Adoni - Master - The Lord Our God
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 10, the paragraph beginning with verse 12.

Deuteronomy 10

12And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
14Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.
15Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.
16Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
17For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
18He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
19Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
20Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
21He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.
22Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.

I would like for us to think today about the truth that is suggested in verse 17 of this chapter:

Deuteronomy 10

17For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

The reason that I call to your attention this particular verse is that in this verse are the three basic names of God which we have been thinking about in this series. Remember that I told you there are three basic names for God. One is Jehovah ; another is Elohim ; the other is Adonai . We thought first about the name Jehovah and then we thought about the compound name of Jehovah. Then we thought about the name Elohim , reminding you that in the singular, it is El and in the plural it is Elohim . Then we thought about the words that were associated with the word Elohim . We had compound names of Jehovah and compound names of Elohim .

Today we want to present to you a few suggestions concerning the third name at which we have not yet looked, the name Adonai . You may be thinking, “I don't see any of those words in this one particular verse and yet you said that all three of those names were included in it.” Those of you who have been able to be with us for each study in this series will remember that I told you that the Hebrew names are presented here many times with their English counterpart and the only way we can tell which name is suggested to us is in some instances by the way the word itself is spelled. With that thought in mind, look again at Deuteronomy, chapter 10, verse 17:

Deuteronomy 10

17For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

We will read the verse using the Hebrew words: “For Jehovah is El of Elohim , and Adon of Adonai , a great Elohim , a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.” If you were following as I read this verse in this manner, you will realize that the word LORD as we find it first there in verse 17, with every letter capitalized is the translation of the Hebrew word Jehovah . The word God is the translation of the word Elohim , and the word Lord with just the first letter capitalized is a translation of the Hebrew word Adonai . It is that name that we want to think about together today.

The first thing I would suggest to you is the meaning of the name by the phrase that is presented in verse 17, Lord of lords , Adon of Adonai . Adon is the singular form; Adonai is the plural. What does this word Adonai mean? We would be certainly interested in knowing because this name of God is used some 300 times in the Old Testament. We may not always realize that because it is written as it is written and sometimes we don't read the word carefully as it is written and we don't notice that the word Lord has the first letter capitalized or all the letters capitalized. We certainly should.

As I have suggested to you before, we believe in verbal inspiration of the Bible. We don't believe that the Holy Spirit makes any mistakes. We don't believe that the Holy Spirit would address God as Jehovah when He meant Adonai . We don't believe that He would address Him as Elohim when He meant to address Him as Jehovah . We believe that every time a particular name of God is used, it is used for a particular purpose. If it is used 300 times in the Scripture, then we ought to be able to understand its real meaning.

Master of Masters

I would like for you to turn with me to Psalm 123, which is a relationship which David described as his own life, a relationship that he had learned existed between the child of God and God Himself. We read:

Psalm 123

1Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.
2Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
3Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
4Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.

Notice verse 2:

Psalm 123

2Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD [Jehovah] our God [Elohim] , until that he have mercy upon us.

Look at the word masters . That word is the translation of the Hebrew word Adonai , and that is the meaning of this particular name of God. Adonai means master . Remember the verse we read in Deuteronomy? Do you see how it begins to open up? God was introduced in Deuteronomy, chapter 17, as Lord of lords . Master of masters —that is His name.

That is the relationship that many of us, I think, have failed to experience in our lives. We know Him as Jehovah ; we know him as Elohim , but how many of us really know Him as Master ? How many of us know Him as the One to whom we have subjected our every thought and our every will?

Proof of the Trinity

It is interesting to notice that every time, with one exception, that the word Adonai is used in the Scripture, it is used in the plural form instead of the singular form. You may ask, “Of what particular significance is that?” To me it is of tremendous significance because it is proof of the truth of the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is our Master; the Holy Spirit is our Master; the Lord Jesus Christ is our Master—always in the plural with one exception.

What is that one exception? Turn to Psalm 110. We read from verse 1:

Psalm 110

1The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
3Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
4The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
5The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
6He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
7He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

Those of you who are fairly familiar with your Bibles will know that this is a prophetic psalm. It is a prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. That becomes very evident when we compare verse 4 with chapter 15 of Genesis, chapter 9 of the book of Hebrews, etc. So we realize that this is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. We realize that it is a conversation between two members of the Godhead, and that becomes exceedingly interesting in the light of our study today. Look at the first verse. Notice the word Lord is used there twice and spelled differently in each instance. Following the little suggestion that I made to you, you will keep in mind that when you find the word LORD spelled with every letter capitalized, it is a translation of the word Jehovah . When you find the word spelled with only the first letter capitalized, it is a translation of the word Adonai , so you would read the verse this way: “Jehovah said unto my Adonai , Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Actually the word Adonai is the word Adon , the singular instead of the plural.

To make this simpler still, we might read it this way, “God the Father said to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” That is exactly where the Lord Jesus Christ is today, at the right hand of the throne of God. How long is He going to sit there? Until His enemies—those who are not subject to Him—become subject to Him.

Notice down in verse 5:

Psalm 110

5The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.

Adonai , at the right hand of Jehovah , shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath. One of these days the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return and strike through the kings in the day of his wrath. The preceding verses are what we commonly refer to as the day of the Lord or the Battle of Armageddon . So Psalm 110 shows us the relationship of the Godhead, one to the other.

Turn with me, please, to chapter 9 of the book of Daniel, for there this name Adonai is used eleven times. Those of you who are familiar with what we are going to find in Daniel, chapter 9, will remember that we are going to find a prayer that Daniel prayed when he was overwhelmed with the sin of his people. He identified himself with his people and he realized that the problem that existed with them and that exists with us is the matter of surrender. Once we have learned the secret of surrender, everything else in our lives falls into their natural places.

The Surrendered Prayer of David

I am going to read chapter 9 of the book of Daniel, verses 1-19, because it is a tremendous example of the kind of penitent praying, surrendered praying, that it would be well for all of us to do; and I am going to use the word Master every time it is found in the Scripture:

Daniel 9

1In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
2In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3And I set my face unto the [Master] God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
4And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O [Master] , the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
5We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
6Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
7O [Master] , righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
8O [Master] , to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
9To the [Master] our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
10Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
11Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
12And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
13As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
14Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
15And now, O [Master] our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16O [Master] , according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
17Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the [Master's] sake.
18O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
19O [Master] , hear; O [Master] , forgive; O [Master] , hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

If you were listening as we read this prayer of Daniel, you could surely recognize the spirit of surrender and subjection that was in it in all these verses, particularly there in the height of the pain that was related to the sin of his people, when he addressed God as Master . Remember, he makes no plea for God's help on the basis of His own righteousness or the righteousness of his people. He knew there was none. He makes the plea on the basis of the fact that God was the Master, particularly in verse 19: “O Master, hear; O Master, forgive; O Master, hearken and do…”

The Place of Surrender

Turn, please, to chapter 6 of the book of Isaiah for another illustration of this truth that we want to leave with you today, that when you know God as Jehovah, that is one thing; when we know Him as Elohim, that is another thing; when we know Him as Master, we have reached the place of sweet surrender. Beginning in verse 1:

Isaiah 6

1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the [Master] sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
6Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
8Also I heard the voice of the [Master] , saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
9And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
11Then said I, [Master] , how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
12And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

You probably noticed as we read that the word Lord was mentioned several times. When the first letter is capitalized, I used the word Master ; when all the letters were capitalized, I used the word LORD . The interesting thing to notice is that when Isaiah was speaking about surrender and about the control of God in his life, it was always Master . When the seraphim and the heavenly beings were describing God in all His majesty, it was Jehovah . When the sovereignty of God was related to all the activities of the earth, it was always Jehovah, but when the personal relationship is described it is always Master . Notice, for example, in verse 1:

Isaiah 6

1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

That is the key to the passage. This describes the experience in Isaiah's life when he made that final and ultimate surrender to the Lord. Notice that it happened in the year that King Uzziah died. If you read the historical portion of the Word that is related to this personal experience, you have every reason to believe that King Uzziah stood between Isaiah and the Lord, that as long as Uzziah was alive, Isaiah couldn't see the Lord; but when Uzziah got out of the way, Isaiah reached the place of surrender and he could call Him Master .

The Obedience of a Servant

I want you to notice that when it came time to commission Isaiah for service down in verse 8, it wasn't Jehovah or Elohim who did it, it was Adonai . “…I heard the voice of the Master , saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?…” Notice the accuracy of the Scripture. God needed a servant, not just a creature. He already had that. He needed a servant, one who would obey explicitly every order that He gave, and so it was the Master who did the calling. The interesting thing to notice in this particular instance was that implicit obedience was demanded because Isaiah was called upon to fulfil, to my mind at least, the hardest task that any preacher could possibly be called upon to fulfil. Notice in verse 9: “Go preach, but I am going to tell you before you start, Isaiah, that no one is going to understand what you say and no one is going to be able to see what you are trying to tell them, and no one is going to be able to believe your message. As a matter of fact, it is going to get worse and worse and worse and worse.”

Isaiah did exactly like most of us would do even though he was surrendered as he was, he said, “Master, how long?” The implication of that question was, “Lord, that's not too good. I don't particularly relish the thought. Lord, how long am I going to have to do that? I know eventually the harvest will come. I know eventually things will get easy.” God said, “No, they are not going to get easy. I want you to preach that way until the cities be wasted without inhabitants, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.”

Do you realize what He is saying? “You are not going to be a success. There is not going to be any response to your ministry, but I want you to go right on preaching that way.” Only someone in complete surrender to the Lord would be willing to do that. Only someone who knew the Lord as Master would be wiling to obey. Only complete surrender would accomplish such a thing as that.

The Secret of Complete Surrender

Please turn to Genesis, chapter 15, a passage of Scripture which involves Abraham, who has introduced us to the names of God perhaps more than any one individual in the Scripture. Notice verse 1:

Genesis 15

1After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
2And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
3And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

I would like to call your attention to verse 2: “And Abram said, Master God…:” This is the first time this word is found in the Old Testament, and it is found on the lips of a man who had found the secret of complete surrender. That is the meaning of the word Adonai .


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