Names of God – El-Elyon: God Most High
How many Gods are there? Over the years, I have heard many people say that because there is only one God it does not matter what church you go to in order to worship Him. If there is only one God then does it matter how we worship Him? While it is true that there is only one true God, the Bible makes it clear that there are many gods. The Hebrew name El-Elyon tells us that God is “The God Most High” which implies that there are other gods.
The question is NOT if you believe in God–the question is: Which God do you believe in?
“God Most High ( אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, ˒ēl ˓elyn ) This title [is used about 50 times in the OT] is formed by the conjunction of the noun (˒ēl, “God”) and the qualifying noun (˓elyn, “high”), the latter deriving from the verb, meaning “to ascend, to mount up.”
So the one true God is El-Elyon–the God who is “The God Most High” not just a god who ascends.
Lets learn together how God, the one true God, is greater than all other gods.
I. El-Elyons Position
In short, El-Elyon means that God is absolutely sovereign. A.W. Pink gives us a good definition of the sovereignty of God: “God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases.”
“When a cowboy applied for health insurance, the agent routinely asked if he had had any accidents during the previous year. The cowboy replied, No, but I was bitten by a rattlesnake, and a horse kicked me in the ribs. That laid me up for a while. The agent said, Werent those accidents? No, replied the cowboy, they did it on purpose. The cowboy realized that there are no such things as accidents. How about you Christian? Do you believe that some things catch God by surprise?”
Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. (NAU)
After Job finished with all of his great suffering, he told God what he learned:
Job 42:2 “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. (NAU)
Now let us look at some ways that God exercises His authority.
A. El-Elyon is over creation
Psalm 97:9a For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth… (NAU)
Psalm 83:18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth. (NAU)
B. El-Elyon is over the curse on creation
Sin has corrupted all of creation which is why we have earthquakes and hurricanes, but El-Elyon is still in control.
Psalm 46:1–7 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (NAU)
C. El-Elyon is over every circumstance
Psalm 18:6–19 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears. Then the earth shook and quaked; and the foundations of the mountains were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up out of His nostrils, and fire from His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet. He rode upon a cherub and flew; and He sped upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, hailstones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, and lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them. Then the channels of water appeared, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. (NAU)
D. El-Elyon is over all other gods
Psalm 97:9b … You are exalted far above all gods. (NAU)
It is no accident that the cause of Satans fall was his desire to be “The God Most High.” Isaiah 14:12–19 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, they will ponder over you, saying, Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, who did not allow his prisoners to go home? All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb. But you have been cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch, clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit like a trampled corpse. (NAU)
It is interesting that four times in the NT we hear demons referring to Jesus as “The God Most High” (Mark 5:7, Luke 8:28, Luke 6:35, Acts 16:17). That makes sense because they served Satan as their god, but they also know that Jesus is “The Most High God.”
We should never forget that even Satan is under the absolute control of “The God Most High.” We get a glimpse of this when Jesus turned to Peter and said, Luke 22:31–32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail…” (NAU)
The sovereignty of God over all things is not a popular truth. We would rather believe that we, at least to some degree, are sovereign over or in control of our lives.
Charles Spurgeon made this same point:
“Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His [place] to dispense His alms [material things] and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne; His creatures then gnash their teeth. And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated [declared hateful], and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust.”
II. El-Elyons Promises
A. El-Elyon protects His own
Psalm 21:7 For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken. (NAU)
That echoes what Paul said in Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (NAU)
B. El-Elyon provides for His own
Listen to this description of how El-Elyon cared for the Jews for the forty years they spent in the wilderness:
Deuteronomy 32:8-13 “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples… He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. The LORD alone guided him, and there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he ate the produce of the field; and He made him suck honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock, (NAU)
The greatest provision that we could possibly have from God is our forgiveness. Psalm 78:35 they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer. (NAU)
C. El-Elyon restores His own
This all-powerful sovereign God also tenderly cares for those who humble themselves before Him.
Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. (NAU)
III. El-Elyon Purifies
A. Knowing El-Elyon hinders sin
Psalm 47:2 For the LORD Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth. (NAU)
Psalm 7:8–9, 17 The LORD judges the peoples; vindicate me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me. O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for the righteous God tries the hearts and minds. 17 I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. (NAU)
Psalm 78:56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep His testimonies, (NAU) but we should remember that Hebrews 10:30–31 we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (NAU)
B. Knowing El-Elyon crushes pride
The Most High God will sometimes cause suffering so that we will cry out to Him for help.
Psalm 107:10–13 There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains, because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. (NAU)
Nebuchadnezzar experienced this truth. As king of Babylon, he thought of himself as all-powerful. God in His mercy allowed Nebuchadnezzar to become insane for seven years.
Daniel 4:16–17 “Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let a beasts mind be given to him, and let seven periods of time pass over him. This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers and the decision is a command of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men.” (NAU)
After seven years of acting and living like an animal Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself before God and said: Daniel 4:34–35 “… I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, What have You done? (NAU)
What a joy to know that God gives us the option of humbling ourselves before Him. We dont have to wait until God uses a terrifying circumstance to get our attention. We can humble ourselves. 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (NAU)
IV. El-Elyon is to be Praised
A. David praised El-Elyon
Psalm 7:17 I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. (NAU)
Psalm 92:1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High (NAU)
B. Micah praised El-Elyon
Micah 6:6-8 With what shall I come to the LORD and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (NAU)
C. Angels praised El-Elyon
Luke 1:32-35 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. (NAU)
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (NAU)
Are you praising El-Elyon?
Have you ever recorded an important sporting event because you couldnt see it live on television? What if someone told you that your team won the game before you had an opportunity to watch it? If you decided to watch the game anyway it, it wouldnt bother you if your team got behind in the score because you knew the outcome. Followers of Christ should be like that because they know that He has already given them ultimate victory. 1 Corinthians 15:57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (NAU)
We will also have no problem saying that,
Romans 8:28 …God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NAU)
Do you have an ongoing relationship with “The Most High God”? If you are trusting in that God then to the same degree that you worship God as El-Elyon no mere human will intimidate you, the future will not worry you, and you will be content in every circumstance because your God reigns and rules over every area of your life.
God permits our circumstances but the Most High God can turn any difficulty into an opportunity.
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