by Pastor Ron Thomas
RODGERS BAPTIST CHURCH
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Introduction: Giving God the proper place in our hearts and lives, implies that we take the time, make the effort, to connect with Him, communicate with Him everyday. We speak of having a relationship with God. A relationship involves give and take, speaking and listening. God should have a time slot in our daily schedule that is reserved exclusively for Him.
The key to giving God His place in our lives, is knowing who He is and what He is like. We get to know God by reading His Word, which is a record of His creative and redemptive work.
God's character and nature is revealed in His names. In Jewish thought, a name is more than a label to identify a person. A name conveys the nature, essence, and history of the person. This is not that foreign to us today. We often refer to a person's reputation as a "good name." God can be known through His names, mentioned throughout the Bible. We must understand that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. When we read our English translation, it does not exactly give us the various names of God. For example, when we see the English words, God, GOD, Lord, LORD, in the Hebrew, they are actually different names of God.
Our focus is the name, Adonai. What about God's Place in our hearts and lives as Adonai? The name Adonai, is translated "Lord" in the Bible. It is spelled with a capital or large case "L," followed by lower case, "ord." Yahweh, another name for God, is translated "LORD" in the Bible as well, however it is spelled with all capital or large case letters. Adonai occurs some 300 times in the Old Testament. It is used 215 times in reference to men, and signifies a title of respect, such as master and lord. When it is used in reference to people, it is always in the singular, adon. When Adonai is used for God, it is always used in the plural. This of course gives evidence of God's unique triune being, one, yet three.
The name Adonai means owner and master. As Creator, God is the owner of everything, the universe, the heavens, the earth, which includes every human being. People who invent or create things, protect them with a patent or copyright. They have the right to control their product, because they created it and own it. It is the same with God. As our Creator, He is our Adonai, and thereby claims unrestricted allegiance. Psalm 8, celebrates the Lord who created all things. Verse 1 begins, "O LORD our Lord, (O Yehweh our Adonai), how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! who hast set Thy glory above the heavens."
The name Adonai, speaks of Lordship. Lordship implies complete possession on God's part, and complete submission on our part. We are not our own. God as our Master and Creator, made us who we are, and what we are. Paul told the church at Corinth in I Corinthians 15:10a, "But by the grace of God I am what I am." William Ernest Henley in his famous "Invictus," said, "I am Master of my fate. I am Captain of my soul." What a fool!
Also, as our Master and Creator, everything we possess is on loan from God. We are the stewards of God's stuff! In I Corinthians 4:7, Paul says, "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
God's right to rule our lives includes His redemptive work. God has not only created us, He has bought us back from sin through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Paul in Romans 8:32 tells us that God, "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all." As our Creator and Redeemer, God is our Adonai, our Owner and Master! He alone has the right to tell us what to do!
Adonai pictures a master, servant relationship. Deuteronomy 10:17a reads, "For the LORD your God, (Yehweh your Elohiym) is God of gods (Elohiym of elohiyms), and Lord of lords, (Adown of adons, Master of masters)." Think about it. We are servants of the Supreme Master! As the Adonai of adons, God deserves, expects, and demands our honor, reverence, and obedience! The book of Malachi, is the record of God calling Israel to repentance. Israel held the designation as God's servant in the Old Testament, but over time, Israel ceased to be obedient servants! They had divorced their wives, polluted their worship, and robbed God of the tithe. As disobedient children and rebellious servants, they had refused to submit to their Adonai. Notice God's response in Malachi 1:6. He says, "A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master (adon): if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master (adon), where is my fear?"
There are many examples of the use of this name of God scattered throughout the Old Testament. While we cannot mention them all, there are some very significant people who acknowledged Adonai in their lives, which we need to consider.
The first appearance of Adonai is found in Genesis 15. Genesis 15:1 begins, "After these things." After what things? In the previous chapter, Abraham had defeated four kings and their armies, as he rescued his nephew Lot. Abraham walks away proving to be more concerned about worshiping the God who has previously revealed Himself to him, than the profit and praise of men. He is approached by a mysterious king-priest named Melchizedek from Salem, which will become Jerusalem, who blesses him. Abraham responds by giving God the first and best of all his spoils of war! It is obvious that Abraham has a grip on "God's Place" in his life and priorities!
In the aftermath of his victory, we discover that Abraham is still dealing with fear and doubt. He is fearing retaliation in some form, from the kings he has just defeated, and he doubts if God can kept the covenant promise made in Genesis 12. The Lord had promised to bless the world through His seed, His offspring. There is a problem however. He is childless and his wife is barren! Abraham is wondering if God intends for him to regard his servant Eliezer of Damascus, as his heir. It is "after these things," that the Lord appears to Abraham in a vision. This is the first time God has communicated through a vison. In the vision, God's message is timely.
Verse 1 says, "After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield (your personal protector), and thy exceeding great reward (your eternal, immeasurable wealth and wages)."
Abraham responds in verse 2, "And Abram said, Lord GOD, (Adonai Jehovah)."
Abraham is acknowledging Jehovah as his Adonai, his Master! Abraham was an "adon," lord, master, over a tremendous amount of wealth, and a large number of people. He understood the relationship between a master and his servant. In the midst of his fears and doubts, Abraham is learning to say, "My Adonai!" Abraham's Master, his Adonai, is Creator of all things. He can do as He pleases! Adonai can orchestrate a birth in a geriatric ward! All Abraham needs to do is say, "My Adonai."
We see Adonai in the life of Moses. When Moses was "bushed" or commissioned by God to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage, he responded in Exodus 4:10, "...O my Lord (Adonai), I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." How many times have we told the Lord, "Master, You must have the wrong person. Are You sure about this?" Moses struggled with God's direction for his life, but eventually he learned to say, "My Adonai."
We see Adonai in the life of Gideon. When God found and called Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianites, he responds somewhat like Moses in Judges 6:15. Gideon says, "Oh my Lord (Adonai), wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." Gideon was right of course. Gideon was no "mighty man of valor," but as he continued to respond saying, "Yes, my Adonai," Gideon was learning that obedience is what God is seeking! As he became obedient to his Master, the Midianites would have to flee!
We see Adonai in the life of David. When the Lord denied David the privilege of building a Temple, it was hard to accept. David seriously desired do this, but God would not let him. The Lord instead, gave David the task of preparing the materials for his son Solomon, who would build it. God then promised to establish David's throne and kingdom forever. Humbled by all of this, notice David's response in II Samuel 7:18-20. "Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD (yeh-ho-vaw'), and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD (Adonoy Jehovah)? and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto? 19 And this was yet a small thing in Thy sight, O Lord GOD (Adonoy Jehovah); but Thou hast spoken also of Thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD (Adonoy Jehovah)? 20 And what can David say more unto Thee? for Thou, Lord GOD (Adonoy Jehovah), knowest thy servant." David is saying, "You are my Adonai, my Lord, my Master. You know me best, and You know what is best. It is a honor to be given the smallest task in Your kingdom. Yes, my Adonai. I will do what You ask me to do, and I will do it with all my might."
We see Adonai in the life of Isaiah as he begins his prophetic career. This is found in Isaiah 6. It was a time of national darkness. Uzziah, Judah's great king had died, and in spite of his tragic end, he was Isaiah's lord and master, his adon. It was then Isaiah had a powerful vision.
Isaiah 6:1 says, "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord (Adonay) sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple." Isaiah got a glimpse of the high and holy, Elohiym of elohiyms, Lord of lords; the Adonai of adons, Master of masters. Isaiah is humbled and cleansed by what he sees.
In verse 8, Isaiah hears the voice of his Adonai. He says, "Also I heard the voice of the Lord (Adonay) , saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" The Master is looking for a willing servant, and Isaiah responds, "Then said I, Here am I; send me. Yes, Adonai, I will go."
What is your response to Adonai? Are you arguing with Him? Are you finding excuses as to why you cannot do what He has told you to do? Are you allowing your fears and doubts to rule your heart and life? Are you telling your Adonai that what He has asked you to do, is not acceptable, is beneath you, or impossible? We need to learn from Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, and Isaiah, that the secret to victory; the secret to peace and contentment; the secret to giving God glory in our lives, is learning to say in every circumstance and situation, "Yes, my Adonai."
When we say, "My Adonai:" We are seeking and accepting God's priorities for our lives. There is a famous cathedral in Milan, with three beautiful archways. At the top of these archways, are three inscriptions. Over the first is carved a beautiful wreath of roses, and underneath it is written the words, "All that which pleases, is but for a moment." Over the second archway, there is a sculptured cross, and under it the words, "All that which troubles us, is but for a moment." The third archway is the greatest, which leads to the main entrance down the center aisle of the cathedral. Over this arch is written, "That only is important, which is eternal." We should not order our priorities according to passing pleasures or temporary trouble. Instead, we must order our priorities, according to those things which will endure eternity! Teddy Roosevelt once made the observation, "We are often driven by the tyranny of the urgent. The urgent is seldom important, and the important is seldom urgent."
If you think about it, our priorities are determined by our values. The values of this present world are different from the values of God's Word. Through the movies and media, we are constantly being told what to value. We are often pushed and pulled by the ever changing currents of our culture. What we need to do is anchor ourselves in the deep, eternal reservoir of God's Word and prayer. Let your Adonai give you your values and set your priorities.
When we say, "My Adonai:" We are acknowledging ourselves as servants. When Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel and informed that she would give birth to the Christ-child, it incongruent with her own priorities. Mary struggled with it, until she came to the realization that she was a servant, the handmaid of Adonai. Luke 1:38 says, "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord (kurios which is the Greek equivalent of Adonai); be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her." What is a handmaid? A handmaid is a servant! Mary said,"My Adonai."
All of those who were greatly used and blessed of God, possessed a servant's heart. They understood that God was their Adonai, their Lord, Master, and counted it a privilege to serve Him in any capacity.
Are you a servant? The following expresses a true servant's attitude.
1) People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.
2) If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
3) If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
4) The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
5) Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
6) The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
7) People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8) What you spend years building, may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
9) People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them. Help them anyway.
10) Give the world the best you have, and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway! Be a servant!
When we say, "My Adonai:" We are trusting God to supply what is needed to serve Him effectively. This was true of Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, and Isaiah! If God didn't come through for them, there was no hope of success or survival. Everyone of these men were tempted at some point to take matters into their own hands, rather than trust the timing of Adonai. Abraham at first refused to wait, and brought Ishmael into the world! Moses at first refused to wait, and murdered an Egyptian!
Are you willing to wait? We must be willing to surrendering the situation before us to our Adonai! We must be willing to wait, trusting Him to supply what is needed in His time, and in the manner He sees fit.
When we say, "My Adonai," We are absolutely believing that we can do whatever God calls us to do. Abraham was concerned about being childless. God told him that his seed would be numbered as the stars in the heavens. Abraham was told that he would be used to bless the whole world! Did Adonai keep His word? The apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 3, that those who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, are the children of Abraham! Our Adonai is a good Master. He never asks us to do something only to frustrate us.
Human nature will take you on a different path from your spiritual nature. God loves to work in situations that look impossible from the human perspective. God gets pleasure seeing His servants on their knees, crying out to Him for solutions, direction, healing, and hope. Why? It is at these times that we are truly saying from our hearts, "My Adonai."
In Psalm 110:1 David writes by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, "The LORD (Yahweh) said unto my Lord (David's Adonai), Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." This verse is commonly understood by both Jews and Christians to be prophetically speaking of the reign of the Messiah, the Lord's anointed Adonai. Yahweh's word to David's Adonai, was that He would be seated beside Him, co-equal in power and in prestige. Then, at an undisclosed future date, the rule of Messiah, Adonai, would be established. Yahweh's enemies would be subdued, and many would volunteer to serve Him freely. Who was this coming Adonai that would be connected with the house and lineage of David? In Acts 2, Peter stands with the eleven apostles and lets everyone know that David's words were fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ! In Acts 2:32-36, Peter says, "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he (David) saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Jesus Christ is our Adonai!
How often do we read or say the name of God, and never personalize His relationship with us? In the New Testament, Jesus once said, "Why call me lord, lord, and do not the things which I say?" When you get a hold of this truth of God being "Your Adonai," your heart will reflect it, and God will have His place of priority in your life. Can you say, "My Adonai" today?