There was a time, however in the 1800’s when many birds of prey were killed on sight in some areas of the country! They were demonized as chicken thieves and as worthless flying creatures. Because of this characterization and fifty-cent bounty on all hawks and owls, over 180,000 birds were eliminated from the landscape! The ramifications of such action created a new problem for the residents as they became overrun with the rodents and snakes the birds of prey naturally controlled. 1
Laws again were put in place out of desperation, once the mistake was recognized, to preserve the birds. In the process many were “renamed.” The Marsh Hawk was renamed the Northern Harrier, while duck, pigeon and sparrow hawks were reclassified as falcons and others were also renamed to aid in their protection and to help to more readily identify the different kinds of hawks.
As I search God’s Word, I am fascinated by the different names of God. Like the different hawk specifics for identification, God’s different names allow us a glimpse of His different characteristics, and I wonder if like the hawk, we need to know what each name means so we can understand Him better.
El Elyon, one such name of God, means “The Most High God” and expresses the “extreme sovereignty and majesty of God.” 2 To be sovereign is to have total jurisdiction, rule, supreme power, dominion, prerogative, control, authority and influence. 3 Along with sovereignty, God also has majesty, defined as supreme greatness, royalty, grandeur and worthy of tribute. 4 Consider kings and queens of other countries who are addressed as “Your Majesty.” Isn’t God greater than any of these?
We have no idea what God looks like. There are pictures of what artists believe Jesus looked like, yet I wonder if they are accurate. When visiting an art store recently there were paintings of Jesus in modern clothes; jeans and a tee-shirt, interacting with children and adults. It was a delightful image, yet again, is it an honest depiction?
Even if the pictures aren’t exactly what Jesus looks like, I found it comforting to imagine Christ in this very modern way, much like I envision Him holding me close when I cry or laughing with me when I do something totally ridiculous! Yet when I think of the sovereignty of God it doesn’t really matter what I think He looks like. What does matter is I remember He is “The Most High God” ….. and “King”…. and in control of my life.