The name of God, “Adonai”, means “Lord and Master”. Because “Yahweh” is considered too holy to be spoken by the Hebrews, “Adonai”, and sometimes “Jehovah” are the two names which are interchangeably spoken in its place. “Adonai” is plural, and can be translated as “my lords”. “Adonai” in its singular form is “adon” and refers to a human who is a master. In the old Testament “adon” is used 215 times in reference to man, and “Adonai” (sometimes as “Jehovah”) is used over 200 times in reference to God. Whichever name is used, it speaks of submission and obedience to someone who has authority.
The first time “Adonai” is used is in Genesis 15:1-2 when God speaks to Abram. “After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. 'Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.' But Abram said, 'Sovereign Lord (“Adonai”), what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?'” (Genesis 15:1-2, NIV). Through many hard years God had been “Lord and Master” to Abram in many ways. When God called Abram to leave his homeland and follow Him, Abram had no idea who this God was that was calling him. The call was so strong and so clear to Abram that he surrendered, and packed up his family and moved―trusting God to lead him and not knowing at all where he was headed. During many years after leaving Ur, Abram had always relied on God to take care of his family. Now in these two verses Abram seems to agonize over the one thing means the world to him―having a son. Although the Lord told Abram in Geneses 15:1 that He, the Lord, was Abram's “great reward”, Abram longed for a son and heir to which to leave everything he owned . In Genesis 15:2 Abram told “Adonai” that there was something else he wanted and needed beside God as his reward. In fact, it was something that Abram desired more than God at this moment in his life. He spoke the name “Adonai”, but he had not allowed God to be his “Lord and Master” more than his desire for a son.
Just as Abram we often say that God is our “Lord and Master”, and our lives say something very different. Instead of God being the ruler of our lives, something else takes His place. That ruling idol can be power, money, possessions, alcohol, drugs, food, children, and the list goes on. Even good things in our lives can master us. Church can become more important than the Lord. Doing things for others can become more important. Whatever we put before God becomes the thing that claims our devotion and rules our lives. God wants to be more than a lip-service “Adonai” we just honor when we feel like it. He longs to be more than the temporary “Adonai” we seek during hard times. He longs to be our real and permanent “Adonai” in every moment of our lives.
This morning I look at myself. Is He more than “lip service” to me? Do I run to Him only when I have a huge problem in my life? Do I long for a promise or a need to be fulfilled more than I long for Him? When I surrender all that I am―all my perceived needs, my thoughts, my life-style, my will―to “Adonai”, my faithful and loving “Lord and Master”, He becomes my “greatest reward”. He is all that I need. When He is first in my heart and mind, I am at rest in my desires. I am at rest in His presence. Life is peaceful even when circumstances rage. It is content even when everything is not perfect around me because, in placing him first, I have discovered His joy. I know the love of this “Lord and Master” who gave His life so that I might live. He surrendered all for me. Now I long to surrender all to Him, my “Adonai”.