Blog Archive

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Adonai, Adon / Lord

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Adonai, Adon / Lord
(pronounced: "ahd-oh-NAIY," "ah-DONE")

I saw the Lord [Adonai] sitting on a throne,
high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple...
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
"Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?"
Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
~ Isaiah 6:1,8 (NKJV)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord [Adon] of lords!
For His mercy endures forever:
~ Psalms 136:3 (NKJV)

My old pastor taught that complete obedience is immediate, thorough, and cheerful. I've found that immediate is compelled by fear, thorough is enabled by understanding, and cheerful—singing-as-you-go cheerful—is motivated by love.

Proverbs 9:10 instructs "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." It is a good thing to fear God, and immediately heed His commandments for fear of the discipline which disobedience may invite. Here is the beginning of wisdom.

As one matures, one comes to know what lies behind the commandment. One gains understanding that the commandment is not intended to restrict freedom, but to teach a child the proper use of liberty. Therein the mature son or daughter is set free from the letter of the law and enjoys the blessings of thorough obedience to the spirit of the law.

But the highest motivation for obedience is love. 1 John 4:18 reveals: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. The one who fears has not been made complete in love." The more we know and understand our Lord, the more we trust Him, and the greater our ability to fulfill the greatest commandment to love Him with all heart, soul, mind and strength. The more complete and perfected our love, the less we will operate out of fear. We will do His will because it is our delight. We will hear His call and eagerly respond, "Here am I! Send me!"

This is the essence of the difference between God being God and God being beloved Lord and Master. Adon is a word for lord (master, ruler, sovereign) which may apply to any human lord, and is often used for God when combined with other titles or names. Adonai is the word for Lord used only for divinity. Though usually translated "the Lord" (or occasionally "Sovereign"), its literal meaning in Hebrew is "my Lord." It conveys a relationship of willing servant, not servitude.

After the Ten Commandments were given, the very next passage describes such a relationship:
"If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing... But if the servant plainly says, 'I love my master [adon] ... I will not go out free,' then his master shall bring him to the judges ... and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever." (Exodus 21:2,5-6 NKJV)

In such love of the Lord we find not only freedom from fear, but joy in obedience.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. Amen, I am filled with joy, as I faithfully serve Him.

  2. Denise, your faithfulness and joy are enduring encouragement to me.

  3. Anne - Your posts are so beautiful and God honoring. I know He is pleased! (And I am SO blessed!) Thank you for taking the time to pour yourself into your posts and for teaching us! Well done, my Friend! With JOY, Amy

  4. Amy, your words are greatly encouraging. Though I've studied and made extensive notes on these names of God for many years, compiling these posts are taking quite a bit of extra time (and yes, I pour myself into them). The reward of better knowing Him is SO worth every bit, especially as I face new challenges, and need Him all the more. I pray you continue to be blessed.


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