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Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Lord of Hosts

Sabaoth ... that's the Hebrew term. It means "hosts". (No, not "the one who hosts the party", but lots and lots of people, often amassed for war.) This term is used some 285 times in the Old Testament with both YHWH and Elohim. In Amos 4:13 we read, "Behold, He who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is His thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth-- the LORD, the God of hosts, is His name!"

The term is not likely to make you feel warm and gushy. It isn't a term that would inspire "the man upstairs" thinking. The imagery is that of a Master of a massive army. Not the kind of thing one takes trivially. It's not trivial when you read "Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways" (Hag 1:7). You see, when a parent says, "I want you to think about what you're doing," it has one effect. When the Commander of an army does it, it's not the same effect.

Of course, it can have the opposite effect. When David went up against Goliath, here's what he said.
"You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied" (1 Sam 17:45).
If your not paying attention, "the LORD of hosts" will slip on by. But David is answering that classic question. Goliath says, "I'm going to feed you to the birds of the air" and David assures him "I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air." You can almost hear it, can't you? "Oh, yeah? You and what army?!" And that's David's answer.

You see, if you are opposed to the Lord of Hosts, it's not a pleasant place to be. But if God is for us, who can be against us? And, really, what more would you need than that?

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