I was reading the Bible this week, and though I’ve read passages using this phrase before, this week I was struck by it a little differently. Throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, there are numerous passages that describe God as the “Lord of hosts.” Why would God specifically feel the need to describe himself as the One Who is in charge of multitudes?
Just prior to Jesus’ arrest, He instructed Peter to put his sword away and not defend Him at that particular juncture. In Matthew 26:53 NKJV, Jesus asked him, “…do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” Here, it seems Jesus was reminding Peter of his position as “Lord of hosts.”
To be Lord of hosts means that God has all of the resources He needs at His disposal. He doesn’t require any assistance, and He doesn’t possess any weaknesses. God is never stumped by a question nor paralyzed by a problem. After all, He has hosts simply waiting with baited breath for Him to give the Word.
Recent marketing strategies have frightened many consumers. Many years ago, I spent two and a half years in digital marketing, and I was amazed at the technological advances that existed then. I was impressed that someone could perform an Internet search using their search engine, but then open their social media and be immediately inundated with ads relating to their previous research on a completely different platform. With the advent of Siri, Google Voice, Alexa, Bixby, and others, I am convinced we sign away rights when using a smart phone that allow them to listen in to conversations and use the data from those conversations to display relevant ads in our individual digital experiences. As a result, that must mean these voices represented by artificial intelligence are always listening for the keyword that allows us to use hands-free technology.
That’s exactly the way I envision the hosts that serve God. They are waiting in the wings of the throne room in anticipation for God to give the word and put them to work. I don’t know exactly how hosts work, but whatever they are doing prior to God deploying them for His kingdom, there is one thing that I believe they are doing–listening. The moment God gives the word, they are off like an eager horse at the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby.
Elisha stepped out of his home to see the local city surrounded by the Syrian army, yet Elisha remained unwavering. His servant was terrified by the formidable army, but Elisha remained at peace. When the servant cried out the despairing cry, “What do we do?” Elisha calmly said, “Don’t worry. There are more with us than there are with them” and then asked God to open the servant’s eyes to see the angelic hosts that were also present. It is common for us see the multiplication of the enemy’s hosts and yet miss the hosts that God has ready to utilize for our assistance. So remember: even when it seems like the enemy has stacked the odds against you, there are hosts that you cannot see that God has at the ready.
Be encouraged by this concept today. The fact that God is the Lord of hosts means whenever He sees you are in need, He has plenty of resources to assist. God is at the ready the moment that you call to Him.
Last week in a meeting I had with two different saints in our church, I recognized the fingerprints of the enemy in a very indirect way. The attacks were not strong or even extremely clear, yet I sensed their presence, almost in the sense that a splinter is sensed as opposed to the stabbing of a knife. The splinter causes irritation and discomfort, while the stabbing of a knife produces excruciating pain. The problem is that we sometimes delay in dealing with the splinter because we learn how to cope with the pain.
I am convinced that recently the demonic attacks have been more irritable and uncomfortable, but we have felt it was easier to cope with the discomfort than take the time to root out the problem. As a result, we don’t even realize the weight we were carrying, and we were unaware of how distracted we were becoming.
Frankly, for the last few weeks something has felt “off,” but I believe this epitome, which I believe was God-given in the middle of the night, is the answer. We have become distracted by little hang-ups. The devil hasn’t thrown us off a cliff; he just placed something in our paths that caused us to stub our toe. But while we tend to turn to God in those cliff-hanger situations, we tend to try to cope with the distractions of our stubbed toes.
I sincerely believe we need God to remove from us the stubbed toes…the little hang-ups…the distractions, so we can remain focused on the mission. The kingdom of God must move forward, and we cannot afford to be hindered by distractions.
I am thankful for gates. This past Saturday, my family and I went to the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, and there were a number of times when I felt appreciation for gates and fencing that I trusted were strong enough to keep the animals away from us. There was a male and female lion who were enjoying the meat of a piece of dead carcase. There was a menacing tiger pacing around his enclosure. There was a rhinoceros standing near what appeared be her offspring basking in the sun. I was quite thankful for gates and fencing that held.
Prior to my election as Pastor at Life Christian Church in Lansing, I worked as a teacher for the Tennessee Department of Corrections. I met people who needed to be confined, at least for a time, as punishment for their criminal activities. Some of them were outright menaces to the general public. I was thankful for chain link fencing and razor wire that successfully kept felons from escaping their confinement.
I am intrigued by the fact that in Matthew 16:18 Jesus told Peter, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” his church. I have often heard this applied in the sense that the devil and his cohorts cannot be victorious when attacking the church, but gates aren’t offensive weapons. They are designed to keep the opposing forces out. In other words, this verse is not telling us Satan’s forces cannot defeat us (though that is true); it’s actually saying the gates of hell won’t hold when the Church encroaches on their territory. We are the male and female lion licking our chops after enjoying the meat of the dead carcase. We are the pacing tiger. We are the powerful rhinoceros. Yet, hell’s gates won’t be able to hold against the Church’s forceful attack. They can’t stop the Church!
Consistency in current society is truly a jewel. In the ever-changing world we live in, it feels as if consistency is near non-existent. Technology is always changing so that by the time we learn one technological advancement, there is likely a new one that has already been developed to improve upon the method or device we just finished learning.
Consistency in the technological realm may be frustrating, but in many cases it is not concerning. On the other hand, I become alarmed when I see the lack of consistency in “so called” Christians. With some, it almost feels appropriate to ask, “So are we living for God today or not?” Frankly, I’ve determined there are individuals whom you can almost determine their mindset, their faith, and their commitment for that day by checking the weather. Now, I’m not referring to determining the chance of rain for the day or the projected temperature, but I’m speaking of the individual’s circumstances, and it can actually work in two different ways.
There are some who need a crisis to keep them close to God. If it were not for the crisis, they would have no relationship with Christ. They only hold on to God because they need him to fix their circumstances, which often they were responsible for creating. Yet, the moment their crisis is fixed, their personal relationship with God ceases to exist.
On the other hand, some will only serve God when their circumstances are perfect. At the very first sight of trouble, they turn on God, wondering why he has forsaken them and why bad things happen to good people. “How could you let this happen?” they ask God, failing to remember that trouble rains on the just as well as on the unjust.
But I would like to remind you that regardless of your circumstances, God is always God. When the sun is shining, God is still God. When the storm is raging, God is still God. My hope is that we can find a consistent relationship with God that can be constant in spite of our circumstances.
I would like to close by saying there are moments when we feel weak. There are times when we will ask questions. However, there is a difference in experiencing feelings and questions and the outright rejection of God because of a slight change of circumstances. My desire is that in spite of the emotions and uncertainties, we will make the choice to serve God at all times. The weather in our circumstances should have nothing to do with it.