May 03, 2014

El Elyon: "the Most High God"

Genesis 14:17-20

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.”
—Genesis 14:18


El, the Hebrew name for God, occurs in the Old Testament in many compound forms to reveal important qualities of God’s character. One of these combines El with Elyon, a Hebrew word meaning “go up” or “ascend.” So the name El Elyon re-veals God as “The Most High God.”

The name El Elyon isn’t used often, but it occurs three times in our reading for today. In Genesis 14 we read about battles taking place between several kings in the Valley of Siddim, near the Dead Sea. In these skirmishes, Lot, Abram’s nephew, is taken captive. After Abram rescues Lot, he meets up with the defeated kings in another valley near Jerusalem.

Then Melchizedek, the king of Salem (Jerusalem), brings Abram an offering of bread and wine. We know almost nothing about Melchizedek, except that “he was priest of God Most High [El Elyon].” With this offering Melchizedek bestows on Abram a blessing from “God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.”

How does Abram respond? He acknowledges the blessing of the Creator God by giving Melchizedek a tenth of all his pos-sessions. But Abram’s offering isn’t to Melchizedek; it is to El Elyon, “the Most High God.”

How will you honor and sacrifice to the Most High God in your life today?

O God Most High, please forgive us for often shunting you aside. Help us, like Abram, to worship you as Creator and Protector. Move us to give our lives as an offering to you. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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