I’m substitute teaching Genesis 15 this Sunday at my home church. When I study to teach I use quite a few sources and never know which ones God will use to get through my busy head and slow heart.
This week a sermon by John Piper, a commentary by Walter Brueggemann and a bible study by Beth Moore have provided me not only the greatest insight and understanding but have impacted me the most personally. For instance…
Chapter 15 of Genesis begins by saying “After this…”
So I backed up to see what “this” was and rediscovered a war, communion with bread and wine and a priest, and the naming of God – for the first time in scripture – God Most High. El Elyon.
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And blessed be God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.” – Genesis 14:19-20
This name is also used in Daniel 4:17 & Psalm 21:7.
‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.’ – Daniel 4:17
For the king trusts in the LORD;
through the unfailing love of the Most High
he will not be shaken.
Beth Moore does the best job of convincingly connecting the sovereignty of God over mankind with the love of God for mankind. Both God’s sovereignty and love, she argues, are wrapped up in the name Elyon – Most High.
You might consider asking [God] why His sovereignty scares or unsettles you. Perhaps the reason is a missing bookend on one side of the volumes you know about God Most High. Recall Psalm 21:7. God’s sovereignty can terrify us only to the extent that we are uncertain of His love. You and I are never childish or unwise to remind ourselves daily how much God loves us. Only to the extent that we abide in His love can we be comforted by His sovereignty. – Beth Moore, The Patriarchs
Chew on that a while. I have.
Howard Hendricks, a Texan and theologian (in that order), once said something like When someone seems to be balanced, they’re likely just passing through the middle on their way to the other extreme. That seems particularly relevant when I think about relating to God as either stoic sovereign or crownless lover.
I’ve had moments of balance between the two but most days I’ve basked in God’s love without submitting to his rule in my life or I’ve let him rule over me without loving me. I’ve seen God both as a parent who can’t say no and as a tyrant who has no lap. But rarely am I in the middle worshiping God Most High who can be trusted to rule over me because of His great love for me.
Is your view of God balanced or do you relate to him right now as more loving or sovereign?