septuagint translates "prayed" in 1Sa 1:10 with the similar Greek word for "prayer" used in Phil 4:6-7 (proseuchomai) which is notable because this specific word for prayer conveys the idea of a devotional & adoring focus on God & not the idea of making specific requests. So at the outset Hannah sought to have a personal encounter with God & so she focused on His character. She then supplicated or made a specific request of the LORD of hosts. Did you note the repetition of "maidservant" 3x in 1Sa 1:11 which emphasizes Hannah's humility & submission to a higher authority, in this case Jehovah.
Hannah ran to the Strong Tower of the Name Jehovah Sabaoth crying out to Him a pattern encouraged in James 5:13
Notice that prayer in times of suffering is not an optional exercise but according to James is a command. It should be our "first resort" not our "last resort". Pray [word study] again is the Gk verb that focuses first primarily on the character & attributes of God even before offering supplication - identical to the pattern seen in Php 4:6 and in Hannah's prayer.
Prayer requires a conscious awareness & acceptance on our part of our human helplessness & a reliance upon God's resources. El Elyon the sovereign God had shut Hannah's womb but because He is also El Roi He saw her pain & mistreatment & as Jehovah Sabaoth He heard her cry to please "remember me… not forget". After several years of barrenness she may have felt as if Jehovah had forgotten her plight..
How does Hannah respond when Eli accuses her of being drunk?
1Sa 1:15, 16 "No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed (hard) in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation."
Note the characteristics of her prayer - "wept bitterly" (1Sa 1:10), "speaking in her heart" (1Sa 1:13), "poured out my soul" (empty soul of contents). What a graphic picture of God centered prayer birthed in the brokenness brought on by bitterness (which by the way she "poured out" in prayer!). Oh, for all the saints of God to pray with the passion of precious Hannah!
WHAT Were THE effects OF HANNAH'S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH the lord of SABAOTH?
(1) Her anorexia ceased - (1 Sa 1:18)
(2) Her countenance changed - (1 Sa 1:18 she "was no longer sad" ) Note that this change was not contingent upon having received an affirmative answer from God but was the result of her having been in the presence of God. When we come to the end of ourselves & find that all we have is God, we come to realize that God is all that we need.
(4) God remembered her - "Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife & the LORD remembered her." and so… "It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked him of the LORD." (1Sa 1:20)
Faced with "barren" circumstances & prolonged provocation potentially productive of bitterness, are you willing to humble yourself as a servant or maidservant of the LORD, pouring out your heart to the LORD of hosts?
Such an "uplook" might just give you an entirely new outlook (a new perspective) which will affect your innermost being and your outer countenance so that it is no longer "cast down" but lifted up, all to the glory of the LORD of hosts. (See Vertical Vision Empowers Horizontal Living)
Annie Johnson Flint's poem gives us a fitting description of the LORD of hosts
He gives more grace when the burdens grow greater.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure.
LORD of hosts occurs 5 times in 1 Samuel but two are especially significant as they are in the context of Israel's enemies
(1) David vs Goliath (Click)
(2) Israel vs the Philistines (Click)
Scofield notes that the "revelation of God by His names is invariably made in connection with some particular need of His people, and there can be no need of man to which these names do not answer as showing that man’s true resource is in God. Even human failure and sin but evoke new and fuller revelations of the divine fulness."
In light of these awesome truths about Jehovah Sabaoth the words in Haggai seem very appropriate:
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, "CONSIDER YOUR WAYS! Hag 1:5,7
To summarize, the LORD of hosts, Jehovah Sabaoth is the Name of God we find used in Scripture when a man or woman is at the end of their rope so to speak -- Jehovah Sabaoth is the Strong Tower which God has made available for those times when we fail & are powerless, when our resources are inadequate, when there is no other help. And it is especially during those times that one comes to appreciate that God is truly the LORD of the Armies & of all hosts. In short, Jehovah Sabaoth speaks of God's available power in our time of trouble.
In 1 Samuel 1-2(+) Hannah was barren which was producing bitterness. Faced with impossible odds of having a child after years of infertility, in her brokenness she choose to cry out to the LORD of hosts & after a "face to face" encounter, her "dour" outlook was transformed into a radiant countenance. We find that despite the fact that Jehovah Sabaoth did not at that time grant her request for a son, nevertheless she came away a changed woman. In similar manner, sitting & pouring out one's soul in the presence of the LORD over heaven & earth (Coram Deo - Before the Face of God) can also transform our bleak, even potentially "bitterness producing" outlook brought on by our "barren" (desert-like, fruitless, empty, etc circumstances. So the first way to "run into the tower of Jehovah Sabaoth" is to cry out, seeking first the Greatness of the Giver rather than the gift, a principle echoed by our Lord Jesus (Mt 6:33+)
Richard Mayhue writes that "Jehovah–Sabaoth or LORD Almighty (‘LORD of hosts) refers to God’s command of all His creation, which ensures divine victory over every enemy (Jer 11:20)." (Focus on the Bible: 1 and 2 Thessalonians)
In 1 Samuel 17 (see related more detailed discussion) David was faced with an "immovable force" in the "mountain" of a man (Goliath) with no human hope of victory. However, in his private battles with predators David had experienced deliverance enabled by the power of the LORD. He put into practice the great truth spoken by the LORD of hosts in Zechariah…
This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD of Hosts (Zech 4:6- See Spurgeon's sermon)
T. J. Bach the former director of The Evangelical Alliance Mission alluded to the truth in Zech 4:6 when he said…
The Holy Spirit longs to reveal to you the deeper things of God. He longs to love through you. He longs to work through you. Through the blessed Holy Spirit you may have: strength for every duty, wisdom for every problem, comfort in every sorrow, joy in His overflowing service.
And so in the context of Zechariah 4 (Zech 4:7), the mountains would be made into plains not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of Jehovah Sabaoth. (See Spurgeon's devotional on Zech 4:7)
Not only did David gird his mind (1Pe 1:13-note) with this truth about God, but he held fast to it and stood firm, undeterred by discouraging words from his own family and even words of doubt from King Saul. In short, David wisely rejected man's wisdom (Saul's armor) and instead chose to fix his eyes not on the size of Goliath, but on the size of His God Whom He had grown to trust in the private times of testing. David did not need the armor of man because he was armed with the full armor of God (cp Eph 6:10-note; Eph 6:11-note) Thus David walked out in faith (2Co 5:7), confident that the victory was assured because the battle was not his but the LORD of hosts. -- the battle was not by David's might nor power but by Jehovah's Spirit! This is the pattern of victory for every child of the King. Jettison self reliance and rely wholly on the Holy LORD of Host's supernatural provision of power thru His Spirit. Amen!
A. W. Tozer once said
If God were to take the Holy Spirit out of this world, much of what we’re doing in our churches would go right on, and nobody would know the difference. (Ouch! Are you as convicted as I am?)
Most of our battles as believers are spiritual rather than physical but these OT principles still apply for the victory always belongs to the LORD of hosts and in all these battles we can be certain that we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us (Ro 8:37-note).
Make the wise choice like David to run into the strong tower of Jehovah Sabaoth by trusting in His Spirit, acknowledging that the battle is His so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel (cp same NT principle in Mt 5:16-note)
1 Samuel 4 teaches us how not to run into the Strong Tower of the LORD of hosts (see notes) as we see Israel faced with imminent defeat by the Philistines seek the ark of the covenant as if it were a magical charm rather than seeking the godly counsel of the prophet Samuel & the help of the LORD of hosts. The result was ignominious defeat & capture of the ARK by the Philistines, resulting in the departure of the glory of the LORD (Ichabod = no glory). Clearly there was "sin in the camp" (Eli's sons were worthless men who did not know God, who lay with the women at the doorway of the tent of meeting & who tended the holy ARK!) which undoubtedly explains their defeat. In Proverbs 18:10 God says that it is the righteous man or woman who runs into the Strong Tower of the LORD and can expect His protection &/or deliverance. It was not until 1Samuel 7 (see notes) that Israel repented & sought the LORD, Who then routed the Philistines. The principle is clear: we cannot have unclean hands & an impure heart and expect God to set us securely on high simply because we cry out to His Name. To do so is to be like the elders of Israel who focused on the symbol rather than the Substance.
The question in Psalm 24 is one we can all ask ourselves before we would seek to run into the Strong Tower:
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? & who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands & a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood & has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD & righteousness from the God of his salvation (Ps 24:3, 4, 5) (Spurgeon on V 3, V 4, V 5)
"Thus says Jehovah Sabaoth, 'If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, (what "days"? see context of Zech 8 where Jehovah Sabaoth prophesies that He will return & dwell in the midst of Jerusalem for He is jealous for it ) will it also be too difficult in My sight?' declares the LORD of hosts. (LXX Greek = pantokrator = all powerful)" (Zech 8:6).
Clearly from our present study, the answer to this somewhat rhetorical question is an emphatic "No".
If the LORD of hosts is for us who is against us (cf see note Romans 8:31), so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS (our) HELPER, (we) WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO (us)?" (Heb 13:6note). For whatever is born of God overcomes the world & this is the victory that has overcome the world --our faith. (1Jn 5:4)
And so to know the character of the LORD of hosts is to trust Him & to cast all of our burdens on Him (Ps 55:22 - Spurgeon), for "the people who know their God will display strength & take action." (Da 11:32b)
Faced with a sense of discouragement & spiritual opposition to the rebuilding of God's temple, Jehovah Sabaoth (note repetition in passage below) comes to the aid of the remnant in their moment of need, Haggai recording these words…
"But now take courage, Zerubbabel,' declares Jehovah, 'take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest & all you people of the land take courage,' declares the Jehovah & work for I am with you' declares the Jehovah Sabaoth. (Greek = pantokrator) 5 'As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!' 6 "For thus says Jehovah Sabaoth 'Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. 7 'I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,' says Jehovah Sabaoth. 8 'The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,' declares Jehovah of hosts. 9 'The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,' says Jehovah Sabaoth, 'and in this place I will give peace,' declares Jehovah Sabaoth." (Hag 2:4-9)
In sum, Jehovah Sabaoth is God’s Name for man’s extremity, those times when we have reached our end, finding ourselves impotent, in turmoil, embroiled in real spiritual warfare (which by the way we are always in whether we realize it or not!) and with no other source of help (cp Jehovah Ezer: The LORD our Helper). So meditate deeply on the truths revealed in the magnificent, sufficient Name of Jehovah Sabaoth and you will find that you will be enabled to
(Ponder the Truth in Torrey's Topic "Warfare of saints")
Behold, I am going to send My messenger & he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; & the Messenger of the covenant, (THE MESSIAH) in Whom you delight, behold, He is coming" says Jehovah of hosts (LXX Greek = pantokrator) Malachi 3:1
Martin Luther understood the truth found in the Name the LORD of Sabaoth and expressed them memorably in his great hymn - note especially stanza two and Luther's warning about striving against the world, the flesh & the devil in our OWN strength…
The story of the people of Israel recorded in the Bible is a living demonstration of the fact that the Lord does win the battle, that He is sovereign in all things. You cannot read the records of the past without seeing the hand of the LORD of Hosts at work in the events of history ("His-Story").
Click the following hymns to celebrate the glory and power in God's Name, the LORD of hosts, a Name which assures that "in all… things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him Who loved us." (Romans 8:37 note)
O Lord of Hosts, to Thee I Cry
In Heav’n above, in Heav’n above,
“Lord, Thy glory fills the heaven,
Psalm 46 gives us a great picture of the attitude and action (instead of our all too frequent "reaction"!) that believers should be able to manifest if they truly appropriate the truth inherent in the great Name, Jehovah Sabaoth, LORD of hosts. Notice the command in verse 10 and then the firm foundation in verse 11 that "activates" the commands (in red) (God's commandments always include His enablements!)…
Cease striving (KJV - Be Still) and know (knowledge is not to puff us up but to renew our mind to think rightly of our great God and motivate right behavior) that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 11 The LORD of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (see note)
J M Boice on “the LORD of Hosts, Jehovah Sabaoth…
Barnhouse has a note on "Be Still"…
Inspired by God's words in Psalm 46:10 Katharina A. von Schlegel wrote the great hymn below (take a moment and read the great words and then sing them back to the Lord, asking Him to make these truths about His character true in your experience not just your knowledge)…
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
1 Sam. 1:3; 1 Sam. 1:11; 1 Sam. 4:4; 1 Sam. 15:2; 1 Sam. 17:45; 2 Sam. 6:2; 2 Sam. 6:18; 2 Sam. 7:8; 2 Sam. 7:26; 2 Sam. 7:27; 1 Ki. 18:15; 2 Ki. 3:14; 1 Chr. 11:9; 1 Chr. 17:7; 1 Chr. 17:24; Ps. 24:10; Ps. 46:7; Ps. 46:11; Ps. 48:8; Ps. 84:1; Ps. 84:3; Ps. 84:12;
Isaiah - Isa. 1:9; Isa. 2:12; Isa. 5:7; Isa. 5:9; Isa. 5:16; Isa. 5:24; Isa. 6:3; Isa. 6:5; Isa. 8:13; Isa. 8:18; Isa. 9:7; Isa. 9:13; Isa. 9:19; Isa. 10:26; Isa. 13:4; Isa. 13:13; Isa. 14:22; Isa. 14:23; Isa. 14:24; Isa. 14:27; Isa. 17:3; Isa. 18:7; Isa. 19:12; Isa. 19:16; Isa. 19:17; Isa. 19:18; Isa. 19:20; Isa. 19:25; Isa. 21:10; Isa. 22:14; Isa. 22:25; Isa. 23:9; Isa. 24:23; Isa. 25:6; Isa. 28:5; Isa. 28:29; Isa. 29:6; Isa. 31:4; Isa. 31:5; Isa. 37:16; Isa. 37:32; Isa. 39:5; Isa. 44:6; Isa. 45:13; Isa. 47:4; Isa. 48:2; Isa. 51:15; Isa. 54:5;
Jeremiah - Jer. 6:6; Jer. 6:9; Jer. 7:3; Jer. 7:21; Jer. 8:3; Jer. 9:7; Jer. 9:15; Jer. 9:17; Jer. 10:16; Jer. 11:17; Jer. 11:20; Jer. 11:22; Jer. 16:9; Jer. 19:3; Jer. 19:11; Jer. 19:15; Jer. 20:12; Jer. 23:15; Jer. 23:16; Jer. 23:36; Jer. 25:8; Jer. 25:27; Jer. 25:28; Jer. 25:29; Jer. 25:32; Jer. 26:18; Jer. 27:4; Jer. 27:18; Jer. 27:19; Jer. 27:21; Jer. 28:2; Jer. 28:14; Jer. 29:4; Jer. 29:8; Jer. 29:17; Jer. 29:21; Jer. 29:25; Jer. 30:8; Jer. 31:23; Jer. 31:35; Jer. 32:14; Jer. 32:15; Jer. 32:18; Jer. 33:11; Jer. 33:12; Jer. 35:13; Jer. 35:18; Jer. 35:19; Jer. 39:16; Jer. 42:15; Jer. 42:18; Jer. 43:10; Jer. 44:2; Jer. 44:11; Jer. 44:25; Jer. 46:18; Jer. 46:25; Jer. 48:1; Jer. 48:15; Jer. 49:7; Jer. 49:26; Jer. 49:35; Jer. 50:18; Jer. 50:33; Jer. 50:34; Jer. 51:5; Jer. 51:14; Jer. 51:19; Jer. 51:33; Jer. 51:57; Jer. 51:58;
Mic. 4:4; Nah. 2:13; Nah. 3:5; Hab. 2:13; Zeph. 2:9; Zeph. 2:10; Hag. 1:2; Hag. 1:5; Hag. 1:7; Hag. 1:9; Hag. 1:14; Hag. 2:4; Hag. 2:6; Hag. 2:7; Hag. 2:8; Hag. 2:9; Hag. 2:11; Hag. 2:23;
Zechariah - Zech. 1:3; Zech. 1:4; Zech. 1:6; Zech. 1:12; Zech. 1:14; Zech. 1:16; Zech. 1:17; Zech. 2:8; Zech. 2:9; Zech. 2:11; Zech. 3:7; Zech. 3:9; Zech. 3:10; Zech. 4:6; Zech. 4:9; Zech. 5:4; Zech. 6:12; Zech. 6:15; Zech. 7:3; Zech. 7:4; Zech. 7:9; Zech. 7:12; Zech. 7:13; Zech. 8:1; Zech. 8:2; Zech. 8:3; Zech. 8:4; Zech. 8:6; Zech. 8:7; Zech. 8:9; Zech. 8:11; Zech. 8:14; Zech. 8:18; Zech. 8:19; Zech. 8:20; Zech. 8:21; Zech. 8:22; Zech. 8:23; Zech. 9:15; Zech. 10:3; Zech. 12:5; Zech. 13:2; Zech. 13:7; Zech. 14:16; Zech. 14:17; Zech. 14:21;
Malachi - Mal. 1:4; Mal. 1:6; Mal. 1:8; Mal. 1:9; Mal. 1:10; Mal. 1:11; Mal. 1:13; Mal. 1:14; Mal. 2:2; Mal. 2:4; Mal. 2:7; Mal. 2:8; Mal. 2:12; Mal. 2:16; Mal. 3:1; Mal. 3:5; Mal. 3:7; Mal. 3:10; Mal. 3:11; Mal. 3:12; Mal. 3:14; Mal. 3:17; Mal. 4:1; Mal. 4:3
God of hosts - 45x in 44v
2 Sam. 5:10; 1 Ki. 19:10; 1 Ki. 19:14; Ps. 59:5; Ps. 69:6; Ps. 80:4; Ps. 80:7; Ps. 80:14; Ps. 80:19; Ps. 84:8; Ps. 89:8; Isa. 1:24; Isa. 3:1; Isa. 3:15; Isa. 10:16; Isa. 10:23; Isa. 10:24; Isa. 10:33; Isa. 19:4; Isa. 22:5; Isa. 22:12; Isa. 22:14; Isa. 22:15; Isa. 28:22; Jer. 2:19; Jer. 5:14; Jer. 15:16; Jer. 35:17; Jer. 38:17; Jer. 44:7; Jer. 46:10; Jer. 49:5; Jer. 50:25; Jer. 50:31; Hos. 12:5; Amos 3:13; Amos 4:13; Amos 5:14; Amos 5:15; Amos 5:16; Amos 5:27; Amos 6:8; Amos 6:14; Amos 9:5
LORD God of hosts - 34x in 33v
2 Sam. 5:10; Ps. 59:5; Ps. 69:6; Ps. 80:4; Ps. 80:19; Ps. 84:8; Ps. 89:8; Isa. 1:24; Isa. 3:1; Isa. 3:15; Isa. 10:23; Isa. 10:24; Isa. 19:4; Isa. 22:5; Isa. 22:12; Isa. 22:14; Isa. 22:15; Isa. 28:22; Jer. 2:19; Jer. 15:16; Jer. 38:17; Jer. 44:7; Jer. 46:10; Jer. 49:5; Jer. 50:25; Jer. 50:31; Amos 4:13; Amos 5:14; Amos 5:15; Amos 5:16; Amos 6:8; Amos 6:14; Amos 9:5
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament offers an interesting note on another meaning of "tsaba (see more complete discussion below)" writing that "It has also a wider use in the sense of rendering service. Interestingly four uses have to do with the work of the Levites in the tent of meeting (Nu 4:23, 8:24). No doubt service for Yahweh is seen as involving total dedication and careful regimentation, and since God is Yahweh of hosts, enthroned between the cherubim housed inside the tent of meeting, work associated with the tent may be considered spiritual war. In Exodus 38:8 and 1Samuel 2:22 a participle refers to the women who ministered at the door of the tent of meeting." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. page 750. Moody Press) (Bolding added)
MacArthur writes that hosts "Hosts can refer to human armies (Ex. 7:4), celestial bodies (Deut. 4:19), or heavenly creatures (Josh. 5:14). This title emphasizes the Lord as sovereign over all of the powers in heaven and on earth, especially over the armies of Israel."
Wiersbe writes that "This is the “military” name of God, for “hosts” comes from a Hebrew word which means “to wage war.” The Lord is the Commander of the hosts and heaven: the stars (Is. 40:26; Gen. 2:1), the angels (Ps. 103:20, 21), the armies of Israel (Ex. 12:41), and all who trust in Him (Ps. 46:7, 11)."
In Jeremiah, God tells His prophet to buy some land (even in the face of the Babylonian invasion of the land!). The prophet is faced with what to a natural man would be a foolish request, as if God were calling on Jeremiah to throw away his money! And yet in the context of these dark days and human impossible odds, we find that it is the LORD of hosts Who Himself serves as the "seal" assuring Jeremiah that his obedience to purchase land in the face of Judah's sure defeat by Babylon would not prove foolish. Jeremiah writes…
And I assigned and sealed the deed, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 “Then I took the deeds of purchase, both the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; 12 and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the sight of Hanamel my uncle’s son, and in the sight of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, before all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 “And I commanded Baruch in their presence, saying, 14 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Take these deeds, this sealed deed of purchase, and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, that they may last a long time.” 15 ‘For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.”‘ (Jer 32:10–15-see in depth commentary)
James Hastings has this note on childless Hannah's prayer for a child and her appeal to Jehovah Sabaoth (the first use of Jehovah Sabaoth in Scripture = 1Sa 1:3, 11) "She addresses Him as the “Lord of Hosts” (Jehovah-Sabaoth)—the first time this afterwards familiar name is found on the page of Scripture. She calls on Him, that is to say, as the Lord who rules in heaven and earth; who leads out the hosts of heaven, the stars, by number; who sends the hosts who dwell in heaven, the angels, upon His errands; who, as the Lord of Sabaoth among men too, can do His will, as in heaven, so also among the inhabitants of earth. If such a God as this will but speak the word, Hannah knows that all things are possible with Him. She has every confidence that He can grant her the desire of her heart. (The Greater Men and Women of the Bible: Ruth–Naaman).
Matthew Henry adds: Probably Samuel the prophet was the first that used this title of God, for the comfort of Israel, when in his time their hosts were few and feeble and those of their enemies many and mighty; then it would be a support to them to think that the God they served was LORD of hosts, of all the hosts both of heaven and earth; of them He has a sovereign command, and makes what use He pleases of them.
James uses Jehovah Sabaoth, to warn the rich who had gained some of their wealth by oppressing and defrauding their day laborers…
Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. (James 5:4+)
The Lord Almighty, the omnipotent sovereign, is not oblivious to injustice. James reminds the rich who think the poor have no protector, that the Lord of the whole hosts in heaven and earth is the guardian and avenger of the latter.
William MacDonald comments that "The laborers who mowed the fields were deprived of their rightful pay. Though the workers might protest, they were quite helpless to get redress. They had no one on earth to plead their cause successfully. However, their cries were heard by the Lord of Sabaoth (Hebrew for “hosts”). He who commands the armies of heaven is strong on behalf of earth’s downtrodden masses. The Lord God Omnipotent will help and avenge them. (Believer's Bible Commentary)
MacDonald also comments on Peter's quote in 1Pe 3:15 as evidence of Jesus as Jehovah Sabaoth: In the last part of verse 14 and in this verse, Peter quotes from Isaiah 8:12, 13, which says: “Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” Someone has said, “We fear God so little because we fear man so much.” The Isaiah passage speaks of The LORD of hosts as the One to be reverenced. Quoting it, Peter by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says, sanctify the Lord God in your hearts ( The NU text reads “Christ as Lord” for “the Lord God.” This would suggest that the Christ of the NT is the Jehovah Sabaoth of the OT). (Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Tom Constable commenting on (James 5:4+) writes that "The title “Lord of Sabaoth” (lit. Lord of Hosts, i.e., Lord Almighty; cf. Is 5:9; Ro 9:29) emphasizes the sovereign omnipotence of God. Although the oppressed may appear to have no defenders on earth, they have as their helper the Lord God omnipotent in heaven." (Tom Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible)
Matthew Henry commenting on James writes that "God is… the Lord of Sabaoth, that is, the Lord of hosts—a Hebrew word retained in the Greek, as James 5:4. All the host of heaven and earth are at his beck and disposal. (Ed note: and Jehovah of hosts is always open to our cry for help… What a mighty God we serve!) (Henry, M. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible) (Bolding added)
Eerdmans writes that LORD of hosts and LORD God of hosts "describe Yahweh as both divine Warrior and divine King, with “hosts” referring to both earthly (e.g., the Israelites or their armies) and cosmic forces (celestial bodies or angels). In 1Sa 1:3 it is associated with the shrine at Shiloh. During Israelite conflict with the Philistines it is paralleled with “the God of the armies” (1Sa 17:45), demonstrating, initially, a very militaristic understanding of the title.
Question: "What does the Bible mean when it calls God the ‘LORD of hosts’?"
Answer: The name “LORD of hosts” occurs some 261 times in the Old Testament Scriptures. God is first called the “LORD of hosts” in 1 Samuel 1:3. The word LORD, capitalized, refers to Yahweh, the self-existent, redemptive God. The word hosts is a translation of the Hebrew word sabaoth, meaning “armies”—a reference to the angelic armies of heaven. Thus, another way of saying “LORD of hosts” is “God of the armies of heaven.” The NIV translates YHWH saboath as “LORD Almighty.”
This name for God first appears at the close of the period of the judges. In the same sentence as “LORD of hosts” is a reference to Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. The Ark symbolized Yahweh’s rulership, among other things, for He sits enthroned above the cherubim (1 Samuel 4:4; Psalm 99:1). Some have suggested that ”LORD of hosts” reaffirms that God is the true Leader of Israel’s armies, in spite of the low spiritual condition of the nation of Israel at the time of the judges. In 1 Samuel 17:45, as part of his pre-fight verbal sparring with Goliath, David invokes this name of God. In doing so, David was claiming that God is the universal ruler over every force whether in heaven or on earth.
Soon after David’s defeat of Goliath, Israel would enter the international scene. It was necessary for the nation to realize that Yahweh was King even of the many other mighty nations. This kingship of the LORD of hosts is vividly expressed in Psalm 24:10: “Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!” (ESV). He is the glorious King of Israel, and Zechariah 14:9 tells us that He will be King of the world, over all the kingdoms of the earth (cf. Isaiah 37:16).
Eventually, Yahweh of armies will put down all rebellion (Isaiah 24:21–23) and establish His Kingdom from Mt. Zion (Isaiah 31:4–5; 34:12). As the LORD of hosts, God is the all-powerful Ruler over the entire universe. All power and authority are His. He alone intervenes to provide victory for His people. He alone brings world peace. At the same time, He is available to hear the prayers of His people (Psalm 80:19). There is no other God like this.
The sovereign LORD of hosts has the grace to always be there for the one who comes to Him through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The King of glory, who commands the armies of heaven and who will eventually defeat all His enemies in this world, is none other than Jesus Christ. He is the LORD of hosts (Revelation 19:11–20). (Gotquestions.org)
Warren Wiersbe wrote that…
“The tumult and the shouting dies—
The captains and the kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient Sacrifice
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!”
—Rudyard Kipling, “Recessional”
Kipling’s “Recessional” was published in 1897 when Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee was celebrated in Great Britain. The poem was a quiet warning to the British people to beware of overconfidence in their hour of imperial glory. (in Be Decisive)
The British expositor G. Campbell Morgan told of visiting some elderly sisters when he was a young pastor and reading Matthew 28:18, 19, 20 as part of his ministry to them. The phrase “Lo, I am with you always” struck Morgan with power and he said, “Isn’t that a wonderful promise!” One of the ladies replied, “Young man, that isn’t a promise—it’s a reality!” How true! “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Ps. 46:7, 11). (Be Equipped)
Zechariah uses the title “Lord of hosts” thirty-seven times and Malachi twenty-three times. Why should the little Jewish remnant fear the Gentile armies around them when the Lord of Armies is their Savior and Commander? (Be Heroic) (Ed: And why should believers today be fearful for He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Amen!
“Hosts” means “armies,” and this can mean the stars (Is. 40:26), the angels (Ps. 103:20–21), the nation of Israel (Ex. 12:41), or all believers who belong to the army of Christ (2 Ti 2:3, 4; 2Cor. 10:3, 4, 5, 6; Eph. 6:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18). (Be Worshipful).
Zechariah’s favorite name for God is “Lord of Hosts”—the Lord of the armies (see above) (Ed: LORD of hosts is also Isaiah's favorite name for God). He sees the Lord coming to defeat Israel’s enemies and establish Jerusalem in peace and glory. To interpret these magnificent prophecies as referring to the church today is to rob this book of meaning and power (Ed: See related discussion Israel of God). Certainly there are spiritual applications for all ages, but the basic interpretation must be for the Jewish nation and Jerusalem. (Wiersbe, W. W. Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
The Prophet Isaiah warned him against ungodly alliances and urged him to trust God for deliverance. “Sanctify the Lord of hosts [armies] Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread” (Is 8:13). (The Bible Exposition Commentary)
NET Bible Notes - "the LORD Who commands armies" “LORD Who rules over all”
The title “LORD of hosts” here pictures the LORD as a mighty warrior-king who leads armies into battle (see Ps 24:10; 46:7, 11). The title pictures God as the sovereign king who has at his disposal a multitude of attendants, messengers, and warriors to do his bidding. In some contexts, like this one, the military dimension of his rulership is highlighted. In this case, the title pictures him as one who leads armies into battle against his enemies.
“The Lord Yahweh, [the God of] hosts.” The title “the LORD who rules over all” is a way of rendering the title “Yahweh of armies.” It is an abbreviation of a longer title “Yahweh the God of armies” which occurs five times in Jeremiah (see, e.g., Jer 44:7). The abbreviated title occurs seventy-seven times in the book of Jeremiah. On thirty-two occasions it is further qualified by the title “the God of Israel,” showing His special relation to Israel (See related discussion of "God of Israel"). On six occasions it is preceded by the title “Lord” (see, e.g., Jer 46:10) and twice it is preceded by the title “the King” (see, e.g., Jer 51:57). Both titles emphasize His Sovereignty. Twice it is said that He is the maker of all things (Jer 10:16; 51:19), and once it is said that He made the earth and the people and animals on it and gives them into the control of whomever he wishes (Jer 27:4–5). On two occasions it is emphasized that He also made the heavenly elements and controls the natural elements of wind, rain, thunder, and hail (Jer 31:35; 51:14-16). All this is consistent with usage elsewhere where the “armies” over which He has charge are identified as
(1) The angels which surround His throne (Isa 6:3, 5; 1Ki 22:19) and which he sends to protect His servants (2Ki 6:17),
(2) The natural forces of thunder, rain, and hail (Isa 29:6; Josh 10:11; Jdg 5:4, 5) through which he sends the enemy into panic and “gums” up their chariot wheels,
(3) The armies of Israel (1Sa 17:45) which he leads into battle (Num 10:34–35; Josh 5:14, 15) and for whom he fights as a mighty warrior (Ex 15:3; Isa 42:13; Ps 24:8), and even
(4) The armies of the nations which he musters against his disobedient people (Isa 13:14).
This title is most commonly found in the messenger formula “Thus says…” introducing both oracles of judgment (on Israel [e.g., Jer 9:7, 15] and on the nations [e.g. Jer 46:19; 50:18]; and see in general Jer 25:29–32). It emphasizes His sovereignty as the King and Creator, the Lord of creation and of history, and the just Judge Who sees and knows all (Jer 11:20; 20:12) and judges each person and nation according to their actions (Jer 32:18–19, cp Jer 17:10). In the first instance (in the most dominant usage) this will involve the punishment of His own people through the agency of the Babylonians (cf., e.g., Jer 25:8–9). But it will also include the punishment of all nations, including Babylon itself (cf. Jer 25:17–26, 32–38), and will ultimately result in the restoration of His people and a new relation with them (Jer 30:8; 31:35-37). (Ed: Referring to the Millennium)(NET Note)
Elmer Towns refers to this as the "Militant Name of God"…
The term “host” means army or other organized group; and the term “angels” means messengers. Thus, when God is described as “the LORD of the angels,” it implies that He carries out His will by means of angels or messengers. Jehovah Sabaoth is the God of angelic hosts who carry out His will.
One task of angels is to transport people into the presence of God at death. To be “absent from the body” is to be “present with the Lord” (2Cor 5:8), and God uses angels to usher the dead into His presence (Luke 16:22). We should not fear death, because God is Jehovah Sabaoth, the God of the angels who accompany the dead to His bosom…
1. Jehovah Sabaoth brings heavenly power to the aid of His children. This name, the LORD of Hosts, indicates the power with which God will help His children. When Israel came to the Promised Land, and their leader Joshua approached Jericho, he wondered how he could take such a city. On an observation trip, he saw a stranger standing before him. Joshua asked, “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” The reply came, “Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come” (Josh 5:13,14). Note that the Lord came to Joshua as Captain of the Hosts in his hour of need to encourage him. While not bearing the name Jehovah Sabaoth, it was the same Person who helped. Some commentators believe that this was a Christophany—that the One who appeared to Joshua in his time of need was Jesus Christ Himself.
2. The LORD of Hosts rules the armies of heaven so they will obey His will. The Lord has hosts who will not-only fight for Him, they will obey His command. One of the difficulties in an army is getting the average soldier to obey. Sometimes threats of death, court martial or physical torture are used to get him to do so. But the LORD of Hosts has an army that obeys. There is no evidence of His having to punish the armies of heaven, because His angels carry out His will. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them, who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14).
How many are in the army of the LORD of Hosts? Jesus said on one occasion, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). Beyond this number, the writer of Hebrews referred to “an innumerable company of angels” (Heb 12:22)-so many that they could not be numbered. The apostle John wrote in Revelation 5:11 that there were in excess of 2 million angels in heaven. This large group could not function efficiently without organization or a leader. The various groups of angels identified in Scripture all have their duty and their rank-and they obey their Leader.
3. The Lord will allow His faithless people to be defeated. There are two wrong ideas that Christians have about problems. First, some have the mistaken idea that being a Christian relieves them from problems and attacks. But a Christian will have pressures in life. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (Jas 1:2NKJV). Note that James does not say if trials come, but when.
The second mistaken idea is that being a Christian automatically gives one the victory over all attacks. Old Testament Israel apparently had that idea. They felt that no enemy could defeat them because they had the presence of Jehovah in the Temple. They treated God like a rabbit's foot—as long as the Temple or the Ark was around, they could not be defeated. However, their sins of legalism, pride and selfish arrogance led to deeper sins of idolatry, adultery and even the sacrifice of their children in fiery holocaust.
The LORD of Hosts who would have defended Israel sat on the sidelines instead, and allowed heathen nations to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, then rape the women, slaughter many of its population and take a large number of the people into exile (see 2Kings 25; 2Chr. 36:17; Zech. 14:2). God would have been honored by a victory against Israel's enemies, as a judgment of their enemies' sins. But the LORD of Hosts is also honored by the defeat of His people as judgment against their own sins. God does not enjoy the suffering of His people, but at times He allows it. Even then, His holiness is vindicated. ( My Father's Names - Elmer Towns)
C I Scofield - Sabaoth means simply host or hosts, but with especial reference to warfare or service. In use the two ideas are united; Jehovah is LORD of (warrior) hosts. It is the name, therefore, of Jehovah in manifestation of power. “The LORD of Hosts, He is the King of glory” (Psa. 24:10), and accordingly in Old Testament Scripture this name is revealed in the time of Israel’s need. It is never found in the Pentateuch, nor directly in Joshua or Judges, and occurs but rarely in the Psalms; but Jeremiah, the prophet of approaching national judgment, uses the name about eighty times. Haggai in two chapters uses the name fourteen times; Zechariah in fourteen chapters calls upon the LORD of hosts about fifty times. In Malachi the name occurs about twenty-five times. In the utmost extremity, the Psalmist twice comforts his heart with the assurance “the LORD of hosts is with us” (Ps 46:7, 11). The meanings and uses of this name may be thus summarized: (1) The “hosts” are heavenly. Primarily the angels are meant, but the name gathers into itself the idea of all divine or heavenly power as available for the need of God’s people (Gen. 32:1, 2; Isa. 6:1–5; 1Ki. 22:19; Lk. 2:13–15). (2) In use this is the distinctive name of Deity for Israel’s help and comfort in the time of her division and failure (1Ki. 18:15.; 19:14; Isa. 1:9; 8:11-14; 9:13-19; 10:24-27; 31:4, 5; Hag 2:4; Mal 3:16, 17; Jas. 5:4). (Scofield's Note on 1Samuel 1:3)
Bill Bright - Facing the Philistine army, the Israelites were terrified and demoralized as each day, the giant Goliath hurled insults at them and their God. He challenged them to find a champion who would fight him—winner take all. No one dared to confront Goliath. But then David, a small shepherd boy, stepped forward. He would fight Goliath in the name of Jehovah-Sabaoth. David was confident that “the Lord of hosts” would conquer the giant and deliver Israel from the Philistines. He shot a stone from his sling and Goliath came crashing down. Jehovah-Sabaoth also comes to our aid when we are in a personal crisis. For years, Hannah had been ridiculed for being barren. She pleaded with Jehovah-Sabaoth to give her a child, and the prophet Samuel was born (1 Sam. 1). Jehovah-Sabaoth still answers the cries of those who are hopelessly overpowered by foes or circumstances. He is the great Protector, Deliverer, and Enforcer of justice. Whatever crisis you may be experiencing, cry out to Jehovah-Sabaoth, who can deliver you. (God: Knowing Him by His Names)
Lange's Commentary - The name, which is not used in the Torah, is the usual one in the spiritual conflicts of Israel against heathenism, which were fought by the prophets.
Joel who lives in Jerusalem writes…
I don’t have to tell you that the situation between Jews and Arabs is very bad, and that is especially true here in Israel. Many Arabs live in my neighborhood, and because I speak Arabic, I have contact with them and try to extend friendship to them.
I recently had a very interesting encounter with five young Arab students from Ramallah University. Their love for the Jews is like the love of a dog for a cat, but, as we say here in Israel, a barking dog never bites. I could immediately sense their blind hatred for Jews and the nation of Israel.
I met them in their village, which is near my home, and the first thing they said was, “Aren’t you afraid to be here?” “No!” I replied. One of them asked, “Don’t you realize that there are many more Arabs in this neighborhood than Jews?” I responded, “In 1948 there were only half a million Jews in all of Israel, and the Arabs in the surrounding countries were more numerous than the sand upon the seashore, but we were victorious. I do not fear you because I have put my trust in the Lord of Hosts, Jehovah Sabaoth, and it is He who fights our wars for us. Therefore I do not worry.” ("Joel of Jerusalem in Israel My Glory: Volume 48 Issue 5)
Hosts are against us, but the Lord of hosts is with us. We dare not budge an inch, for the Lord Himself holds us in our place, and there we will abide forever.
This was the doctrine on which the brave old Ironsides fed—the men who, when they rode to battle with the war cry of “The Lord of Hosts!” made the cavaliers fly before them like chaff before the wind. There is no doctrine like it for putting a backbone into a man and making him feel that he is made for something better than to be trodden down like straw for the dunghill beneath a despot’s heel. Sneer whoever will, the elect of God derive a nobility from the divine choice that no royal lineage can outshine. (Grace, God's Unmerited Favor)
But where is the might of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His might lieth in the Lord of Hosts. (Ed: Cp Zech 4:6, 7) Then let us seek His help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our “hand findeth to do,” let us wait upon the Lord for His blessing. What we do thus will be well done, and will not fail in its effect. (Morning and evening)
How encouraging this is to those who are at one with God? If He be on our side, who shall be against us? “The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” We ought to be of the same mind as that believing woman who, during an earthquake, was observed to be very happy. Everybody else was afraid–houses were falling, towers were rocking, but she smiled; and when they asked her why, she replied, “I am so glad to find that my God can shake the world; I believed He could, and now I see that He can.” Be glad that you have One to trust in to whom nothing is impossible, who can and will achieve His purposes. My heart feels that she would give Him the power if He had it not, and if it were all mine. I would leave all power in His hands even if I could remove it. “Great God, reign Thou supremely, for there is none like unto Thee.” “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.” (Sovereign Grace Sermons)
If you are indeed soldiers of such a Captain, throw fear to the winds. Can you be cowards when the Lord of Hosts leads you? Dare you tremble when at your head is the Wonderful, the Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Is 9:6)? The trumpet is already at the lip of the archangel; who will not act like a man? The great drum that makes the universe to throb summons you to action.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner;
It must not suffer loss.
Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not neither be dismayed.”
IN the presence of a great work or a great warfare, here is a text which should help us to buckle on our harness. If Jehovah Himself goes before us, it must be safe to follow. Who can obstruct our progress if the Lord Himself is in the van? Come, brother soldiers, let us make a prompt advance! Why do we hesitate to pass on to victory?
Nor is the Lord before us only; He is with us. Above, beneath, around, within is the omnipotent, omnipresent One. In all time, even to eternity, He will be with us even as He has been. How this should nerve our arm! Dash at it boldly, ye soldiers of the cross, for the Lord of hosts is with us!
Being before us and with us, He will never withdraw His help. He cannot fail in Himself, and He will not fail toward us. He will continue to help us according to our need, even to the end. As He cannot fail us, so He will not forsake us. He will always be both able and willing to grant us strength and succor till fighting days are gone.
Let us not fear nor be dismayed; for the Lord of hosts will go down to the battle with us, will bear the brunt of the fight, and give us the victory. (Faith's Checkbook)
AT this hour a mountain of difficulty, distress, or necessity may be in our way, and natural reason sees no path over it, or through it, or round it. Let faith come in, and straightaway the mountain disappears and becomes a plain. But faith must first hear the word of the Lord, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” This grand truth is a prime necessity for meeting the insurmountable trials of life.
I see that I can do nothing, and that all reliance on man is vanity. “Not by might.” I see that no visible means can be relied on, but the force is in the invisible Spirit. God alone must work, and men and means must be nothing accounted of. If it be so that the Almighty God takes up the concerns of His people, then great mountains are nothing. He can remove worlds as boys toss balls about or drive them with their foot. This power He can lend to me. If the Lord bids me move an Alp, I can do it through His name. It may be a great mountain, but even before my feebleness it shall become a plain, for the Lord hath said it. What can I be afraid of with God on my side? (Faith's Checkbook)
Joshua 1:5 I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
THIS word to Joshua is often quoted; it is the basis of that New Testament word, “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Beloved, a life of warfare is before us,
but the Lord of Hosts is with us.
Are we called to lead a great but fickle people? This promise guarantees us all the wisdom and prudence that we shall need. Have we to contend with cunning and powerful enemies? Here is strength and valor, prowess and victory. Have we a vast heritage to win? By this sign we shall achieve our purpose: the Lord Himself is with us.
It would be woe to us indeed if Jehovah could fail us but, as this can never be, the winds of disquietude are laid to sleep in the caverns of divine faithfulness. On no one occasion will the Lord desert us. Happen what may, He will be at our side. Friends drop from us; their help is but an April shower. But God is faithful, Jesus is the same forever, and the Holy Spirit abideth in us.
Come, my heart, be calm and hopeful today. Clouds may gather, but the Lord can blow them away. Since God will not fail me, my faith shall not fail, and, as He will not forsake me neither will I forsake Him. Oh, for a restful faith! (Faith's Checkbook)
Joshua 17:18 Thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.
IT is a great encouragement to valor to be assured of victory, for then a man goes forth to war in confidence and ventures where else he had been afraid to go. Our warfare is with evil within us and around us, and we ought to be persuaded that we are able to get the victory, and that we shall do so in the name of the Lord Jesus. We are not riding for a fall, but to win; and win we shall. The grace of God in its omnipotence is put forth for the overflow of evil in every form, hence the certainty of triumph.
Certain of our sins find chariots of iron in our constitution—our former habits, our associations, and our occupations. Nevertheless we must overcome them. They are very strong, and in reference to them, we are very weak; yet in the name of God we must master them, and we will. If one sin has dominion of us, we are not the Lord’s free men. A man who is held by only one chain is still a captive. There is no going to heaven with one sin ruling within us, for of the saints it is said,
“Sin shall not have dominion over you.”
Up, then, and slay every Canaanite, and break to shivers every chariot of iron!
The Lord of hosts is with us, and who shall resist His sin-destroying power? (Faith's Checkbook)
Psalms 84:12 O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in Thee!
Spurgeon comments: Here is the key of the Psalm. The worship is that of faith, and the blessedness is peculiar to believers. No formal worshipper can enter into this secret. A man must know the Lord by the life of real faith, or he can have no true rejoicing in the Lord's worship, his house, his Son, or his ways. Dear reader, how fares it with thy soul? The one thing that makes man blessed. Trust in God. Blessed, etc. - For all things; at all times; in all circumstances.
The Blessing contained in that one thing. God himself becomes ours; His mercy for our pardon; His power for our protection; His wisdom for our guidance; His faithfulness for our preservation; His all sufficiency for our supply. The certainty of the blessing. From David's own experience; from the solemn appeal to God respecting it. O Lord God of hosts, etc. G. R.
Psalm 24:10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.
The closing note is inexpressibly grand. Jehovah of hosts, Lord of men and angels, Lord of the universe, Lord of the worlds, is the King of glory. All true glory is concentrated upon the true God, for all other glory is but a passing pageant, the painted pomp of an hour. The ascended Saviour is here declared to be the Head and Crown of the universe, the King of Glory. Our Immanuel is hymned in most sublime strains. Jesus of Nazareth is Jehovah Sabaoth.
Jamieson adds: Lord God of hosts (Ho 12:5 Amos 4:13), describes God by a title indicative of supremacy over all creatures, and especially the heavenly armies (Jos 5:14 1Ki 22:19). Whether, as some think, the actual enlargement of the ancient gates of Jerusalem be the basis of the figure, the effect of the whole is to impress us with a conception of the matchless majesty of God.
Alexander Maclaren on Psalm 24:10…
Notice the historical and original application of these words to the King who dwelt with Israel. The thought of God in these words is mainly that of a God of strong and victorious energy, a Warrior-God, a conquering King, One whose word is power, who rules amidst the armies of heaven and amidst the inhabitants of earth…
‘the Lord of Hosts,’ the Captain of all the armies of heaven and earth. In that name is the thought to which the modern world is coming so slowly by scientific paths, that all being is one ordered whole, subject to the authority of one Lord. And in addition to that, the grander thought, that the unity of nature is the will of God; and that as the Commander issues His orders over all the field, so He speaks and it is done. The hosts are the angels of whom it is said: ‘Bless the Lord all ye His hosts; ye ministers of His that do His pleasure.’ The hosts are the stars that fill the nightly heavens, of whom it is said, ‘He bringeth out their host by number.’ The hosts are all creatures that live and are; and all are the soldiers and servants of this conquering King. Such is the name of the Lord that dwelt with Israel, the great conception that rises before this Psalmist.
A W Tozer in his book Knowledge of the Holy has the following thoughts related to The LORD of hosts, the King of glory…
When viewed from the perspective of eternity, the most critical need of this hour may well be that the Church should be brought back from her long Babylonian captivity and the name of God be glorified in her again as of old. Yet we must not think of the Church as an anonymous body, a mystical religious abstraction. We Christians are the Church and whatever we do is what the Church is doing. The matter, therefore, is for each of us a personal one. Any forward step in the Church must begin with the individual.
What can we plain Christians do to bring back the departed glory? Is there some secret we may learn? Is there a formula for personal revival we can apply to the present situation, to our own situation? The answer to these questions is yes…
The secret is an open one which the wayfaring man may read. It is simply the old and ever-new counsel: Acquaint thyself with God. To regain her lost power the Church must see heaven opened and have a transforming vision of God.
Psalms 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
The Lord of hosts is with us. This is the reason for all Zion's security, and for the overthrow of her foes. The Lord rules the angels, the stars, the elements, and all the hosts of heaven; and the heaven of heavens are under his sway. The armies of men though they know it not are made to subserve His will. This Generalissimo of the forces of the land, and the Lord High Admiral of the seas, is on our side -- our august ally; woe unto those who fight against Him, for they shall fly like smoke before the wind when He gives the word to scatter them. The God of Jacob is our refuge, Immanuel is Jehovah of Hosts (Ed: Jesus is LORD of hosts!), and Jacob's God is our high place of defence. When this glad verse is sung to music worthy of such a jubilate, well may the singers pause and the players wait awhile to tune their instruments again; here, therefore, fitly stands that solemn, stately, peaceful note of rest, SELAH.
Spurgeon: The grace of God that brings salvation from sin has flashed forth conspicuously like the lightning which is seen from one part of the heaven to the other, and our victory over darkness is insured. However hard the conflict with evil, it is not desperate. We may hope on and hope ever.
Spurgeon told a story related to this passage: You have been working for Christ, dear brother, and have fallen into a very low state of heart, so that you cry, “Hath God forgotten to be gracious?” I know what state you are in. You say, “I do not feel as if I could preach; the matter does not flow. I do not feel as if I could teach; I search for instruction, and the more I pull the more I cannot get it.” “Hath God forgotten to be gracious?” Can he not fill your empty vessel again? Can he not give you stores of thought, emotion, and language? He has used you; can he not do so again? “Ah, but my friends have gone; I am in a village from which the people remove to London, and I lose my best helpers.” Or, perhaps you say, “I work in a back street, and everybody is moving out into the suburbs.” You have lost your friends, and they have forgotten you; but, “Hath God forgotten to be gracious?” You can succeed so long as the Lord is with you. Be of good courage; your best friend is left. He who made a speech in the Academy found that all his hearers had gone except Plato; but as Plato remained, the orator finished his address. They asked him how he could continue under the circumstances, and he replied that Plato was enough for an audience. So, if God be pleased with you, go on; the divine pleasure is more than sufficient. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Did not Wesley say when he was dying, “The best of all is, God is with us?” Therefore fear not the failure of friends.
Adam Clarke adds: We, feeble Jews, were but a handful of men; but the Lord of hosts—the God of armies, was on our side. Him none could attack with hope of success, and His legions could not be over-thrown… And even the armies of our enemies are at his command, and will fight for us whenever he pleases: "He is the Lord of all hosts." Having heard these declarations of God, the people cry out with joy and exultation, The Lord of hosts, the God of armies, is with us; we will not fear what man can do unto us
Warren Wiersbe writes “The LORD of hosts is with us" explaining that… The word “providence” comes from two Latin words that together mean “to see beforehand.” No matter what has to be done, the Lord will see to it (Ge 22:13, 14). Planet Earth isn’t staggering around in space like a helpless drunk. God has the whole world in His hands and is working out His divine purposes for the good of His people and the glory of His name. It’s that assurance (Ed: Including the truth that He is Jehovah Sabaoth) that gives His people peace, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be. (Wiersbe, W. W. Be Basic. Victor Pub)
Psalms 46:11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (Comment: The Greek Septuagint or LXX translates LORD of hosts with the word dunamis - which speaks of One with inherent ability able to produce a strong effect. Literally the Greek translation reads "Lord the dunamis God" the one able to carry out whatever He deems fit and proper! We need to remember this truth about His Name.)
Spurgeon: It was meet to sing this twice over. It is a truth of which no believer wearies, it is a fact too often forgotten, it is a precious privilege which cannot be too often considered. Reader, is the Lord on thy side? Is Emmanuel, God with us, thy Redeemer? Is there a covenant between thee and God as between God and Jacob? If so, thrice happy art thou. Show thy joy in holy song, and in times of trouble play the man by still making music for thy God. SELAH. Here as before, lift up the heart. Rest in contemplation after praise. Still keep the soul in tune. It is easier to sing a hymn of praise than to continue in the spirit of praise, but let it be our aim to maintain the uprising devotion of our grateful hearts, and so end our song as if we intended it to be continued.
SELAH bids the music rest.
Pause in silence soft and blest;
SELAH bids uplift the strain,
Harps and voices tune again;
SELAH ends the vocal praise,
Still your hearts to God upraise.
Psalm 69:6 May those who wait for Thee not be ashamed through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; May those who seek Thee not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel,
Spurgeon: Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake. If he were deserted, others who were walking in the same path of faith would be discouraged and disappointed. Unbelievers are ready enough to catch at anything which may turn humble faith into ridicule; therefore, O God of all the armies of Israel, let not my case cause the enemy to blaspheme—such is the spirit of this verse. Our blessed Lord ever had a tender concern for his people, and would not have his own oppression of spirit become a source of discouragement to them.
Let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. He appealed to the Lord of hosts by His power to help him, and now to the God of Israel by His covenant faithfulness to come to the rescue (See related discussion of God as Your Covenant Defender). He was strengthened in the hour of peril, and came off more than a conqueror, as we also shall do if we hold fast our confidence even to the end.
Exodus 12:51 And it came about on that same day that the LORD brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.
Adam Clarke It is from this that the Divine Being calls himself, the LORD OF HOSTS or armies, because the Israelites were brought out of Egypt under his direction, marshalled and ordered by himself, guided by his wisdom, supported by his providence, and protected by his might. This is the true and simple reason why God is so frequently styled in Scripture the Lord of hosts; for the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their ARMIES.
Joshua 5:14 And he said, "No, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?"
By this saying Joshua was both encouraged and instructed. As if he had said, "Fear not; Jehovah hath sent from heaven to save thee and thy people from the reproach of them that would swallow thee up. Israel is the Lord's host; and the Lord of hosts is Israel's Captain. Thou thyself shalt only be captain under me, and I am now about to instruct thee relative to thy conduct in this war."
We may draw two useful reflections from the subjects of this chapter:—
1. As the manna had now failed, the people always greatly addicted to incredulity, might have been led to imagine that God had now given them up, and would be no longer in their armies, had he not given them this strong assurance, that the Angel of his presence should be with them as the guide and protector of the whole camp; for Joshua undoubtedly informed them of the encouragement he had received from the captain of the Lord's host.
2. By this vision he showed them that their help came from himself, and that it was not by human might or power, but by the Lord of hosts, they were to have the victory over all their adversaries; and he gave them the most convincing proof of this in the miraculous destruction of Jericho. By this means he continued to keep them dependent on his arm alone, without which dependence the spirit of religion could not have been preserved among them.
2 Samuel 6:2 - The ark is called the ark of the Lord of hosts. But this is not a literal version; the word shem, NAME, occurs twice together; probably one of them should be read sham, THERE. There the name of the Lord of hosts was invoked, etc
Ezra 1:2 "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
It is not unworthy of remark, that in all the books written prior to the captivity, Jehovah is called The Lord of Hosts; but in all the books written after the captivity, as 2 Chronicles, Ezra Nehemiah, and Daniel, he is styled The God of Heaven. The words however have the same meaning.
Hosts (06635)(tsaba from tsaba = to go forth to war, to wage war, to serve) is a masculine noun meaning troops or army (2Ki 5:1) and so has to do with war or warfare in many of the OT passages. The TWOT says the root verb tsaba "has to do with fighting, e.g. Israel warring against Midian (Nu 31:7). It has also a wider use in the sense of rendering service." And so in a group of uses in Numbers (Nu 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43, 8:24-25) tsaba has to do with service related to the Tent of Meeting (or Tabernacle). So one might say tsaba is used in contexts of warfare or worship!
The meaning of the first use of tsaba in Genesis 2:1 is (in my opinion) controversial (and similar uses - Ps 33:6; Isa 40:26; Neh 9:6), some (probably most like the TWOT) favoring reference to the celestial bodies but others favoring angelic armies - "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts." The Lxx translates tsaba with the Greek word kosmos which I do not think is never used of angelic beings. Regardless, it is fair to say that one cannot make a dogmatic distinction. The next 3 uses in Genesis are very clearly speaking of military units or armies of men (Ge 21:22, 32, 26:26). In Dt 17:3 tsaba refers to the worship of creation, presumably the stars (Dt 17:3NIV = stars; Dt 17:3NET = "heavenly bodies").
However the most important use of tsaba is in the Name of Jehovah. In fact, more than 50% of the uses of tsaba are found in the Name "LORD of hosts." It is interesting that "LORD of hosts" is not found once in the Pentateuch and in fact is not found until 1 Samuel (1Sa 1:3, 11). The most concentrated use of LORD of hosts is in the prophets where it is used frequently to introduce a statement by God. The Greek form of the Name, LORD of Sabaoth, is used in the NT, once in a quotation from Isaiah 1:9 (Ro 9:29) and another time by James (James 5:4).
LORD of hosts is translated with at least 3 different Greek phrases in the Septuagint (Lxx):
HOST OF HEAVEN
The phrase "host (tsaba) of heaven" is found 17x (NAS) - Dt 4:19; 1Ki 22:19; 2Ki 17:16; 21:3, 5; 23:4-5; 2Chr 18:18; 33:3, 5; Isa 24:21; 34:4; Jer 8:2; 33:22; Da 4:35; 8:10; Zeph 1:5. Nelson's Bible Dictionary says this phrase refers to the "heavenly beings created by God and associated with Him in His rule over the world." However if you study the 17 uses above, some appear to be heavenly bodies rather than heavenly beings! For example, a simple reading of Dt 4:19 would favor celestial bodies over beings and Jer 33:22 clearly uses host of heaven to describe created bodies (stars). In Isa 34:4 host of heaven would seem to be more closely related to created bodies than created beings. On the other hand 1Ki 22:19 (and 2Chr 18:18) clearly refers to celestial beings (angels) and appears to include both good and bad (as deduced from what Jehovah asks in 1Ki 22:20!). Isa 24:21 says "the LORD will punish the host of heaven, on high, and the kings of the earth, on earth," which most clearly speaks of created beings (angels - in context demons). In several passages the meaning is somewhat ambiguous as in 2Ki 17:16, 2Ki 21:3, 2Ki 23:4, 5, 2Chr 33:3, 5, Jer 8:2, Zeph 1:5 each of which could refer either to the demonic beings or celestial bodies. In fact if one worships the latter (created bodies - cp the modern practice of Astrology) he or she would in effect be worshipping the former (demons behind the idol as Paul taught in 1Cor 10:20), so in that sense the two meanings are closely related. The New Bible Dictionary emphasizes the distinction between heavenly bodies and heavenly beings can be problematic, noting that "The two meanings ‘celestial bodies’ [stars] and ‘angelic beings’ are inextricably intertwined."
Related Resource - Host of Heaven
In Exodus (Ex 6:26; 7:4; 12:17, 41, 51) tsaba is interpreted by many if not most authorities (and Bible translations) as a reference to the forces, regiments, divisions or armies of Israel. For example, the respected NET Note says tsaba in Ex 6:26 "is a military term that portrays the people of God in battle array." While that could well be true, one can hardly imagine Israel as having actual "armies" at the time of their deliverance. On the other hand in Numbers we see the Israelites in their wilderness journey were numbered in armies by their tribal units (Nu 1:52 "according to their armies"). The NLT paraphrase is a nice compromise of Ex 6:26 describing "the people of Israel (coming) out of the land of Egypt like an army." In English one meaning of hosts is "a great number" or a "multitude" or a large number of people who have some attribute in common or that function together as a larger unit. This latter sense would be a better description of the large number of people coming out of Egypt. The HCSB translates all the uses of tsaba in Exodus with divisions and that also would seem to be a reasonably good interpretation as Israel did have 12 divisions or tribes. The Lxx does not help resolve with dunamis which means power .
Numbers has 69 uses of tsaba most of which refer to either war or armies. (e.g., Nu 2:6, 8, 9, etc). In Numbers 4:3 tsaba refers to the service of those who work in the Tent of Meeting and is translated in the Lxx with leitourgeo (gives us English - "liturgy") (cp similar meaning of tsaba in Nu 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43, 8:24-25).
In some contexts tsaba refers to celestial bodies (Isa 40:26, Ps 33:6).
Tsaba is translated in NAS as - armies(23), army(79), army*(1), battle(1), combat(1), conflict(1), forced to labor(1), hardship(1), host(30), hosts(292), hosts is the army(1), most(1), service(10), struggle(1), trained(1), war(35), warfare(1).
Swanson summarizes the meanings of tsaba -