From Praying the Names of God Week Thirteen, Day Two
The Lord of Hosts is a title that emphasizes God’s rule over every other power in the material and spiritual universe. When Scripture speaks of “the host of heaven,” it is usually speaking of celestial bodies, though the phrase can also refer to angelic beings. The word “host” can also refer to human beings and to nature itself. When you pray to Yahweh Tsebaoth, you are praying to a God so magnificent that all creation serves his purposes.
But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This very day the LORD will deliver you into my hand.” (1 Samuel 17:45-46 NRSV)
PRAYING THE NAME
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.”Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered.”Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And Elisha prayed,”O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.”Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17)
Reflect On: 2 Kings 6:8-23
Praise God: Because he is well able to help you.
Offer Thanks: For the specific ways God has helped you in the past.
Confess: Any lack of faith in God’s desire or ability to help you.
Ask God: To open your eyes to his care.
I owe my love of reading to comic books, which I devoured by the hundreds as a child. Many of them sported ads picturing ninetypound weaklings transformed into muscle-bound brutes after a few short weeks on a bodybuilding regimen. Even though I couldn’t see myself as a weight lifter, I relished the idea of turning into the Incredible Hulk every once in a while. I could imagine the look of terror on my brother’s face the next time he picked a fight with his little sister only to find her transformed into a superhuman fighting machine!
The closest I ever got to attaining Incredible Hulk status occurred late one summer night when I was a teenager lounging on the front porch of our home. The porch light was off and the street was dark, but I could see enough to make out two boys harassing a neighbor’s miniature Schnauzer across the street. Malicious laughter mingled with the dog’s pitiful yelps. Without thinking, I stood up and shouted out in my deepest, most authoritative voice, “Hey, you kids, leave that dog alone!” Unable to pinpoint the direction from which the terrifying voice had emanated, those boys took off so fast that I fell over laughing. It felt good to be powerful, especially on behalf of the innocent.
I wonder if that’s how the prophet Elisha felt when he realized just who was fighting on his side against the king of Aram. Elisha had irritated that king by using his prophetic gifts to inform the king of Israel of the whereabouts of Aram’s army. Furious, the king of Aram ordered his army to track him down.
When Elisha’s servant awoke one morning and saw Aram’s army surrounding the city in which they were staying, he panicked. But Elisha prayed, asking God to open his servant’s eyes. The man was astonished when he looked out and saw a vast army of the heavenly host—horses and chariots of fire—surrounding the enemy.
That was good, but it gets better.
Next Elisha asked God to close the eyes of his enemies. Then he approached the soldiers, who were suddenly blinded, coolly informing them that they had made a slight miscalculation. They had surrounded the wrong city. But not to worry because he would rectify matters by leading them straight to the man they were looking for.
Then Elisha marched them to Samaria, the capital of Israel. After that the prophet prayed a third time, asking God to open their eyes. Imagine the soldiers’ surprise at finding themselves captives in the heart of enemy territory.
No wonder the psalmist says that “he who sits in the heavens laughs” at all the kings of the earth. Perhaps in this case, Elisha, the wiliest of prophets, fell over laughing too. This story reminds us of an important reality: No matter who is against us, God is for us. The next time you feel like panicking, besieged by an army of troubles, cry out to the Lord of Hosts for his help. Ask him to open your eyes to the way he is already working on your behalf. Remember the words of Elisha: “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
Meet your spiritual ancestors as they really were: Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them.