The subject name of this post is introduced in the book of 1Samuel. “The LORD of hosts” makes reference to God as the leader of a great army of His servants. It is a name that alludes to the great power of God and is the name that David claimed in faith as he faced the mighty Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:45 “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”
I believe that this address was in recognition of the might army of angels that serve God on our behalf as revealed to the eyes of Elisha’s servant in answer to Elisha’s prayer.
2 Kings 6:16–17 & 20-21 “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
Other scripture supports the truth that God’s armies of angels are fighting in the spiritual realm to bring about God’s purposes on behalf of His people in the physical realm.
2 Kings 19:32&35 “Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it….And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”
1 Chronicles 21:15 “And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand.”
Daniel 10:12–13 & 20-21 “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia…. Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.”
Hebrews 1:13–14 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
Even mighty King Nebuchadnezzar recognized this truth.
Daniel 4:34–35 “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”
It is also important to note from the verses in Daniel 10 that God’s angels are waging war with evil spiritual forces that are also working to accomplish their own purposes in the physical realm. Paul clearly states that believers are in a constant battle against these evil forces—the forces of Satan.
Ephesians 6:11–12 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The name the “LORD of hosts” is used in recognition of the truth that God can and does intervene on our behalf according to His will to accomplish what seems to us to be impossible. Hannah prayed to the “LORD of hosts” with a desperate plea for a son and a vow to give him back to the service of the LORD. She prayed with faith in the LORD of hosts as having all power—even the power to make a barren woman conceive and give birth to a child, and not just a child, a son.
1 Samuel 1:11 “And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”
Important to bible prophecy is the truth declared in scripture that it is the “LORD of hosts” that is not only the God of Israel, but also of the whole earth. It is He who is our Redeemer, and the day is coming when He will be revered among all the nations.
Isaiah 54:5 “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”
Isaiah 45:22–23 “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”
Malachi 1:11 “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.”
No matter how many times the nations of the world call for the nation of Israel to be wiped off the face of the map, the “LORD of hosts” has declared that Israel will stand before Him as a nation just as surely as the sun, moon and stars shine in the heavens.
Jeremiah 31:35–36 “Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.”
In light of the fact that the scripture identifies the days in which we live as the times announcing the soon return of the LORD Jesus to establish His kingdom, every child of God should be living in accordance with the words of the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 8:13 “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”
We should live so as to bring honor to His name. We should have a healthy fear of Him as Judge and Avenger and do our best to declare the gospel so that others may escape the wrath to come. The best way to share that truth is to live in obedience and faithfulness to our Redeemer, the “LORD of hosts,” and follow His example to serve one another in love.
(to be continued…)