Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Why is God called the LORD of hosts?

Yahweh Sabaoth - LORD of hosts (in English)

You've probably heard this expression before, but have you ever wondered about what it means?

The hosts are armies.  Our God is a God surrounded by His armies.  Armies of angels.  Armies of believers.  Yahweh is in their midst.  He is the God who dwells with His people.

But there is something very unique about these armies - they don't carry any weapons!  WHAT!  No weapons!  Well, not exactly - none of their own.  The hosts, God's armies, are priests.  They serve Him day and night in His holy presence. 

But what if someone should attack?  Who will defend these defenseless priests - these people of God?

This is exactly what God wants people to ask - because He Himself is the warrior.  He Himself is the king, the fortress, the defense of His people.  His people don't have weapons because they don't need weapons.  God is their protection, their refuge, their strength, and He will always keep them safe.

Think about it.  This is the picture throughout the Old Testament.  God leads an unarmed mass of people out of powerful Egypt, and when Pharoah's army chases them, He drowns them.  Then He takes them into the Promised Land where the walls of Jericho just fall down.  Then is the period of the judges, where God's people have no standing army!!  And when an army is gathered by God's servant Gideon - God makes them cut their numbers to 300 when they are about to face 10,000.  Why?  Because at every turn, God wants one thing to be clear - He is the One who protects His people.  He fights for them.  He is the LORD of hosts, and His hosts are His treasured possession.  Nothing can harm them - not even death - because He has even destroyed death too.

Today, the LORD of hosts is still in the midst of His people.  He is surrounded by them when He serves them His body and blood, with which He fights off all their sin, death and the power of the devil.  Our liturgy even confesses this amazing truth in the Sanctus, right before we commune - Holy, Holy, Holy LORD God of Sabaoth - (hosts) - Heaven and earth are full of Your glory.  Hosanna in the Highest!  Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD.  Hosanna in the Highest!  Christ is with His people.  He is in the midst of us, and He fights for you.  He is your champion.

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