Tag Archives: God blesses obedience

M10I Jehovah Sabaoth: Lord of hosts Leads the Way

The mature bride  is at the performing stage of teamwork with Jehovah Sabaoth

The children of Israel had come through the first three stages, forming (in Eyypt), storming (in the desert wilderness), norming (at the crossing of the Jordan), and are now at the threshold of taking possession of the land where it is imperative that they perform. Fear kept their ancestors out, but now, with Joshua’s leadership, they believed it would happen. But how? Would it be in their own strength or that of Jehovah Sabaoth [Lord of hosts].

After crossing the Jordan, their conquest started with the shedding of blood—by the circumcision of all males of the new generation. They also celebrated Passover, where the blood of the Lamb was swiped over their doorposts before leaving bondage in Egypt, all pointing to the blood of Jesus shed for them. On that special day when they stopped to worship and renew their covenant with God—putting first things first—the manna stopped as they ate of the produce of the land (see Joshua 5:11).

Their conquest continued as they neared Jericho surrounded with high stone walls. Joshua saw a man with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua did not know who he was because he said,

“Are you for us or for our enemies?”

“Neither,” he replied, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.—Joshua 5:14-15

The commander of the army of the Lord, responded to the obedience of the people and received divine adoration from Joshua, telling him he was on holy ground, and now it was like He was saying, “I will take it from here. I will bring down those walls.”

The Ark of the Covenant the priests carried across the Jordan, led the way. In fact, it was the Lord of hosts who brought them over Jordan and who will do the same for us.

Jehovah Sabaoth Lord hosts service

How do we know it is Jehovah Sabaoth who leads the way?

After David became king, he wanted the Ark of the Covenant moved to Jerusalem where it belonged. The ark was a chest overlaid with gold with two gold cherubim on the top “atonement” cover where blood of sacrificial animals was sprinkled. The blood symbolized God’s forgiveness of sin—pointing to Jesus the Lamb of God. It was carried through the wilderness by the priests and later captured by the Philistines. David gathered thirty thousand men to bring the ark back. Samuel, now a grown man and a prophet of God, records that the ark was “called by the Name, the very name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim” (2 Sam. 6:2 NASB).

The ark represented the presence of the Lord; everywhere it went the people prospered. Hebrews tells us that the temple, the Holy of Holies, all sacred items dedicated for worship, including the Ark of the Covenant, are copies of heavenly things.

For Christ did not enter a man made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own . . . Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.—Hebrews 9:24-28 (emphasis mine)

Jesus entered the Most Holy Place and sprinkled his very own blood on the ark as our High Priest and sat down at the right hand of the Father. He stepped in first, just as the Israelite priests did who carried that ark across Jordan. He is stepping in now and going before us just as He did for the children of Israel. It is His responsibility and His battle to bring us into the land, ours to follow and obey, to believe and expect the walls to come down.

Let Jehovah Sabaoth lead the way

joy with Jehovah Sabaoth

If it is Jehovah Sabaoth’s responsibility to get us in the land and help us possess it, why did not the first generation get across? We remind ourselves it was because their hearts melted with discouragement from their brothers about the giants in the land. The devil’s purpose, as accuser of the brethren, is to steal our joy, thus, our energy needed to put faith into action. It is the joy of the Lord that is our strength (see Neh. 8:10 NASB). Without joy all resolve to fight is gone.

We may be the head goose, shielding the way for others, strength drained, feeling like we cannot flap those wings one more minute. But, we know we cannot let up in this sacred service of the Lord. It is so important and the weight of the whole world may seem to be on our shoulders, yet, the only way we will enter the land is to fall back and allow another to take the lead—Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts.

When we do, it is like His hand moves into our glove and he works where we do not have to work; we see His hand at work all around us, signs and wonders we never saw before. He anoints our obedience; He uses our availability, not any ability we thought we may have had in the first place. And we discover our availability means we needed to be toughened by hardship in the wilderness in order to endure the battles we face in following Him, yet there is no obstacle we cannot overcome because He is our guide. We find the only easy day was yesterday as we enter unmapped territory. When we position ourselves so we can see the Lord of hosts, and get our eyes fixed on Him alone—nothing between—He imparts His intelligence and we have His mind through His Word more than we ever dreamed possible.

The Lord of hosts told Joshua to keep His Word, to do according to all the law and commandments and to not allow the Word to depart from his lips (see Joshua 1:7-8). One soldier, even Joshua, cannot fight a whole battle on his own; he must be able to trust his comrades, and he must be trustworthy. Our fight is not with flesh and blood as in the Old Testament, but with powers and evil forces of this present darkness. The only way we can fight them is to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10 NASB), and by putting on His armor and wielding the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (see Eph. 6:16-17).

Jehovah Sabaoth [Lord of hosts] undergirds us by the wind of His Spirit

Jehovah Sabaoth leads the way

The mature military bride knows it will take the whole army to complete the mission of the Lord of hosts. Therefore, her battle is to trust Him to bring down the walls between individuals who make up all denominations in Christ’s body—the Church.

It is His orchestra, and He has given each of us in His service a trumpet—our mouth of praise speaking forth His Word—along with other instruments He has gifted us with. He knows who will fill each seat, what part they will play—and when. He has worked the impossible in transforming us from a lone eagle separated for private lessons to a member of the large team of geese. Unity will come when each has his or her eyes on the Conductor—and Him alone. He will bring that unity through our availability and beautiful music will result. What a grand concert it will be!

 Thy words were found and I ate them, And thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16 NASB

M6C Conditions to Receiving Blessings of El Shaddai

God Almighty gives two very important conditions to being blessed in Genesis, chapter 17:1-2: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

Conditions of El Shaddai

TRUST: first of two conditions to be blessed

I am God Almighty, walk before me” (Gen. 17:1 emphasis added). The Amplified version says, “. . . live habitually before Me.”

The bottom line of walking before the Lord means trusting in Him. Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (emphasis added). (See also Prov. 16:20; Ps. 84:12). The psalmist also says, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways” (Ps. 128:1 emphasis added). If we are following Jesus as our Shepherd, we are walking before him—in His presence. Walking blameless adds another dimension.

BE BLAMELESS: second of two conditions to be blessed

“. . . and be blameless” (Gen. 17:1)

The Hebrew word for blameless is Tâmîym: the divine standard for man to obtain. It means “entire (literally, figuratively, or morally) whole, complete . . . upright in one’s conduct, especially toward God, innocent, simple, honest, sincere, secure, integrity.”[1] The Amplified Bible gives an interesting amplification: blameless, whole-hearted, complete. Remember Joshua and Caleb, who followed the Lord whole-heartedly, were the only ones left of the original generation coming out of Egypt and are now leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. It all comes down to facing our life honestly before the Lord one day at a time.

The psalmist again gives a great summary of what it takes to be a blessed child of God: “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart” (Ps. 119:1).

God’s ways are higher than our ways, therefore, we may see times when His blessings of health or family are taken away, and we cannot figure out why. We see ourselves as blameless and completely trusting in the Lord. Chapter 14 of this book examines this life situation in detail.

As important as these two conditions are to being blessed, there is another condition that we absolutely cannot ignore! And, it’s the very first condition God laid down. When the Lord called Abram to leave his father’s household and go to the land that He would show him, He finished His blessing to Abram with these words: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse” (Gen. 12:3).

We know God is referring to “Israel,” the nation of the Jewish people, Abraham’s descendants through Isaac—the child of a promise fulfilled—and Jacob whose name is changed to “Israel.”

WHO SHALL RECEIVE THESE BLESSINGS?

“. . . between me and you” (Gen. 17:2)

God is talking directly to Abraham, of course, and the me here is El Shaddai. He is also talking directly to you and me. Galatians 3:29 tells us so, “And if you belong to Christ (are in Him, Who is Abraham’s Seed), then you are Abraham’s offspring and (spiritual) heirs according to promise” (Amplified). We are Abraham’s spiritual offspring because we belong to Christ and are a child of the only One and True God. These promises and every promise in the whole Bible belong to us, and have already been given to us.

Jabez passed the conditions test

These blessings come only to those who dare to look for and receive what the Almighty has given, men like Jabez who cried out to God, “‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request” (1 Chron. 4:10).

Bruce Wilkinson, in his book, The Prayer of Jabez for Teens, says, “I’ve met so many Christians who think that such an idea is wrong. They assume that they’ll seem greedy or immature if they ask God for too many blessings. But that’s not what Jabez believed. Somewhere in his bones he knew something that most of us miss. He was convinced that God loved him and wanted to really bless him and that He could because He had unlimited power and resources. That kind of trust in his heavenly Father made it natural for Jabez to pray exactly the kind of request God wants to hear.”[2]

[1] Zodiates, Key Word Study Bible, p. 1792.

[2] Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez for Teens, (Multnomah Publishers, Inc., Sisters, Oregon 2001) p. 32-33

M1B El Roi God Who Sees Me

7. God El Roi Who Sees Seeks and Finds

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Seeks and Finds Me in the Desert

Who was this angel of the Lord, or God as El Roi who sees, in Verse Seven, who found Hagar? Most Bible scholars agree that the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament represents Jesus Christ before he is born of the Virgin Mary because of “his promising to perform what God alone could do and foretelling what God alone could know.”1

The angel of the Lord found Hagar, meaning He was searching for her. Jesus himself tells us He came to seek and to find those who are lost. After He met Zacchaeus in a tree on the road to Jericho, Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:9). God’s unseen Spirit is constantly seeking, constantly finding, constantly saving, and continually initiating a relationship with us until we make the right choice to follow Him.

# # #

God, the Son–Jesus–found Denise in the bookstore. She made the right choice in answering yes to the question the lady put to her, “Do you want to be saved?” As time went on, she knew what that meant, because the Lord’s presence was with her.

Some years later a friend gave her a book, Angels on Assignment, by Charles and Frances Hunter as told to Roland Buck. It emphasizes our Heavenly Father’s passion for His family and the searching He does for His children, creating choices for them, over and over, until they make the right decision.

Denise realized how important it was to share her testimony, so she wrote it down. She then emptied her savings account, bought thirty books, and mailed them to her friends across the United States. She does not know if the lady in the bookstore was an angel or not. The lady said she had been to a revival at her church, held a tract from which they prayed, but never followed up with the girls, which always bothered them. Whatever the truth is, Denise became an angel on assignment to her friends as God’s messenger had so boldly shared with her.

8. God El Roi  Who Sees Calls Us By Our Name

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Calls Me by My Name

In the Eighth Verse, the Angel of the Lord said, “Hagar, servant of Sarah.” He knew who she was and called her by her name, and then He proceeded to remind her who she was, “servant of Sarah.” He was saying to her, “Hagar, I know you, I created you. But, the question is, “do you know who you are?”

The Lord was saying to her, “I have called you by your name. I have surnamed you though you have not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides Me. I will gird you and arm you though you have not known Me” (Isa.45:4-5 Amplified).

Notice the angel of the Lord did not ask her who she was. He knew He was the only one who could reveal that to her. He is the only one who can tell us who we are. He was telling her, “Hagar, you are my child; furthermore, I have even tattooed your name upon my palm” (see Isa. 49:16).

# # #

After meeting Jesus in the bookstore, Denise told Marie, “I began to face the reality in my life–that it was based on lies. I was filled with emotions I didn’t know how to deal with, and a realization that I didn’t even know who I was or why I felt the way I did. I had to ask myself what else in my life I was not facing.”

8. God El Roi  Who Sees Asks Us Two Questions That Enable Us To Look At Who We Are

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Asks Me Two Questions that Enable Me to Look at Who I am

In Verse Eight, the Lord asked, “Where have you come from, and where are you going?” Hagar is truthful because the Angel of the Lord knew everything anyway, “A man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths” (Prov. 5:21).

Hagar honestly answered, “I am running away.” But, she gave no answer for where she was going. She had not even considered her destination. All she knew was that she was running away. The reality of the situation was this: she was alone in the middle of the desert, on a road leading to death. If the Lord had not intervened, called her by her name to cause her to consider these two questions, she would have died.

The reality of blind decisions is death-the termination of life, whether mentally, physically, or spiritually. Honestly facing the Truth is the first step to life, whether it is eternal life or living one of vitality here on earth.

# # #

When Denise began to face her life in honesty, she was able to see the physical answer to the question, “Where are you going?” Her husband tried to persuade her to go to her dad’s house (to get her to leave). When the Lord revealed to her that she should, she left and took her younger brother with her. Amazingly, Denise’s husband, who was out of the Marines and unable to hold a job, tagged along. Eventually though, he chose to leave permanently.

Will Denise’s eyes be opened to be able to face her past and the question, where have you come from? Will she experience other aspects of God’s nature to find the emotional and physical health she so desires? We will follow Denise’s story in following chapters as she experiences God by His Hebrew names.

What is our response to these two questions?

Hagar eventually found where she was going by facing the fact she was running, “I’m running from my mistress, Sarah.” It is no different with us. This is a hard question, for our situation may not be so obvious. Although happiness is a surface and fleeting goal, if we ask ourselves what we think will make us happy, we can usually find something we are not facing.

Hagar could have said, “I’d be happy if Sarah treated me well.” The reality was, she was not treating Sarah well, and that is why she was in such a hot spot. Many of us can say we would be happy to be out of debt, but are we facing the discipline to make it happen? We would be happy to be thin, but is the truth that we aren’t taking care of our bodies–we are running from eating correctly and exercising regularly?

At any given time, no matter where our relationship is with the Lord, we can go no further with Him until we have asked ourselves this pressing question: Am I running from something I need to be facing? Maybe we don’t have trouble like Hagar did with her employers; but, are we rebelling against the holy ways of God, not loving our husbands or wives as unto the Lord, or not taking responsibility for our own words and behavior?

Many times we can only find where we are going by facing the fact that we are running, out of fear, from the direction we should be heading. Are we resisting change-leaving our comfort zone to launch out into a new career path, ministry, or leadership position? This book will not provide answers to all your problems, but it will point you to the One who sees all,knows all, and does all things well. It will help you find who you are, where you have come from, and where you are going.

9. God El Roi Who Sees Requires Accountability for Our Choices

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Requires Accountability for My Choices

The angel of the Lord told Hagar in Verse Nine, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” God was requiring Hagar to be accountable for her actions. Who was she? She was Sarah’s maid. In essence, the Lord, by appearing to her, was saying, “You are my child first, Sarah’s maid second. Know that and be that. Face that fact and go home and trust Me to take care of you and to make good come from your life situation.”

Hagar then had a choice to make. She was faced with a life and death decision. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” God laid out for her, in a personal way, His words of life for her right here, “Go back; submit; grow up.” Being accountable for our behavior always brings with it-a choice. That choice may not seem like a happy one, and rarely is, but when it is based on the words of the One who created us, a deep satisfaction and joy grows through being obedient.

It must not have been easy for Hagar to face the fact she must be obedient ultimately to God and go back to Sarah, to humble herself before her “boss,” her “supervisor,” and the father of her child who was not her husband. If going back would cause physical harm to her, God would not have asked her to return. Everything He asks us to do eventually pushes us to grow from a child to an adult, mentally and spiritually. Colossians 3:22-24 says:

Slaves obey your earthly masters in everything, and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

God’s desire for Hagar was a change in attitude-which is what the Bible is, an attitude book. Being accountable to God first brings purpose in the drudgery of day-to-day existence. It is choosing life.

# # #

Denise was no different than Hagar. She was faced with a life and death situation. She had fought hard for her marriage even though her husband gambled away the savings she had before they married. Many nights he left her waiting alone in the parking lot where she worked until 2:00 a.m. She had constant stomach problems during this period: worked one week, off two weeks, and never weighed more than ninety pounds. She knew that for her own life’s sake, she had to let him go; when she did, a whole new life awaited her.

Denise summarizes her feelings, “When I was told the truth of why my husband married me, I began to remove my rose-colored glasses. My whole life, I denied all the hurt and negativity I lived with day-to-day, pretending in my heart I was happy when I was miserable and depressed; I buried my true feelings.”

Denise’s choice in being accountable to choose life meant returning to her father’s house, and God took care of the rest.

10. God El Roi  Who Sees Blesses Obedience

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Blesses Obedience

The Angel of the Lord added in Verse Ten, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” God is saying to Hagar, if she will repent, change her mind and attitude, turn around and go back home, she will find life and become the mother of many. But we find later, she was only partially obedient. She went back physically, but did her attitude change?

# # #

Some time after choosing to return to where her father lived, Denise met a man who loved and appreciated her. After moving in with him, she began to listen to Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program. It convicted her of how she was living. In obedience to God, she and her fiancé moved into separate bedrooms. Her fiancé asked a friend of his, who was the pastor of a small church in town, to marry them. Finally, Denise found a church through the man God brought into her life. They committed to this small group of believers who became their accountability support group.

God began to urge Denise to be baptized, so she asked God to convict her husband also. One Sunday morning when leaving church, she asked the pastor, “What do I need to do to be baptized?”

Her husband, who accepted the Lord through Denise’s witness, responded, “I was going to ask the same question.” (The sermon had not been on baptism.) They were both baptized on Easter Sunday, thus, beginning their spiritual relationship with God together.