What does it mean for God to be God Most High? It means He is the God above all powers. This name was translated from Hebrew, El Elyon, a beautiful, important name of God found 28 times in the Old Testament. That’s significant, and so is this name.
As we run through the finish line of 2022, could you use a fresh focus? In 2022 we studied Holy Spirit with each Fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, but this year I’ve been impressed by the Lord to study twelve of His names. These names will help us know God better and lead us into worship of the One who wants us to know Him.
Why Knowing God’s Names are Important
God’s names are important because each one points to His character. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, YHWH, the one true God, desires for us to know Him. He isn’t a God who hides in the shadows or lives aloof to His creation. He is Immanuel who always planned to live with His creation and has made Himself available to those looking for Him.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:11-13 (read entire chapter)
Though these words were written for the exiles of Israel, God’s people, they reveal His heart for all of us. His plans are good. His promises true. This year I’m taking us on a journey to know Him better so we can experience the promise of Jeremiah 29:13. Each name, each article, and reading plan will help us seek the Living God who longs for us to know Him. Such knowledge is life-giving and life-changing. Read God’s words from Jeremiah 9:
But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!Jeremiah 9:24 NLT
Why El Elyon Should Be Studied
I have prayerfully chosen twelve names of God to study together this year. The first is El Elyon because the meaning of this name is what Jesus said was the first and greatest commandment. The name El Elyon literally means, God, Most High, but the implications of this name, and the scriptures which contain it reveal not only the power of the name but the significance of El Elyon’s position in our hearts.
Jesus said, “The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” He was quoting the commands given to the Israelites as they prepared to take over the Promised Land. It’s now the first part of the Shema, a prayer Jewish families have prayed everyday for thousands of years.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.Deuteronomy 6:4-9
I love this command. Isn’t it beautiful? I think my favorite part is to “impress them on your children.” I love the image of these families walking together on a dusty road, holding a tiny hand, and talking to their little one about how important it is to love God with all her mind, heart, and strength. You can do it today too in your minivan or whatever you drive. In fact, I think listening to worship songs in the car is a great way to teach your little ones about El Elyon, the One worthy of our worship.
El Elyon Scriptures and Reading Plan
The best way to come to know El Elyon is to start with the scriptures. These verses demonstrate how others experienced the God Most High. Here’s a few from an excerpt of this month’s reading plan with prompts:
Day 1: Exodus 20:1-3
And God spoke all these words:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods beforeme.
- This verse does not contain the name, but it demands the precept. Idols sneak into our lives because they’re no longer statues as in biblical days. Today our idols can come in the form of success, money, houses, family, and jobs. Write a prayer of repentance about any possible idols you place above El Elyon.
Day 2: Psalm 139: 23-24
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
- Here “offensive” means “idolatrous.” David prayed God would search him and know where he was anxious. Did you know anxiety is a form of idolatry? Give your anxious thoughts to him today and pray to trust Him as the God above all you are worried about.
Day 3: Hebrews 7:1
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.”
- This verse refers to a mysterious story found in Genesis which we will study days 16-18. The author of Hebrews wrote to encourage persecuted Jews who had followed Jesus. Quite simply, when I read this verse and the story in Genesis, when I wade past the mystery of Melchizedek, I see that Abram was blessed by another believer. Abram was not alone in his faith. Another worshiped and served the Most High God. Write a memory of a time when another believer blessed you.
Day 4: Mark 5:7
He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”
- This is the story of the man named Legion because he was filled with demons. The demons knew who Jesus was. What does this tell you about Jesus and His power and how does this encourage you?
Shelter Under the Most High God
Beloved, the Most High God loves you. He does not reside in an unreachable castle in the sky, but He’s made a way for His Presence to live within us. I wrote in an article on Biblestudytools.com:
Though he is the King of Glory, the Ancient of Days, and the Alpha and Omega, he is a God of relationship, a God who wants to do life with us. This is beyond comprehension. El Elyon, the Most High God, longs to be known just as we do, and he has made it possible through the Word and Jesus. May he be praised.Worship God as El Elyon: the Lord Most High
A Prayer to El Elyon
Using God’s specific names in prayer is powerful. I really don’t think it’s very different from our own pleasure when someone remembers our name. This Christmas, my two-year-old grandson was able to say my grandma name for the first time. “Bubbie!” he’d call as he’d carefully come down the stairs every morning. My heart did a cartwheel every time. I believe God feels the same way about you. Let’s cry out to El Elyon together. Hold my hands:
El Elyon, the God Most High we love you. We praise you, the God above all Gods. Search our hearts and reveal any idols we have placed before you. Be our El Elyon and protect, guide, and love us as we love you. Help us love you more and trust you. We want to experience you, El Elyon. Amen.
Join me every Friday on Instagram @wordsbyandylee at 9:00 AM ET for Faith Friday. We’ll be digging deeper into the reading plan and this name. Subscribe in the box below so you don’t miss this powerful series on the names of God. See you next month as we dig into another name of God, one of my favorites, El Roi, the God who sees.
Living Abundantly knowing El Elyon,
Other articles on the Shema:
Learning the Shema Part I: He is God Alone