What do you think about when you think about God? Does he seem real or more like a character out of a book? Do you grasp his majesty or is he more of an afterthought in your faith?
When you start to look at the original Hebrew in the Old Testament, you realize the ways that God identifies himself AND the ways that the people of Israel specifically honored God by name because of His character.
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about the character and being of God and I invite you to join with me as I learn more about who He is and why He deserves our utmost praise and adoration. Click here to read the first post in the series.
If you follow Ana, Molly, or myself on social media, then you have probably identified that our individual love for the outdoors is also part of our common ground. Ana has spent the summer living and working in the mountains of Colorado, Molly has combined her educational aspirations with her love of the outdoors, and I just spent the last three years living along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just this past week the three of us were reflecting (through Marco Polo because long distance friendships) on how life giving it is to spend time outdoors and that taking in the beauty of God’s Creation is such a surreal and worship filled experience.
There really is nothing like seeing a perfect sunset and knowing that the Creator of the skies also created you.
This week the name of God that we are studying is Elohim. Elohim is the second most used name for God in the Old Testament and it is the first title for God in the Bible. In fact, it is the fourth word written in the whole Bible!
“In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1
Elohim means the strong, creator God. Elohim is the creator of all things, including all of the other little “g” gods. You see, in the Hebrew language, the word elohim does not just belong to God. It belongs to any god, heavenly being, or idol that is worshipped. For example, the Egyptians and the Canaanites would refer to their gods as “elohim.” However, biblical scholars when using it in reference to God, set him apart from the other gods by saying “the Elohim of Elohims.” In Scripture, you will see this written out as “the God of Gods,” “the one God of Israel,” or “no other God beside Yahweh,” to name a few.
At the end of the day, the Israelites believed that their Yahweh was the most powerful Elohim of any possible elohim. The worship and adoration of Elohim was ascribed to his sovereignty and authority over all of Creation.
“He showed you these things so you would know that the Lord is God and there is no other…So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The Lord is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other.” – Deuteronomy 4:35, 39
So what are the implications of “Elohim” for us today? I think that there are two main takeaways when we think about this name for God.
(1) The Lord is God and there is no other.
I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of putting other things before my relationship with God. Other idols such as relationships, self-image, health and fitness, my academic or career success, have all been idols for me at one time or another. The reality is, nothing in this life will ever satisfy me or sustain me except for the strong, Creator God. He alone deserves my life and my loyalty. Nothing else should stand a chance.
(2) God created everything from nothing. He will use you, but he doesn’t need you to be perfect and put together to accomplish anything.
God existed before all things, he exists in spite of all things (nothing we do can take him away), and he continues to work and move among all things. It is a privilege to be able to offer our lives as a sacrifice to God, which is an act of worship (Romans 12:1) If God can create an incredible universe from nothing, he can certainly use your broken offering to advance His Kingdom.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I will be leaving a prayer and a worship song that provide for further worship and reflection on the character and being of God. This week, I encourage you to take some time to sit with the Lord and reflect on your takeaways from learning more about Elohim.
Prayer: The Great God
Song: How Great Thou Art
Then sings my soul! My Savior God to Thee! How great Thou art! How great Thou art!