• Kerri Kenyon Dern

Adonai – The Head Over All Things: Lord and Master



Now, more than ever we need to know that we serve a God who sees us. We need His peace, comfort and truth to invade our lives and bring healing to our hearts and to our land. We need His peace to quiet us and His love to unify us. We need to know Him intimately and personally so we can trust Him with our future and the future we are leaving to our children. I’m so grateful we are meditating on the name Adonai together this week because to know God as Adonai, is to know Him as a Father.


Adonai expresses the personal, trusting relationship God desires to have with us. Repeatedly, throughout the New Testament Jesus teaches us to come to God as children. In Luke 18:16-17 He says, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” May we all choose to operate in childlike faith, so we may experience receiving the fullness of Adonai’s heart for us.

Adonai is derived from the Hebrew word adon meaning master or owner. The emphasis of this name is not to be one of task-master. Instead, we are to know Him as Adonai so we may experience His protection and promises; as well as His power, provision and purpose in our lives. Adonai is most often translated as Lord (lowercase “ord” as opposed to Jehovah which is all uppercase LORD) in our English translation. This name is used 340 times in the Old Testament and, like Elohim; it is a plural name implying the triune nature of God.


Adonai is the only one powerful enough to free us from captivity to our deception, condemnation and fear. We belong to Him. He is in charge. He is in control. Peace comes when we acknowledge His sovereignty in every area of our lives. I pray you are encouraged to live and love like He does as you reflect on the powerful name of Adonai with me this week!


His Name Adonai Reveals His Promise to be Faithful as You Wait on Him:


Genesis 15:1-3 Afterward the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great." But Abram replied, "O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since I don't have a son, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no children, so one of my servants will have to be my heir."


In Genesis, chapter 12, God calls Abram to leave his home and sets him on a journey. He promises not only to give him descendants but to raise up a great and mighty nation through him. Ten years have passed and now, in chapter 15, God shows up with a similar promise to him. Abram, responds to God by calling Him a new name, Adonai (Sovereign Lord). In the context of this passage it seems Abram calls out to God using this name as an acknowledgement that He needs to know Him on a deeper level in order to receive and believe His promises! He had been waiting on Jehovah, looking for Him and listening for His voice for ten years. Waiting on Jehovah had stirred up a desire in him to experience the God he served in a more intimate way. He understood that a deeper knowing of God would manifest into greater trust in Him! So, using this new name, Adonai, reveals Abram’s choice to be dependent on God, fully surrendering to His plan for his life.


It is important to note that Abram waited 15 more years for his promised heir after this encounter with Adonai (chapter 21). Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old...he waited a total of 25 years for Adonai to fulfill His promise to him! Like Abram, we are called to wait on Adonai too. Why? Because to call Him Lord is to relinquish understanding and control of our lives. To know Him as Adonai is to trust Him and wait on Him.

What has Adonai promised you? What are you waiting for? Do you wait patiently on Him or are you attempting to control your life? Does He have your attention or are you fixated on trying to fulfill your own destiny? Remember, you are His child and He desires to mature you as you wait on Him. If we get everything we want the moment we want it, we become entitled. We miss out on getting to know Him intimately as our faithful Father. Our faith grows when it is required and tested. So as we wait on Him we learn to trust and depend on Him as Adonai.


Choose to surrender to His sovereignty over your life today. Rest in the truth that He is in control and He will fulfill His promises to you in His perfect timing. How long are you willing to wait for Him to reveal Himself to you? 10 years? 25 years? 50 years? Just because He is asking you to wait doesn’t mean He is absent, forgetful or uninterested. In the waiting you will learn His heart for you and who He created you to be. Stop looking for proof of His faithfulness and choose to believe that He is! He always fulfills His promises. Like Abram, choose to look for Him, listen for Him and receive His peace as you wait on Him.


His Name Adonai Reveals His Power Over Your Past, Present & Future:


Exodus 4:10-15 But Moses pleaded with the LORD, "O Lord, I'm just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I'm not now, even after you have spoken to me. I'm clumsy with words." "Who makes mouths?" the LORD asked him. "Who makes people so they can speak or not speak, hear or not hear, see or not see? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go, and do as I have told you. I will help you speak well, and I will tell you what to say." But Moses again pleaded, "Lord, please! Send someone else." Then the LORD became angry with Moses. "All right," he said. "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? He is a good speaker. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. And when he sees you, he will be very glad. You will talk to him, giving him the words to say. I will help both of you to speak clearly, and I will tell you what to do.


Last week we reflected on Moses’ story from birth until He met with Jehovah at the burning bush at Mt. Horeb. Moses' past was filled with encounters of God’s power and yet, up to this point, he is still looking at himself and his own inadequacies. He had survived in the basket on the Nile as a baby, spoke to God through a burning bush and was armed with mighty miracles to speak before Pharaoh. However, looking at his own limitations, Moses still couldn’t see how big God is or all He is capable of. Fear had paralyzed Moses and was keeping him from walking in the fullness of who he was created to be. Here in chapter four His conversation with God continues. But, in the midst of his pleading He calls out to Adonai for the first time and his life is never the same!


There is power in the name Adonai! Moses’ fear and doubt melted away and he was released to respond in obedience to God’s plan ended when he acknowledged Him as the Sovereign Lord of his life. When Moses humbled himself as a child with his father and recognized his position as a bondservant before God, as his Master, he stopped complaining, arguing and protesting...he chose to obey. When Moses called God Adonai, he was surrendering his will and acknowledging that it was not his plan that mattered but his Father’s directive.


God’s plan for Moses was so much bigger than tending sheep for his father-in-law and His plans for you are so much bigger than you can imagine. He longs for you to be filled with His peace and joy, finding your purpose in your relationship with Him as you lead others to Him and further His Kingdom. He longs for you to experience Him as Adonai so you can trust Him with your past, present and future. He knows that it’s when you truly submit to His purpose for your life that you’ll be satisfied and fulfilled.


What is God calling you to do? Where do you feel Him calling you to go? Who is He leading you to talk to? Are you trusting Him as Adonai and stepping out into His call on your life or are you metaphorically “tending sheep” too? Decide today what you will choose. Yes, it will cost you something to call Him Adonai. It requires that you surrender yourself fully to His plan and purpose. Give up your plan for His. Your provision for His. He is for you. You can trust Him when you know Him. Submit yourself to His dream for your life to walk in the fullness of it. Like Moses, you will move out into fearless obedience and you will never be the same!


His Name Adonai Reveals His Heart for Us to Serve Others Selflessly:


John 13:13-16 You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and you are right, because it is true. And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them.


In these tumultuous times, it is critical that we understand to call Him Adonai is to sign up to serve others as He served us. Jesus took the lowliest posture, that of a servant to wash the disciples feet. Therefore, I believe it’s imperative that we ask Him what it looks like to wash the feet of those around us that are hurting and grieving today.


There can be no grey area when it comes to understanding what it means to call Adonai the Lord of our lives. When we said yes to Jesus we entered a covenant in which we chose to surrender ourselves to Him. Today, we fulfill that covenant by dying to our need to be right and looking instead to follow Jesus’ example. If Jesus was physically here now He would be lowering Himself in humility. He would be serving the hurting, oppressed and downtrodden, just as He did when He walked this earth.


The Name Adonai should challenge all of us. If you call God "Lord" you must be willing to live in a way that demonstrates His absolute sovereignty and Lordship over your life! We cannot simply say, "He is Lord", our lives must demonstrate that He is by the choices we make! If we call Him Adonai we are declaring that He is in control. He is our Father and we are surrendered to His will, His timing and His plan. If we state these things we must follow His example. To know Him as Adonai is to obey Him and His command and serve others as He did.


We have a unique opportunity to prayerfully meditate on this passage and ask Adonai how He is asking us to mirror His love to the world right now. In our flesh we love to debate others, win arguments and tout our opinions; but how is that pointing our hurting world back to our Savior and His love for them? Ask yourself, is your response to all of the racism, political unrest and division in our country drawing attention to you or to Him? Are your words and actions motivated by being right or reminding every soul you encounter that they are passionately loved and pursued by the God who created them?



This week prayerfully meditate on Luke 6:46-49:


“So why do you call me 'Lord,' when you won't obey me? I will show you what it's like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then obeys me. It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who listens and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins.”


Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth to you as you meditate on this passage. Write down anything He reveals to you and respond to Luke 6:46-49 by answering the following questions:


  1. Is there any area of my life in which I am operating in disobedience to Adonai, the Word of God or the prompting of the Holy Spirit?

  2. What kind of “house” is my life? Am I built on the rock or am I without a foundation and crumbling in the “flood waters” of my circumstances? Write your thoughts here...

  3. Confess any disobedience the Holy Spirit brings to light. Write a “covenant of obedience” to Adonai in your prayer journal and ask Him to help you operate in a posture of humility to Him this week. Adonai, today I make a covenant of obedience in these areas you have brought into the light…


Adonai, I declare your Lordship over every area of my life today. I ask that you give me the faith to wait on the fulfillment of the promises you have made to me just as Abraham did. Help me to trust you with my past, present and future so I can walk into the fullness of your call on my life as Moses did. I want to know you and experience you as the supreme authority over my life so I will obey you, no matter what you ask of me. I want to follow your example Jesus and serve others fearlessly and selflessly. Father, allow my life to point others back to your great love for them. Help me to die to my need to be right so I am available to be your hands and feet to this hurting world. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray, Amen!


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Kerri Kenyon Dern

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