Gracefully Truthful


Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

2 Samuel 22:8-15

8 Then the earth shook and quaked;
the foundations of the heavens trembled;
they shook because he burned with anger.
9 Smoke rose from his nostrils,
and consuming fire came from his mouth;
coals were set ablaze by it.
10 He bent the heavens and came down,
total darkness beneath his feet.
11 He rode on a cherub and flew,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness a canopy around him,
a gathering of water and thick clouds.
13 From the radiance of his presence, blazing coals were ignited.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the Most High made his voice heard.
15 He shot arrows and scattered them;
he hurled lightning bolts and routed them.
16 The depths of the sea became visible,
the foundations of the world were exposed at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.

The Original Intent

1) How does David’s description of God in verses 8-15 portray Him as El Elyon?

Just before David’s praise of God in this passage, David and his troops had defeated the Philistines. (2 Samuel 21:15-22:1) The preceding chapter outlines their battle, complete with vignettes of four of David’s mighty men defeating four Philistine heroes. (2 Samuel 21)

This battle against the Philistines came much later in David’s life, but undoubtedly brought memories and echoes of the time when he fought Goliath as a young man during Saul’s reign. (Chapter 21:19 contains a scribal error; Elhanan actually killed Goliath’s brother Lahmi, as verified in 1 Chronicles 20:5.) 

David’s praise of God in 2 Samuel 22:8-15 is echoed almost word for word in Psalm 18. The phrases in both chapters depict God’s fearsome power and juxtapose Creation’s response to His power and intensity. David described the earth shaking before the Most High; the foundations of the very heavens trembled and shook.

Over and over, David held up parts of Creation to Creator, and showed that each created thing was powerless before the One Who created it: the entire earth, the foundations of the heavens, the very darkness, the wind, clouds, water, lightning and thunder, the depths of the sea, and the foundations of the world. Every item is something far larger than man; every created thing set ablaze, bent, wrapped around Creator, listening to Him, commanded and used by Him.

The name “El Elyon” means “Most High,” with great emphasis placed on His strength, sovereignty, and supremacy. (Psalm 9:1-10, Genesis 14:17-24)

The Everyday Application

1) How does David’s description of God in verses 8-15 portray Him as El Elyon?

David’s description of God’s power and majesty against the backdrop of His Creation brings to mind how little I have truly meditated on the reality that God is El Elyon.

How many things do I allow to crowd my mind and heart, and day to day life, to the point that I fail to study my Bible, or spend time in prayer, or give Him even an ounce of glory due His Name? Our God truly is the Most High. There is nothing and no one who deserves our praise and honor more than Him. I am convicted that I have not allowed the reality of God as reigning El Elyon to affect my life fully.

When I allow the trappings of daily life to lull me into a complacent mindset with little to no thought for my Creator, I am in need of a contrite spirit. God Most High deserves more than lip service or a passing prayer or thought. He deserves a life lived fully in surrendered service to Him.

Lord, convict my heart when I stray from this truth, and bring me back to Your humble, righteous way. Enable me to fix my eyes, heart, and mind on You alone, even as I fulfill the tasks You have given me to accomplish in everyday life.

Give me glimpses of Your power and might; help me to meditate on what it means that you are the Most High God.

The Original Intent

2) What is the significance of “Most High?” (verse 14)

“El Elyon
” translates to “God Most High.” The significance of the name El Elyon conveys what is true about God positionally, in contrast with all He has created. El Elyon highlights the truth that there are two categories: Creator God and His Creation. His Name rightly declares Creator as high above all else in creation.

Of all the incredible, powerful things He created, God is The Most High. The earth is great, far beyond any human’s ability to control, rule, or duplicate. El Elyon declares God is greater. He rules it completely, and He alone created it by the power of His word. (Psalm 103:19, Psalm 135:6, Isaiah 14:24)

The heavens are high and beyond our human scope. El Elyon declares God is higher and greater. He rules it completely. He spoke the heavens into being, causes the rain to fall, and the sun to rise and set. (Malachi 1:11, Psalm 113:3-6)

Darkness is broad, and without light it would cover the earth entirely. El Elyon declares God is more powerful.

The clouds exist high above the earth, and no man can rule or sway them. El Elyon declares God is the most powerful. He is powerful enough to use clouds as a drape around Himself. (2 Chronicles 20:6, Psalm 62:10-12)

Fire is powerful, and burns all it touches. El Elyon declares God’s radiance is powerful enough to start fire and bring coals to a blaze by His mere presence. (Deuteronomy 4:22, Exodus 19:18)

Lightning and thunder are powerful. They cause the earth to shake and split the sky with vibrant light. El Elyon declares God is more powerful than thunder; thunder and lightning do His bidding. (Exodus 19:19, Isaiah 33:14)

The sea and very foundations of the world are beyond our understanding. El Elyon declares even those things we cannot comprehend bow before the strength, sovereignty, and supremacy of the LORD God, the Most High.      

The Everyday Application

2) What is the significance of “Most High?” (verse 14)

Children enjoy building towers with brick blocks. Every so often, my children (or others visiting our home) will decide to have a “challenge” to see who can build the tallest tower. The play room will fall silent as they intently build, brick by brick, towers of varying intricacy, width, and height.

Quietly, they will work at their challenge until someone declares, “Finished!” Then, and only then, will they peer around to see what their competitors built, and to survey if their tower is tallest or not.

That’s the thing with building things up; when we are in the middle of it, we are often so focused on what we are doing we lose sight of everything else. In what areas have you been building your own “tower?”

What have you been worshiping as your “Most High God?” Sure, it may not feel like worship. Let’s consider it a different way. Where are you investing the majority of your time, energy, and thoughts?

Are you submitting those things to the Lord, or are you filling your hours with your own agenda and tithing a little time to Him as you find it around the fringes of your schedule? This isn’t about performance or legalism; it’s about heart posture.

Is the LORD God Your Most High? Or is it some other created tangible or intangible thing?

El Elyon, God Most High, help me examine this life You’ve given me with clear vision, and show me where I have allowed other things to take Your rightful place in my heart, mind, and life. 

The Original Intent

3) If all Scripture points us toward God’s ultimate plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, how does this passage accomplish the goal?

El Elyon is God Most High. There is no one higher or greater. No other created thing can claim to be higher, greater, or more powerful than He Who created. To have the most strength, sovereignty, or supremacy, and yet, El Elyon chose to humble Himself beyond measure when Jesus Christ came to earth.

The Most High God chose to enter humanity as the most humble of humble created things: a tiny, defenseless infant. He didn’t come hurling lightning bolts, breathing smoke, or setting things ablaze with His very presence. He didn’t split the heavens with thunder or rebuke the seas with His very breath. Instead, He came quietly, simply.

But why? Why would this all powerful, all sovereign, all supreme, Creator God choose to lay aside His rightful claim as Most High in favor of being the most humble?

The Most High God has all authority over everything and everyone. He can command all to bow, and all will bow. He rules over all, whether we acknowledge His sovereignty over our lives or not. But El Elyon, the Most High God, desires personal relationship with us.

He chose to humble Himself to the point of death on the cross, that we might be given the opportunity to repent from our sins and accept the free gift of salvation made possible by His sacrifice. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Though He holds the power, authority and every right to command all of mankind to turn from sin and obey Him, He will never force us. Instead, He invites us to respond to His loving sacrifice. 

The Everyday Application

3) If all Scripture points us toward God’s ultimate plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, how does this passage accomplish the goal?

When I think about El Elyon desiring a personal relationship with us, and that the fulfillment of that desire is found in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, I am both humbled and elated. The concept of our triune God is a reality that reminds me of how far beneath His incredible glory I am, while showing me how much He loves each of us.

He doesn’t withhold part of Him from us.

God Most High grants us relationship with Him as Father, as Saviour Jesus Christ, and as Comforter Holy Spirit. Though He is all powerful, all sovereign, first and foremost above all things, He chooses us.

He calls us, He invites us to turn from sin and accept salvation through Jesus Christ, and He enables us to respond to Him. The Most High God made a way for us to be in His presence and have an intimate, flourishing relationship with Him. He knew we would not be able to fulfill all that was needed to be in right standing with Him, due to our sin, so He made a way to return to fellowship with Him.

Before the foundations of the earth, before Creation, He knew what we are like, and what we would do. And He made a way!

Thank You, El Elyon, for loving and serving us in this incredible, life-changing way! Thank You, Jesus, for humbling Yourself to the point of death on a cross to pay the penalty brought on by our sin, allowing us to come to you through truly repentant hearts! Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your constant presence and guidance in our lives!

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