Lord Most High
The title of this week’s anthem, Lord Most High, is actually one of the earliest names by which God was known to man (El Elyon). It meaning infers that God is fully supreme over all, sovereign in all He does and ordains, full of overwhelming majesty, and Creator of heaven and earth.
The name first appears in Genesis 14, where Abraham was interacting with Melchizedek who was both king and priest in Jerusalem. He was priest of the Most High God. This is noteworthy for several reasons, one of which is that it indicates that there were more people than just Abraham who followed El Elyon. Since scripture follows the life of God’s chosen people, the particular descendants of Abraham through his son, Isaac, we can begin to assume that these people were the only ones who served the Most High God. This would be a mistake. Scripture follows Isaac’s line because from it would come the Promised One, Jesus, the Messiah, the Redeemer, and all scripture points to Him. But God’s plan from the beginning was to draw people from every tribe and tongue and nation to Himself, and we see glimpses of this in the scripture, even while it focuses on the Israelites.
Consider: If there was a Priest of the Lord Most High, there would, by inference, be followers. One would not need a priest if there was no one to mediate (which is what a priest does).
We can see this, too, in the book of Job. It is presumed that Job lived before Abraham, and in the region that is now Syria. He worshiped the one true God, and his friends (as off base as they could be sometimes) also appeared to be well versed in the ways of God. Again, this points to God revealing Himself to true worshipers outside the direct line of Abraham.
Even in the case of Rahab, who was steeped in the wicked pagan culture of Canaan, we hear a testimony of one who knew who this Most High God was, and said, “The Lord Your God is God in heaven above and earth below.” So, too, Balaam, who was some sort of sorcerer, prophet, and diviner, called the Lord Most High “the Lord MY God” (emphasis mine). One commentator said that in the polytheistic lands El Elyon was seen as one of many gods, but often as the supreme of the bunch, not as merely an equal. So someone like Balaam could claim that El Elyon was his God while still practicing the dark arts of other gods.
While El Elyon is an ancient name for God, it was not one lost in dusty pages of history. We can even find it in the New Testament, particularly around the birth of Jesus. Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to a son, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High…and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Zechariah prophesied about his son, John, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High.” And the angels announced on the night of Jesus’ birth, “Glory to God in the Highest.”
So the lyrics in the anthem which proclaim the greatness of the Lord Most High are very fitting. From the ends of the earth to the depths of the sea—so vast is the greatness of God. He, indeed should be magnified in our words and in our lives, for He alone is worthy.
And yet, there is another side to this name—one that is in some ways counterintuitive. It is fairly easy for us to grasp the greatness in a name like “Lord Most High,” but a look at a few of the 110 uses of this name show that it is also intended to draw us into its intimacy:
• I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me.
• He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
• My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.
• For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.
While this name may speak of His vastness, these verses declare unmistakably that His strength, sovereignty, and supremacy is a refuge. This Lord Most High is supreme in His love. His sovereignty is a loving authority. His might is exercised for the good of those who are His beloved. Those who are “the hearts of the weak” find Him to be a secure strong tower, and comforting shelter.
How is He Lord Most High in your own life, whether as the exalted, magnified One, or as the One to whom you run? Proclaim Him in this anthem from your own experience of El Elyon— Lord Most High.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries