Hovering over the expanse of waters was the Spirit of Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts, creator of everything out of nothing. When man’s sin stained His beautiful creation, He promised a divine deliverer to pay the price for man’s rebellion. Throughout the ages of the patriarchs, Yahweh Sabaoth sustained, protected and pursued His people.
When Egyptians enslaved them, Yahweh Sabaoth waged war on their behalf, unleashing His fury upon the nation and Egyptian gods. Each plague landed a direct hit upon their god’s identity and supposed jurisdiction of power. The wizards mimicked some plagues, but quickly realized they were dealing with Someone stronger than they’d ever encountered.
Someone dangerous to their reign of deception.
Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts.
Yahweh Sabaoth delivered the Hebrews and brought them to the Red Sea.
As the dust clouds rose from the desert signaling Pharoah’s advancing army, the Hebrews trembled. The people who just witnessed plagues, the decimation of one nation and the exodus of another by the Lord of armies . . . panicked.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
He called toward quiet trust;
they rushed headlong into despair.
Despite their faith-failures, the miraculous doorway of deliverance for the Hebrews became the doorway of death for the Egyptians. Placing His visible presence as a barrier between the Egyptians and His people, Yahweh Sabaoth thwarted the Egyptians while illuminating the Hebrews’ route through the sea.
Millenia passed, still God delivered valiantly. The One who created everything from nothing wrapped Himself in flesh and descended to redeem mankind.
Bringing their diseased and distressed, masses followed Him. Some sought a spectacle, while others sought physical healing and hope for their lost and hungry souls. He multiplied loaves and fishes to satisfy their bodies and offered the Bread of Life to feed their souls.
Following a long day of ministry, the disciples stepped into a boat, ready to unwind with a quiet nighttime row across the lake. However, they were met with fierce winds and crashing waves.
Through the splashing spray, an eerie sight arose, a human form walking toward them on the waves.
“It’s a ghost!” they shouted. Suddenly, they recognized His face. Jesus!
The One whose Spirit hovered over the waters of creation now walked upon the waves.
The disciples had known Jesus as Rabbi and friend;
now, they beheld Him as Yahweh Sabaoth.
Without hesitation, Peter issued his challenge, “If it’s truly You, call me out to You on the water!”
Yahweh Sabaoth answered, “Come!”
With stunning confidence and audacious trust, Peter stepped out, joining Jesus on the waves.
When they returned to the boat, two amazing things happened.
The storm stopped instantaneously and their boat immediately arrived at its destination on the opposite shore.
Stunned silence must have followed as the boat bobbed near the quiet beach. The disciples, slack-jawed, stared at Yahweh Sabaoth. Shaken, they gasped, “Who are you?”
Jesus, Lord of hosts, Lord of angel armies, Yahweh Sabaoth.
Like the Hebrews at the Red Sea and the disciples on the lake, I, too, have encountered Yahweh Sabaoth. In the fall of 2012, my son, Matthew, lay in the PICU. A friend sent me the worship song “God of Angel Armies”. Initially, the lyrics sounded nice, but felt like a lie, or worse yet, a sick joke.
Matthew was in a coma. My conversations with God were wordless groanings of the soul. My conversations with doctors were hushed, grim, and heavy. I felt like I was being slowly crushed in an invisible vice.
But eternal truth rose from the lyrics and I struggled to believe the words were true, despite what I felt. I was faced with the old dilemma: circumstances and emotions versus Scripture and Holy Spirit.
The answer was simple, not easy.
Truth always trumps emotion and circumstance.
It meant following His voice, through the fear.
Throughout Matthew’s journey, God never spoke audibly, and I saw no pillars of fire. However, the “yes and amen” within my spirit was my pillar of cloud, and Scripture, my pillar of fire.
Yahweh Sabaoth was present in each hymn I sang softly in the darkness, inhabiting worship rising from my battle-weary soul. There in Matthew’s PICU unit, He remained Yahweh Sabaoth, God of angel armies, friend of mine.
My emotions continued to whirl and our circumstances remained tumultuous. But as I clung to the truth, I found myself walking in confident trust and audacious faith, following Jesus through the fear.
For as He promised,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
Yahweh Sabaoth, who hovered over the waters of creation,
hovered near us in the PICU.
Yahweh Sabaoth, who walked upon the sea,
sustained us “through the waters.”
Yahweh Sabaoth, who delivered the Hebrews,
delivered Matthew from illness and special needs, welcoming him Home.
The same Yahweh Sabaoth calls to each of us, reaching through the waves. Our spirits will gasp in wonder when we recognize Yahweh Sabaoth in the face of Jesus. And like Peter, our only option will be confident trust and audacious faith in the Lord of hosts, Yahweh Sabaoth.
He, Day 12
We are the fine vessels containing the costliest of contents. God’s love through His Spirit. The love He poured out on Calvary and the power he gave us when His spirit was poured out on Pentecost is available for all today. (Titus 2:11)
It doesn’t matter if our vessels are tarnished, chipped, or cracked.
We are still His chosen, and still invited to contain the greatest gift of all time, the Spirit of the Living God!
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