Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 10: El Elyon

And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 'Give us each day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:2-4 NASB)

El Elyon

As we discussed in a previous post, El is a word meaning "God" and is often paired with an attribute of God as His name. In this name, El means "God" and Elyon means "most high". It indicates that God is the most highly exalted and deserving of all honor and praise. 

El Elyon is introduced by Melchizidek in Genesis 14:19-20 when speaking to Abram after he had rescued Lot in the battle of the valley of Sidim. 

And he blessed him and said, 
Blessed be Abram of God Most High (El Elyon),
Possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed by God Most High (El Elyon),
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.
Genesis 14:19-20 NASB

From Melchizidek, we learn that El Elyon owns all of the heavens and all of the earth. He is able to bring victory and deliverance.

King David also acknowledged God as El Elyon when he fled from Saul and was protected by God.
"I will cry to God Most High (El Elyon),
To God who accomplishes all things for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches him who tramples upon me.
God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth.
Psalm 57:2-3

When the most powerful man in the nation was obsessed with murdering him, David turned to El Elyon and found that His help was all that was needed. God Himself not only "sent from heaven" (a reference to sending angelic assistance) to save David from the assassination attempts, but also reproached Saul. As if that were not enough, God sent forth His lovingkindness and His truth. David did not have to worry about justifying himself. God took care of that for him. David did not have to bad mouth Saul and spread the stories of his insanity. God handled that and made sure the truth was known. David's job was to keep his eyes on his Lord. God handled all the rest.

Psalm 78 speaks of the sin of Israel and how, despite all the miracles God performed on their behalf, they turned away from Him. It was only after extreme discipline that they returned to Him. In the time that they returned to God, the psalmist says, "they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God (El Elyon) their Redeemer."  Psalm 78:35 NASB. Even after they remembered their God, they turned away again. In the midst of their rebellion/our rebellion, two of the most breathtakingly beautiful verses of Scripture are given.

But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them;
And often He restrained His anger,
And did not arouse all His wrath.
Thus He remembered that they were but flesh. 
A wind that passes and does not return.
                                 Psalm 78:38-39

Our Most High God, El Elyon, is not only the God above all Gods, the highly exalted one, and our Redeemer who fights our battles for us and clears a path for us. Our El Elyon is compassionate, restrains His anger when we disobey Him, and chooses not to give the discipline we so richly deserve. Instead, He remembers that we are flesh. God knows we are not divine, understands our failings, and loves us anyway. He knows our limitations and yet He loves.

What a beautiful picture of our Lord! He knows who I am, He knows my limitations, He remembers that I am "but flesh", and loves me anyway, and He does the same thing for us all. Our Redeemer, the Most Highly Exalted One deserves our honor and our praise. Hallowed by His name of El Elyon. Join with me today as we thank Him for His faithfulness and His incredible mercy, and exalt Him for his power and His love. 

Fear not, dear ones, El Elyon is on His throne, high and lifted up, and He is your Deliverer and Redeemer. As David did before us, let us cry out to God Most High, confident that He can handle anything that comes our way.