“Houston, we have a problem,” were the words uttered by Astronaut Jim Lovell 56 hours into the mission of Apollo 13 in April, 1970. An oxygen tank aboard the spacecraft exploded putting the lives of the crew in danger. NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz had to devise a strategy to get the crew safely back to earth. Encouraging his team, Kranz repeated over and over again, “Failure is not an option.”
The story of Apollo 13 is one of the hallmarks of American ingenuity and courage under pressure. We believe that we can conquer any problem if we put our minds to it. It illustrates our independent and self-sufficient spirit. At an early age, we learn the motto, “I’d rather do it myself!” As a result of this mindset, we miss out on a very meaningful name of God, Jehovah Sabaoth.
Jehovah Sabaoth—“The Lord of Hosts”—appears most often in the context of failure and powerlessness. It appears 281 times in the Old Testament, 207 of which are spoken by the prophets. The name appears for the first time in the book of 1 Samuel.
The term, “hosts,” refers to an army, whether human or angelic in nature. As the Lord of Hosts, God leads the army of heaven. As the Lord of Hosts, God fights on behalf of his people.
Hannah, David, and Isaiah present three examples of people who called on the name of the Lord of Hosts during a time of crisis.
|1 Samuel 1||1 Samuel 17||
Book of Isaiah
|National crisis||Spiritual crisis|
|Hannah struggles with infertility (3-7)||David faces an intimidating enemy (4-11)||
Isaiah lives among disobedient people (1:2-3)
Hannah pours out her heart and asks God for help (11)
|David boldly declares his confidence that God will help him (42-47)||
Isaiah has a vision of God’s holiness (6:1-6)
God will punish the wicked (9:13, 19)
God will protect his people (31:4-5)
Hannah is granted a child—Samuel (17)
|David gains victory over Goliath (48‑51)||
Israel turns a deaf ear to Isaiah’s preaching (6:8-10)
When all else fails …
When our resources run dry, we can run to the Lord of Hosts. He can and will fulfill his plan and purpose.
When we are outnumbered and outgunned, we can call on the name of the Lord of Hosts. He will fight our battles for us.
When are in trouble … when we have no power to help ourselves … when we reach the end of our rope … we can rest assured that the Lord of Hosts can and will work on our behalf.
When all else fails … remember that the Lord of Hosts fights on behalf of his people. Run to him for help and rely on his strength.
This is a synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on July 24, 2016. It is part of series on The Names of God. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.