I am drawn to adventurous movies of warriors and superheroes fighting against evil. Or a boxing warrior like Rocky fighting against impossible odds to achieve victory. I love the war movies of people fighting throughout the ages in the struggle against evil. Have you ever thought about God like this or is our view of God more passive.
Exodus 15:3: The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is His name. Another translation says: God is the Master of war, God is His name. Exodus 15:3
Yahweh is a warrior and is at war. God fights every day and night, and there is never a time that Yahweh is not fighting. God is on the battlefield fighting battles. Yahweh always fights for His people. God never loses. God is never defeated. God cannot be pushed back in battle into defeat. Nothing can overcome his power and strength.
This truth coincides with an important name of God, Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, which also describes God as a warrior who fights for his people. The Hebrew word” hosts” means to wage war, warfare, and a leader of an army organized for war. Names in the Hebrew culture were a distinctive mark and indicated the essential character of that to which the name is given. In Scriptures the names of God reveal important characteristics of His nature and attributes. Yahweh Sabaoth, Lord of Hosts, is the most frequent compound name of God used in the Bible. This phrase has been translated “Yahweh of the Armies” or Yahweh who commands armies. The armies are primarily armies of heavenly beings (angels), but also this name has been associated with the armies of Israel, who is called the God of the battle lines of Israel, and armies of things in creation such as stars and planets. It is the militant name of God as the commander in chief and illustrates that God is far superior to any adversary and able to achieve victory in the most impossible human circumstances. It is the magnificent name of God in battle in all His majesty defeating every foe with His surpassing power that nothing can stand against.
An examination of this wonderful name the Lord of Hosts in the Old Testament, we see Yahweh move with extraordinary power to establish His Word and to accomplish His purposes. This is especially true in the future when the Lord of Hosts, the Warrior God, establishes the kingdom of His Son Jesus Christ upon the earth. The Lord of Hosts is a fierce protector against anything or anyone who tries to intrude into this relationship. The Lord of Hosts declares if you touch, lay a hand on, or strike out against my beloved children who trust in me, you have touched the apple of my eye, and I will rise up to declare war on this aggression. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts is ignited in prayer and burns white hot in the heart of God against all who defame His name or harass His namesake. The Lord of Hosts also is an avenger against all who pridefully fail to consider their wicked ways and humbly turn to Him. He is the enemy to those who turn a deaf ear to his words, refusing to obey Him.
In its first usage in the Bible in I Samuel 1, this name is inextricably linked to prayer and is used in time of dire need when all hope seems lost, and defeat seems inevitable. Yahweh is not passive in prayer or indecisive, but rather is a mighty warrior that prayer invokes to action to fight the battles of His people. Yahweh and His heavenly armies are moved in prayer to unleash Yahweh’s almighty power in the earth to break walls, move mountains and shatter chains. God wants us to see that He is ready to wage war in prayer and bring all the resources of His kingdom against every foe that stands against us. How our prayer life would change if we believed that we are praying to the Lord of Hosts! God is a warrior who knows no defeat. He cannot be ambushed, deceived, diminished, or annihilated. God does go AWOL in time of need or disappear from the battlefield. The warrior God is for us. He is on our side. Nothing can stand against us when we put our trust in Him. We need to know when we pray that we are praying to the Lord of Hosts.
We are introduced to Hannah in I Samuel, a wonderful women devoted to prayer who would give birth to one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament. As the curtain unfolds in I Samuel we see a woman in agony, distraught that she is barren and has no children. In Hebrew culture, it was considered a disgrace not to have children as they were considered a blessing from the Lord. On top of this she was constantly mocked by Peninnah, her husband’s second wife, for being barren. Hannah invokes the warrior God, Yahweh of the Armies, to raise His mighty arm and do the impossible, bring her womb to life so she can give birth to a son.
I Samuel 1:12:
And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
Hannah was in great pain and anxiety, vexed in her heart about her barrenness. Her prayer was raw and unfiltered as she poured out her soul to Yahweh. The range of emotions that Hannah experienced are set forth in this chapter. She was sorrowful, bitter, frustrated, distressed, and sobbing in a flood of tears. She did not hold back her sorrow and bitterness, but laid out all her emotions, frustrations, and irritations at the feet of Yahweh. She had reached the end of all her futile struggles. She realized her inability and weakness to do or change anything as only the Lord of Hosts, the warrior God, could fight this battle of barrenness and open her womb. She made a binding promise to God that if He would give her a son, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life. She knew in her heart that only Yahweh could remove this curse from her and bless her with children.
The word “remember” is used idiomatically in this verse and does not mean to just mentally remember, but to act on one’s behalf. Prayer is where we pour out everything in our hearts to the Lord, asking Yahweh to act for us and declare war on that which holds us captive. Hannah’s prayer was not a ten second exercise of a few rushed words that lacked faith, and simply fell to the ground with no impact. Verse 12 says she spent “a long time praying” or in the Hebrew she multiplied her praying. Like Jacob she clung to Yahweh and refused to let go until he answered her prayer. This is the tenacity of prayer, that relentlessly pursues Yahweh to breathe life into any situation.
The Lord of Hosts graciously granted Hannah’s prayer, and she lifted her heart in praise to Yahweh and in her second prayer, we see the wonderful character of Hannah and some timeless truths about prayer to the Lord of Hosts.
I Samuel 2:1-4,9,10:
And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.
“There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength.
“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
The Hebrew word for “exults” in verse one means to jump for joy. Hannah jumped for joy that the Lord of Hosts triumphed against her calamity and granted her prayerful request. No desperate condition, no overwhelming circumstance, and no human power can stand against the Lord of Hosts in prayer. Nothing can compare to our God as all the weapons and strength of an earthly kingdom or the gods of all the religions on earth cannot even come close to measuring up to Yahweh. Yahweh is the only rock, and the immovable security and confidence in the instability of our times. We can summon the Lord of Hosts in prayer to shatter the bows of the mighty and break into pieces the adversaries of Yahweh. You cannot contend, strive, chide, or file a lawsuit against Yahweh and win. You cannot modify, change, adapt or alter Yahweh to fit in with cultural mandates. The Lord of Hosts does not lose. The Lord of Hosts does not retreat. The Lord of Hosts does not compromise. The Lord of Hosts does not come in second. The essence of praying to the Lord of Hosts is the promise of Isaiah 14:22 that “I will rise up against them.” The Lord of Hosts promises to rise up and fight every one of our battles with the tenacity of an undefeated warrior.
Jeremiah 10:6,7,10-12,13b,15-17 (Voice) declares:
This message is for all of Israel. Listen to what the Eternal (Yahweh) is saying to you.
O Eternal One, there is no comparison. You are great; even your name is powerful.
Who wouldn’t worship You? It is only right; You are the King of all kingdoms. The wise and powerful men of all nations in their realms are still nothing compared to You.
Just look at the contrast! The Eternal is the True God: He is the living God and eternal King, not some lifeless idol. The whole earth trembles when He is angry; nations crumble beneath His wrath.
Say this to anyone still worshiping idols: The so-called gods you worship did not make the earth and the starry sky above it. And one day they will all be blotted from the earth beneath those stars.
Know whom you’re dealing with! God alone is powerful enough to create the earth. He alone
is wise enough to put the world together. He alone understands enough to stretch out the heavens.
Those who make idols are shamed by their creations. What they fashion out of gold are imposters—
breathless, lifeless frauds.
Their idols are worthless, the work of their hands an embarrassing mockery. They are doomed to perish under God’s judgment.
The portion of Jacob, the Eternal One, is not like any of these. He was not fashioned out of human hands. Instead, it is He who made all things and appointed Israel to inherit it all. His name is the Eternal (Yahweh), Commander of heavenly armies (The Lord of Hosts).
A second great truth wrapped up in the name of the Lord of Hosts is that God fights our battles This is so hard for us because we are wired to be our own superhero. We want to do it, we want to be the prime mover, and we want to get some if not all the credit. We want to be self-reliant, self-sufficient and self-achieving. We want the pat on the back and to exalt ourselves to the forefront of faith-filled Christians. We love the applause. We want to be known. We want to show everyone how spiritual we are. How hard it is to just let go. How difficult it is to cast everything to Yahweh with no strings attached. Any solution or strategy rooted in the flesh will fail. Yahweh will fight and Yahweh will conquer if we only let Him.
The Bible has many verses concerning this simple truth:
When you go out to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people
And shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them,
For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.
Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes,
And the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’
2 Chronicles 20:15-17:
And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.
Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel.
You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me!
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Is there any doubt that God wants to fight our battles? Is there any question that our God is a warrior, the Lord of Hosts, and He is a fighter. He will stand against any devil spirit, any fear, any army and any circumstance that rises up against us. This truth has not changed. What little faith we have that God fights all our battles! What lack of trust we have in Yahweh as our deliverer! We have more faith in the Devil to oppress us than in God to deliver us. God is blamed for sickness, for death, for oppression and every other form of evil. In fact, there is a whole segment of Christian “theology” that teaches God inflicts us and makes us suffer to make us better Christians. Isn’t it time we quit blaming God for evil? Isn’t it time we quit whitewashing the works of Satan to make them look like the works of God. Isn’t it time we quit calling darkness light and evil good? When the Lord is for you, when the Lord is with you, when the Lord is in you, nothing can stand against you. Yahweh cannot lose. He is the God of triumph and victory. Yahweh is the God that obliterates His foes. Who do you want on your side?
Exodus 14:10-14 (NIV):
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.
They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
When the Israelites lifted their eyes to the horizon, they saw Pharoah charging toward them in horses and chariots leading the mightiest army of that time. Pharoah chose six hundred of the best chariots and rounded up all the other chariots of Egypt all manned by his elite officers. He had summoned all the military power of his empire to crush the rebellious Israelites. The Hebrew word for “pursue” means to run after with hostile intent and to chase with considerable effort, focus and intensity. The Pharoah was moving in for the kill.
From a human perspective, all seemed hopeless. Israel had nowhere to go and no place to flee. They were backed up to the Red Sea with the strongest army of the greatest empire of the day racing towards them. All odds were against them as they were easy prey to the Egyptians. The Israelites reaction was extreme fear and dread. They originally cried to Yahweh, but not for long as they turned on Moses screaming “what have you done?” and “leave us alone!” These are the cries of unbelief not the cries of trust or faith. How short was their memory! Had they already forgotten the magnificent deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery with ten miraculous plagues that rocked Egypt and decimated its gods? Did they disregard the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that Yahweh used to go before them and lead them through the wilderness? This was not some story that they heard about; they saw these amazing manifestations of the power of Yahweh with their own eyes. Yet they desired to return to the land of cruelty and oppression where they were ruthlessly made to work as slaves and their lives were made bitter with hard service. How quickly they disregarded their own desperate groanings because of their slavery in Egypt, and that they had cried out to Yahweh for deliverance.
Moses said the conditions for God to fight our battles-Stand firm, do not fear, be still and you will see that Yahweh will fight for you. Do you believe it?
We are to be warriors with God. But Jesus said, “without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) Unless God is with you, you can never be a mighty warrior. But when He is with you, you operate in a completely different realm. It’s not your strength or power than matters any more. It is the might of the Lord of hosts that flows through you. The life of the warrior is found wherever God is present in a person. The life of the warrior is a life of spiritual proximity, not human potential. Drawing close to God is the only way of the true warrior. God and me. Anyone who wants to fight his demons with his own weapons is a fool.” How many of us attempt to fight our own demons with effort, technique and motivation from ourselves? How’s that working out? Self-reliance is a sure formula for failure. “I admit that I am powerless” is the necessary precondition for recovery because it puts away the foolish arrogance of believing that I can rescue myself.
David, the warrior-king, knew that no victory was possible in his own strength. In fact, the most disastrous consequences to his people occurred when he took the path of self-reliance by counting the size of his army. David’s strength rested in God’s ability to fight for him, not in his ability to marshal his own resources. Read the Psalms again and you will find a man who learns to lean on the Lord. Even the mighty men know that running to God for rescue is the only successful battle plan. Zechariah 4:6: Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
Contemporary Christianity proclaims a Savior who delivers us from the punishment of sin. But far too often that message promotes delayed victory. In other words, we are told that when we get to heaven our troubles will be over. The Hebrew idea is much more tactical. Rescue and deliverance are needed now, in this life, on this earth. If Yeshua’s deliverance is only good after death, then we are the most miserable of creatures. We are stuck in the staggering evil of the world, waiting to die in order to be redeemed. May it never be! Rescue is reinforcements in the midst of the battle. God’s will must be done on earth. His salvation is revealed in the Kingdom at hand. Some day we may see an Exit sign ahead, but today the sign says “Run To Me.” Every believer is called to be a track star – in reverse. Run back to the source of your strength. There will be plenty of time to move forward again, after the Lord clears away the high hurdles.
How magnificent is His name! This is who we pray to! Not some manufactured idea or dead agenda, but the Eternal One, Yahweh, the Lord of Hosts, the Commander of the heavenly armies. Hezekiah knew that the mighty Assyrian empire was walking on sinking said when it attacked Yahweh and those who trust in Him. He understood it was utter futility to declare war on the Creator of the heavens and earth. The trick of the enemy is to lull us into a false sense of security by providing tangible distractions to our true condition. We pile up wealth, health and friendships, imagining that somehow these will protect us in a storm. Of course, they won’t, but that doesn’t prevent us from acting as though they will. There is nothing wrong with securing these resources, as long as we recognize that they are nothing more than God’s gifts for Kingdom purposes. Most of the battles in the enemy’s territory begin right here – knowing our vulnerability and God’s reliability. The enemy wants all of us to think we are generals.
Psalms 46:11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. The Greek Septuagint translates LORD of hosts with the word dunamis – which speaks of One with inherent ability able to produce a strong effect. Literally the Greek translation reads “Lord the dunamis God” the one able to carry out whatever He deems fit and proper! We need to remember this truth about His Name.)
Spurgeon: It is a truth of which no believer wearies, it is a fact too often forgotten, it is a precious privilege which cannot be too often considered. Reader, is the Lord on thy side? Is Emmanuel, God with us, thy Redeemer? Is there a covenant between thee and God as between God and Jacob?
Psalm 46 gives us a great picture of the attitude and action that believers should be able to manifest if they truly appropriate the truth inherent in the great Name, Jehovah Sabaoth, LORD of hosts. I see that I can do nothing, and that all reliance on man is vanity. “Not by might.” I see that no visible means can be relied on, but the force is in the invisible Spirit. God alone must work, and men and means must be nothing accounted of. If it be so that the Almighty God takes up the concerns of His people, then great mountains are nothing. He can remove worlds as boys toss balls about or drive them with their foot. It may be a great mountain, but even before my feebleness it shall become a plain, for the Lord hath said it. What can I be afraid of with God on my side?
Joshua 1:5 I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
THIS word to Joshua is often quoted; it is the basis of that New Testament word, “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Beloved, a life of warfare is before us,
but the Lord of Hosts is with us. It would be woe to us indeed if Jehovah could fail us but, as this can never be, the winds of disquietude are laid to sleep in the caverns of divine faithfulness. On no one occasion will the Lord desert us. He will be at our side. Come, my heart, be calm and hopeful today. Clouds may gather, but the Lord can blow them away. Since God will not fail me, my faith shall not fail, and, as He will not forsake me neither will I forsake Him. Oh, for a restful faith. The Lord of hosts is with us, and who shall resist His sin-destroying power?
Psalms 84:12 O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in Thee!
Who is the King of glory? God as king win battles. The King of glory is the most victorious of them all; the One Who is mighty in battle. We don’t think of God in terms of warfare. Why? He is no longer described in terms of tangible reality. God is removed from our real experience of life as it is. Is it any wonder that we are slowly erasing God from our culture? He is no longer the warrior king, the Rock, the strong right arm, the cleft, the fortress or the holy fire. Isn’t the cry of our culture like Zephaniah: Zephaniah 2:15a: This is the exultant city that lived securely, that said in her heart, “I am, and there is no one else.” Isaiah 23:9: The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth. Isaiah 66:3b: They have chosen their ways and their soul delights in their abominations.
I want a God Who is my king! I want a God Who is a mighty warrior, Who will fight battles for me. I want to smell the battlefield and know that He is victorious. I want to see the enemies of God stacked like cordwood. I want to walk the scorched earth where He passed.
Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not neither be dismayed.” If Jehovah Himself goes before us, it must be safe to follow. Who can obstruct our progress if the Lord Himself is in the van? Nor is the Lord before us only; He is with us. Above, beneath, around, and within, all the time, even to eternity. The Lord of hosts is with us! Being before us and with us, He will never withdraw His help. He cannot fail in Himself, and He will not fail toward us. He will continue to help us according to our need, even to the end. As He cannot fail us, so He will not forsake us. Let us not fear nor be dismayed; for the Lord of hosts will go down to the battle with us, will bear the brunt of the fight, and has given us the final victory in our Lord Jesus Christ.