18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. Genesis 14:18-20 KJV
Hey guys! Welcome back to the PSALMS to God podcast. This is one of the bonus content episodes. These will come, in addition to the regularly scheduled Monday episodes, whenever I have a chance to just sit down and chat for a little while with you guys. Hopefully, that'll be often but I'm making no promises—that's why they're bonus content.
Anyway, I wanted to tell you guys this story about this experience I had in college and how that experience is changing my 2019 goals. So I'm really bad with names. I'm just going to put that out there, OK. I can remember a face; I can't remember to save my life, and I know some of y'all can relate to this. But when I was a freshman in college, I met this girl who lived in the same dorm as me and she lived on the floor above me, directly above me—so the room directly above me—and she was really cool. We ended up going to this Bible study together, and it was in the same dorm. It was like in the lounge in the dorm and a couple of us just kind of came together. I can't remember if we came together every week or every other week, but we did this the whole year and it was a great experience. I became pretty good friends with her, or at least I thought I became pretty good friends with her. We would go to lunch, we would talk about some of the things we'd talked about in the Bible study, and it was an overall just great experience—*sounds of commotion* I'm sorry guys, that's my cat.
Anyway, in addition to living in that same dorm that year, the next year we also lived in the same dorm, and this time she lived down the hall from me. We didn't continue the Bible study because at that point most of the people who had done the Bible study were either in different places or they had left that university or whatever the case may be. We kind of ended up going our own ways, but because we were still in the same dorm, we stayed in contact and continued to have lunch on occasion. So one day, I was with one of my other friends, and I passed her in the hall and I spoke to her, you know, the normal thing that you do. And after I passed, my other friend asked me who that was... Y'all I didn't know her name! I had known this girl for a year and a half, and I didn't know her name... And it turned out she didn't know my name either!
Y'all, as ridiculous as it sounds this is 100% factual. I'm bringing you this story because when I thought about it, and as I was talking to my friend in the last episode about defining God—we were talking about metaphors and how we describe God, and how we use these different things to interpret how we experience God in our conceptualization of God. I realized that a lot of the names that we use for God—like for instance, we call God Father, we call him Most High God or God Almighty—these names are actually some of those metaphors and some of the descriptions that we're using to try to help our understanding of who God is.
The Names of God (00:04:58)
But I don't know most of the names of God and I'm embarrassed to admit that. You know, you hear these songs, particularly gospel songs, and they're up here, "Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Nissi." And you know, maybe I know those because I memorized the song, but a lot of times I'm not familiar with these, I can't just pop these out, out of thin air. But they're actually Hebrew terms that are found in the Bible. Most of the time in our Bible we get the English translations of these names, but they're names that the Israelites give God or that God gave the Israelites for Him—they're the names they refer to Him by—to express who He is. I just feel really embarrassed that I don't know all of these names, because he knows my name. He knows my nicknames, he knows my social security number, and a whole lot of other information about me that I'd probably rather Him not know. 😂
He knows all of these things about me, and I felt like I should be knowing these things about Him, because it says something about our relationship. Just like I was "friends" with this girl in college. Even though I had respect for her, and I assume she had respect for me, we were just going through the motions of being friends; we weren't actually friends. I cannot imagine how we had that many conversations and never bothered to learn each other's names. We couldn't have even exchanged phone numbers because if we did then her name would have been in my phone for when I contacted her via the phone. So something like that makes it really clear to me that she was only an acquaintance, and we were calling each other friends, but we weren't treating each other as friends.
So when I overlaid that experience once my experience with God, I started to realize that it's a disservice to my relationship with God for me to not learn these names. So, that is how this became one of my 2019 goals. Now, I'm not just talking about the English translations, 'cause if I try hard enough I could probably start naming some English names for God, but I want to learn the Hebrew names that were being used, and I want to map those to the English translation—mainly because just knowing the Hebrew will probably not do me any good. I just really want to get into that, and I want to read those verses and think on why the Israelites chose that name for God at that moment, and how those apply to my life on an everyday basis.
[עֶלְיוֹן] El Elyon (00:08:01)
So, since I'm doing these bonus content episodes that are much shorter than the other episodes and are just kind of like little snippets about passages in the Bible I thought I would include some of these names of God here, as well. Don't worry, they won't all be about the names of God because I think there's so many verses in the Bible that are exciting to talk about, but this one is going to be about a name of God, and the first name that I'm starting off with is El Elyon (עֶלְיוֹן), and that means Most High God.
So, this first appears in Genesis 14:18, which is part of what I read at the beginning of the episode. The reason I started here is because I feel like this is a great picture of who God really is. God Most High—there is absolutely nothing above him! He is the ultimate source and that's amazing. When I think about how hard it is to get into contact with people who are in power, think about for students getting a meeting with your professor or your teacher depending on what level you're in. For people who are working ,trying to get that time with your boss to discuss some sort of situation; I know these situations have been hard for me. They're not impossible, but they're pretty difficult and take some forethought. Now, if you escalate that to trying to talk to the mayor or trying to talk to a senator or representative, and then escalate that further trying to talk to the governor or even higher, trying to talk the President of the United States, trying to talk to Kings and the UN or something some like major, the major powers that are playing today. You can't just walk up and get an audience with them whenever you want to. You can't just talk to them. If you write a letter to—not even just people who are important politically—if you write a letter to your favorite celebrity, there is no guarantee that you'll get a letter back. But God is the Most High, there is nothing above Him, no one is above Him—the Ultimate Authority, Ultimate Power on Earth and we always have a chance to talk to Him. And He's always listening to us. That's powerful and that's amazing, and that is why I wanted to commit this particular name to memory first. So the first name for 2019 that I'm remembering and thinking on is El Elyon, God Most High.
Wrap Up (00:11:04)
Thank you guys for tuning in; I hope that you'll continue to tune in. Don't forget to subscribe, that way you'll also always know when the bonus content is coming out, and look for episodes on Mondays. You can find the transcript for this specific episode at www.pslamstogod.com/mosthigh. I'll see you guys again
References and Footnotes
- The song I'm referring to specifically is "Because of Who You Are" by Judy Jacobs
- "H5945. Elyon". Strong's Concordance, via Blue Letter Bible; visited January 2019
- Obviously God is the ultimate power in the universe, but I think I said Earth because my brain was relating His power to that of Earthly rulers.