Though some people are terrified of heights, all people get a perverse pleasure from being “higher” than others.
The tallest boy in the class looks down (literally) on his shorter classmates. Being ranked higher, having a higher income or IQ or GPA or test score or social standard—all of these are recipes for pride.
We love being above others, which makes things interesting when we see God described as “God Most High” (El Elyon) in Genesis 14. This distinct name sets God apart from all would-be “competitors” or “rivals.”
As the Most High, the God of the Bible is supreme. He is lifted up, exalted, positioned far above mere high things or even higher things.
As the Most High, He surpasses all else. No one can go toe-to-toe or see eye to eye with the Most High. No one can raise himself or herself above God and look down on God.
This name of God is used in a fascinating story told within the Old Testament book of Daniel.
King Nebuchadnezzar was off-the-charts arrogant. The prophet Daniel warned Nebuchadnezzar that because of his immense pride, he would be driven from his palace to live like a wild animal.
Nebuchadnezzar scoffed. Then, for seven years Nebuchadnezzar lived like a dumb beast. Only when his heart was brought low and his eyes were lifted up to see the one, true God did Nebuchadnezzar finally acknowledge God as “the Most High” (Daniel 4:34).
The great C. S. Lewis once said, “As long as you are proud you cannot know God.” Bingo! Pride is that sinful tendency to exalt ourselves, to live as though we are the loftiest beings in the universe.
But as long as we’re always looking down on everything, Lewis argued, we will never see the One who is above us.
Who are you lifting up in your heart today? Yourself? Another person? Or the Most High God?
What does it mean to you that God is the Most High?