Seven Epithets: 5.2 Elah Elahin (אלה אלהין) God of gods
We are looking at the names for God, seeking to understand their meaning and to draw closer to God as a result. God is THE God. He is God of gods, or Elah Elahin; there are no equals. We may choose a god that leads us to turn away from God, to try life on our own, but we find out how utterly empty and isolating this is. We are an inventive lot with a compulsion to fill up spaces and when we empty ourselves of God, we find ourselves inventing a god (small ‘g’) and trying to fill our emptiness with that:
Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
‘Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.’
From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
‘Save me! You are my god!’
They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so that they cannot see,
and their minds closed so that they cannot understand. (Isaiah 44:16-18)
We might pursue wealth, fame, praise etc. where our active pursuit denies God His rightful primacy and we close ourselves off from God, creating a divide through our actions and desires; isolating ourselves. We might try to disguise what we pursue, turning it into something else and giving it a false authority. That’s what Aaron did with the gold collected from the Israelites:
He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ (Exodus 32:4)
God expressly forbids this, because if we choose anything godless, then we deny God.
So that’s the bad news: what we do on our own, ignoring God’s leadership. Now, have you ever actively sought God’s leadership, knowing that to rely on our own leadership means navigating towards evil, whereas God keeps us safe? Try putting a pause into the Lord’s Prayer, simply allowing God the space to lead, then see the difference:
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
– or –
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
The good news (or, in Old English, the ‘gód spell’ or ‘Gospel’) is that God is more than any god, and we recognise this when we simply worship Him, and afford Him the courtesy of revealing His authority:
Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord –
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalm 83:18)
We can rest content in not just knowing who He is but knowing HIM:
For the Lord your God is Elah Elahin and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. (Deuteronomy 10:17)
(from Timothy Pitt)