Psalm 84:1 (VOICE) [emphasis mine] How lovely is Your temple, Your dwelling place on earth, O Eternal One, Commander of heaven’s armies.
Historically, I’ve thought of the Lord of Hosts much like a great army general – kind of distant, very fierce, and mostly an aspect of God that is (well let’s face it) kind of mean and angry (He’s fighting after all). It’s amazing how we can have biases hovering below the surface we aren’t even conscious of.
The more I meditated on this psalm and God has expanded it to Me through the downloads He’s given, the more I’ve realized how inaccurate my picture has been. This became clear because the subsequent verses speak of love, nurturing, and protection. They’re about relationship and connection.
In reading the content of Psalm 84, I’d probably have addressed it to the Faithful God – Elohim Aman, the Everlasting Arms – Olam Zerowa, God with us – Emanuel, or perhaps even Jealous God – El Qanna. But it’s easy to forget that all these names refer to the same Eternal One. They represent different facets of character, but one Being. And in Psalm 84, the author directs the heartcry to the name (facet of character) Lord of Hosts.
As I meditated on this seeming dichotomy, God began to paint a very different picture. One of a loving husband who would do anything to protect and nurture his family. He would go to war to protect them – even lay down his life if necessary. Not that the fighting is something for him to take pleasure in, but rather a necessity for the safety of those he loves.
What lengths would the conquering hero go to in order to protect his beloved? Or a loving father protecting his child’s life or innocence? How much more so our Creator? Yes He is El Qanna (the Jealous God) because we are His. Not as a possession, but rather as one who has chosen to be accepted into His family.
So with that context of ferocious love, I can begin to understand the depth of affection this YHVH Tsaba – Lord of Hosts – has for me, for all of us. May we embrace the fullness of the depth of affection He has for us and step into greater intimacy with Him as a result.