Old Testament saints knew God in a way we New Testament saints know very little about. They knew him as the Lord of hosts! Over 200 times in the Old Testament—from Samuel through Malachi—God is referred to by this name. We read that "David waxed greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him." This majestic title is found repeatedly in the Psalms:
• "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge" (46:7).
• "O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?" (89:8).
• "Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer" (84:8).
• "The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory" (24:10).
The Hebrew word for "hosts" is tsbaah. It means "an army ready and poised for battle." Soldiers, horses, and chariots ready to go to war at an appointed time; an army assembled and mustered, waiting for instructions.
On one occasion, the Assyrian army came against King Hezekiah and Judah. This king was unmoved when surrounded by a ferocious army and he said to God's people, "Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon those words" (2 Chronicles 32:7-8).
The Old Testament saints rested in their vision of an almighty God whose all-powerful, unseen army was assembled for their protection. David boasted, "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them..." (Psalm 68:17). According to the psalmist, they are enlisted for us: "The Lord is thy keeper" (121:5).
We do not keep ourselves from evil by our own power; we do not do battle with Satan in our own strength. The Lord of hosts must do the keeping. Hear what the Bible says: "He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy...for they were too strong for me" (Psalms 18:16-17).
In Jude, we are promised, "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24).