Lord Sabbaoth

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Default article daily reflection

Our Redeemer, whose name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, is the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 47:4

The bulk of Isaiah 47 consists of God’s taunting condemnation of Babylon. But verse 4 is an interjection by the prophet, speaking on behalf of Israel: “Our Redeemer,” he says, “whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, is the Holy One of Israel.”

The phrase translated here as “Lord of Heaven’s Armies” is also translated as “Lord Almighty” or “Lord of hosts.” It renders the Hebrew phrase yhwh tzeva’ot. Yhwh is the name of God (Yahweh). Tzeva’ot means “armies.” We know the phrase yhwh tzeva’ot in the second verse of Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress”:

Did we in our strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabbaoth, His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

“Lord Sabbaoth” is a traditional transliteration of yhwh tzeva’ot.

How is God the Lord of armies? First of all, in the Old Testament he is the commander in chief of Israel’s armies. Yet, beyond this, he is the Lord of the armies of heaven, the angelic forces that do God’s bidding on earth. The name yhwh tzeva’ot conveys God’s authority and might. He is stronger than any other power on earth and has authority to command the very forces of heaven to do his bidding.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you live as if God is truly yhwh tzeva’ot? Do you have confidence in God’s power? Why or why not? How have you experienced God’s strength and authority in your life?

PRAYER: O God, you are indeed yhwh tzeva’ot. Lord Sabbaoth is your name. You command the forces of the universe, even the hosts of heaven. All praise, glory, and honor be to you.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are filled with your glory. Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed are you, Lord Jesus, because you have redeemed us by your strength. Blessed are you, Lord Jesus, because you became weak for our sake. Blessed are you, Lord Jesus, because all authority in heaven and earth is yours. Amen.