The names of God #8: The Lord of hosts
Scripture: 1Samuel 1:3
The first mention of this great name is found in these verses. Cp also v7. It is found on the lips of a husband and wife in times of national and personal distress. In terms of their specific realm of interest and focus in life, these two drew comfort from this great name.
It is clear that the home of Elkanah is not perfect. The presence of two wives indicates this. Yet it was a home where the power of God indicated by this title was actively considered and spoken of.
I GOD IS THE COMMANDER OF THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN.
- God is a God of war. Cp Gen 3:15, Ex 15:3, Is 42:13, Rev 19:11-21. He is at war with all that is opposed to Him. God does not remain passive in the face of rebellion against Him by His creatures.
- The ‘military’ resources of God. The reference here is to the angelic hosts. Cp Deut 33:2, 2Kings 6:16-17, Ps 68:17, Rev 5:11.
- The invincible power of God. Cp Dan 4:35. The futility of resistance and opposition!
II THIS IS A PARTICULAR COMFORT TO THE SAINTS OF GOD IN A DAY OF GROSS APOSTASY AND SIN.
This great name is used at such a time.
- It was a comfort to Elkanah in view of the corruption of the priesthood. This is at the end of the period of the Judges. The Levitical priesthood is utterly degenerate. Hophni and Phineas are identified as leading enemies of God and His cause. Cp 2:12. Elkanah is himself a Levite, though evidently retired from active service. This therefore is an aspect of apostasy that directly affects him. Cp Rom 9:29.
- It was a comfort to Hannah in view of bitter opposition in her family life. Hannah was provoked by Peninnah, Elkanah’s first wife. In her desire to serve God in her own context Hannah faced an enemy that drove her to consider the Lord as the Lord of hosts. Her own burdens found relief in the truth conveyed by this name. Cp James 5:4
III THIS VIEW OF GOD PROMPTED WORSHIP.
- Elkanah continued to serve God, v3. He diligently and faithfully attended upon God’s house and offers the appointed sacrifices. He desires to maintain the witness of the remnant. He had resisted the widespread effect of the behaviour of Eli’s sons, 2:17.
- Hannah’s prayer and vow. This view of God prompted her desire to contribute a son to fight the apostasy of the time—specially in the ranks of the Priesthood. Cp 2:35. And so she gives herself to the earnest prayer recorded and makes her vow. She is driven to seek God earnestly and ready to sacrifice herself as indicated as she considers the Lord of hosts.