From Praying the Names of God Week Thirteen, Day Five
The Name 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.
Key Scripture 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)
Friday PROMISES ASSOCIATED WITH GOD’S NAME
What are you afraid of? Your children straying? Your marriage breaking up? Are you afraid of loneliness, sickness, financial trouble, failure, accidents, old age, death? Perhaps you worry that you will never find a life partner. Or maybe you are afraid God doesn’t love you, that he can’t forgive you, that he finds the essential you unacceptable. To be human is to be vulnerable, to be aware of limitations, weaknesses, and defects that may lead to our undoing. What’s more, Satan plays on these weaknesses, accusing us day and night. In the spiritual struggle in which all of us are engaged, we need to stop giving him sway by listening to his lies. We need instead to accept the clear evidence of God’s love for us, remembering always that the battle belongs to the Lord.
Promises in Scripture
“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psalm 46:10-11 NRSV)
O LORD of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:12 NRSV)
Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 1:3 NRSV)
Then those who revered the LORD spoke with one another.The LORD took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the LORD and thought on his name.They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts,my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. (Malachi 3:16-17 NRSV)
Continued Prayer and Praise
Remember that no one can thwart the plans of the Lord of Hosts. (Isaiah 14:24-27)
Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus we have been afforded an opportunity to live an incredibly abundant life here on earth. Our God is nearer, more tangible, and has a greater ability to make his presence known than we’ve yet realized. He longs to make his children more in tune and aware of the depths of his love, guidance, empowerment, and nearness. He longs for our days here on earth to be marked by unveiled communion with him. As we look at what it is to live an abundant life here on earth, I pray that your heart will be awakened to the reality of God’s presence and affection in your life.
Scripture:“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:23
In this life, we have an ability to choose to worship which we will never have again. When God brings final restoration to all things and we live in perfect communion with him, we will see him and know him fully. In heaven, worship will not be a choice. It will be the natural response of all of creation to the full revelation of God. Revelation 5:11-14 depicts this image:
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
God loves our worship here. John 4:23 says, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” Did you know that God is seeking your worship? It delights the heart of your Father when you desire to encounter him, know him, and give him your affections. There is nothing he loves more than communion with us.
When we choose to worship God here on earth, we are declaring to the Father and all of creation that he is King of kings and Lord of lords, and that he is our true ambition. To worship God here is to crown him as Lord of your life, come underneath his leadership, and make him first priority. What we do with our limited time here on earth has the power to affect the heart of God for all eternity. And living a lifestyle of worship instead of choosing the things of the world has the power to guide others into relationship with the Father, thereby changing the nature of their eternities forever.
Gathering together to worship with fellow believers is no small or fleeting task if we will take time to ask God what it does to his heart. Every time we gather together to worship, we can move the heart of our Father. We have the ability here on earth to delight our Creator. He sent Jesus to die that we might walk in communion with him. Our worship and pursuit of relationship with God is the reward for the unmerited suffering of our Savior. Every word we sing from our hearts matters. Every person we love is music to the ears of our Father. Every act of worship has eternal significance.
Take time in guided prayer to allow God to reveal his longing for your worship. Allow Scripture to fill you with a desire to worship with your life. Crown God as King and Lord and live to satisfy your God’s desire for continual, intimate relationship with you.
1. Meditate on the value of your worship here on earth. Allow Scripture and God’s presence to stir you up to live a lifestyle of devoted worship right now.
“You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’” Psalm 27:8
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:2
“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:11-14
2. What have you been pursuing above worshipping God? What is keeping you from doing everything in your life as an act of worship?
3. Ask God to show you how much he loves your worship. Ask him to help you live a lifestyle of worship, daily surrendering all you do to him as an act of praise and love. Rest in his presence and spend time simply being with him.
Mark 14 describes for us an inspiring story of worship. Mark 14:3-6 says, “And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.’” And then later in verse 9 Jesus says, “And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” This woman’s worship affected eternity. Her story of devotion and affection for Jesus has inspired countless Christians. May we live like this woman. May we give all that we have in love and devotion to the King who gave everything for us.
How many times have you heard these words? When was the last time you said them yourself?
Whether it’s a student having a tough time understanding some school subject, a worker struggling with an assigned project, two people battling misunderstanding in their friendship, or a husband and wife who find themselves repeatedly arguing over the same issues, when things are hard, the temptation to quit is very real. When the bar of difficulty is raised for us in any area of life, the natural tendency is to bail out. This is our “quitting quotient.” It’s the “I quit” point, when and where we are unwilling to keep going.
A part of inner growth and maturity is the increase of our tolerance for difficulty. Over time, the threshold of challenge that causes us to cry “uncle” should continue to rise. If we are growing spiritually, emotionally and relationally, what used to tempt us to quit in years past shouldn’t faze us now. We ought to be tougher, more determined, more patient and persistent today than we were yesterday. Our “quitting points” should be different.
God wants to help us raise our “quitting quotient.” This is one reason He allows us to go through trials and troubles. It’s one reason He puts us in situations that challenge us. Working through these things builds up internal muscles — character strength — in us.
When we keep going when it’s hard to do so, our personal weakness and intolerance for tough challenges is replaced with new levels of resolve, faith and commitment. We learn how to ignore the feelings that drive us to give up. We dig in and press through. We learn that persevering through the hard things transforms these things into stepping stones to greater things.
“Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” – James 1:2-4
What level of pain currently causes you to quit? How tolerant are you when difficulties come your way? How do you handle things you perceive as hard or challenging?
On a “hard” scale of 1-10, do you throw in the towel at 2, 6, 8? What’s your number? How quickly do you get to your quitting point? (paraphrased from “Attitudes That Attract Success” by Wayne Cordeiro, p. 68.)
Don’t let your greatness for God be robbed by a low “quitting quotient!”
“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” And it was done, as the LORD commanded Moses. —Leviticus 16:34
This month, Jews around the world will observe the High Holy Days, which begin with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and conclude on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is a time of great reflection and introspection for us. I’m sharing with you weekly devotions based on my book, Generation to Generation: Passing on the Legacy of Faith to Our Children, about the High Holy Days, and the lessons of repentance and forgiveness which are central to this holy time.
I remember a time when I was a child and I was not behaving well. My father asked me to stop misbehaving repeatedly, but, nevertheless, I continued. My father sensed that I was completely ignoring him, and consequently, yelled at me. This was something that I was not used to, and I ran to my room in tears.
A few moments later, my father came into my room and sat on my bed. I thought that he had come to punish me, but instead, he stroked my back until I stopped sobbing. Then, with tears in his eyes he said, “I’m sorry, Yael. I should not have reacted so harshly. Yes, you were misbehaving, but you are the child and I am the parent. I should not have lost my cool and yelled at you. There are other ways that I could have dealt with it, and in the future, I am going to be more patient and talk things out with you.”
I could hardly believe it. My big, strong, father had come to apologize to me! In my eyes, my father was always right and never made mistakes. It was incredibly powerful when he admitted that he had been wrong and apologized for the way that he reacted.
That day I learned that the sign of a truly strong and mature adult is the ability to ask forgiveness from anyone, even a small child. I learned that it was not just the “right” thing to do, but also the hallmark of a great person.
The most sacred time on the Jewish calendar is known as the High Holy Days, which begin with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and culminate on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is a time of intense introspection and requires us to ask forgiveness from God and seek forgiveness from those whom we have hurt or offended — whether intentionally or unintentionally — throughout the year.
Two of the hardest words for many people to say are, “I’m sorry.” It’s hard to admit when we are wrong. And yet, those two words have tremendous power to heal relationships, repair damages, and change the future for the better. As my father taught me, seeking forgiveness from others is essential, and although it requires humility to do so, it is truly the mark of an extraordinary person.