As I have only a few days left in this month, I wanted to go back and pick up a few names of God I have not written about before. The Lord of hosts is a name of God referred to in the Old Testament and first appears in 1 Samuel 1:3. “Now this man (Elkanah) used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord.” This is the beginning of the story of Hannah, Elkanah’s wife who had no children. They went to Shiloh yearly to worship where the sanctuary to the Lord was erected. It is a tender story that shows her dedication to the Lord, and how God,the Lord of hosts, met her greatest desire.
So why this name for God? Lord of hosts would suggest a realization by the people of Israel that God commanded many angelic beings and is similar to the reference to God as the God of Heaven’s armies. Jeremiah 15:16 NLT Lord of hosts acknowledges that God is Almighty, powerful and can command and use a host of beings to aid His children. I particularly love the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:15-17. The king was after Elisha as he had been giving information to enemy as the Lord had directed him. He and his servant had fled into the countryside to escape the king. “When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha. 16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” The servant was amazed at the army the Lord had sent to protect his servant Elisha. God’s forces were present but unseen until God opened the servant’s eyes.
David repeatedly referred to God as the Lord of hosts in the Psalms. Psalm 24:10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah , Psalm 84:12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! Isaiah records this phrase in his vision of God’s throne room. The angelic beings were speaking, “And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Isaiah 6:3
I love this name of God as it shows me that God is always more than I can ever imagine. He has the heaven’s and the earth at His command. His resources far exceed our needs. That is why I can claim His promise to me in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” I can depend upon Him to be with me and carry me in whatever circumstances I find myself. Truly, He is the Lord of hosts the one who commands Heaven’s Armies and the whole earth is filled with His glory!
Both the Old and New Testaments, present God as Judge. He is the ultimate authority of all the universe He created both now and in the future. In Psalm 7:10-11 David tells us that God is a righteous judge who defends those who love Him and grieves over the sin of those who reject Him. “My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” All creation speaks of God’s righteousness and place as judge, Psalm 50:6 “The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah Solomon in his wisdom knew God’s place as judge, Ecclesiastes:3:17. “I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.” Paul reminds Timothy that Jesus will be our eternal judge in 2 Timothy 4:1 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:” Peter also wrote to Christians who were struggling with holiness in their lives. He reminds them of who God is and who they can rely upon in Christ. “1 Peter 1:17-20 “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
We can trust God as the righteous judge as we know He is just, impartial and loves all those He created. God knows what He is doing and has proved himself to mankind in the past, 2 Peter 2:9 “ then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.” Peter was referring to God rescuing righteous Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. If he could do that for Lot, He is capable of handling anything. He is righteous and sees who we really are in our deepest being. We can rely upon His mercy, compassion and justice.
Many people like to only think of God as loving, holy and righteous, but God is so much more, and as creator He has the right and authority to judge all sin. He made a way for us to escape the judgement of sin in our lives through Jesus and His work on the cross. 1 John 9:11 tell us how we can find freedom from the judgement that is upon all the world because of sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confess your sins today, keep short accounts with God and do not let sin stay in your heart and reject it from your life through power of Jesus. He is the perfect judge, just in all things and He desires for us to stand righteous before Him.
One of the most important Messianic prophesies in the Bible appears in Jeremiah 23. Jeremiah wrote about the King who would come to reign in wisdom and justice with the power to save. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” This prophecy was partially fulfilled when Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and died on the cross and rose from the dead. There is also a future portion yet to be realized where Jesus will reign with wisdom and justice here in the land. In the meantime, He is here reigning in our hearts with love, wisdom and justice indwelling us with His Holy Spirit. His return and reign are still future to us.
God desires for us to be righteous in character through His Son, Jesus. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Romans 3:21-24 The Lord can be our righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead imputed His righteousness into our account and gave us life and victory over death when we believe in Him. Titus 2:13-14 reminds us of our wait for Jesus’ return and what He accomplished when He came, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” We are a people He saved for Himself to do His good works and spread the good news of redemption that is available through faith in Jesus. Jesus is our Righteousness now and forever. He covers our sins and makes us righteous before our Holy God.
I am praising and thanking God that He is my Righteousness today.
Holiness is an attribute of God that he desires that we emulate. In Leviticus 11:44 “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” We can only do this through His power. In the Old Testament, Moses was instructed by God on Mt. Sinai to have the Israelites observe the Sabbaths and worship Him regularly. In Exodus 31:13 God tells Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” God alone has the power to make us holy. During Old Testament times they performed sacrifices and brought offerings that all pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus was the great High Priest and brought the need for sacrifices to an end. Hebrew 7:27 “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Our pathway to righteous and holy living is through Jesus alone.
So how does one ‘be holy’? When we believe in Jesus we need to continually seek His forgiveness for the sins we commit daily. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Coming to God often to seek His cleansing is very important. Then we need to fill ourselves and our thoughts with good things. Philippians 4:8 “ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” We need to stay in God’s Word, Psalm 119:9 and 11 “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Fellowship with believers, worship and serving others are all ways to immerse oneself in activities that point towards personal holiness in Jesus. Lastly, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 admonishes us “ Abstain from every form of evil.”
Being holy is a life-time growing process that can only be achieved through faith in Jesus. It is not an option as God commands us “be holy because I am holy.” We can take heart in Jesus’ words, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Striving to be more and more like Jesus,