Yahweh Sabaoth: The Lord of Hosts

| Catherine Barker

1 Samuel 17

David really had no business being on the battlefield, other than to deliver the grain, bread loaves, and ten kinds of cheese to his brothers and their commander. His arrival was impeccably timed as the Israelite and Philistine armies drew up for battle. David passed off the groceries and immediately ran into the ranks to see his brothers.

Goliath had every bit of business being on that battlefield, as far as he was concerned. He towered over everyone at an estimated nine feet nine inches tall and boasted bronze armor weighing over 150 pounds. Goliath’s menacing rhetoric taunted the Israelite army every morning and evening for forty days.

For those familiar with the story, you know that David approached Goliath with only his sling and a handful of stones. He responded to Goliath’s derision with this,

“You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand… For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (1 Samuel 17: 45-47)

David slayed Goliath that day, and while he may have been the underdog, he wasn’t the hero. The victory belonged to the God of the Israelites, who went before David in battle and handed the Philistines over in defeat. David identifies God as Yahweh Sabaoth, meaning “the Lord of Hosts”, which refers to God’s authority over earthly and spiritual armies.

Yahweh Sabaoth is used over 250 times in Scripture, primarily in the Old Testament, and very frequently throughout the Minor Prophets (Amos, Haggai, Malachi, among other books). In Scripture, God’s people depended on the Lord of Hosts and his angelic armies to bring deliverance in the face of enemies.

When we step onto the battlefield and face our “Goliath”- the battle that seems bigger, stronger, and more powerful than us- keep in mind, you’re probably right. David was smaller, weaker, and less experienced than Goliath. But- he acted boldly in faith, trusting in the insurmountable power of Yahweh Sabaoth, and you can too.

The battle you’re fighting may seem overwhelming but don’t lose heart, friend. The battle belongs to the Lord of Hosts. “He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the chariots with fire. Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:9-11)

So, we enter the battle with heads lifted high. Not because we have any armor or weapon of our own that will achieve victory, but because our eyes are on Yahweh Sabaoth, the mighty Lord of Hosts, who is with us and will fight our battles. Amen.