Wednesday, October 8, 2014

El Elyon: Determine which God claims the throne of your heart

What goes up must come down.

You reap what you sow.

Every action requires an opposite reaction.

Most high means something else is most low.

Our focus this month on Grow Barefoot social media is different names of God found in the Old Testament. Each day on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, I post a little something about a different name for the one true God based on the first place Scripture uses that name.

I found a really cool one this week so, of course, I want to share a little more of it with you!

El Elyon

The Hebrew name El Elyon means God Most High. It’s first use probably won’t seem significant at first… “Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was a priest to God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). Yawn, some king with a hard name, some bread, and some wine was a priest. Who cares?

Context is everything

Please hover your cursor here to read Genesis 14:17-23.

Abram (God later changed his name to Abraham) experienced a great military victory to rescue his nephew, Lot. After the victory, the king of Sodom and the king of Salem both came out to meet him.

Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought bread, wine, and a blessing for Abram. Bera, the king of Sodom, brought nothing; however, he told Abram he could keep all the goods he had retrieved as long as he gave the people back to Bera. Melchizedek was not only king but also priest of the Most High God. Bera – well, he was the king of Sodom. We can guess the quality of his character.

Abram had two very different responses to the two men. He responded to Melchizedek by giving him a tenth of everything. In contrast, Abram declared to Bera that he wanted nothing from him and nothing to do with him. His reason? Abram had made an oath to God Most High. Allegiance to one necessitated total rejection of the other.

How does this fit with the name El Elyon?

Each new name for God reveals a new aspect of His character and our relationship with Him. The context helps us understand these new aspects.

I taught my daughters a few years ago about superlatives; for example, the best, the worst, or the hardest. We only use superlatives to compare three or more things. Again, as an example, the comment “That girl jumped the highest” indicates at least two other girls were jumping with her and she was the highest of the three.

The name God Most High indicates at least two other beings who would like to also be god. Yahweh God is most high over these other beings. And you know what? I can quickly think of two other beings who would rather be god instead of Yahweh – Satan and us. Yet, God is God Most High over both of them.

How does this fit with the story of Abram’s battle?

God, Satan, and Abram’s own ego fought for the throne of Abram’s heart. Any of them could have walked away with the victory.


Abram just completed an impressive military victory. He and his 318 men defeated an army that had terrorized the region for fourteen years. During that time, they had conquered and ruled over fourteen different people groups. Pride could have overcome Abram in the aftermath of his victory. He could have become the god of his own heart.

Bera, king of Sodom

Bera held claim to all the goods and people Abram received in his battle. Although Bera wanted to retain rights to the people, he freely offered Abram the goods of the whole city. This would have made Abram a very rich man.

Bera reminds me of Satan in this story. He’s the king of a city totally opposed to the message of God. The prophet Ezekiel wrote her sin was that she “had pride, plenty of food, and comfortable security, but didn’t support the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49). Also similar to Satan, Bera is willing to give Abram all of the riches but he wants to hold onto the lives of the people. Satan is after the people, not the riches.

Satan – working through Bera and his city of Sodom – could have claimed the throne of Abram’s heart. He could have lured Abram away with his promise of riches, security, and tempting indiscretions.

Melchizedek, king of Salem

Just as Bera reminds me of Satan, Melchizedek points us to the one true God, Yahweh. He came to Abram not wanting to take but to give. He brought Abram bread and wine – perhaps this foreshadows Jesus as King and Priest who gave His body and blood for us in a sacrifice we remember with the eating of bread and drinking of wine.

Melchizedek also gave Abram a blessing just as Jesus did us. “Now the Scripture saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and told the good news ahead of time to Abraham, saying, All the nations will be blessed through you. So those who have faith are blessed with Abraham, who had faith. ... The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:8-9, 14). Or more simply put, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Ephesians 1:3).

God – working through His priest Melchizedek – could have claimed the throne of Abram’s heart with His gift of bread, wine, and blessing.

Which did Abram choose?

Abram emphatically declared to Bera, king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand in oath to Yahweh, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:22). He went on to tell Bera that he basically wanted nothing to do with him.

Abram didn’t let his own military might and power rule. He didn’t let the riches and security of empty promises rule. He chose the third option and submitted to the Most High God. He openly displayed his choice by willingly giving Melchizedek a tenth of all that he had in response to the bread, wine, and blessing.

Why do we care about the name used for God?

Our circumstances may look different but we all still face the same choice. Who will rule over the throne of our heart?

Will we take pride in our own power and conquests as we exalt our own ego?

Will we allow Satan to lure us away with empty promises of riches and security?

Or will we pick the third option – the superlative best – and allow God Most High to rule in our hearts? 

He comes to us with the gift of His body and blood sacrificed for us and the promise of unimaginable blessing. Will we, like Abram, recognize His claim to our heart and lovingly return to Him an offering from all that we have?

No comments:

Post a Comment