Walking with the Most High God

Posted by Patrick Henry College on 4/16/24 8:48 AM

People of the Way, a devotional with Ed Waltz

The following devotional is an adaption of a message delivered by Professor Ed Waltz in chapel in February 2024. 

The theme that you have been studying this week and that I was given is, "God Most High." In Hebrew, it is El Elyon, meaning, "most high." I would like to talk about three aspects in which early believers used expressions of superlatives to describe the God that they worshipped. 

1. The height of glory of the Most High God.

The first occasion of El Elyon in the Old Testament is Genesis 14. You remember the occasion when the "kings of the plain," including Sodom and Gomorrah, were attacked by the kings that came down from the hills. On that occasion those kings that attacked carried off Lot, the nephew of Abraham. One individual who did not get captured ran to Abraham and reported to him what had taken place and that Lot had been taken away, and Abraham gathered 318 of his men and headed to rescue Lot. 

Worshipping God as a dorm

In that passage, Abraham then meets another king, a man by the name of Melchizedek, who was a man who also worshipped this Creator God—the unseen God that Abraham worshipped. It says in Genesis 14:18-20, "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!"

Abraham proceeds to use the term "God Most High" in praising the Lord for giving him the ability to rescue Lot. This is the first time we see the occurrence of using the expression of a dimensional superlative to say, "Most High." El was a word used in general to refer to God; the Canaanites used a similar word to refer to their pagan gods. So they distinguished this Creator God as, "God Most High."

We also know that this is used throughout the Old Testament. [In Psalms], God is praised because he is the "Most High." He is exalted overall. There are passages in which the "Most High" is used when referring to his power. Last of all, when David cried out to the "God Most High, his refuge."

The shekinah glory of God

In the Greek, there is a different word that is used. It is the Greek word that is often referred to as "the highest thing." We know that Jesus used this term one time in the Beatitudes when he said in chapter 6:35-36, "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful."

The next time we see this is in the last words of Stephen. Before he was stoned, he said in Acts 7:48, "Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands." This is an expression that these followers of the Lord used to express: he's higher above everything.

2. The weight of glory of the Most High God.

There's another expression that they use similarly. This is the word kavod, [referring] to God's glory. When you see in the Old Testament the word "glory," it is talking about the weight of God—the immense weight of the understanding of who God is. 

Kavod is used by Moses in the wilderness while talking to the people in Deuteronomy because they had seen the weight of God in the plagues. They had seen with their own eyes wailing people with their children dying. They had seen what God had done in rescuing them in crossing the sea. God gave them the term we often use: the shekinah glory, which is the visible glory. He provided a cloud in the wilderness—a visible manifestation, a representation of the presence of God. God is here. We see him. We see the weight of him here. 

Israelites crossing the Red SeaCrossing of the Red Sea — Cornelis de Wael (1592-1667)

In the book of Hebrews, the writer describes an interesting fact about glory: that God the Father first revealed himself to the earliest believers by speaking to certain men. Next, he says that God the Father spoke to us through his Son in 1:2 and that his Son revealed his glory—the weight of God the Father. Amazingly, in chapter 2, he goes on to say that now he has brought many sons into his glory to reveal himself. When we use the word "glorify" God, it means that we're revealing the character of God. We have the opportunity in our lives to live a Christlike life, which others will see as the weight of God in our lives.

3. The wisdom of the Most High God.

There is a third way in which early believers tried to describe God, not only by his height and by the weight of his character, but also they tried to describe it by his ability to work in our life. The word there is the word "wisdom." Paul says he is the all-wise God. 

Solomon, of course, wrote the wisdom literature. The Book of Ecclesiastes is looking out of the "rest home" and back at life. This concept of wisdom was used throughout Ecclesiastes and is always associated with the Way. We find Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel all warning the people of Israel that they have lost the Way, that they have departed from the Way. They cry out "Return to the old Way," in some translations, "the ancient Way." Get back to the Way. 

Christians are called the people of the Way

I love the passage in Isaiah 55 in which God says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD." He wants us to follow his way.

The last of the prophets, Malachi, said this: "We have departed from the Way." That was the epitaph of Israel for four hundred years of silence. [When] Jesus came, it was no surprise to the Hebrews that studied the Old Testament when the night before he was taken he said, "I am the Way." They knew what the Way was. It was the Way they had departed from; he was the personification of the Way. 

It is interesting that in the New Testament, the believers on six occasions were called the "people of the Way." Isn't it wonderful that you and I know the Lord Christ, and we're people of the Way? We need to trust him every day lest we step out of the Way. 

Discipleship at PHC

I am 77 years old. I keep a little log of how God has worked in my life through a lot of terrible problems, a lot of challenges, and I have learned that the God Most High is my refuge and can certainly guide me through life. He has been very good to me. I have struggles ahead of me. Right? Everybody at this age does, you know. But this is the God that we can trust. 

The Hebrews clearly understood the concept of the Way, they understood God Most High. They understood the weight of his glory, and they clearly understood the Way. 

Father, we thank you that you are a great God, that you are the God Most High, and yet you stoop down to reveal to us the weight of your character and offer to share your attribute of wisdom to guide us through life.

Worship at PHC


 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


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