An elevation, that is, (adjectively) lofty (comparatively); as title, the Supreme:—(Most, on) high (-er, -est), upper (-most). (Lexiconcordance.com)
The word is used either to refer to something that is physically high
Jotham rebuilt the Upper [Elyon] Gate of the temple of the Lord and did extensive work on the wall at the hill of Ophel. 2 Chronicles 27:3
or as a title for God as the supreme (highest) being. When referring to God it is often translated as “Most High.”
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High [Elyon]. Psalm 9:2
It is common to find this title combined with the name El or Elohim (majestic plural for El), which is the more generic name for God that was used to refer to both the God of Israel and any other ‘god.’ When combined it gives us the phrase “God Most High” or “the Most High God.”
And he blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High [El Elyon],
Possessor of heaven and earth; Genesis 14:19
I cry out to God Most High [Elohim Elyon],
to God who fulfills his purpose for me. Psalm 57:2
It can also be found combined with God’s covenant name YHWH to form “YHWH Most High” often translated as “LORD Most High.”
For the LORD Most High [YHWH Most High] is awesome,
the great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2
What can we learn from this that can help us in our worship? Here are a few thoughts that stand out to me:
- Most High. God is the greatest being. There is nothing or no one greater. By simply saying “the Most High” we have eliminated everyone but God. But in our own lives it is so easy to put someone above God. It may be ourselves and our wants or it maybe a person that we have exalted too high in our minds. Is God the supreme person in my life?
- God Most High. The name Elyon emphasizes the unique nature of God. He is far above everyone. Nothing compares to God. When I worship God do I see Him as highly exalted? or have I brought Him down to my level?
- Most High God. Once again, like the name El-Elohe-Israel, we are reminded that there are no other beings or things that should receive our worship. There are other ‘gods’ in this world: money, fame, pleasure. But there is only one Most High God. Who is my real God? Have I let anything become more valuable to me than the Most High?
by Jerry Wyrick, president of Worship Arts Conservatory