Volume. XXXVI, No. 29
Sunday, 16 January 2022

Adonai – Lord the Sovereign One

God began revealing Himself in the beginning through personal names. One of the first was YHWH which was the original form of God's name. It was revered to the point of not even being pronounced. The Jews then began substituting other names in written Scripture and spoken prayer. Adonai was one of those names, as was Jehovah.


In our English Bibles, Adonai is translated as "Lord" (small letters, whereas Jehovah is translated as LORD). Adonai occurs over 400 times in the Old Testament. It is mostly translated as "Lord". Adonai is a plural name for God, like Elohim. It comes from Adon (singular) and means Master or Lord, referring to God but can also refer to men who hold position and power. But when the plural Adonai is used, it refers to God alone. Like in Genesis 15:2 is translated as Lord – "And Abram said, Lord [Adonai] GOD [Jehovah], what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?" But sometimes, Adon is also translated as 'master' or 'sir' and can address men like King. Sarah used it to address Abraham, her husband – "Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord [adon] being old also?" (Gen 18:12). Eliezer used the title to address Abraham, his Master – "And [Eliezer] said, O LORD God of my master [adon] Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day and shew kindness unto my master [adon] Abraham" (Gen 24:12). It was even the title that was used to address the Pharaoh – "And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord [adon] the king of Egypt" (Gen 40:1).


That Hebrew word is first found in Genesis, chapter fifteen.  Adonai was first used by Abram to address the LORD – "Lord GOD [Adonai Jehovah], what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?" (Gen 15:2). Abram knew the meaning of Adonai. He was himself a master of more than 300 slaves (Gen 14:14). Hence, in addressing the LORD as Adonai, Abram was acknowledging God had complete ownership of everything that he had. In other words, The LORD was the Master, and Abram was His slave.


Adonai, the Lord, signifies ownership. This name of God describes a direct and definite relationship between Him and His people. He is our Master and Lord. We are not our own. The name Adonai to us is about God's position of leadership in our lives. It is not just Lord as that of a slave who is oppressed. Scripture clearly says that God created all things and is still rightfully Lord over all the universe. We who are made at the apex of creation and created in His image are to submit to Him, for He is Adonai. So being the creator and owner, Adonai denotes God as the one who justifiably expects obedience. Since Adonai is the Lord above all, His name signifies obedience on our part. We are just the steward of what God owns. He is the Lord, and we are His subjects. 


During His earthly ministry, Jesus acknowledged God as Adonai. Jesus, through passive and active obedience to God, His heavenly Father, showed His disciples what it looked like to be fully submitted to God as Master. The Son willingly came to earth in obedience to His Father. Even in the final moments before He went to the path of the cross, Jesus prayed, 'Not my will but thy will be done'. If the Lord is our shepherd, then are we not His sheep. If the Lord is our Master, then we are His servants. Obedience then is my duty and privilege. If our Lord Jesus submitted to God unconditionally, then the Adonai has every right to expect total, unquestioning obedience.


Jesus is called Kurios 700 times which means Lord or Adonai too, in the New Testament. Its frequent usage in the New Testament is one of many indications of Jesus' power, authority, and deity. In the Book of Acts, Jesus is referred to as Lord 92 times, while He's called Savior just a few times. How strange is this truth that today, many churches only want to emphasize Jesus more as a Saviour and don't emphasize Jesus being Lord? The Lordship of Jesus Christ means that He has sovereignty and authority over His creation, including you and me. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus Himself says that a verbal use of "Lord" is not enough: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Is Jesus your Adonai, your Lord? Is He the one to whom you give your highest allegiance? Adonai and us is a relationship, and we must obey and do His will as He is our Lord.


Since God is our Adonai, we don't have to worry. God is Master over everything. He's our big Boss! If our God is the Lord and Master, He owns everything, and we don't have anything to worry about. Adonai, the unchanging one, promises that He will be a good steward of what He owns, making things work out for good. Adonai adds this notion that He will take care of us. He said to me, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Psalm 2:7-8)


We are created by Adonai, our Master and Lord, and we need Him. There is nothing in the world that can satisfy the God-shaped vacuum inside us. We must come to Christ without delay and be satisfied. Once our soul need is met through Christ Jesus, we are blessed.  For our Lord Adonai is a good master.  We may get rewards when we serve an earthly boss. Now imagine serving a master who returns your loyalty with much greater spiritual blessings like unconditional love, peace, and abundant provision. Adonai indeed speaks to us about a relationship in which we are God's total possession. Adonai is supreme overall. Psalm 135:5 "For I know that the LORD is great and that our Lord is above all gods."


Let me share a little poem that is often used as a sermon illustration. Ye call Me Light and see me not, Ye call Me way and follow me not, Ye call Me Life and desire me not, Ye call Me wise and acknowledge me not, Ye call Me fair and love me not, Ye call Me rich and ask me not, Ye call Me eternal and seek me not, Ye call Me Gracious and trust me not, Ye call Me Noble and serve me not, Ye call Me mighty and honour me not, Ye call Me Just and fear me not, Ye call Me Master and obey me not, If I condemn you, blame me not. Is God the Lord of your life?   Acknowledging Christ as your Master and submitting to Him, you will be released from all worry, for your Lord Adonai will take care of it. Psalm 8:1: "O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens." It's time to give your all to Adonai because He has given His all for you.


Rev Mathews Abraham

More Lively Hope



  • Daily Manna for Jan-Mar 2022 (adult and junior) are now available. 
  • Worship Service helpers for next week are on the front cover.
  • Due to the current COVID-19 situation, all worshippers are strongly encouraged to worship virtually via Facebook or YouTube.
  • Please observe physical distancing & mask/ hygiene rules, especially whilst indoors.
  • Tithes & offerings - please see Lively Hope for bank details.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, providence & protection.
  • Journey mercies for all who have travelled.



  • God’s guidance & protection amidst the current Covid-19 situation.
  • Those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Healing: Rev Pong Sen Yiew and all others who are unwell.
  • Journey mercies for all those travelling.




© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041