I hate missing my post yesterday. It’s funny; I’ve spent the last few months being so proactive so that I had my blogs set up way ahead of time. Now when the pressure is reduced, I let down my guard – go figure!
This week’s name of God has always confused me, just because I never studied it before. I see Jehovah Sabaoth and immediately think “God of the Sabbath.” I think that thought comes from twisting in Christ’s designation as Lord of the Sabbath when the Pharisees confronted Him. But this name of God actually comes from many different references in scripture, one of the first one being 1 Samuel 17:45.
In this section, Goliath has come before the armies of Israel. He mocks the mighty men and he laughs in the face of our God. There are three reactions in this situation:
King Saul is thrown by the arrival of this beast. He’d justified his disobedience of God during the battle of the Amalekites. The one where he spared King Agag and the best of his possessions a short time before this incident. I find it interesting, and more than a little sad, that at that point, Saul begged Samuel to go with him publicly so that he could save face, promising to worship Samuel’s God. After all that the Lord had done for him, He didn’t get the concept of our God at all.
That same mistake came again in 1 Samual 17. After David convinced Saul to let him fight Goliath, Saul overs a blessing, “Go with God.” When you think about it, if you truly believe in God, then that’s a pretty powerful saying. But it obviously wasn’t powerful enough for Saul. He also layered David with his heavy armor and his sword. So much stuff that David had trouble walking around.
Scripture says the entire army was dismayed and terrified. I can picture them fighting to hide behind the robe of the king. One long line of knee-shaking, molded jello. (At least that’s the way I would likely have been.) But then again, knowing how men can be. They’re probably walking around, all puffed up (a very safe distance from the giant) trash-talking. Secretly inside hoping that no one will take their words seriously and send them out to do the fighting.
I scoff, but seriously, can you imagine facing certain death like that? I suppose it’s normal life for soldiers (only making my respect for our US military rise). I can’t conceive living in such a threat, and yet the dismayed, terrified army of Israel faced that shouting monster day after day. Talk about psychological aspects of terrorism! And into this came a teenager (or the equivalent of one) spouting that he would stand up to the warrior that no one else had the courage to fight.
Now that I think about it, I bet they were more than a little ticked at too-big-for-his-britches David.
David alone held this reaction. While the others scorned his arrogance David stood only for the Most High God. I bet most of us reading this can understand his adamant declaration. Full of the Spirit, we know what our God can do and have no doubts that He will act in the way He wishes to act according to His will and for His glory. David knew that as well. He’d recently been anointed by Samuel and look what happened after that in 1Sa 16:13–14 “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.”
The pagan could trash-talk David, the king, the army, even the people of Israel. But slamming God Almighty couldn’t be ignored. David knew God had the power to defeat Goliath and had no qualms being the instrument of that defeat. He was as real as we are though, so I’ sure he fully realized that God might choose to defeat the Philistines another way. But should that be the case, David was steady with his decision. Oh, he trashed-talked back, but he honored the Father by proclaiming His power and glory. And the Father made his claims credible by thoroughly destroying Goliath.
It was during this situation when the name Jehovah Sabaoth came up. 1 Samuel 17:45 says, “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, a spear, and 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 taunted.'”
The Lord of hosts is a term of general-ship. It defines His power in a military standard. He has hosts of warriors standing by at His command. And His hosts are poised for action.
Tune in next week for more about this name!
Your Turn: When was the last time you specifically needed our Jehovah Sabaoth?