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May 13 Weekly Encouragement

Our weekly encouragement message today comes from an unlikely source. The
message today is from Martin Luther’s lectures on the book of Zechariah from 1526 – so
almost 500 years ago and he writes this about just the phrase: “Thus says the Lord of
hosts.” Luther writes:
“The prophets and the scriptures everywhere call God ‘the Lord of hosts’ for the word
means the military or the army. He is then the Lord of soldiers or of the military. This
certainly is a wonderful name for God. It is given to us not only to teach but also to
comfort us.
For teaching, you apply it this way: all those who confess the name of this king or Lord
must be soldiers. They must always be armed and in the field just as Job says: “Man’s
life on Earth is military service.” We have very dangerous and very powerful enemies
both against our good character and even against the Word and that is the greatest evil.
The world threatens death. It even threatens to take away life along with our our
property. Likewise the closest army is our own flesh, that foe in one’s own house. The
flesh harrasses us with a concern for the nourishment of our body and of those people
who are close to us. It seduces us into shameful activities. Then, too, Satan never
ceases assaulting us with spiritual hosts of wickedness, with despair against faith and
with the uncovering of sin. All the while the devil erodes our conscience in every way,
misleads us to a lack of hope, and never ceases prowling around seeking someone to
devour as Peter says in 1st Peter chapter 5. So we must lead the life of active soldiers
as we are assailed by very powerful foes and as we do battle under the Lord our God.
He is called the Lord of hosts to comfort us, that we may know that he who is in us is
greater than he who is in the world. For he has overcome the world. Indeed, not even
the prince of this world has any power against him. Instead, he has overcome both the
world and the prince of the world, but he has overcome them on our behalf. Therefore it
is our consolation that this good Lord of ours faithfully comes to our aid and battles for
us in the field. He fights for us at our side, lest we lose faith, regardless of what great
evils assail us. So this is why the prophet Zechariah here repeats the expression ‘the
Lord of hosts’ three times, as if to say ‘Whatever you fear, whatever it is that you were
concerned about, be confident. The Lord does battle for you. He goes ahead of you as
general of the war as he fights in the field.’”
So these words – again written some 500 years ago – I think are very relevant for us
today as we think about the battles that we face in our world and in our own lives and
we can be taught that God is the Lord of hosts and then that also gives us comfort as
we face those foes against our lives.
Let’s join in prayer: Lord of hosts we appreciate that these spiritual forces that are with
you are greater than the spiritual forces that are against us in our world and no matter
what they are – Satan, the world, or our own lives – that challenge us in our faith. Come
along side of us and fill us with peace and confidence, with joy and with hope, especially
as we pray these things in the name of Jesus our Saviour. Amen.



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