Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lord of Hosts {1st mention}

Polygamy was never God's design.  God, in His wisdom, knew one man and one woman for life was really the only way to blessing.  But, as it often does, culture invaded, and thus men sometimes had more than one wife.  Elkanah was one such man.  He can be found in the early pages of 1 Samuel.  His wives were Hannah and Peninnah.  He loved Hannah and Peninnah gave him children.  You can probably sum up the rest.

The LORD had shut up Hannah's womb.  It is in the context of this dysfunctional family, traveling to worship God in Shiloh, that we see the first mention of one of God's names:  the LORD of Hosts.  The first mention of something is always crucial in the Bible, but the context seems so out of sorts here...until we dig a little deeper.

Peninnah provoked Hannah because of her inability to have children.  She taunted her.  She was cruel to her. She rubbed in her insufficiency.  She never let Hannah rest in the sovereignty of God.  She stripped her bare and told her she wasn't enough.  The hardest line in this passage to read is "This went on year after year."  Not days.  Not weeks.  Years.  Hannah was not just barren but treated cruelly for years and years

Elkanah had come to worship the LORD of Hosts.  Hannah had come to pour her heart out to him.  Take a good look at my pain, LORD of Hosts!  Step down and act on my behalf! Grant me a son and he will be yours all the days of his life!

The LORD of Hosts is the sovereign God who is self-existent and over all the multitudes, whether they be people, stars, angels, sun, moon.....He is in charge of it all.  The LORD of Hosts (Jehovah Sabaoth) is the one who wins wars and commands armies and fights battles.  Shockingly, "Jehovah Sabaoth" is used over 270 times in Scripture and is the most frequently used compound name of God in the bible. 

Hannah cries out to the only One who can win this battle.  Her years of either surrender to the taunts or spewing bitterness (we aren't really privy to which) have gotten her nowhere.  She needs a defender, one bigger than the husband that truly does love her, but can't seem to protect her from the other woman.  She runs to the All-Sufficient God, the only One that can both defend her and create life within her.  Perhaps she was tired of fighting her own battles so she went to the only God who would not just fight for her, but calm her insides as well.  God planted peace within Hannah before he planted Samuel. 

In our brokenness and barrenness and onslaught of injustice done against us, we have a God to run to.  His name is Jehovah (a God self existing who is always revealing Himself) of Sabaoth (armies.)  He knows what wars within us and He is willing to fight it for us.  This God removes our insufficiency as He plants Himself deep within.  He is the LORD of absolutely everything, but personal enough to reveal Himself to each soul scorched in the flames of war.

Jehovah Sabaoth is God's name for man's extremity, those times when we have reached our end, finding ourselves impotent, in turmoil, embroiled in real spiritual warfare and with no other source of help."

Do you know this LORD of Hosts?

1 comment:

Samantha Barnes said...

I love this line - God planted peace within Hannah before he planted Samuel.

Gosh. So good.