Adonai (Kurios)

But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit  my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”

Genesis 15:2

“You will do as I say!” Usually when we hear something like that we think of abuse. We don’t necessarily think that it is a good thing. Today’s name of God is sometimes seen that way, but I challenge you to dig into this name and see the depth of what it means for us.

Adonai is used 412 times in the Old Testament: 214 in the book of Ezekiel! It is also found in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and some of the minor prophets. This is the word that Jewish people replace Yahweh with. There are times that Adonai is used with Yahweh, which becomes “Sovereign LORD” in English translations.

Adonai is typically translated as “Lord”. It means “lord” or “master”. It is related to the word that means “the cause” or “the support”. This brings the implication that God is the original cause of things, He supports and maintains all things, and He upholds His saints.

For from him and through him and for him are all things. 

Romans 11:36

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Hebrews 1:3

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

God is the Master and Majestic Lord. He is our Total authority. It isn’t possible to understand His sufficiency unless you understand Him as your Master. Lordship means complete possession and complete submission. In the times when the Bible was written, a slave was actually part of the family. He or she had a closer relationship to the Master than the hired servant did.

The other side of this name is that Adonai, our Master strengthens us and delivers us. This comes through the relationship that is implied by the history of the word. Just because He strengthens and delivers us, doesn’t mean we are without responsibility. He expects us to serve Him. He expects obedience. Just as a Master with a slave, there is a relationship there. The slave is a part of the family, but he or she is expected to do the job that is asked. The Master provides for the slave, but the slave must obey the Master.

In the New Testament the Greek word Kurios is used. This has the same definitions as Adonai in the Old Testament. There are several times in the writings of Paul where this word is used in reference to Jesus:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,     to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:10-11

 If you declare  with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe  in your heart that God raised him from the dead,  you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

One day EVERYONE will acknowledge that Jesus is our Master. You can either do it voluntarily now, or eventually you will have to acknowledge it. If you declare with your mouth, that Jesus is your Master, you will be saved. See, there is more to salvation than just believing that Jesus was born and died for your sin. He must be your Master. Remember, this means that there is a relationship there! Yes, He demands our obedience, but it is not a one-sided thing. Our obedience flows out of our relationship with Him. This sets it apart from “works-based” religion. It isn’t about us doing enough good things, but the good things demonstrates the relationship that we have with Him. But I find so much hope in that verse from Romans … it promises that “you WILL be saved”. There is no question about it … So, what does your relationship look like? Are you trusting Him as your Master? Are you obeying His commands?

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