Aug. 3, 2017

The Lord of Hosts - The God of Peace

Romans 16:10-27 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

21 Timothy my fellow worker greets you, and so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.

22 I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord.

23 Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

Adonai Tzavaot, the “Lord of Hosts” is one of the names of God, used 235 times in the Bible. The literal meaning in Hebrew is “Lord of armies”    Many times, in the Old Testament, we read of God fighting for the Israelites. Battles won, enemies destroyed by the hand of God, on behalf of His people. Many people have a difficult time reconciling the God of love, mercy, grace, the God of peace with the Lord of Hosts. He is both. In Romans 12:18 it says:  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.  In John 16:33 Jesus says:  “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”   In John 5:44 Jesus says:  “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”   It’s no wonder then that some have difficulty reconciling the God of peace with the Lord of armies. Many believe that the warring God was only in the Old Testament and through Jesus we now live under grace and peace. In today’s text, Paul says:   The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

There is still a battle going on even today and the Lord of Hosts still fights for us. In 2 Kings 6:15-18 there is an account of a time Elisha the prophet faced a great army.    Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  We may not face physical armies in our battles today, ours is a spiritual battle. But still we should not fear. The Lord of Hosts still fights for us and If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31) 

In Ephesians 6:12-18 Paul describes our spiritual battle, our enemy and our path to victory.   For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.    Our victory, over the enemy we face, against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places;  against Satan himself is in Christ. We are given all the defensive elements of the armor of God so that we might be protected and stand against the enemy. We are protected by the truth of God against the lies of Satan. We are protected by covering ourselves not in our own works and strength, but in the righteousness of Christ. We carry faith as our shield, believing God even amidst the circumstances, the evidence our natural bodies see and hear. We do stand and walk in the peace of God, the good news that as Jesus said we will have peace, even in the midst of tribulation. Above all we stand secure in our salvation, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even death.

The only offensive weapon we need is: the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We are to pray His word over the circumstances and the situations of our lives. Praying His word means we also pray His will. 1 John 5:14-15 says:  This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.   In John 14:13-14 Jesus says:  Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”      As we stand and pray, Jesus says He will do it. He will fight for us. How then could we lose? Jesus has already won. He has overcome. Through our prayers and petitions, as we stand shod with the gospel of peace; The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.     Thank You Lord!

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You that You do fight for us, that although we may face battles, struggles in the spiritual realm, You have already won. You have overcome. You have crushed Satan under our feet so we can stand in Your peace. Thank You. Amen.