This title of God is found 281 times in Scripture. The first reference to God as the “LORD of hosts” is in 1 Samuel 1:3 which reads, “And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh.” The word “hosts” could be translated “armies,” so we could say God is the “LORD of armies.” It speaks of God as the sovereign ruler of the universe who has armies at His disposal throughout His kingdom.

We do well to ask, who is in the armies of God? Surely this would include the angelic hosts of heaven. Psalm 103:20-21 says, “Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word. Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure” (NKJV). The armies of angels are sometimes referred to as “chariots,” as we see in Psalm 68:17, “The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands; The Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness” (NASB). You may recall the story in 2 Kings 8 where Israel was attacked by the king of Syria and in verse 14 we read, “Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, a great host compassed the city about.” The army of Syria frightened the servant of Elisha as seen in verse 15, “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do?” What happened next is most encouraging! Verses 16-17 says, “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses, and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” In this special case a man was allowed to see the Lord’s “army of angels” and we can be sure this glorious sight removed all fear and that he came to embrace the truth of Elisha’s words, “they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

The lesson for us in this blessed title, “the LORD of hosts,” is clear. Our God is the sovereign, all-powerful Lord and King Who has an innumerable host of angels making up His “armies.” The day is coming when the whole world will witness this truth. In Psalm 24 we have a prophecy of the coming of Christ as the King of glory. Let’s read verses 7-10, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD is strong and mighty, the LORD strong in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.” In Revelation 19:11-21 we have the same vision of Christ as the King of glory before us. In verse 11 John “saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns.” Verse 16 adds, “And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” The Lord Jesus Christ is coming to judge His enemies and to establish His glorious kingdom on earth. But He won’t be alone, for as the “Lord of hosts” He will be accompanied by “armies.” Verse 14 declares, “And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Who are these armies? The answer to this is most precious, for it is the saints that Christ has redeemed that will make up this heavenly army! Jude prophesied of this in Jude 14, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints.” We have no doubt that an angelic host will also be with Christ, for other scriptures confirm this, but if you compare Revelation 19:7-8 with verse 14 you can only reach one conclusion; the Bride of Christ will also comprise an army that will return with Christ to reign with Him in His glorious kingdom. What a day that will be! Will you be in the Lord’s army, dear friend? (169.9) (DO)