Adonai – Lord

03 Jul

Being a wordsmith, I enjoy puns, oxymorons, and play on words. An oxymoron is where two contradictory terms are used in conjunction with each other. Authentic replica, armchair athlete, constant change, exact estimate, and original copy are some oxymorons I’ve collected over the years.

An oxymoron that has crept into the Christian vocabulary is the phrase, “No, Lord.” Lordship implies ownership and submission to a master whereas “No” signifies I am not going to obey. Unfortunately, even Christ followers can buy into the philosophy expressed by William Ernest Henley in his poem, “Invictus”—“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”

The name, “Adonai,” means “Lord,” and signifies that God has ownership and mastery of our lives. It appears 300+ times in the Old Testament. It is used as a title of respect (Psalm 8:1) and as a messianic title (Psalm 110:1). Jesus repeated the statement in Matthew 22:41-46 in one of his encounters with the religious leaders.

As Adonai, God is Lord of all the earth (Joshua 3:13), Lord of all of Israel (Exodus 23:17), and Lord of all people (Philippians 2:9-11). While not everyone will be saved, everyone will ultimately bow before Jesus and acknowledge his lordship.

If you compare and contrast the lives of Moses and Isaiah, you discover they responded quite differently in their earliest encounters with God.


Exodus 3:1-4:17

Isaiah 6:1-13

Sees a vision of God’s holiness (3:4-10)

Sees a vision of God’s holiness (6:1-7)
Raises objections:

Who am I? (3:11)

Who are you? (3:13)

What if they won’t believe? (4:1)

I’m not qualified (4:10)

NO. Send someone else (4:13)

Says, “Yes, Lord” to God’s call (8)

Receives God’s wrath (4:14‑17)

Receives his assignment (9-13)

Since God is Lord of all, we should respond with …

  • Service (Isaiah 6:8)
  • Worship (Malachi 1:6-7)
  • Obedience (Matthew 7:21-23)

In 1873, D. L. Moody heard British evangelist Henry Varley utter the life changing words: “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to him.” Moody responded, “By God’s grace, I will be that man.”

Have you bowed your knee to the Lordship of Christ?

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on July 3, 2016. It is part of a series on the Names of God. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.


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