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September 26, 2012

How is the LORD of hosts described?

For behold, He Who forms mountains & creates the wind & declares to man what are His thoughts, He Who makes dawn into darkness and treads on the high places of the earth, the LORD God of hosts (Sabaoth) is His Name. Amos 4:13-note)

From Amos’ description, God’s attributes of sovereignty, omniscience & omnipotence are clearly implied by this majestic Name.

Isaiah helps us understand the the LORD of hosts
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isa 6:3-note)

A W Tozer writes that “A person who has sensed what Isaiah sensed will never be able to joke about “the Man upstairs” or the “Someone up there who likes me.” One of the movie actresses who still prowled around the nightclubs after her supposed conversion to Christ was quoted as telling someone, “You ought to know God. You know, God is just a livin’ doll!” I read where another man said, “God is a good fellow.”  I confess that when I hear or read these things I feel a great pain within. My brother or sister, there is something about our God that is different, that is beyond us, that is above us—transcendent. We must be humbly willing to throw our hearts open and to plead, “God, shine Thyself into my understanding for I will never find Thee otherwise.”

Isaiah 34:4-5-note: 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”!)  & rescue it.

Picture the fearless lion jealously guarding his prey. So too the LORD of hosts is our Warrior (Ex 15:3-note) & He will protect, deliver & rescue His covenant people “
for the gifts & the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Ro 11:29-note). 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 17:4-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 (Gk = 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 (Zec 13:8, 9-note, 12:10-note). 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.

Who is the LORD of hosts?

Is 44:6   “Thus says Jehovah, the King of Israel & his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first & I am the last & there is no God besides Me.”

Comparing Scripture with Scripture we find that in Rev 22:13-note Jesus identifies Himself as “I am the Alpha & the Omega, the first & the last, the beginning & the end.” which clearly parallels this passage. So Jesus is 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 4:5, 6, 7-note), we see that the King (of kings) (Rev 17:14-note, cp note Rev 19:16-note) Who is the Lord Jesus Christ is also referred to as the LORD of hosts.

What “HOSTS” is He LORD over? In other words who is subject to His commands?

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 Jehovahis 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 confidence & comfort.

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 declaring “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 103:20Spurgeon

How do Hebrews 1:14 & Ps 91:11,12 help understand how the angelic hosts interact with their Commander, Jehovah Sabaoth?

Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (Heb 1:14-note; see  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-note).

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 2 Ki 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-note). 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-note) & 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-note).

When like Elisha’s servant you reach your “extremity”, run to the sufficiency of the Strong Tower of Jehovah Sabaoth confident that…

The eyes of Jehovah are toward the righteous & His ears are open to their cry…& Jehovah hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. (Ps 34:15,17) (Spurgeon’s #1, #2)

What additional insight can we glean by examining how Jewish scholars  translated “Jehovah Sabaoth” from Hebrew to Greek in the Septuagint?

“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”.
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.

He is able” is a description of Jehovah found 3x in the NT (read what He is able to do in 2Ti 1:12-note, Heb 2:18-note, Heb 7:25-note).

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 either out of the fire or through the fire, always with the intended purpose of conforming you more to the image of Jesus.
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 (9x Click here) where we see the LORD ALMIGHTY exert His dominion & triumph over all evil the forces of evil, both human & angelic. This is your strong tower Jehovah Sabaoth of the OT in the Person of the Lord Almighty of the NT. In His unchanging character (immutable) we can find assurance that He will win the victory over all host 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.

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. He writes in part:

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.

What does Amos 5:14 teach about who can expect the very present help of Jehovah Sabaoth in the time of trouble?

Seek good and not evil that you may live and thus may Jehovah God of hosts be with you just as you have said! Amos 5:14

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 themAddendum

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 found in the Bible? The LORD of hosts & the related names, “LORD God of hosts” and “God of hosts“, occur over 270x  (NAS) in the OT but 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 (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 – note [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? NIV substitutes “LORD Almighty” for LORD of hosts. I think it is less accurate & creates some confusion with God’s Name “Shaddai” which does mean Almighty (See EL Shaddai – God Almighty)!

Although not revealed until 1Sam 1, there is a “preview” of Jehovah Sabaoth in Josh 5:14,15. What is the occasion? (Joshua 5) 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?
1 Sa 1-2:11)

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 note). 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 (SBD article) & 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. (article)  which Peninnah probably taunted Hannah with.


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. (1 Sa 2:12 adds that “the sons of Eli were worthlessmen; [sons of belial, NT name for Satan!] they did not know Jehovah“)

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 yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1Ti 4:7, 8-notes) in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (see note Php 2:15-note 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- note) even as He did Elkanah & 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?

1Sa 1:6 Her rival (adversary, affliction) however would provoke (to anger, vex) her bitterly to irritate (literally thunder at) her, because the LORD had closed her womb”

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 meanwas 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 (cf Eph 4:29 – note)
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?
What choice does she make?
Where does she “run”?

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:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (see notes Phil 4:6, 4:7)

The Greek Septuagint translates “prayed” in 1Sa 1:10  with the similar Greek word for “prayer” used in Phil 4:6, 4:7 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 (v11) 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

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray (Present Imperative).

(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 menot 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!

(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.
(3) She “worshiped before the LORD – (1Sa 1:19)

(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.  

Lord of Hosts-1Sam
(1) David vs Goliath
(2) Israel vs the Philistines (Click)

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!Haggai 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. This comfort & confidence found in this Name as we have seen is first revealed most fully in 1 Samuel. .

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 can also transform our bleak, even bitter outlook brought on by “barren” circumstances. So the first way to “run into the tower of Jehovah Sabaoth” is to cry out, seeking the Greatness of the Giver rather than the gift.

In 1 Samuel 17 (see 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 by the LORD. He put into practice the great truth spoken by the  LORD of hosts in Zech 4:6 …

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.”

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 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. Thus David walked out in faith, 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!

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.” 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 ever and always the victory 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 notes on Matthew 5:16)

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 onV 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. (LXXGreek = 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 55:22Spurgeon), for “the people who know their God will display strength & take action.” (Da 11:32b)

So when the “Goliath’s” come against us, remember that “Jehovah is with (us) like a dread champion.” (Jer 20:11)

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, Habakkuk 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.” (Hab 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 meditatedeeply on the truths revealed in the magnificent, sufficient Name of Jehovah Sabaoth and you will find that you will be enabled to

Stand firm (aorist imperative) therefore, having girded your loins with truth” about the LORD of hosts (Eph 6:14– note)

(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 Jehovahof hosts (LXXGreek = 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…

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft & power are great, & armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

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 King of Kings, O Lord of Hosts

O Lord of Hosts, to Thee I Cry
How Dear to Me, O Lord of Hosts
O Lord of Hosts, Whose Glory Fills
O Lord of Hosts, Almighty King
O Lord of Hosts, How Lovely
Lord God of Hosts in Mercy
O God of Hosts, the Mighty Lord
O Lord of Hosts, Who Didst Upraise

In Heav’n Above

In Heav’n above, in Heav’n above,
God hath a joy prepared,
Which mortal ear hath never heard,
Nor mortal vision shared,
Which never entered mortal breast,
By mortal lips was ne’er expressed,
’Tis God, the Lord of hosts!

Round the Lord in Glory Seated

“Lord, Thy glory fills the heaven,
Earth is with its fullness stored;
Unto Thee be glory given,
Holy, holy, holy Lord!”
Thus Thy glorious Name confessing,
We adopt thine angels’ cry,
“Holy, holy, holy,” blessing
Thee, the
Lord of Hosts most high.

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 comments on the LORD of Hosts that: Hosts refers to the armies of Israel, on the one hand, and to the angelic armies of God, on the other. This makes the Name especially apt in this psalm, since the psalm is based on a historical deliverance of the people from earthly armies, whatever their origin, and also looks forward to a final deliverance when God will subdue the hostile forces of rebellious man forever. It is a particularly striking name in this psalm because the name Jehovah does not occur much in this second book of the psalms; the name is usually Elohim. (Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary)

Barnhouse has a note on “Be Still“: If you thrash around in the thorn patch, you will only get more scratches. If you stand quiet and allow the Lord to speak to you, you will find Him only too glad to extricate you.

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

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
 All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.
Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Annie Flint’s poem gives us a fitting description of the LORD of hosts

He gives more grace when the burdens grow greater.
He sends more strength when the labors increase,
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace
 When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
 When our strength has failed ‘ere the day is half done;
 When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
 Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure.
 His power no boundary known unto men;
 For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
 He giveth and giveth and giveth again.” PTL
(more of Annie’s poems)




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  1. Dorothy Obenski permalink

    I love all the things you have done on the essence and character and names of God.

  2. This is a great synopsis on the Name Jehovah Sabaoth! It is something that believers today need a lot more of!

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