The Creator of all that is, the one who orders all events and works everything to His purpose, reveals himself to His creatures that He might display his glory and comfort his covenant people. The history of the universe is His Story and His people can see His majestic handiwork in creation but God is most clearly revealed in His Word, the Bible.
God is incomprehensible, which means that we may know God but never fully comprehend Him. God is wholly other from His creation and hence there is nothing to which we may compare Him. We have also discussed that the Bible is best understood when we realize that it is the history of redemption, a book of rescue. In this article we will look at one of the names of God - Jehovah Sabaoth or, the Lord of Hosts.
Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly HOST praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
A host is a great multitude of something. It can be a great group of people or even the stars and planets in the sky but most often in scripture it is of angels that we speak. Several of the prophets use the name Lord of Hosts when they want to send a message to God's covenant people that the Creator is sovereign, that he controls events and outcomes. The name Lord of Hosts is meant to instill comfort in an oppressed and frightened people. When we speak of a host of angels we are speaking of an army, a gigantic collection of warriors. When we speak of the Lord of Hosts we are reflecting on God the Warrior.
Isaiah 31:4 4 For thus the Lord said to me,
“As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey,
and when a band of shepherds is called out against him
he is not terrified by their shouting
or daunted at their noise,
so the Lord of hosts will come down
to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
Have you ever heard someone refer to God as 'the man upstairs'? Yeah, I got sick a little in my mouth when I heard it too. Anyone who can refer to God in such a flippant manner has never considered, never caught a glimpse of the Lord of Hosts. The Lord of Hosts commands the legions of multitudes of angels, both faithful and fallen, ALL must serve His will.
Psalm 103:20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul
We must not ignore the fabulous story recorded in 2 Kings 6. The king of Syria was frustrated that Elisha "tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” The king of Syria "sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city." Elisha's servant was terrified to see that a great army had surrounded them and destruction was immanent. Elisha, on the other hand was quite calm,
16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
We have now seen a few descriptions of a 'host of angels'. They are not a fair skinned, blond haired delicate choir, they are warriors. They are not pretty and winsome, they are frightening; they are not little old men trying to earn their wings, they are an assault force who carry out the purposes of the Almighty Sovereign Lord of Hosts. Thus, after God humiliated King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, he also inspired the restored king to utter this perfect confession and praise,
35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”
What has God sent these heavenly beings to the earthly realm to accomplish?
Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
Dear believer, does that not excite you? The Lord of Hosts avails his armies to protect His covenant people. Remember, Satan knows our Scriptures better than we do and THIS truth was not wasted on him. He had the audacity to remind our Lord of Psalm 91,
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
Then he tried to pressure our Lord into a foolish test at his own tempting, but God is never tempted by evil. Psalm 91:11 reminds us that the host of heaven is sent to protect us, the children of God, but first and foremost the host of heaven was sent to protect Jesus, the only begotten Son, our Redeemer, our Messiah.
Hence, we return to where we began - an angelic army appeared to shepherds. Were they there for a birth announcement and to sing a song? No! One much greater than Elisha had just been born in Bethlehem and the Lord of Hosts established a beach head round about.
The Cross, the atoning death of Christ is the climactic act in the history of redemption. It is the single most important event in the rescue story. The incarnation, God becoming flesh, was the beginning of a 33 year period of open and overt spiritual warfare. There will be attacks on the baby, attacks on the man Jesus and attacks on those around him but God's plan WILL NOT BE THWARTED.
The greatest display of war power was being manifested because all HELL was about to be unleashed. Where Satan had failed to stop the LINE of the Redeemer he would now multiply his efforts to stop the Redeemer so when the angels sang in a loud voice,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
it was a battle cry! The most massive army of history had been sent to defend and protect the Christ child, the Lord of Hosts incarnate and those with whom he is pleased - the elect, the chosen, the covenant people of God.