Adonay: Our Lord and Master

ALL SCRIPTURE NOTATIONS ARE NIV UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED
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And Abram said, Lord God, what can You give me, since I am going on [from this world] childless and he who shall be the owner and heir of my house is this [steward] Eliezer of Damascus?
Genesis 15:2 (AMP)
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Hebrew Strong’s Reference # 136
Transliteration: ʾadōnāy
Phonetic Pronunciation:
ad-o-noy’
Root: am emphatic form of
Cross Reference: TWOT – 27b
Part of Speech: n m
Vine’s Words: None
Usage Notes: English Words used in KJV: Lord-431, lord-2, God-1 [Total Count: 434]an emphatic form of

(‘adown); the Lord (used as a proper name of God only) :- (my) Lord

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Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary includes this partial definition:
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‘ādôn (‏אָדוֹן‎, 113), or ‘ādônāy (‏אֲדֹנָי‎, 113), “lord; master; Lord.” Cognates of this word appear in Ugaritic and Phoenician. The form ‘ādôn appears 334 times, while the form ‘ādônāy (used exclusively as a divine name) appears 439 times.
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Basically ‘ādôn means “lord” or “master.” It is distinguished from the Hebrew word ba’al which signifies “possessor” or “owner.” ‘Ādôn basically describes the one who occupies the position of a “master” or “lord” over a slave or servant: “And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master…” (Genesis 24:9). It is used of kings and their most powerful aides. Joseph told his brothers: “So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father [i.e., an adviser] to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:8 cf. 42:30). Only once is this word used in the sense of “owner” or “possessor” (1 Kings 16:24).
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‘Ādôn is often used as a term of polite address. In some cases, the one so named really occupies a position of authority… On the other hand, this may be a purely honorary title by which the speaker intends to indicate his submission to the one so addressed…. In places where the speaker is addressing someone calling him “lord,” the word virtually means “you.”
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When applied to God, ‘ādôn is used in several senses. It signifies His position as the one who has authority (like a master) over His people to reward the obedient and punish the disobedient: “Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him” (Hosea 12:14). In such contexts God is conceived as a Being who is sovereign ruler and almighty master. The word is often a title of respect, a term of direct address usually assuming a specific concrete lord-vassal or master-servant relationship (Psalm 8:1). In some cases the word appears to be a title suggesting God’s relationship to and position over Israel… In such contexts ‘ādôn is a formal divine name and should probably be transliterated if the emphasis is to be retained. In the form ‘ādônāy the word means “Lord” par excellence or “Lord over all,” even as it sometimes does in the form ‘ādôn (cf. Deuteronomy 10;17, where God is called the “God of gods, and Lord of lords”; Joshua 3:11, where He is called the “Lord of all the earth”).
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Ann Spangler writes in her book “Praying the Names of God” “Adonay is a Hebrew word meaning “Lord,” a name that implies relationship: God is Lord, and we are his servants.”
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I love how this along with Vine’s definition indicates that the Master-servant relationship exists not as possessive or as ownership, but as an indication of who has the authority and of personal responsibility. God as our Master is not only our authority, He is responsible for caring and providing for us as His own. We serve Him because we love Him, servitude to our God, our Master, is a choice. We are his servants not because He forces us into that relationship – we serve Him out of our overwhelming need to express gratitude for the grace and blessings He pours into our lives.
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Psalm 16:2 – “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.'” Part of acknowledging God as our Lord and Master is recognizing that every good thing that comes into our lives originates in Him. No matter where we are in our walk – He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
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Psalm 73:25-26 – “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” When we come to the end of ourselves and recognize everything in our natural ability and our lives will fail us apart from God – when we recognize that God is for us and no one on earth or in the spiritual realm can be against us successfully – our lives will be changed. He is the authority – not only the decision maker, but the power and strength of our lives and He, Himself is our portion or provision as we learned when we studied Jehovah Jireh a couple of weeks ago.
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Psalm 54:4 “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” As our Master, God is our ultimate source of Help. He is the problem solver. My dad used to get so angry with me when I had a problem – he would in frustration say to me, “Why didn’t you come to me? I am not just the man who lives in this house, I am the problem solver.” It is exactly the way God wants us to view Him – He is the sustaining force in our life, the source of our perseverance and longevity whether in ministry or seasons of suffering. God is our source, our help and the place where our need is met.
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Psalm 86:15 – “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” He is not only our authority, He is a Master who has loving-kindness and compassion toward those who serve Him. He is a faithful Master who never changes. He will never tell us to do anything that will hurt us – another thing my daddy always said. “Sugar, I will never ever tell you to do something I think will hurt you.” We can trust His judgment and His will – we can follow Him in obedience because His way is right and He is always just.
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I love the way the Lord moves us from the role of child to servant to child and back again. It is a wonderful quality of our relationship – and the roles of child and servant breed the same qualities in us – godliness. He is our Lord, our Master… our Adonay!
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The lyrics of the popular song “Adonai” as sung by Avalon rings in my heart tonight:
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“Adonai, I lift up my heart and I cry… My Adonai, You are the Maker of each moment Father of my hope and freedom Oh, my Adonai…”
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As you weigh the Word today, remember that the term LORD in all capital letters indicates the transliteration Jehovah or YHWH, the name we studied last week. When we see Lord spelled, L-o-r-d, it typically represents the term adon or adonay. Today, consider how the following 9 verses speak to you of the truth of the name Adonay as God reveals Himself to you as the authority and Master in your life through His love.
PSALM 8
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1 O LORD , our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.

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2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise
because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
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3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
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4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
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5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
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6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:

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7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
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8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

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9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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May the Lord continue to reveal Himself to you as the Master and the authority of your life as well as the benevolent God.

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