When you look around at all the messed up things happening in this world of ours, do you ever ask yourself, “why is everything so crazy? Is there anyone in control or is everything happening by random chance?” Or if you have ever wanted to know, “why do things happen the way that they do? Is there a reason, a purpose?” If you have ever asked these questions, then you are going to be pleased with the answer that the Word of God gives to you via the Name (character trait) El Elyon. The Hebrew word “El Elyon” translates, “the Mighty, All powerful God Most High”. In other words, when it says “Most High” it literally means that there is no one above Him in rank. He is the “ceiling” so to speak. By definition, it implies that He is Sovereign Ruler of everything. He is supreme Commander. In this article, I would like to examine historical accounts in the Bible of how God demonstrates that He is Most High. I want to pay attention to the circumstances so that we can learn why things happen the way that they happen and draw some practical conclusions for our daily lives.
I.God reveals Himself in His Word and to mankind as the God Most High
I would like to begin with the statements that God makes about Himself and then in the next section, look at an actual event in history where God backs up all of His claims.
24 The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely , just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand, 27 “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back ?” (Isaiah 14)
Whatever God intends to do, that is what happens. No one can frustrate His plans. His decisions (what He announces in His Word) will stand. No one can stop God from accomplishing His will.
20 Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. 21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs ; He removes kings and establishes kings ; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding. 22 “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things ; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2)
God is the one who gives wisdom (a healthy mind). He is the one who allows the powerful to have power. The kings and kingdoms of this world are like chess pawns in His hand. He raises up to power and removes from power.
II. A pagan ruler (supreme ruler of his day) has an encounter with the God Most High and learns a lesson of why things happen the way that they happen
His life is transformed and he is never the same again. In the prophet Daniel, chapter 4, we find this encounter between the God Most High and the pagan ruler, Nebuchadnezzar. He is the ruler of the Babylonian empire and has no rivals. His rule is divided in 2 parts; period of conquest and period of enjoying his spoils. This takes place after the period of conquest. He has no rivals. Whatever he wants, he can have. He begins to think that he is special and that he is the most high. God visits him in a dream and reveals that he is not the most high and in fact, if he does not repent within the next 12 months, he will lose his mind and live as an animal for 7 years. Nebuchadnezzar does not listen to the warning and things proceed just as God says. Then, after 7 years of living as an animal, Nebuchadnezzar comes to his senses and here is what he says about God.
34 “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. 35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth ; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done ?’ (Daniel 4)
Nebuchadnezzar learns that his kingdom is not eternal and that he will not live forever but that there is One who is eternal and His kingdom will endure forever. While kingdoms come and go from generation to generation the God Most High’s kingdom remains from generation to generation. The God Most High is ruler over all of the inhabitants of the earth (from the greatest to the least). No one can stop Him and no one can cause Him to take back what He has done or said. He is the One who gives reason (intelligence) and takes it away when necessary. So everything that God said about Himself in Isaiah and Daniel is seen as truth through the life and events of Nebuchadnezzar. His power was given to him by God. His wisdom (healthy mind) was given, taken away, and returned to him by God. Nebuchadnezzar thought that he could prevent God’s message from coming true but he learned that something like that is impossible.
Do things happen by chance or with a purpose? Why do things happen the way that they do?
- They happen for a reason, to turn people’s attention to the God Most High. We have to learn that we are not God, that He exists, and that we need Him. The events of life lead us to Him just like they did with Nebuchadnezzar.
Maybe you are thinking, “that is only one situation, are there more?” YES.
No one can spoil God’s plans, what He has spoken in His Word will come to pass no matter what. God told Abraham that He would bless the world through them and that as long as He (God) existed they would exist as a people. That was over 4,000 years ago and they are still here. The Romans tried to wipe them out. The Greeks tried to force them to accept paganism with the purpose of destroying the bond that held them together so strongly, their religion. Hitler tried to wipe them out etc. yet they exist and are thriving to this day. Even after being dispersed among the nations for almost 2,000 years, they still remain a distinct people group on the face of this earth. God has spoken and no one has been able to change what He has planned (heaven knows many have tried to exterminate the Jewish race).
III. What are the benefits of knowing God as El Elyon, the God Most High?
Like any good vendor, I want to sell you on the benefits of knowing God personally. I am not just using some memorized talking points that I learned from a script though, I want to share from personal experience. I know God as the God Most High and have seen Him work in my life and in the lives of many, many other people as well.
5 “So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard : I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed ; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. 6 “I will lay it waste ; It will not be pruned or hoed, But briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.” 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel And the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed ; For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress. (Isaiah 5:5-7)
The vineyard in this passage refers to the Hebrews living in Israel. We notice that God puts a hedge of protection around His people and nothing can happen to them unless He allows it. He is going to remove His hedge because of the people’s wicked hearts and constant disobedience. God promises protection when we walk in obedience yet at the same time, He promises to discipline us if we disobey. The discipline is for our own good and for a short time, never more than we can bear. The God Most High also controls the elements. He gives rain and holds it back. He causes the crops to grow as well as their destruction. He rewards justice and righteousness and does not leave sin unpunished. We choose either blessings (though obedience) or discipline and punishment (through disobedience). It is all for our own good. The God Most High says that:
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8 )
If we love God and demonstrate that love through obedience, then everything that happens to us, whether good or bad, is used by the God Most High for our good and toward accomplishing His purpose.
Do you know God as the God Most High? Is He the ruler of your life? Do you love God and demonstrate that love through constant obedience? Where do you turn when bad things happen? Whom do you blame when bad things happen? Do you examine yourself to see if maybe you are the cause for the bad in your life? Do you benefit from bad situations by allowing God to use it for God?
I want to close with this example. Joseph was a young man with his whole life ahead of him. He was adored by his father and had a personal relationship with God. On the other hand, he was hated by his brothers. The sold him into slavery but God remained with Joseph and Joseph remained faithful to God. Joseph went from slavery to prison, just because he had morals and would not sleep with another man’s wife. God remained with Joseph and Joseph remained faithful to God. Then Joseph was released form prison and set up as Second in command over all of the land of Egypt. He saved Egypt and the surrounding lands from a terrible famine. He also saved his family, including his treacherous brothers. When Joseph comes face to face with his brothers after 10 long years, his response to them says that he knew God as the God Most High. Here is what he said:
19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place ? 20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Genesis 50)
Can you make the same claim as Joseph?