This is one of my personal favorite names for God, perhaps because of the power and awesomeness it conveys. My involvement in spiritual warfare makes me well aware of the powers in the universe around us, but knowing God is much greater brings great peace and confidence. It will for you as well.
The name “Jehovah Sabaoth” became familiar when David used it of God in his battle against Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45). “Lord of Hosts” means “Lord of large groups.” A ‘host’ is a large group – angels, demons, Jews, Gentiles, whatever group it may be. God is sovereign over all of them. David recognized He was in control of Goliath and the Philistines, so Goliath and the Philistines could never defeat the Jews if they were following God.
The name is also used by Isaiah (Isaiah 37:16) when Assyria surrounded Jerusalem and was about to destroy Judas as they had Israel. The people turned to God in prayer and trust, and the Angel of Jehovah killed 185,000 of them in one night. “The Lord of Hosts” was sovereign over the Assyrians as well.
Note that it is the “Angel of Jehovah” who brought judgment on the enemies of His people. We saw before that He is the second person of the Trinity, the One we call “Jesus” in the New Testament. We think of Jesus as meek, mild, turning the other cheek, taking whatever was dished out to Him. Seeing Him bring that amount of judgment shows a different aspect of His character.
Which is the ‘real’ Jesus – the One bringing Judgment in the Old Testament or peace and reconciliation in the New Testament? The answer, of course, is both. His righteous indignation and judgment of sin is formidable and awe-inspiring. The only reason He let them abuse Him and crucify Him is for our sake. He could have ended it and destroyed His enemies with a word but let them have their way so that our sins could be paid for and we could have redemption. He didn’t have to let it happen, He chose to let it happen – for our sake! He was still the Lord of Hosts and could have destroyed the Jews and Romans without any problem, but He didn’t.
This name became popular among the later prophets when the Jews were being overrun by the nations around them. It reaffirmed that God was still in sovereign control over all the other nations. Jeremiah uses the name 80 times, Haggai 14 times, Zechariah 50 times and Malachi 25 times.
In looking forward to God’s final removal of evil and ultimate deliverance of His people, David again uses the name “Jehovah Sabaoth” in Psalm 24:10. We see the fulfillment of that prophecy in Revelation 19:11-16 when, 7 years after the rapture, Jesus returns with His angels and us to destroy all the hosts of the earth gathered against Him at Armageddon. In the next chapter He defeats the hosts of Satan and his demons as well. He is Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts.
Read Romans 8:31-39. Apply the name “Jehovah Sabaoth” to each phrase in this passage. What does this show about God? Which of these most apply to your current needs in life? Pray to Him as the Lord of Hosts and ask Him to bring you victory in all you face today.
BIBLE STUDY ASSIGNMENT
The name “Lord of Hosts” is often translated “Lord Almighty.” It refers to God’s greatness over all ‘hosts’ – large groups (people, angels or demons). Read 1 Samuel 17:1-46, the story of David and Goliath. The rewrite verses 45-47 in your own words. Be creative. Use terms you think David might have used were he alive today. Rewriting a passage is a great way to better understand the passage.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)