Adonai

By Phillip G. Kayser · Psalm 8 · 2/21/2021

For our commuinion meditations we have been looking at the names of God. If the Lord’s Table is cutting covenant with God, then it behooves us to know who this God is. And His names reveal a lot about Him. Now this morning I want to look at the name Adonai. Adonai occurs 300x in the Old Testament as a name of God. It means Lord or Master. It’s used many times for human masters, but always in the singular – adon. When this term for master is used of God it is almost always in the plural. There is one God, but more than one person in the Godhead. Like the name Elohim, this points to God as being the Trinity. You will remember that in Genesis 1 it said, “And Elohim said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” One God, yet more than one person speaking. And we see the same kind of thing happening with Adonai. The Lord said to my Lord (Adonai), “Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.” And of course you recognize that as the Father speaking to the Son. And so there is a plurality in this Master. Paul makes it clear that there is only one Lord, but somehow there is a plurality in this one God or one Lord.

And another interesting thing about Adonai, is that this name almost always has a possessive pronoun affixed to it. It means not just master, but my master. In the covenant God claims us and we claim Him as our own. We belong to each other. Now here is the important point. If God’s very nature and character is communicated by His names, that means that it is of the very nature and character of God to be our master or Lord. There is no Lordship option. We are not our own. We have been bought with a price. And so if we are covenanting this morning with a master, it means that we owe God our lives, our obedience and our respect. If you cut covenant with Adonai, with Father, Son and Holy Spirit – not three Lords, but one Lord, then we are pledging Him total and unconditional submission – to be His for eternity. If He is the master, then we are the slaves.

And before we come to the Lord’s Table I want to give an encouraging note about what it means for us to be His slaves. Did you know that slaves had a far higher and far more priveleged status than hired servants did? A hired servant got his wages and then went home. He had no special access to the Passover meal. He had no protection from the master, or special food, clothing or other rights. But a slave was different. If you look sometime at Genesis 12-18 and examine Abraham’s household, you will find that the slaves were circumcised right along with Abraham's own child. That passage says that the slaves were part of his household. Galatians 4:1 says that a Biblical slave is no different than a child. And thus the law made special provision for the slave to eat the Passover meal. He was included in the covenant. And in the same way, God’s ownership of us means that we do not simply have a status of a hired servant where we are given wages for what we earn. No way. That would be a relationship of works which would condemn us. Likewise God’s responsibilities to us go way beyond that. Yes we must serve and obey God, but God clothes us, feeds us, gives us a room, bed, and everything else that we need. God cares for us, protects us, and provides for us. He applies the sign of the covenant to us and blesses us. To me that is encouraging,. I love the fact that God is my master and that I am His slave. I want to end by reading Psalm 8 which shows Adonai’s master role over all creation.

Psalms 8:1 O LORD, our Lord, [literally, O Yahweh, our Adonai or master] How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Psalms 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger. Psalms 8:3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, Psalms 8:4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? Psalms 8:5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. Psalms 8:6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, Psalms 8:7 All sheep and oxen — Even the beasts of the field, Psalms 8:8 The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. Psalms 8:9 O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

For unbelievers, Satan is their Lord. But we can glory in the authority God has given us as His stewards and slaves. This wonderful Psalm gives us every reason to glory in having God as our Adonai. That name ought to make us tremble at the thought of disobeying Him. It ought to give us security in knowing that we don’t need to know where our next pay check is coming from, because we are not hired hands. When we covenant with Adonai, we can have confidence that we are freed up to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things that hired servants seek after will already be provided for us. He’ll take care of us. Let’s spend our time serving Him. Let’s covenant with our master, Adonai.