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Monday, January 21, 2008

Elohim – The Most High God

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Transliteration: 'ělôhîym - /el-o-heem'/ (Strong's Reference # 430)
Definitions:


Strong's Hebrew from Lifeway's Online Bible Library (KJV with Strong's)

Root: plural of <H433> ['ělôah]

Cross Reference: TWOT – 93c

Part of Speech: n m p – (noun, masculine, plural)
Vines Words: None
Usage Notes:

English Words used in KJV: God 2346 , god 244 , judge 5, GOD 1, goddess 2, great 2, mighty 2, angels 1, exceeding 1, God-ward + <H4136> 1, godly 1, [Total Count: 2606]

1) (plural): 1a) rulers, judges, 1b) divine ones, 1c) angels, 1d) gods;

2) (plural intensive - singular meaning): 2a) god, goddess, 2b) godlike one, 2c) works or special possessions of God, 2d) the (true) God, 2e) God.
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Based on my study of this word, there is no definite primitive root to this word, though it appears to be closely related to the above referenced root: 'ělôah, which is singular in form and appears mostly in poetic uses or in poetry. In her book, "Praying the Names of God" Ann Spangler notes that the Hebrew word for God appears to be borrowed from their Caananite neighbors, and though it is plural in form does not necessarily denote plural gods. She also states that there are some who identify the plural form as being representative of the Trinity but nothing in the Hebrew language or her research pointed to that specifically. It is closely related as well to the Aramaic word for god, elāh.


This word is used in a variety of descriptions that relate to both the one true Deity as well as pagan or idol deities. It can be in reference to men, angels, others with "divine connections" as well as gods and goddesses or the One True God. In the Lexical Aids for "The Complete Word Study Old Testament" I found this note, "…It usually takes a singular verb so no implication of any plurality in divine nature can be inferred from the fact that the word is plural. Scholars are divided on whether 'ělôhîym has an direct connection with the world 'ēl."[ strong's 410 is the singular term for the word god.]


In Genesis 1:1 we find our first introduction to Elohim as the universal name of God. The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament (Victor Books, Walvoord and Zuck, 1985) calls this beginning of Genesis, the account of how the universe came to exist, "a theological treatise… [that] lays the foundation for the rest of the Pentateuch." Think about that, it is an offering by God by which He would universally become identified by – the term used in Genesis 1:1 and the more than 2300 other references to the same word becomes the general way in which Israel began to know their God. "Moses [the author credited with writing the Pentateuch] wished to portray God as the Founder and Creator of all life. The account shows that the God who created Israel created the world and all who are in it."

How often do you stop and take inventory, weighing the implications of this identification of God. Today as I considered this and weighed it heavily in my mind, I found myself thinking about all the times I have counted the yard "mine," my children "mine," even this computer, the house I live in, the time I have to spend as my own. I reckon it all to my own account with little thought of God in the process. Psalm 50 is a great place to go and discover this Elohim, the God who founded and created all the world that we know and all of life as it now exists.



Psalm 50 [A Psalm of Asaph] (NIV)
1 The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.
2 From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
3 Our God comes and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
and around him a tempest rages,
4 He summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 “Gather to me my consecrated ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for God himself is the judge.
7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
O Israel, and I will testify against you:
I am God, your God.
8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices
or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
and the creatures in the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
14 Sacrifice and thanks offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
16 But to the wicked, God says:
“What right have you to recite my laws
or take my covenant on your lips?
17 You hate my instruction
and cast my words behind you.

18 When you see a thief, you join with him;
you throw in your lot with adulterers.

19 You use your mouth for evil
and harness your tongue to deceit.
20 You speak continually against your brother
and slander your own mother’s son.
21 The things you have done and I kept silent;
you thought I was altogether like you.
But I will rebuke you
and accuse you to your face.
22 “Consider this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:
23 He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me,
and he prepares the way
so that I may show him the salvation of God.”



Do you hear His voice in this plea with His creation to recognize His majesty, His sovereignty and His possession of all that is this world and existence we know today?


God Himself directs the rising and the setting of the sun, He stands before the earth and orchestrates perfectly its orbit, its atmosphere its very existence not just on those days He created, but now, right now He is there managing His creation just the way these verses describe. He is a God who desires to be appreciated. He wants us to recognize Him not only in our religious rituals and the prayers we pray in public, but in the basic needs of our very existence. He is God – majestic, sovereign and true. He is the one who formed us in our mother’s womb and ordained all of our days before even one of them came to be (Psalm 139). How do we repay Him?


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Do we carry on like life depends on us, like our children will benefit from the hours and hours we spend working to give them more without investing in who they are in Christ? Do we view our source as our employer and our home as our own? Is the money in the bank our own and God just the owner of the tithe, if we give that to Him at all?


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Do you rise early enough to savor the sunrise, the wonder of the vivid detail with which He creates your personal greeting every day? Have you considered the sunset? One of the things I love about our life right now is that most days I must rise before the sun rises and deliver my husband to work leaving me awake to visit with Him, God, on the ride home and the early morning hours. I don’t always catch a sunrise, but when I do I marvel at the way God made it so beautiful. Our home faces with the large open living are facing west. There are large windows in those rooms and that allows me to sit and stare at the beautiful colors that cast themselves across the sky as our Master lays the sun to rest for another day.



The day of my son’s accident, the one that claimed his life, I was staring out the window of my pastor’s truck praying to God for strength, peace and for my son to be alive when I arrived at the hospital. I can still remember today, 2 ½ years later the exact color of that crisp blue sky. I can still see the puffy white cotton clouds floating lazily by, and I can still hear these words as I expressed them thoughtfully to God, “If you can manage all of this, [keeping the clouds in the sky and the sun shining and the earth spinning round], then I believe you can take care of my son. I trust you to take care of him.” The marvel of life and death would speak to me again and again throughout the weeks that followed that day. I remember asking God to give us a bonafide, praise the Lord miracle complete with unexplainable healing. Yet, as I watched my son lay there and heard the prognosis for his recovery I realized that a miracle of complete restoration may not be in the cards for my son. I watched for signs of life, for the squeeze of a hand, twitch of an eye… the way he jerked his head when I rubbed a scab too hard and I praised God for every sign of life I found. I watched that life fade behind the veil over the course of 8 days, and I finally surrendered to the realization that my son had been taken to heaven when the doctors disconnected the machines that systematically pumped air and food and medicines into his body. His life on earth was over, but oh Glory the life in heaven had just begun.


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I praise God for all the days since that time, for the fresh revelation of His Word and the daily provision of His love. Lately, I have been surrendering my hold on the material things in my life. God is my source, everyday I pray for provision of everything from food to daily provision for our household expenses. I entrust it to Him, sanctify my home through anointing and prayer and I set aside places for study, worship and prayer. I spend my day tuned in, looking for the slightest sign that God is there… attending to my day and I never am disappointed. Look for Him in your daily walk, surrender all you have to Him and trust Him explicitly even when all that you can identify in your life seems difficult and crazy, God is in the chaos straightening out the edges. If He can keep this universe and every life in this world going on a daily basis, He can and will surely meet the very needs of your basic day to day existence. Trust Him, for He is Elohim. Sovereign, Just, Divine, Majesty. Our God, Our Creator – God Most High!

3 comments:

twinkle said...

Yes! He is Elohim-The Most High God! I know what it feels like to have to give control over something very precious to God...no matter the outcome. Your testimony is Awesome! Christ is our Burden-Bearer and I am so glad He has been faithful to you. We praise Him, don't we, my friend!

Michelle Bentham said...

Oh Twinkle, what a gift your comment is to me tonight. I have so much on my mind and praising God in the midst of it is so where I am. Pray for me friend, He is working things out and I am so excited about the journey. I am looking to finish my in-depth Bible study about Christian suffering in the next couple of weeks... the one I am writing... So pray that enemy does not get a foothold and get me down over reliving my own painful past.

Thank you for the praise, Christ is our burden bearer and He is every faithful... I thank Him for friend like you... We do praise Him! He is wonderful, glorious and majestic always in His sovereignty.

Blessings.

Carri said...

Michelle,

There IS a rather subtle hint at the Trinity is Isaiah and it's causing quite a stir among the Jewish communities who are being shown this by their Messianic brethren. Elohim is definetely plural and Genesis makes no mistake in using "us" and "we" in the first 11 chapters of Genesis when God is speaking. It is also noteworthy that Abram was speaking to the Lord but when he looked up there were three men. There is no mention of any conversational exchange with the three men but only that there were 3 men and they are referred to by Abram as "Lord". *Food for thought...*

Isaiah 48:16-17 And now the Sovereign LORD and his Spirit have sent me with this message: The LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow.

I am confident, if you do the Hebrew study on this, you will find 3 distinct personages and yet they all refer to LORD (YHWH) or "HaShem" ("The Name" to the Jewish people). The Spirit and the Holy One of Israel is mentioned along with LORD. The Hebrew study will lend itself towards a trio of one. This has left more than one conservative Jewish person (even anti-missionary Jews who are out to reclaim their people back from Christianity - and they are tough as nails! They know their Hebrew well!) walking away with cause to think this one out.

God be praised. HIS NAME be praised!