Meditate on God's Names
Over What is
What Difference Can This Truth Make
NOTE: This chart is set up in columns that are to be read from left to right. In other words, when you finish the first column on the left, then shift to the related discussion in the middle and then the far right columns.
Even before you do this study, let me encourage you to listen to Robin Mark's great song ALL IS WELL - When I broke my left hip in May, 2011 at age 65 and came close to death's door, God gave me this song to remind me that He is the Most High God, El Elyon and that "He brings death and makes alive… He humbles and He exalts… He lowers us to raise us so that we can sing His praises. Whatever is His way all is well." God's Spirit used these deep truths to minister to my soul and make me realize that He was giving me a "wake up call" so that enabled by His Spirit, I would seek to surrender my heart fully to Him in the "last lap" of my race (1Cor 9:24-27+) so that I would be enabled to redeem the time I had left (Eph 5:16KJV+), press on toward the goal for the prize (Phil 3:14+), running with endurance, fixing my eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:1, Heb 12:2+), the One I would soon see (either through falling asleep in Jesus [2Cor 5:6-7+, 2Cor 5:8-10+] or meeting Him in the air - [1Th 4:17-18+]).
God Most High = El Elyon
The Most High God
Strongest of the Strong
He is the "Superlative" God - the all surpassing God!
Pause for a moment and allow the Spirit to take your heart and mind to Heaven as you listen to this song - El Gibbor v El Elyon
If He is the Most High then what is His perspective on the problems in my life?
No one can ward off His hand (no one can stop Him)
No one can question
If you are wrestling with God's sovereignty, study the verses on this chart and also consider consulting…
1) Notes on God's Attribute of Sovereignty
2) Related Resources on God's Sovereignty
2) Several Illustrations of Divine Sovereignty
A Definition of Sovereignty: The right of God to do as He wishes with His creation (Ps 50:1; Is 40:15; 1Ti 6:15). This implies that there is no external influence upon Him and that He also has the ability to exercise His right according to His will. (Bible.org)
NOW READ THE COLUMNS TO THE RIGHT… WHAT IS GOD SOVEREIGN OVER? & WHAT DIFFERENCE SHOULD THIS MAKE IN OUR LIFE?
God is SOVEREIGN (see definition) which means GOD IS IN CHARGE OF THE ALL THE UNIVERSE ALL THE TIME.
Westminster Catechism says…
GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER…
The angelic hosts of heaven
All Inhabitants of earth
Read the stanza ("My sovereign"… ) below which sadly is omitted from most modern hymnals. Click on the hymn and sing to Him. It will be good for your soul dear suffering saint…
Even down to old age all My people shall prove
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
TRUTH CAN SET US FREE… TRUTH LIBERATES US
The Truth is that…
Inhabitants of the earth
(Note that "Host" can be translated "armies" and in context most likely refers to the angelic hosts of heaven, both good and evil - God is in control of both! Corollary - spiritual warfare is not so much a "power" struggle as it is a "truth" struggle and the "battlefield" is our mind! Fill your mind with God's Word of Truth!)
Job after suffering calamity caused by Satan but permitted by God came to know God's sovereignty in a very real and personal way declaring:
We learn the lesson of trust
in the school of trial. Fiery trials (1Pe 4:12-13-note) perfect our faith (Jas 1:2-4-note)
How would this affect my worship? Worship Him in spirit & in truth (Jn 4:24+) (Put it into practice right now dear saint -- Click and sing "O Father You Are Sovereign")
Job's God is the same today (He 13:8-note) and desires you to experience Him as did His saint Job. He desires you to know Him as the One in whom you can place your complete trust in every circumstance--whether times of great joy or trials of great affliction.
We would all to well to ponder and practice Paul's pattern of praise regarding God's omniscience, sovereignty and power…
SOVEREIGNTY ILLUSTRATED IN THE BIBLE
Lk 22:31, 32+
God places limits on Satan, who can go no farther then God allows
Satan had to seek permission to sift Peter. Note that Jesus was praying for Peter and He is also praying for us as we experience circumstances through which we are sifted and sanctified. (Ro 8:34-note, Heb 7:25-note)
Similarly Satan could harm Job (What was his character prior to "sifting"? Job 1:1) no worse than God allowed - see Job 1:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Job 2:3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
1 John 5:18+
We know that no one who is born of God sins (present tense = sins as a lifestyle) but He who was born (perfect tense = speaks of permanence of our new birth) of God keeps (present tense = continually watches over, guards, keeps His eye on) him and the evil one (Satan) does not touch (handling one so as to exert a modifying influence upon) him
Satan cannot touch a believer without El Elyon's permission and some sources commenting on "cannot touch" state that Satan cannot grasp a believer in a way that continually exerts a modifying influence on his life (or cannot cause permanent spiritual loss) (cp 1Jn 4:4+).
NOW READ THE COLUMNS TO THE RIGHT…
Job 1:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2:3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Who was initiator?
GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER…
Job 1-2 refutes the false teaching that Satan is in control. God is in total control, whether we believe it or not!
When God permits Satan to "light the furnace", you can be confident that He "keeps His hand on the thermostat!" (Da 3:19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25-note)
Nebuchadnezzar addressed the three as "servants of the Most High God"! (Da 3:26, 27, 28-note). Note that they convinced El Elyon could deliver them and yet were ready to burn if God allowed (Da 3:17, 18-note)
O Father, You are sovereign
All chance & change transcending,
W e can know that…
God (Creator) is in control
NOT Satan (creation)
Even if Satan causes problems in my life, it is God Who PERMITS this to happen. And just as important, we need to remember and lay hold of the truth that…
JESUS IS PRAYING FOR YOU
"Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also (present tense = continually) intercedes for us (in our place, on our behalf)." (Ro 8:34-note)
"Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." (Heb 7:25-note)
Isaiah (although using the name Jehovah Sabaoth) clearly describes God's sovereignty in…
Context: God predicts the destruction of Judah's enemy Assyria in Is 14:25,26 (reflecting His sovereignty over the nations)
What God intends will happen
What He plans will stand
No one can frustrate
No one can turn back
Beloved this is your God if you belong to Him (1Co 6:19-note, 1Co 6:20-note) for He does not change (Mal 3:6). Run into the Strong Tower of the sovereign God, El Elyon and He will lift you up, even in the midst of the attacks, adversities, afflictions, etc you are experiencing. (Pr 18:10-note)
NOW READ THE COLUMNS TO THE RIGHT…
Dearly beloved, meditate deeply on what God says about His sovereignty and as the Spirit illuminates this attribute of God, lay hold of the truth that El Elyon is in control and make the choice to run into the strong tower of this Name and you will be lifted up and obtain an entirely new perspective on your anxieties over what the future holds (because you will come to know and trust the One Who sovereignly controlled not only your past but your future) & with this truth comes the potential for His peace that passes all human understanding. (Php 4:6-note, Php 4:7-note)
J. B. Phillips wrote the classic book Your God Is Too Small (borrow book) and the title tells the whole story. Many of us have a problem because our God is too small. But if you ever understand that God is sovereign over the entire universe, you’ll never have a "small" God again.
ILLUSTRATION - 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, "Weren’t 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? In the words of a good friend, "God is too sovereign to be lucky." (See What does the Bible say about luck? | GotQuestions.org)
We can know that…
WE ARE NOT VICTIMS
OR FATE OR LUCK
You can have God or chance,
During America's Great Depression in 1929, many men jumped to their death, because they failed to recognize that God is always in control. Dearly beloved, grasp the truth about God's sovereignty and you will experience the blessed assurance that whatever comes into your life will be filtered through His fingers of love. You must remember, beloved, that the Most High God, El Elyon, holds you in His sovereign, omnipotent hand. You are not subject to the "winds of chance". Nothing and no one can touch you without the Most High God's permission!
God in His sovereignty, makes a provision for things to get done the way He wants them done. Our job is to pray, to follow His leading, and to trust Him with the results. If He wants it done, God will make a way.
God will make a way when there seems to be no way.
Context: Upon receiving the answer to his prayer for the interpretation of the King's dream, Daniel praises God for His sovereignty over all things whether they be epochs (times) or empires (nations) "Daniel answered and said… "
NOW READ THE COLUMNS TO THE RIGHT…
GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER…
Times & epochs (history)
(Da 2:20, 22, 23-notes)
We can know that…
GOD IS IN CONTROL OF
Click on the hymn below and sing this prayer to the Most High God
Sovereign of Worlds!
Sovereign of worlds! Display Thy power;
Set up Thy throne where Satan reigns,
Speak & the world shall hear Thy voice;
El Elyon, the sovereign God "removed the hedge" from His chosen people! God had prepared Israel to bring forth spiritual fruit (eg, Israel was to have been a light to the nations - Isa 60:3) and yet she brought forth only wild grapes (esp idolatry). Therefore, God judged His people by stirring up Nebuchadnezzar His servant (Jer 25:9) to taken them into captivity in Babylon (the land of idols!)
NOW READ THE COLUMNS TO THE RIGHT…
GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER…
W e can know that…
God Alone is Sovereign over
See now that I, I am He, and there is no God besides Me (asserting the truth of monotheism! Isa 45:5,18,22). It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded, and it is I Who heal. And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
Note the repetition of “I” [My] which highlights the sovereignty of God. God was speaking to Israel so that they (and by application we today) might be convinced God alone (not the weak, non-existent idolatrous gods of the pagans) can save and destroy. "I, I only" is an expression of being (similar to "I am" or ego eimi of Jn 8:24, 58, 13:19, 18:5, Ex 3:14+).
God is the only true, omnipotent, irresistible God.
The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. (See also 2Ki 5:7, Jas 4:12+)
God alone is the Arbiter of life and death, giving life as it pleases Him. Only He has the right to take it away.
He inflicts pain and gives relief; He wounds and His hands also heal. (cf Is 30:26, Hos 6:1, 2+)
When the Sovereign God does allow pain to come into our lives (note it is in the context of the rod of discipline Job 5:17, cp He 12:5, 6-note, He 12:7, 8, 9, 10-note, He 12:11-note), it is not to harm us, but to make us better - not bitter but better! (see illustration)
GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER…
Life & Death
Click on links for more discussion
W e can know that…
God is in control
of our life
Read John Piper's sermon…
Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained That Evil Be?
Below is an excerpt…
Remember (not a suggestion but a command) the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; [I am] God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done (His ability to control the future is proof of His sovereignty over time), saying, 'My purpose (or "My counsel" = it originates from Him and not from consultation with the creature) will be established (will stand for He Himself has decreed it), and I will accomplish all My good pleasure."
Nothing can prevent God from doing all that is His pleasure, that is all His purpose and inasmuch as He will perform it, it will stand. Beloved, this is your Most High God. Trust Him!
GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER
Absolutely NOTHING happens outside his control. ALL things happen in accordance with His plan. Consequently He rules over all things, including your future.
You may not know what the future holds but you can know Who holds the future. Do you know Him? Paul is in prison, suffering for the Gospel, facing imminent death and yet he is able to "hang on" - the question is "How?" or "Why" - see "Who" Paul knew and what this did for his faith (confidence) - 2Ti 1:12-note
We can trust our
The LORD has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all.
Though I know not what awaits me—
In the margin of many pages in D. L. Moody's Bible, he wrote the letters T and P, meaning "Tried and Proved." He had put into practice (applied) passages from God's Word, proving that they work which of course they always do!
Isaiah 45:6, 7
That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD Who does all these.
All that happens-light, darkness, prosperity and disaster (cp Amos 3:6) comes from God, the sovereign Lord of the universe Who can do everything. Do you believe this is true?
GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER
We can know that…
God Permits our circumstances
The Most High God "will make me to walk upon my HIGH PLACES.” (Hab. 3:19+)
FIRST USES OF EL ELYON IN SCRIPTURE:
Ge 14:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." (cp Is 43:13, Josh 10:42, Ps 44:3) And he gave him a tenth of all. 21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself." 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.' 24 "I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share."
Because you belong to God Who is the Possessor of heaven and earth (twice for emphasis - Ge 14:19, 22!), He will deliver you from all your enemies (study God's ability to deliver YOU - ponder Ex 6:6, 23:14, 1Sa 7:3, 2Ki 17:39, 2Ki 20:6, Job 5:19, Pr 2:11, 12, Is 38:6, 46:4, Je 1:8, 19, 20, 21, 39:17, 42:11, Da 6:16, 20, Jdg 7:7 contrast Jdg 10:13,14!). Even temporary defeats are turned into victory if we walk in the Spirit (Ga 5:16-note), abiding (believing and obeying) in the truth that He is El Elyon. How easy it is to trust Him with our eternal destiny in Heaven and yet how often we struggle with trusting El Elyon with our day to day struggles.
GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER
Heaven & Earth = Possessor/Creator
OUR GOD REIGNS
How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him
He had no stately form, He had no majesty
It was our sin and guilt that bruised and wounded Him.
Meek as a lamb that’s led out to the slaughterhouse,
Out from the tomb He came with grace and majesty;
To know God as "God Most High", sovereign over everything and everyone is an empowering doctrine for if you truly believe that He is sovereign, no mere human can intimidate you. You’ll respect authority but you won’t cringe before it.
If you know that God is sovereign, then you can be content—and even find joy—in the midst of circumstances that are less than ideal.
If you know that God is sovereign, then you will be encouraged in evangelism because you understand that winning the lost is not your job. Your job is to share the gospel, tell your testimony , talk about Jesus, look for opportunities, and pray for open doors but it's God's job to sovereignly lead us, to empower us, to give us those open doors, and then when we share Christ, to convict sinners and create in them a hunger for Him and His Word
If you know that God is sovereign, then you can know that He will win the battle with Satan and in fact because He lives outside time the victory has already won at the Cross and in eternity. From our perspective the battle rages all around us, and all too often evil seem to be winning. God’s sovereignty guarantees the ultimate victory of good over evil, but we must remember that God’s timetable and ours are not the same.
What should be the conclusion we draw if we truly believe that God is El Elyon, sovereign Ruler over everything?
We will come to know in our experience that absolutely nothing happens to a child of the Living God that the Most High God is not sovereign (exerting control) over and that He is high above every difficult circumstance, over every demonic force, over ever sorrow, over every tragedy.
El = Hebrew masculine noun for God, mighty one, plural elohim.
Elyon = masculine noun meaning Most High, Highest. Elyon is from Hebrew root 'ly meaning to go up, to ascend. The Lxx translates Elyon with the adjective hupsistos = highest in spatial sense or status, clearly the latter sense in this context. Where there is truth, there is usually a counterfeit - thus the Greeks called Zeus hupsistos, the "highest" to be distinguished from their lesser false gods!
If we really believe El Elyon is sovereign would it change my thinking about…
My present circumstances?
My past (which is forgiven if I am a believer - If you doubt this truth read and meditate on the following asking what God has done with your sins! - Ps 103:12, Is 38:17, 44:22, Micah 7:18, 19)?
My IRA? The Stock Market portfolio's rising and falling?
My government (including leaders I might not agree with - cp Da 2:21-note)?
Acceptance of and perseverance in and through adverse circumstances will bring God glory…and this is the grand purpose for which we have been created (Mt 5:16-note)
If you really know Him as El Elyon, the sovereign God then you will come more and more to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that…
And you be able to truly
If God is not SOVEREIGN
if He is not in control,
if all things are not under His dominion,
He is not the Most High,
We are either in the hands of fate
(whatever that is)
in the hands of men
in the hands of the devil.
But take courage beloved for…
The Most High God, El Elyon, is in TOTAL CONTROL
He has always been in total control
He will always be in total control!
- SEE RELATED POST ON BLOG: GOD IS IN CONTROL
- LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF TWILA PARIS' GREAT SONG: GOD IS IN CONTROL
CLING TO BOTH ROPES! - During his days as guest lecturer at Calvin Seminary, R. B. Kuiper once used the following illustration of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.
“I liken them to two ropes going through two holes in the ceiling and over a pulley above. If I wish to support myself by them, I must cling to them both. If I cling only to one and not the other, I go down.
“I read the many teachings of the Bible regarding God’s election, predestination, His chosen, and so on. I read also the many teachings regarding ‘whosoever will may come’ and urging people to exercise their responsibility as human beings. These seeming contradictions cannot be reconciled by the puny human mind. With childlike faith, I cling to both ropes, fully confident that in eternity I will see that both strands of truth are, after all, of one piece.” (John Morren, Lake City, Michigan)
Bible.org has the following story -
Marcel Sternberger was a methodical man of nearly 50, with bushy white hair, guileless brown eyes, and the bouncing enthusiasm of a czardas dancer of his native Hungary. He always took the 9:09 Long Island Railroad train from his suburban home to Woodside, N.Y.., where he caught a subway into the city.
On the morning of January 10, 1948, Sternberger boarded the 9:09 as usual. En route, he suddenly decided to visit Laszlo Victor, a Hungarian friend who lived in Brooklyn and was ill.
Accordingly, at Ozone Park, Sternberger changed to the subway for Brooklyn, went to his friend’s house, and stayed until midafternoon. He then boarded a Manhattan-bound subway for his Fifth Avenue office. Here is Marcel’s incredible story:
The car was crowded, and there seemed to be no chance of a seat. But just as I entered, a man sitting by the door suddenly jumped up to leave, and I slipped into the empty place. I’ve been living in New York long enough not to start conversations with strangers. But being a photographer, I have the peculiar habit of analyzing people’s faces, and I was struck by the features of the passenger on my left. He was probably in his late 30s, and when he glanced up, his eyes seemed to have a hurt expression in them. He was reading a Hungarian-language newspaper, and something prompted me to say in Hungarian, “I hope you don’t mind if I glance at your paper.”
The man seemed surprised to be addressed in his native language. But he answered politely, “You may read it now. I’ll have time later on.”
During the half-hour ride to town, we had quite a conversation. He said his name was Bela Paskin. A law student when World War II started, he had been put into a German labor battalion and sent to the Ukraine. Later he was captured by the Russians and put to work burying the German dead. After the war, he covered hundreds of miles on foot until he reached his home in Debrecen, a large city in eastern Hungary.
I myself knew Debrecen quite well, and we talked about it for a while. Then he told me the rest of his story. When he went to the apartment once occupied by his father, mother, brothers and sisters, he found strangers living there. Then he went upstairs to the apartment that he and his wife once had. It also was occupied by strangers. None of them had ever heard of his family.
As he was leaving, full of sadness, a boy ran after him, calling “Paskin bacsi! Paskin bacsi!” That means “Uncle Paskin.” The child was the son of some old neighbors of his. He went to the boy’s home and talked to his parents. “Your whole family is dead,” they told him. “The Nazis took them and your wife to Auschwitz.”
Auschwitz was one of the worst Nazi concentration camps. Paskin gave up all hope. A few days later, too heartsick to remain any longer in Hungary, he set out again on foot, stealing across border after border until he reached Paris. He managed to immigrate to the United States in October 1947, just three months before I met him.
All the time he had been talking, I kept thinking that somehow his story seemed familiar. A young woman whom I had met recently at the home of friends had also been from Debrecen; she had been sent to Auschwitz; from there she had been transferred to work in a German munitions factory. Her relatives had been killed in the gas chambers. Later she was liberated by the Americans and was brought here in the first boatload of displaced persons in 1946.
Later, she was liberated by the Americans and was brought here in the first boatload of displaced persons in 1946.
Her story had moved me so much that I had written down her address and phone number, intending to invite her to meet my family and thus help relieve the terrible emptiness in her life.
It seemed impossible that there could be any connection between these two people, but as I neared my station, I fumbled anxiously in my address book. I asked in what I hoped was a casual voice, “Was your wife’s name Marya?”
He turned pale. “Yes!” he answered. “How did you know?”
He looked as if he were about to faint.
I said, “Let’s get off the train.” I took him by the arm at the next station and led him to a phone booth. He stood there like a man in a trance while I dialed her phone number.
It seemed hours before Marya Paskin answered. (Later I learned her room was alongside the telephone, but she was in the habit of never answering it because she had so few friends and the calls were always for someone else. This time, however, there was no one else at home and, after letting it ring for a while, she responded.)
When I heard her voice at last, I told her who I was and asked her to describe her husband. She seemed surprised at the question, but gave me a description. Then I asked her where she had lived in Debrecen, and she told me the address.
Asking her to hold the line, I turned to Paskin and said, “Did you and your wife live on such-and-such a street?”
“Yes!” Bela exclaimed. He was white as a sheet and trembling.
“Try to be calm,” I urged him. “Something miraculous is about to happen to you. Here, take this telephone and talk to your wife!”
He nodded his head in mute bewilderment, his eyes bright with tears. He took the receiver, listened a moment to his wife’s voice, then suddenly cried, “This is Bela! This is Bela!” and he began to mumble hysterically. Seeing that the poor fellow was so excited he couldn’t talk coherently, I took the receiver from his shaking hands.
“Stay where you are,” I told Marya, who also sounded hysterical. “I am sending your husband to you. We will be there in a few minutes.”
Bela was crying like a baby and saying over and over again. “It is my wife. I go to my wife!”
At first I thought I had better accompany Paskin, lest the man should faint from excitement, but I decided that this was a moment in which no strangers should intrude. Putting Paskin into a taxicab, I directed the driver to take him to Marya’s address, paid the fare, and said goodbye.
Bela Paskin’s reunion with his wife was a moment so poignant, so electric with suddenly released emotion, that afterward neither he nor Marya could recall much about it.
“I remember only that when I left the phone, I walked to the mirror like in a dream to see if maybe my hair had turned gray,” she said later. “The next thing I know, a taxi stops in front of the house, and it is my husband who comes toward me. Details I cannot remember; only this I know—that I was happy for the first time in many years.....
“Even now it is difficult to believe that it happened. We have both suffered so much; I have almost lost the capability to not be afraid. Each time my husband goes from the house, I say to myself, “Will anything happen to take him from me again?”
Her husband is confident that no horrible misfortune will ever again befall the. “Providence has brought us together,” he says simply. “It was meant to be.”
Skeptical persons will no doubt attribute the events of that memorable afternoon to mere chance. But was it chance that made Marcel Sternberger suddenly decide to visit his sick friend and hence take a subway line that he had never ridden before? Was it chance that caused the man sitting by the door of the car to rush out just as Sternberger came in? Was it chance that caused Bela Paskin to be sitting beside Sternberger, reading a Hungarian newspaper'
Was it chance—or did God ride the Brooklyn subway that afternoon'
Paul Deutschman, Great Stories Remembered, edited and compiled by Joe L. Wheeler, Focus on the Family Publishers, December 1996. It Happened on the Brooklyn Subway - Was it chance—or did God ride the Brooklyn subway that afternoon?
HOW ICEBERGS ILLUSTRATE GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY - In the frigid waters around Greenland are countless icebergs, some little and some gigantic. If you’d observe them carefully, you’d notice that sometimes the small ice floes move in one direction while their massive counterparts flow in another. The explanation is simple. Surface winds drive the little ones, whereas the huge masses of ice are carried along by deep ocean currents. When we face trials and tragedies, it’s helpful to see our lives as being subject to two forces—surface winds and ocean currents. The winds represent everything changeable, unpredictable, and distressing. But operating simultaneously with these gusts and gales is another force that’s even more powerful. It is the sure movement of God’s wise and sovereign purposes, the deep flow of His unchanging love.
Job 42:1-3 Ps 115:1-3 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. - Daniel 4:35
TODAY IN THE WORD
In his book, The God Who Hears,Bingham Hunter writes, “At its root, prayer grows from the certainty of God’s omnipotence and sovereignty.” If we didn’t believe that the Lord was in charge, we probably wouldn’t waste our time praying.
Yet many Christians struggle with God’s sovereignty and the question, “Why don’t I get what I pray for?” Sometimes unanswered prayer is the result of wrong motives, but some unanswered prayer simply defies our comprehension. For this reason, it’s important to consider God’s sovereignty along with His goodness.
TODAY ALONG THE WAY
“Prayer problems are usually not intellectual, but volitional,” writes Bingham Hunter. Not surprisingly then, one of the ways prayer changes us is to align our will increasingly with the Father’s will, which eventually brings us to a deeper level of submission to Him.
Take time today to ponder and reflect on God’s sovereignty and prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any misunderstandings you may have. Then pray along with the following prayer:
Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me. I leave myself with you. Work in me all the good pleasure of your will, and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you. Amen.
Genesis 50:19-20 GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY
Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive" Genesis 50:19-20
Writing of humanity's limited view of God's sovereignty, John Newton jested: "If you think you see the ark of the Lord falling, you can be sure it is due to a swimming in your head."
In contrast to our finite focus, God sees and knows the when, why, and how of life. And sovereignty means that God controls it all. He certainly did for Joseph. Thrown into a deep, dark pit and then sold to traders by his jealous brothers, Joseph may have questioned God's sovereign plan. But God saw Joseph even in the shadows. And when the camel caravan arrived in Egypt, God was there to meet him.
On the cross, Jesus cried out, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Yet three days after Joseph of Arimathea sealed Jesus in a pitch black tomb, God was there to meet Him. The glorious ending of the Joseph story shed a small shaft of light on God's sovereignty, but a brighter and wider beam filled the darkness when an angel said of the seemingly forsaken Christ, "He is not here; for He is risen."
If Jesus struggled with God's plan and then entrusted Himself to the sovereign Ruler of the universe, we can confidently follow Him out of the tomb into the sunshine.
Vance Havner - SOVEREIGNTY
Vance Havner - THE UNEQUAL YOKE
The Christian and the Church must not accept the help of the world in the work of God. This world has neither part nor lot in the matter. When we accept subsidy, we surrender sovereignty. The man who pays the fiddler calls the tune. The assistance of the world has its price. There are strings to it and out of these strings a noose is formed. It is the strategy of the devil to join churches these days, not fight them, and gradually to control them. It is the policy of false teachers. Even the state by subsidizing religious education achieves the same ends.
he great golden eagle is considered a symbol of power and courage because of the high altitudes to which it soars. The eagle's supremacy is further enhanced when it builds its nest in high, remote rocks and cliffs. Its young are ably protected under the wings of this powerful bird. Even so, God is a Most High God, majestic and sovereign in the heavens but simultaneously sheltering His own.
When Abram returned from rescuing Lot from the destruction of Sod-om and Gomorrah, he was met by Melchizedek, king of Salem, who blessed the God of Abram as El Elyon-God Most High. Elyon, meaning "Most High," conveys the idea is that God is exalted. It stresses His supremacy and overwhelming majesty. He is omnipotent-the Most High speaks but a word, and hailstones and coals of fire put enemies to flight (Psalm 18:13). For that reason the Most High is protection for His people (9:2). As the young eagles seek refuge under the mighty pinions of their mother, so the child of God finds protection in the shelter of the Most High (91:1). Even the king, supreme though he is on earth, finds his own security and steadfastness in the faithfulness of the Most High God (21:7). Indeed, El Elyon is the supreme, exalted God (78:35). But the wicked are ignorant of Him, thinking they can escape when they arrogantly mock Him. El Elyon is also supreme in knowledge. Even the pagan Balaam told of His supreme knowledge (Numbers 24:16).
In a time of trouble there is tranquillity in the presence of the Most High (Psalm 46:4). Though the earth changes, the nations are in an uproar, and the world crashes around him, he is at peace who dwells in the presence of the Most High (w. 1-6). What does that mean to you? It means that your circumstances need not dictate your comfort level. You can enjoy tranquillity despite the turmoil in your world. You may find refuge under the wings of the Most High God, high above the storm.
LESSON: As El Elyon God is exalted, majestic, and supreme, ruling heaven and earth and protecting those who seek refuge in Him. (Paul Enns - Approaching god- Reflections for Growing Christians)
Allen Ross - Proverbs 16:4 “Divine Retribution”
This proverb is teaching that God in His sovereignty ensures that everything in life receives its appropriate reward or retribution.
On the surface the verse strikes an immediate impression for God’s sovereignty: all God’s acts are part of His plan. Accordingly, Kidner in his commentary on Proverbs says there are no loose ends in God’s world (p. 118). Since the wicked are punished in the end, this proverb seems to indicate that that is God’s plan for them. Whybray even suggests that this proverb may have grown up in answer to the question, “Why did God create the wicked?” (Book of Proverbs, pp. 93, 94).
Let’s analyze the verse a little more. The line of poetry is arranged with what is called synthetic parallelism, that is, the second line adds another idea to the equation. The verse affirms the truth, and then expands it with the specific application about the wicked.
The verb “works out,” pa‘al (pah-ghal), basically means “to do,” but also has the meaning of “work out, bring about, accomplish.” It is naturally used of God’s sovereign control of life (see Num. 23:23; Isa. 62:12; et al.).
But the interpretive difficulty concerns the expression translated here by the NIV as “for his own ends.” The text could also be translated “for its answer.” The Hebrew word is the compound lamma‘anehu (lam-ma-ah-nay-hoo). The lam on the front is the preposition “for” or “according to,” and the article “the.” The nehu on the end is the 3rd person suffix “his” or preferably “its.” So the word we are concerned with isma‘aneh, “answer” or “response” (from the verb ‘anah, “to answer”). The literal translation would be “for the answer of it,” or, “for its answer” (or response).
To get the translation “for his purpose” or others close to that, the text has to be written with different vowels so that the word would belema‘an (“purpose”--for his [or its] purpose). But that is an unwarranted change and introduces a rather harsh theology.
The Hebrew Bible as it stands makes good sense. The suffix on the form in question would refer to “everything” and not “The LORD,” and so should be translated “its.” “The LORD works out everything according to its answer” or “its corresponding result.” The point then is that God ensures that every action and its consequences work out together, or correspond—and specifically the wicked for the day of calamity. In God’s sovereign administration of life there is a just balance, a proper recompense, for every act includes its consequence — there is an “answer” to every “action.” God in His sovereignty has built this order into all of life.
The proverb singles out the case of the deeds of the wicked. The “wicked,” or “ungodly” are those who are not members of the covenant, who are not believers in the LORD, who are not forgiven and therefore retain the guilt of their sin. The wicked will find that the result of their life in rebellion against God will surface in “the day of disaster.” Only trouble and calamity can come from a course of action that is lived out independently and in defiance of God.
The proverb teaches us to be careful in everything we do, for what we sow we shall reap, everything we do has a corresponding answer or consequence. The desire of Proverbs is to ensure that what we do is pleasing to the LORD so that the consequences will honor God and enrich the community
Quotes Related to God’s Sovereignty
Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. Psalm 115:3
Either God is totally sovereign, ordaining, ruling, and disposing of all things as he will, or he has no control over anything and faith in him is an utter absurdity. Author unknown
To say that God is sovereign is to say that His power is superior to every other form or expression of power; it is to say that God is completely free of external influences so that He does what He chooses, as He chooses, when He chooses. James Bordwine
Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God. God’s sovereignty has ever appeared to me, a great part of his glory. It has often been my delight to approach God, and adore him as a sovereign God. Jonathan Edwards
Being born again (regenerated), not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Pet. 1:23). The new birth is “by the Word of God.” That it is a sovereign act of God, by His Spirit, none can question. But this verse forbids us to separate, as has sometimes been done, new birth from faith in the gospel. Samuel Ridout
Of all the doctrines of the Bible, none is so offensive to human nature as the doctrine of God’s sovereignty J.C. Ryle
Oh! for a spirit that bows always before the sovereignty of God! C.H. Spurgeon
Here is divine sovereignty—“I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.” C.H. Spurgeon
God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. Anon.
Man drives, but it is God who holds the reins. Anon.
God is so powerful that he can direct any evil to a good end.
Man proposes, God disposes.
The devil’s way of extinguishing goodness is God’s way of advancing it.
God is the first cause, he is the final cause, but he uses other causes to accomplish his cause.
If anything in this world is the result of chance then God is not sovereign over all.
We do not arrive at a proper understanding of God by reasoning from specific events to the nature of God; on the contrary we understand specific events by reasoning from the nature of God to those events.
God has no ‘no-go’ areas.
God is never taken by surprise.
God’s cause is never in any danger.
Nothing that happens to the Christian is accidental or incidental.
To speak of the sovereignty of God is nothing less than to speak of his Godhood.
God’s sovereignty does not negate our responsibility to pray, but rather makes it possible for us to pray with confidence.
God has in himself all power to defend you, all wisdom to direct you, all mercy to pardon you, all grace to enrich you, all righteousness to clothe you, all goodness to supply you, and all happiness to crown you.
The conclave of hell can do nothing without a commission from heaven.
The sovereignty of God is that golden sceptre in his hand by which he will make all bow, either by his word or by his works, by his mercies or by his judgements.
God does not deliberate or consult, but has once for all decreed before the creation of the world what he will do.
Nothing that is attempted in opposition to God can ever be successful.
Satan … can do nothing without the command of God, to whose dominion he is subject.
God has sovereign right to dispose of us as he pleases. We ought to acquiesce in all that God does with us and to us.
God is absolutely sovereign, but his sovereignty never functions in such a way that human responsibility is curtailed, minimized or mitigated.
When the Bible speaks of God’s permission of evil, there is still no escape from his sovereignty.
God is the world’s Sovereign, but a good man’s Father. He rules heaven and earth, but he loves his holy ones. Other things are the objects of his providence, and a good man is the end of it.
To be God and sovereign are inseparable.
There can be but one Infinite.
The Lord is King! Who then shall dare
Events of all sorts creep and fly exactly as God pleases.
Men, like stars, appear on the horizon at the command of God.
God’s ways are behind the scenes, but he moves all the scenes which he is behind.
Without a doubt, what helps us most in accepting and dealing with suffering is an adequate view of God—learning who he is and knowing he is in control.
God casts the die, not the dice.
Appearances can be deceptive. The fact that we cannot see what God is doing does not mean that he is doing nothing.
God has the sovereign right to do what he wishes, and no other explanation is necessary.
God never foreordains an evil event without a good purpose.
There is no question of God’s trying to do anything and failing.
That my times are in God’s hand is a fact whether I realize and experience it or not.
The title deed to this world does not belong to dictators, to Communism, nor to the devil, but to God.
Things do not happen in this world—they are brought about.
Whatever point of compass the wind is in, it is fulfilling God’s word, and turns about by his counsel.
Whatever you do, begin with God.
To admit universal providence and deny special is nonsense. You might as well talk of a chain without any links.
If our view of God is different from or smaller than the Bible’s, we shall be astray in all our thinking and living.
God does all that he does because he is who he is.
God is a totalitarian Ruler who demands full allegiance from his subjects.
If God were less than sovereign, man would be less than responsible. Since God is absolutely sovereign, man is wholly responsible to him.
The sovereignty of God may be defined as his absolute right to govern and dispose of all his creatures according to his good pleasure.
God is in the facts of history as surely as he is in the march of the seasons.
There is no question of a compromise between the claims of God and the claims of culture, or politics, or anything else.
Where a God who is totally purposive and totally foreseeing acts upon a nature which is totally interlocked, there can be no accidents or loose ends, nothing whatever of which we can safely use the word ‘merely’. Nothing is ‘merely a by-product’ of anything else.
God does not stop to consult us.
Let God be God!
The devil is God’s devil.
All nature, including the nature of man, is a wondrous instrument of many strings, delicately tuned to work God’s will and upon which he plays with a master hand.
Even the wicked actions of men serve God’s purposes and it is by his works of providence that he permits those wicked actions to be done.
Wicked men may not think they are serving God’s purposes; but they are serving his purposes all the same, even by the most wicked of their acts.
The sovereignty of God never excuses us from responsibility.
God is not just the Lord of creation, the one who starts everything going in accordance with a grand plan. He is also the Lord of history. History is ‘his story’, and in some unfathomable combination of divine sovereignty and human will, God is the master chess player moving his chessmen forward and back in anticipation of the final moment when all that opposes him will be checkmated and his reign will be universally recognized.
The fixed point in the universe, the unalterable fact, is the throne of God.
The man who measures things by the circumstances of the hour is filled with fear; the man who sees Jehovah enthroned and governing has no panic.
God is too great to be knocked off course by the malpractice of wicked men.
There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot from that situation create something that is surpassingly good.
God is the great Unanswerable.
To deny the sovereignty of God is to deny God.
Once for all, let us rid our minds of the idea that things are as they are because God cannot help it.
To know that nothing happens in God’s world apart from God’s will may frighten the godless, but it stabilizes the saints.
The Christ who rules us rules all things for us.
The world dwarfs us all, but God dwarfs the world.
The world belongs to God and he wants it back.
God always has the last word.
Alternatives confront us, and between them we are obliged to choose; either God governs, or he is governed; either God rules, or he is ruled; either God has his way, or men have theirs. And is our choice between these alternatives hard to make?
God is a law unto himself, and … he is under no obligation to give an account of his matters to any.
God is working out his eternal purpose, not only in spite of human and satanic opposition, but by means of them.
If then we see the sovereignty of God displayed throughout all creation why should it be thought a strange thing if we behold it operating in the midst of the human family?
Sovereignty characterizes the whole being of God. He is sovereign in all his attributes.
We read the Scriptures in vain if we fail to discover that the actions of men, evil men as well as good, are governed by the Lord God.
Where the sovereignty of God is denied there will be no holy awe of him.
God acts as he does because he is what he is.
God is choice in keeping the keys of time at his own girdle.
Man does what he can, and God what he will.
In the saving of individuals, as well as in the calling of nations, God acts as a sovereign, and gives no account of his matters.
Of all the doctrines of the Bible none is so offensive to human nature as the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.
The hands of the wicked cannot stir one moment before God allows them to begin, and cannot stir one moment after God commands them to stop.
The wickedest enemies of God are only axes and saws and hammers in his hands, and are ignorantly his instruments for doing his work in the world.
God can never be outmanoeuvred, taken by surprise, or caught at a disadvantage. He is a God who knows no crisis. Before an emergency arises, God in his providence has made adequately and perfectly timed provision to meet it.
The evil desires of men’s hearts cannot thwart God’s sovereignty. Indeed they are subject to it.
The kingdom of God is not a democracy. When the Lord speaks … he utters his law unilaterally. He does not rule by referendum.
If God lights the candle, none can blow it out.
If the Lord will not suffer it, neither men nor devils can do it.
No doctrine in the whole Word of God has more excited the hatred of mankind than the truth of the absolute sovereignty of God.
Opposition to divine sovereignty is essentially atheism.
The devices of the wicked are overruled for their defeat.
There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of divine sovereignty.
Whether you shall live to reach home today or not, depends absolutely upon God’s will.
We must believe in the grace of sovereignty as well as the sovereignty of grace.
God does not do many things that he can, but he does all things that he will.
God in his wisdom is making evil men as well as good men; adverse things as well as favourable things work for the bringing forth of his glory in the day when all shall be fulfilled in him.
God’s plan will continue on God’s schedule.
The whole history of the world is discovered to be but a contest between the wisdom of God and the cunning of Satan and fallen men. The outcome of the contest is not in doubt.
Whatever God did and was able to do and willing to do at any time, God is able and willing to do again, within the framework of his will.
Monarchs have their times and their turns, their rises and their ruin.
God can make a straight stroke with a crooked stick.
God would never permit any evil if he could not bring good out of evil.
There’s not a plant or flower below
Absolutely nothing lies outside the scope of God’s sovereignty.
Satan’s malice is always frustrated by God and made to minister a blessing to his people. The ‘all things’ of Romans 8:28 admits of no exceptions.
The work of Satan is overruled so that it assists in bringing to pass the divine purpose, though Satan on his part uses his utmost powers to thwart that purpose.
God’s sovereignty is not arbitrariness, as some misunderstand it, for God has his reasons, based on his infinite wisdom, which he does not always choose to reveal to us.
Job 2:7-10 Lost At Sea
In the fall of 1982, Deborah Kiley set out with three other young people to deliver the 58-foot yacht Trashman from Maine to Florida. Off the coast of North Carolina, they encountered gale winds and mountainous seas that sank their boat. Enduring 4 grueling days at sea without food or fresh water, the crew clung to life in a rubber dinghy in shark-infested waters.
In her book Albatross, Deborah recalls how one of the crew shouted curses at God for their dilemma. Despite her fatigue, Deborah silently recited The Lord’s Prayer and asked God to teach her through this crisis. Later, the same young man drank seawater, became delirious, jumped overboard, and was eaten by sharks. Eventually, the survivors were rescued by a Russian freighter.
Each of us responds in different ways to a crisis. Centuries ago, Job was hit by one wave of bad news after another. At one point his wife told him to curse God and die. Job’s response was profound:
“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)
The next time a crisis hits, recognize God’s sovereignty and do as Deborah Kiley did-ask God to teach you something through it. - Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
O Lord, I would not ask You why
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
HABAKKUK 1:5 Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded!
As the year 1999 came to a close, great leaders of the century were remembered, including Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt. During World War II, they led Great Britain and the United States to defeat Nazism and Fascism.
Did you know that both men nearly lost their lives before the war began? In December 1931, Churchill was struck by a car as he crossed Fifth Avenue in New York City In Miami in December 1933, an assassin's bullet barely missed Roosevelt and killed the man standing beside him.
Both leaders could have died, but they survived. Why? I believe God wanted these two men alive to lead their respective nations to victory over the enemy.
When Habakkuk complained that it didn't seem right for God to use wicked Babylon to discipline Israel, the Lord assured the prophet that this did not mean evil would triumph .We, too, can be sure that our times are in God's hands. No matter what may happen in this world, God still rules! —D. C. E. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY OVERRULES ANY CALAMITY.
Allen Ross - Proverbs 16:9 “Sovereignty of God”
The LORD sovereignly determines the outworking of our plans. The Bible in general teaches that only those plans that are approved by God will succeed. This verse uses antithetical parallelism. The human heart “plans” (< khashav) its course or way, but the LORD fulfills or determines or establishes (yakin from kun) the steps, the way it works out. The verb “determines” could also be translated “directs” (see Ps. 119:133; Jer. 10:23).
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ROMANS 12:21
Bruce Goodrich was being initiated into the cadet corps at Texas A&M University. One night, Bruce was forced to run until he dropped— but he never got up. Bruce Goodrich died before he even entered college. A short time after the tragedy, Bruce's father wrote this letter to the administration, faculty, student body, and the corps of cadets: "I would like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of my family for the great outpouring of concern and sympathy from Texas A&M University and the college community over the loss of our son Bruce. We were deeply touched by the tribute paid to him in the battalion. We were particularly pleased to note that his Christian witness did not go unnoticed during his brief time on campus." Mr. Goodrich went on: °I hope it will be some comfort to know that we harbor no ill will in the matter. We know our God makes no mistakes. Bruce had an appointment with his Lord and is now secure in his celestial home."
Trusting in the sovereignty of God can turn outrage into under-standing and hatred into compassion. —H. W R. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
No TRAGEDY IS BEYOND GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY
Genesis 50:15-21 "ON PURPOSE"
When a cowboy applied for an insurance policy, the agent asked, "Have you ever had any accidents?" After a moment's reflection, the applicant responded, "Nope, but a bronc did kick in two of my ribs last summer, and a couple of years ago a rattlesnake bit me on the ankle."
"Wouldn't you call those accidents?" replied the puzzled agent. "Naw," the cowboy said, "they did it on purpose!"
That story reminds me of the biblical truth that there are no accidents in the lives of God's children. In today's Scripture, we read how Joseph interpreted a difficult experience that had seemed like a great calamity. He had been thrown into a pit and then sold as a slave. This was a great test of his faith, and from the human standpoint it appeared to be a tragic case of injustice, not a providential means of blessing. But Joseph later learned that "God meant it for good" (Gen. 50:20).
Are you passing through the deep waters of trial and disappointment? Does everything seem to be going against you? These apparent misfortunes are not accidents. The Lord allows such things for a blessed purpose. So, patiently trust Him. If you know the Lord, someday you will praise Him for it all! - R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
What looks like just an accident
God transforms trials into triumphs.
Genesis 50:20 SETBACKS
I am thankful and reassured that God is so wise and so powerful that nothing, absolutely nothing, can cause His purposes to fail. In fact, He is able to take even those things meant for evil and make them work for good.
Joseph's brothers hated him so much that they plotted his murder. Instead, they sold him as a slave to some Ishmaelite traders. In Egypt he gained the favor of Pharaoh, who gave him a position of responsibility second only to that of the king. During a famine, his brothers came to him for food, not realizing who he was. When Joseph finally identified himself, he spoke this assuring word to them: "Do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life" (Gen. 45:5). Later he said to his brothers, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about, as it is this day, to save many people alive" (Gen. 50:20).
To me, that's both exciting and encouraging. I am reassured to realize that no matter what someone might do to harm me, the Lord is able to turn it into my benefit and His glory.
When we are discouraged because of distressing circumstances, we can rejoice in God's wisdom, power, and sovereignty. Romans 8:28 is still true. God is working all things for our good. —R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Setbacks pave the way for comebacks.
GENESIS 50:20 READ: Genesis 45:1-8
Warren Wiersbe tells the story of a little boy who was leading his younger sister up a steep mountain path. Many rocks made the climbing very difficult. Finally, the little girl, exasperated by the hard climb, said to her brother, "This isn't a path at all. It's all rocky and bumpy." "Sure," her brother replied, "but the bumps are what you climb on."
If anyone ever faced obstacles, Joseph did. His brothers hated him. He was sold into slavery. He was falsely accused and thrown into an Egyptian prison. Yet he continued to trust God and walk by faith. Rather than stumbling over these hardships, he used them as stepping-stones in his service for the Lord.
When obstacles get in the way and we feel like turning back, we can turn instead to the Lord, who gives us the strength to keep going, the grace to stay focused on the goal, and the assurance that we're headed in the right direction. When we stop looking down at the difficulties in our way and start looking up to see a higher purpose, we will begin making faster progress. God did not promise to remove the rocks from the path of life, but He will show us how to use the bumps to climb on. —DCE (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, somehow I got the idea in my head that I am just supposed to sit around and wait for You to get the paving done on the highway to heaven. Then, when You've made the way smooth, I'll head for home. But that's not how it works, is it? Today I will stop complaining about the bumps in the road and instead work to smooth the way for those coming along behind.
Forty years after Charles Sheldon "lost" his book, he said, "I am very thankful that owing to the defective copyright, the book has had a larger reading on account of the great number of publishers."
Joseph too experienced losses. He was sold into slavery by his brothers (Gen. 37:20-27). Then he lost his position in Potiphar's household because of a false accusation (Gen. 39:1-20). And yet he did not blame anyone. Instead he recognized that God had orchestrated the events of his life for the eventual good of others. —D. C. M. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
WHAT APPEARS TO BE HUMAN TRAGEDY IS OFTEN THE SEED OF DIVINE TRIUMPH.
GOD'S SOVEREIGN CLOUDS - Newscaster Paul Harvey told a remarkable story of God’s providential care over thousands of allied prisoners during World War II, many of whom were Christians. One of America’s mighty bombers took off from the island of Guam headed for Kokura, Japan, with a deadly cargo. Because clouds covered the target area, the sleek B-29 circled for nearly an hour until its fuel supply reached the danger point. The captain and his crew, frustrated because they were right over the primary target yet not able to fulfill their mission, finally decided they had better go for the secondary target. Changing course, they found that the sky was clear. The command was given, “Bombs away!” and the B-29 headed for its home base. Some time later an officer received some startling information from military intelligence. Just one week before that bombing mission, the Japanese had transferred one of their largest concentrations of captured Americans to the city of Kokura. Upon reading this, the officer exclaimed, “Thank God for that protecting cloud! If the city hadn’t been hidden from the bomber, it would have been destroyed and thousands of American boys would have died.”
God’s ways are behind the scenes;
When God wants to drill a man,
How He ruthlessly perfects
How He bends but never breaks
He sat by the fire of seven-fold heat,
He knew He had ore that could stand the test
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
And the gold grew brighter, and yet more bright
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
He Maketh No Mistake
My cherished plans may go astray,
Though night be dark and it may seem
There's so much now I cannot see,
For by and by the mist will lift
SOVEREIGNTY - Term used to describe the fact that God is the supreme ruler of everything. God created the world and all that is in it. He sustains the entire created order in existence. He guides the affairs of human beings and nations. He providentially interacts with all that takes place. He works for the good of the world and finally will bring all things to a satisfactory conclusion. Because he is God, he has the absolute right to work his will. Sometimes sovereignty is misunderstood to mean that God forces his will on people and that we are not free to choose. That is false. God’s sovereignty includes the free choices of human beings. What makes God’s sovereignty effective is that his will it ultimately done—sometimes along with, sometimes in spite of our free choices. (The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook)
1 Kings 1:15-31 1:15-31 Power Struggle
The Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. Daniel 5:21
The president of a company in Michigan had suffered a minor stroke, and he was not spending much time at the office. He didn't know that one of his sons, with the help of two vice presidents, was scheming to take over the firm. He learned of their plot just in time, though, and was able to retain control.
In some parts of the world, power struggles result in assassinations, bloody coups, or civil wars. We see power struggles in politics all the time. They also occur in neighborhoods, families, and even in churches.
Adonijah made a power move to grab the throne of Israel (1 Kings 1:5-10). But God had other plans. Bathsheba (David's wife) and Nathan the prophet were able to stop the takeover (1 Kings 1:11-31), and God's appointed leader, Solomon, soon became king (1 Kings 1:38-40; 2:12).
We need to remember that God rules over the kingdoms of earth (Dan. 5:21). He raises up leaders and brings them down, whether in politics or in the church. Sometimes it's necessary to replace an ineffective leader, but we must pursue that option only after careful thought and earnest prayer for God's direction. We should never become part of a move that serves the ambition of some power-hungry person instead of honoring the Lord who rules over all. –D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The Most High still rules over kingdoms of men,
The most powerful position on earth is kneeling before the Lord of the universe.
Devotional by Allen Ross - Genesis 14:18-24 “God Most High”
The name of God that he used in the blessing is actually a title and an epithet: the Most High God. The Hebrew is simply ’el ‘elyon. The modifier “most high” is from the verb ‘alah, “to go up,” but with the -yon ending it is the abstract modifier, “exalted, most high.” It is a way of saying that this is the supreme God.
Now that description could be used by any people of their god, even the ancient Canaanites who had a pantheon with a chief god named “El.” But what makes this description different is the clause that follows it: “Creator of heaven and earth.” In the older translations this participle qoneh was translated “possessor.” But we now know that there were two verbal roots qanah, one meaning to “acquire, possess,” and the other meaning “create, make” (Gen. 4:1; Deut. 32:6). The contexts in each case will determine which root is preferred (the homonyms, of course, are spelled the same). In this passage the idea of “create” makes far more sense than “acquire, possess.” The Most High God is the one who is the Creator or all things.
And this is what told Abram that he had found a spiritual brother. The Canaanites did not believe in a Spirit who created matter. Across the ancient world spirit and matter were fused. But here was a man who believed in a High God who actually created the physical (and spiritual) universe--heaven and earth. And this is what Abram believed.
Then, when Abram swore the oath (v. 22) he used the same description of God, but added the personal name “Yahweh” to his oath, so that there would be no question of who this High God was. Was Abram at this point informing Melchizedek by adding to the knowledge that he already had?
At any rate, Abram not only saw this ancient priest-king as a spiritual brother, but as his spiritual superior, for he paid him tithes.
Isn’t it interesting that even today the doctrine of creation is such a determining factor in one’s faith. A person who believes in God or a higher power, but denies He is the creator, does not really have a “God Most High.” He may be higher than most other things, but not most high. Those who believe in a sovereign God who created everything by His powerful word acknowledge God Most High. The issue is, of course, that if we have such a sovereign God, then His word is to be obeyed. Without such a God, the word of God is not authoritative, and we have no real basis for ethics or morality. So this is no small issue. It is not just a small debate of the origin of things, but an issue at the heart of religion. We who believe in this God Most High are persuaded that His word is not only authoritative but powerful.
Robert Girdlestone - The Most High
The Hebrew title rendered ‘Most High’ is ʾElion (עליון), for which the LXX usually has the reading ὁ ὓψιστος, the Highest. The word ʾElion, however, is not confined to this sacred use. It is found in Gen. 40:17; 1 Kings 9:8; 2 Chron. 7:21; 2 Kings 18:17; 2 Chron. 23:20, 32:30; Neh. 3:25; Jer. 20:2, and 36:10. This title is first applied to God in the account of Melehizedek (Gen. 14:18–22); it is used by Balaam, who ‘knew the knowledge of the Most High’ (Num. 24:16); and Moses adopts it when he speaks of the Most High dividing the earth among the nations (Deut. 32:8; compare Acts 17:26). It occurs also several times in the Psalms, e.g. Ps. 18:13, ‘The Highest gave his voice;’ Ps. 78:35, ‘They remembered that God was their Rock, and the High God their Redeemer.’ In Ps. 89:27, this title is applied to the Messiah:—‘I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth.’ When we read of the Most High God in Micah 6:6, the Hebrew Marom (מרום), exalted, is used; compare Ps. 99:2, 113:4, 138:6; and Isa. 57:15, where a simpler form of the same word is rendered High, and applied to God.
In Knowledge Of The Holy, A. W. Tozer attempts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory beliefs of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will:
“An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty.
“On board the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port.
“Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, and they do not contradict. So it is, I believe, with man’s freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history.”
Elmer Towns - MOST HIGH GOD EL ELYON
Possessor of Heaven and Earth
A wife may call her husband “Honey,” usually reflecting their intimate relationship. An enemy, however, would use an entirely different name. What names would the enemies of God use when addressing Him?
When Satan and his demons, God's prime enemies, address Him, they usually use the term El Elyon, which means Most High God. They do not use this name to curse God or to impugn His character. Rather, they call Him Most High God because that title reflects the attributes of God they lust after.
THE SUPERLATIVE GOD
The superlative word e1yon is used in the book of Ezekiel to speak of the highest pool, the highest gate, the highest porch and the highest house. The heavens are higher than the earth (comparative) but God is highest (superlative). The term reveals that God is the highest, and that everyone else is below Him. Because God is Elyon, He has the power to rule and the right to receive worship from all below Him.
When the title El Elyon first appears in Scripture, (see heading “Melchizedek Served El Elyon”), the King James Version identifies it with Him who is “possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:19). One church father translated this phrase “founder of heaven and earth,” and the New International Version speaks of the “creator” of heaven and earth. El Elyon is a name for God that is often associated with His creation, revealing that He is both sovereign and owner of the heaven and the earth.
The word translated “possessor” in Genesis 14:19 is a derivative of a verb from which the King James Version on other occasions has rendered “possess” and “contain.” Another form means “whole.” Therefore to possess heaven and earth is to have a rightful claim to the ownership of all there is. When Abraham tells the king of Sodom, “I have lifted up mine hand unto ... the most high God [El Elyon], the possessor of heaven and earth” (14:22), he is telling this Gentile leader that God is his leader and he is God's servant. Abraham is declaring that the king had received everything from God and will give everything back to God.
In the New Testament, Stephen's sermon to the unbelieving Jews proclaimed that God was not limited to their Jewish Temple: “The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48). Stephen's point was that God did not always limit Himself to a man-made temple, so the new, emerging Church would not be limited to the Old Testament Temple. If Stephen had used the name Jehovah, he would have linked God to the Temple; but the name El Elyon identified the Church with the world, which was the target of the Great Commission.
The name El Elyon is also often identified with the Gentiles (i.e., the earth) rather than the Jews (i.e., the Promised Land). This usage appears in the book of Deuteronomy: “the most High divided to the nations [i.e., Gentiles] their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam” (32:8).
SATAN KNOWS OF EL ELYON'S POWER
Satan knows and lusts after power. He knows there are powers on the earth, that the powers of angels in heaven are higher (comparative) and that the power of God is highest (superlative). Satan and his demons are great in power, too (see Eph. 6:12), but God's power is the greatest of all. He is El Elyon. Whereas evil men on this earth are blinded to the existence and power of God, evil angels and Satan know God as the Most High God. Thus, El Elyon is the “God of gods” (Ps. 136:2), the “King of kings” and the “Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16).
Before the fall of Adam and Eve, Lucifer (Satan or the devil) referred to God as the “most High” (Isa. 14:14). Lucifer, the first created angel, was in rebellion against God. He was not just trying to destroy God, but to take God's place. In Isaiah 14:12-14, Satan, who is prefigured in the king of Babylon (see v. 4), exercises his self-will in assaulting the authority of God and attempting to take His place. Satan said:
In the New Testament, the name Most High God is used by fallen angels (demons) when addressing Jesus Christ.
When a demon recognizes the presence o f Jesus Christ, he cannot help but confess His deity. What a shame that. .. many Christians are tongue-tied ... When it comes to confessing Jesus Christ!
Legion, the fallen angel who had possessed the man of Gadara said, “Jesus, thou Son of the most high God” (Mark 5:7). The demon recognized what the New Testament teaches, “All things were made by him [Jesus]; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). And again, “All things were created by him, .and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:16, 17).
Demons recognized Paul as a preacher of Jesus Christ. A demon-possessed servant girl followed Paul and his company throughout Philippi crying out, “These men are the servants of the Most High God” (Acts 16:17, NKM. When a demon recognizes the presence of Jesus Christ, he cannot help but confess His deity. What a shame that, in comparison, many Christians are tongue-tied or mute when it comes to confessing Jesus Christ!
On other occasions, demons recognized Christ as, “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24), even though they did not link Him to the Most High. Again in the book of Acts, there was an exorcist service when a person attempted to cast out a demon. The evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (19:15). Again, demons indicated that they knew Christ. This is reinforced by James who said, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (Jas. 2:19).
Why do demons and Satan recognize the Most High God and Jesus? Because they want to be who He is (the Founder or Creator) and they want to possess what is His (the heavens and the earth).
MELCHIZEDEK SERVED EL ELYON
Although Satan was the first to use the name El Elyon, before the Creation of the world (see lesson notes on Isa. 14:12-14), the first reference in the Scriptures as we have them is by Abraham, in Genesis 14:17-24. Abraham, the man of faith, pursued a band or army of raiders to Damascus to rescue his nephew, Lot. Abraham divided his 318 servants and attacked the enemy by night. The Bible describes the victory as “the slaughter of Chedorlaomer” (v. 17). Abraham not only brought back Lot, but the goods and the people that were with him as well. Abraham apparently was a fierce and skillful warrior, but the sovereign God and His intervention gave Abraham the victory.
On his return from the battle, Abraham came near the ancient city of Salem, which later will be called Jerusalem. He met two kings in the “valley of Shaveh,” which was also called “the king's dale” (v. 17)-apparently a place where the king met dignitaries for certain ceremonies. This is probably the brook Kidron, between Gethsemane and the Golden Gate to the Temple.
The two kings approached Abraham in this cool, green valley. They were kings of city-states, meaning each man was like the mayor of a great city, ruling over those within his walled city, plus those in the immediately surrounding area.
The first king was from Sodom, which had been plundered in the raid in which Lot was captured. This was the evil city known for its sodomy, which God would later destroy. When Abraham and Lot divided up the land, Lot had gone to live in Sodom, choosing the well-watered plains that surrounded the city (see 13:8-12). He chose with the outward eye, not the inward
voice of God. He did not recognize that he was vulnerable to: (1) An attack from marauding armies as they plundered the Jordan valley; and (2) the attack of Satan who would attempt to destroy his morality through sodomy.
Now the king of Sodom wanted to strike a bargain with Abraham. The rules of war said that Abraham, the victor, could keep the people and possessions he had captured. But the king of Sodom said, “Give me the persons, and take the goods unto thyself” (14:21). The deal was simple. The king of Sodom, with the worldly man's practical eye to the value of material goods, would make Abraham a rich man with the goods from Sodom.
But the second king, Melchizedek, king of Salem (“King of peace”-see Heb. 7:2) had a different set of values. Melchizedek was not only a king; he was also a priest of El Elyon (see Gen. 14:18,19). It is natural that this priest-king would call God by this name, since it was associated with the Gentiles. The remarkable thing about the story is that Abraham, father of the chosen people, actually paid tithes of the booty he had won to Melchizedek the Gentile (see v. 20).
Some have thought that this is a Christophany—an appearance of Christ-and that Melchizedek was in fact Jesus. The writer of the book of Hebrews does compare Melchizedek to Christ, who is said to be a priest “after the order of Melchizedek” (see Heb. 5:6; Ps. 110:4). But it is likely that the biblical writers were only drawing an analogy between the two figures.
What is more likely is that in this story two great men meet-a weary Abraham returning from a long trip and a hard battle, and a dignified Gentile king who is also a believer in El Elyon. Melchizedek served bread and wine to Abraham in gratitude for protecting his city, Salem, and for any possessions that were returned to him. In exchange, Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe of what he had gained, just as today tithes are given to churches for God's use. Note that Abraham did not worship Melchizedek, but Melchizedek's God, El Elyon. As Abraham himself said, “I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:22).
DANIEL AND THE POWER OF GOD MOST HIGH
In fact, it is interesting that Daniel did not rely heavily on Jewish-related names for God. Besides El Elyon, Daniel's next favorite name for deity was “the God of heaven” (2:19). Why did he use these names? Because he was (1) outside the Promised Land, (2) he realized that the Temple was destroyed, (3) Gentiles controlled Israel and (4) Gentiles controlled Daniel's own circumstances. Therefore Daniel prayed to the One who possessed heaven and earth—the God who is Lord over Babylon as well as Israel, and who is greater than any earthly circumstance.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, three other Jews in Babylon, refused to worship the idol. King Nebuchadnezzar cast them into a fiery brick kiln, called a furnace in the Bible (see vv. 8-23). When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the mouth of the brick kiln to see their fate, he saw four men walking-Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, plus a fourth person who is described thus: “The form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (v. 25).
Nebuchadnezzar shouted into the mouth of the fiery brick kiln, “Ye servants of the most high God [El Elyon] come forth, and come hither” (v. 26). It is remarkable that this Gentile king, who was the most powerful man in the world and who might be expected to identify himself as the possessor of the earth, identified God by that title, using His Gentile name.
But even though Nebuchadnezzar recognized God, he did not worship Him. In fact, in the next chapter, the king walked through his city boasting and taking credit for all the grandeur of ancient Babylon (see 4:29,30). Nebuchadnezzar put himself in the place of God.
Daniel saw in a vision what was coming. He predicted the fall of Nebuchadnezzar from power, as a result of his arrogance, “till thou know that the most High [El Elyon] ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (v. 25). He delivered the bad news to King Nebuchadnezzar in the name of El Elyon: “This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king” (v. 24).
The decree happened just as Daniel said. Nebuchadnezzar's mind was taken from him. He was apparently struck with lycanthropy--commonly called the wolf-man disease. He went out into the fields, behaving like an animal. He ate grass like an ox, and his hair grew to look like a beast's. He lost his mind for seven years, and, in the process, lost his authority over his realm (see vv. 25,26,28,31-33). The possessor of heaven and earth does not share His glory with anyone-even the king of Babylon.
At the end of seven years, Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses, regained his throne and his life returned to normal (see v. 36). After his experience he could finally confess, “I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation” (v. 34; see also v. 37).
Daniel also used the name Most High God (El Elyon) when dealing with the next heathen ruler of Babylon, King Belshazzar (see 5:18). It was King Belshazzar who took the gold vessels which had been captured from Solomon's Temple and used them in a drunken feast (see vv. 1-4). Suddenly a hand came and-wrote upon the wall “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin” (5:5,25).
Upon seeing the hand, Belshazzar cried out, fearing for his life. The queen mother (the wife of Nebuchadnezzar) was called to the palace. She indicated that Daniel could interpret what Belshazzar had seen (see vv. 10-14). When Daniel came to confront Belshazzar, he reminded him, “O thou king, the most high God [El Elyon], gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory and honor” (v. 18).
The Most High God once again showed that it is He alone who possesses the heavens and the earth. That very night Belshazzar was slain, and power was transferred to Darius the Mede (see vv. 30,31).
OTHER GLIMPSES OF EL ELYON
On several occasions David prayed to El Elyon, the Most High God. In Psalm 9:2 David exulted, “I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.” The writer of Psalm 91 gives testimony, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (v. 1).
APPLICATIONS OF EL ELYON
The Satanic Substitute
Satan has a twofold desire: (1) To rebel against everything that is holy and godly; and (2) to substitute himself in the place of God as “possessor of heaven and earth.” This is in accordance with the New Testament picture of the Antichrist, who not only opposes Christ but wants to be a substitute Christ. Satan regrets that he cannot be the founder of heaven and earth; the world is already created. So he wants to be the possessor of all that is, and to have people worship him instead of El Elyon.
When Satan tempted Jesus Christ to fall down and worship him, he offered the kingdoms of this world in exchange (see Matt. 4). As the god of this world (see Eph. 2:2,3; 6:11,12), Satan wants to possess it. And he wanted Jesus to recognize his claim.
The Process Principle
As we have seen, demons recognize El Elyon and are forced to cry out that fact in acknowledgment (see Mark 5:7). Demons want to possess the world, and they want to possess people. But how do demons possess a person as they possessed Legion and the young girl who told fortunes? (see Mark 5:9; Acts 16:16-18). Demon possession comes slowly. Just as God wants to fill a person with the Holy Spirit (see Eph. 5:18), so Satan wants to fill a person. The New International Version of the Bible calls this “demon-possession” (see Matt. 15:22); but the term is actually “demonization” in the original language.
People are demonized in the same way they are filled with the Spirit: in a gradual process. (1) They yield to the influence. (2) The more they yield and seek, the more they become filled or possessed. (3) Both kinds of spirits usually come gradually, according to the level of leaming and commitment. (4) Some are more filled or possessed than others. And (5) both filling and possession are for the purpose of honoring and serving one's master.
The Holy Spirit does not fill a person who is rebellious to God. He comes only with yielding and seeking. In the same way, demons do not invade a person who is not seeking the occult and yielded to satanic powers.
The Jesus Answer
The solution to demon possession is the name Jesus. They already recognize His name and His person. The only power to cast out demons is “in the name of Jesus.” His blood is the power that repels them (Acts 20:28; Rev. 1:5). The solution to gradual demon possession is increasing dependence on the name of Jesus.
The Tithing Principle
The tithe was first given when Abraham gave a tenth of his spoils to a Gentile, Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of El Elyon. The tithe is usually a gift to deity. Inasmuch as God possesses heaven and earth, we must surrender everything we have to the control of God. The tithe is only a token of what we possess. Giving a tithe to God is not buying God or bribing Him. A tithe is an outward symbol of the inward gift of oneself to God.
Many claim that tithing was only for God's people under the Old Covenant. They say it is a principle of the Law and should not be used under grace. But inasmuch as the tithe is suggested and used to “bless the Lord,” why should anyone do less today? However, God who possesses all things, not only wants our tithe; He wants everything that we have. We give Him all of our love, our hearts, our bodies and our possessions. He controls everything. A tithe is given to God to indicate that all the rest belongs to Him.
The Possession Principle
The Most High God possesses heaven and earth. All Creation belongs to Him because He is its Creator. However, the Most High God wants most to possess our hearts. This includes our will, our feelings and our mind. The proper response to this claim on our lives is (1) to yield to Him; (2) to seek His blessing; and (3) to obey His command.
Neither Satan nor man should expect to possess that which is God's by His divine right. The psalmist said, “When I consider thy heavens .... What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Ps. 8:3,4). Looking at Creation should only bring us to acknowledge the greatness of El Elyon, not to create a desire to possess it as our own. The same thing is true of life itself. James asked the question, “What is your life? It is even a vapor, that ...vanisheth away” (Jas. 4:14). Because we are only here for a short time, we realize that we are not our own. The high and holy El Elyon has created us for His own pleasure.
El Elyon and the Name of Jesus
Because God is three-in-one, Jesus Christ is El Elyon. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Possessor of heaven and earth. As glorious as is the name El Elyon, it is the name of Jesus that will be the final name, for “at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10,11).
El Elyon and El Shaddai
The titles El Elyon (Most High God) and El Shaddai (the Almighty) are linked together in Psalm 91:1: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” These two titles are in juxtaposition, revealing two sides of God at the same time. The powerful El Elyon, who is supreme and omnipotent is also the personal God who is the Fountainhead of all grace. El Elyon is able to do what He wishes because He is powerful; El Shaddai gives grace and mercy. El Elyon causes us to fear and tremble before His greatness; El Shaddai invites us to come for comfort under His wings.
Mighty and gracious-El Elyon and-El Shaddai are One God. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think because He is El Elyon. He is able to present us faultless before the divine throne because He is El Shaddai.
ARE YOU IN GOD'S "POUNDER ROOM"? - The Most High God is in control of all the adverse and difficult circumstances of our lives. You may be going through an adverse experience as you read these notes. Let's call it ,for illustration purposes, a "STEINWAY EXPERIENCE" (read on).
If you had to name the most famous piano, the one that produced the most beautiful sound in the world which one would you name? Most people would say "Steinway". The Steinway piano has been preferred by keyboard masters such as Rachmaninoff, Horowitz, Cliburn, and Liszt and for good reason. It is a skillfully crafted instrument that produces a phenomenal sound. Steinway pianos are built today the same way they were 140 years ago when Henry Steinway started his business. 200 craftsmen and12,000 parts are required to produce one of these magnificent instruments. Most crucial is the rim-bending process, where 18 layers of maple are bent around an iron press to create the shape of a Steinway grand. Five coats of lacquer are applied and then hand-rubbed to give the piano its outer glow. The instrument then goes into the "Pounder Room", where each key is pounded 10,000 times to ensure quality and durability. Followers of Jesus Christ, much like the grand Steinway, are being "handcrafted" with all of the steps being watched over and directed by our Most High God, El Elyon , the One Who is in sovereign control of every detail of this process often referred to as "sanctification". We are being pressed and formed and shaped , all that we might "become conformed (molded with an inner and essential and not merely superficial conformity) to the image of His Son" (Ro 8:29). We are being polished, sometimes with the what seems like a great amount of what we could call the "rubbing of affliction", until we "glow." We are then being continually tested in the laboratory of everyday human experience. The process of sanctification is not always pleasant, but we can persevere with hope, knowing that our lives will increasingly reflect the beauty of holiness to the eternal praise of the Most High God. Amen.
Remember that He does not allow trials to provoke us or destroy us
Never forget the grand purpose for which He created you –
RUN & HIDE IN THE SECRET PLACE OF
When we understand that our God is called El Elyon, then we're set on the road to victory.
There's nothing in the heavens nor anyone on the Earth that can match our God.
When we know God as El Elyon, then we live in a secure place.
Satan is no match for the Most High God.
No dictator can stop His Name from being proclaimed.
No government is too powerful for Him.
He is the Most High God. No god made of stone or carved out of wood can compare to El Elyon.
Trust in Him, and you will experience the peace that passes all human understanding .
Isn’t it easier to give thanks when you realize that your Father, El Elyon, God Most High, is in control and that nothing can happen in this universe without His permission?
Even when we are wronged by others or go through difficult times of testing, as Job did, we can still give thanks. God so rules that no person, angel, demon or devil, nor any circumstance of life, can thwart His plan. El Elyon rules supremely over all; and because He does, you can understand how "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Ro 8:28).
Dear saint, the next time you start to murmur and complain, or you are tempted to, run to your El Elyon, trust in His name, and give thanks that He, the Most High, is in control. Understanding this makes it easier to obey those commands that charge us to rejoice in all the circumstance of life.
A prayer you might want to pray:
What comfort does this truth provide?
Who is in control of the universe?
Who is in control of your life?
Could we trust El Elyon to be in control of our life?
What do we have to fear if we come to truly understand and
Fear is to Satan what
Faith does God's work.
Fear does Satan's work.
Gird your minds (with the truth about El Elyon, ready) for action,
1) Note on Dt 32:39 (commentary) - The holy Scriptures confirm the dictates of reason upon this subject; assuring us that God "maketh peace and createth evil"; that "out of the mouth of the Lord proceedeth evil and good"; that the most casual events are under his direction, so that "not a sparrow falleth to", nor lighteth on, "the ground without him; "much less do his rational creatures and children die without his notice and appointment. By whatever disease or casualties they die, it is God who "taketh away their breath, changeth their countenance, and sendeth them into darkness." With awful majesty God claims this as his prerogative; "I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand." (Deuteronomy 32:39.) He removeth our friends who hath a right to do it. They were our friends, but they are his creatures; and may he not do what he will with his own? He gave them life of his free goodness, and he hath a right to demand it when he pleaseth. Dear as they were to us, we must acknowledge they were sinners; and, as such, had forfeited their lives to the justice of God: and shall not he determine when to take them away? They were our friends; but do we not hope and believe that, by repentance, faith in Christ, and sanctifying grace, they were become his friends too; dear to him by many indissoluble ties? Hath he not then a superior claim to them, and a greater interest in them? Is it not fit that he should be served first? May he not call home his friends when he pleaseth? Shall he wait for, or ask, our consent first? He doth it, whom we cannot, dare not, gainsay. "Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, what doest thou?" (Job 9:12.) He doth it, who is infinitely good and wise; and doth everything in the best time and manner. His knowledge is perfect and unerring; his goodness boundless and never failing. Though his judgments are a great deep, and his schemes utterly unsearchable by us; yet we may reasonably believe that he consulteth the happiness of his servants in what is most mysterious and most grievous; and his word giveth us the strongest assurance of it. So that whether we exercise the faith of Christians, or the reason of men, we must acknowledge the hand of God, yea, his wisdom and goodness, in removing our acquaintance into darkness. —Job Orton, 1717-1783.
2) Excerpt from "The Most High Rules" (Richard L. Strauss) - We still need to know Him as the sovereign God, and there is probably no more comforting truth about Him that we will ever learn. To know the sovereign God is to find peace in the problems and pressures of daily living.
God is truly and perfectly sovereign. That means He is the highest and greatest being there is, He controls everything, His will is absolute, and He does whatever He pleases. When we hear that stated, we can understand it reasonably well, and we can usually handle it until God allows something that we do not like. Then our normal reaction is to resist the doctrine of His sovereignty. Rather than finding comfort in it, we find that it gets us upset with God. If He can do whatever He pleases, why does He allow us to suffer? Our problem is a misunderstanding of the doctrine and an inadequate knowledge of God. If we can explore what sovereignty involves, then we can truly get to know our sovereign God.
It should not be any problem for us to admit that God is the highest and greatest being there is. If He is the eternal, self-existent, self-sufficient, unchanging Spirit, all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere, it is obvious that He stands alone, above all. No one can equal Him. If anyone existed before Him or is more powerful than He is or knows more than He knows, if He needs anyone else to complete Him, then that one would be God rather than the One we know as God. But that idea is ridiculous. There is only one true and living God, and in order for Him to be God He must be the highest and greatest. The very name by which he revealed Himself to Nebuchadnezzar shows that He is. He called Himself the Most High God, that is, the exalted One, lifted far above all gods and men.
3) Definition of Sovereignty - Sovereignty is supreme power especially over a body politic. It describes freedom from external control or of other controlling influences. God is the ultimate authority in every sphere and place. It follows that all creation is subject to Him and that all creation is answerable to Him. As an aside, what verb do you see in the word sovereign? "Reign" of course, and this verb captures the essence of this divine attribute.
The 1828 Edition of Webster's defines Sovereign as
Easton's Bible Dictionary says Sovereignty is God's
New Unger's Bible Dictionary says that regarding the Sovereignty of God, that
The Sovereignty of God by A. W. Pink. Here is an excerpt to encourage you to read his entire discussion…
Divine Sovereignty by C H Spurgeon. Here is an excerpt to encourage you to read his entire sermon…
4) God's sovereignty overrules every calamity. Let's take a brief look at His sovereignty over historical events. Did you know that two great leaders, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt, almost died before the World War II began? In December 1931, Churchill was struck by a car as he crossed Fifth Avenue in New York City. In Miami in December 1933, an assassin's bullet barely missed Roosevelt and killed the man standing beside him. Both leaders survived and contributed mightily to the defeat of Hitler. Why did they survive to lead their nations in this time of crisis? Because God was in control back then and He is still in control. God is sovereign over nations causing their leaders to rise and to fall (Da 2:21; 4:32, 33, 34, 35; 5:21). The prophet Habakkuk complained that it didn't seem right for God to use wicked Babylon to discipline Israel, but God assured him that this did not mean evil would triumph. God was in control and would one day bring about perfect justice
Dear brother or sister in Christ, rest assured that your times are also in the omnipotent, omniscient God's hands. No matter what may happen in this world, He is always in control!
This Is My Father’s World—
5) The Evil Does Not Touch Him (1Jn 5:18) - MacArthur comments that the word "touch" suggests…
6) Commentary on Psalm 103:19 - His sovereignty rules over all - This refers to God's refers to God’s universal rule over all creation. No exception clauses in this passage!
The Sovereignty of God by Arthur Pink
John Piper on the Sovereignty of God
For edification and encouragement, take a moment to meditate on the uses of God's Name, Most High in the following passages (interrogate with the 5W/H questions) and consider making a list of the truths you learn about El Elyon and then taking time to pray those truths back to Him in praise, adoration, intercession and petition.
(Note: Click Reference to read the verse in context which is important for accurate Interpretation)
Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.
Gen 14:19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
Gen 14:20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tenth of all.
Gen 14:22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth,
Num 24:16 The oracle of him who hears the words of God, And knows the knowledge of the Most High, Who sees the vision of the Almighty, Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered.
Dt 32:8 "When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, When He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the sons of Israel.
2 Sa 22:14 "The LORD thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice.
Ps 7:17-note I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness, And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
Ps 9:2-note I will be glad and exult in Thee; I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.
Ps 18:13-note The LORD also thundered in the heavens, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire.
Ps 21:7-note For the king trusts in the LORD, And through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Ps 46:4-note There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
Ps 47:2-note For the LORD Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth.
Ps 50:14-note "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High;
Ps 57:2-note I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me.
Ps 73:11-note And they say, "How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?"
Ps 77:10-note Then I said, "It is my grief, That the right hand of the Most High has changed."
Ps 78:17-note Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert.
Ps 78:35-note And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer.
Ps 78:56-note Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God, And did not keep His testimonies,
Ps 82:6-note I said, "You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High.
Ps 83:18-note That they may know that Thou alone, whose name is the LORD, Art the Most High over all the earth.
Ps 87:5-note But of Zion it shall be said, "This one and that one were born in her"; And the Most High Himself will establish her.
Ps 91:1-note He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Ps 91:9-note For you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
Ps 92:1-note (A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day.) It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High;
Ps 97:9-note For Thou art the LORD Most High over all the earth; Thou art exalted far above all gods.
Ps 107:11-note Because they had rebelled against the words of God, And spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Isa 14:14 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'
Lam 3:35 To deprive a man of justice In the presence of the Most High,
Lam 3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth?
Dan 3:26-note Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!" Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire.
Dan 4:2-note "It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me.
Dan 4:17-note "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."
Dan 4:24-note this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king:
Dan 4:25-note that you be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes.
Dan 4:32-note and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes.'
Dan 4:34-note "But at the end of that period 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.
Dan 5:18-note "O king, the Most High God granted sovereignty, grandeur, glory, and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your father.
Dan 5:21-note "He was also driven away from mankind, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his dwelling place was with the wild donkeys. He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind, and that He sets over it whomever He wishes.
Dan 7:25-note 'And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
Mark 5:7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said^, "What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!"
Luke 1:32 "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;
Luke 1:35 And 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 offspring shall be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:76 "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS;
Luke 6:35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
Luke 8:28 And seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, "What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me."
Acts 7:48 "However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:
Acts 16:17 Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, "These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation."
Heb 7:1-note For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,