The first revelation in scripture of God’s character is the fourth word in the first book, Genesis. “In the beginning GOD…”! (Genesis 1:1)
The Hebrew for God here is Elohim. It is like a mark of authorship, ownership, His signature if you like.
For example… ‘Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen’.
‘The Bible written by God’!
Elohim is a plural form of El or Eloah and is understood to mean ‘a plurality of persons in the Divine nature’. (Adam Clarke).
‘El signifies the strong God; and what less than Almighty Strength could bring all things out of nothing?’ (Matthew Henry).
Elohim or Elohay (as it is sometimes translated) means ‘strength and power’. In the first two chapters of Genesis alone it is used 35 times in relation to God’s creative power. It is found frequently in the Psalms and in Deuteronomy, in fact in the whole of the Old Testament it is used over 2,300 times.
Right from the start, this plural form for the name of God is used to describe the One God, a mystery that is uncovered throughout the rest of the Bible.
Here in Genesis 1:1 the Trinity is first revealed. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, all one, yet separate, working together to form all there is. The first suggestion of the Trinity acting in unity. In Genesis 1:26 God said, ‘Let Us…’ etc. Almighty God spoke the heavens and the earth into existence by the Word (John 1:1-3). The Holy Spirit brooded over all till creation was complete (Genesis 1:2).
God in three persons, Elohim, created all that there is, and He created mankind so that He could be in relationship with us.
Elohim can be interpreted as ‘One who stands in a covenant relationship for the out working of His purposes’. His words to Abram show that relationship. Genesis 17:1-8 ‘I will be their Elohim!’ Throughout scripture Elohim is combined with other words to describe certain characteristics of God.
Elohay Kedem – Eternal God (Deuteronomy 33:27)
Here God reveals Himself as the God of the beginning. If He is eternal, then the refuge we can find in Him is eternal, His arms are constantly there to support us and are also there to protect us from the enemy.
Elohay Mishpat – God of Justice (Isaiah 30:18)
Our God is a God who is concerned with justice, in fact we could say that He is a Judge of justice, incorruptible, unlike the judges of this world. We may not see justice this side of Heaven, but this passage promises that He will bring justice to those who wait for Him.
Elohay Selichot – God of forgiveness (Nehemiah 9:17)
He is a God who is ready to pardon. Reading the previous verses we can see the stiff necked and stubborn people of Israel. They disobeyed God and we’re ready to return to their bondage and yet we see that God is still ready to forgive.
In her Christmas speech a few years ago the Queen said to the nation, ‘Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian Faith.’
In a sense she is right, it is at the heart if our faith because we have come to know the God of forgiveness. We have seen Him forgive our hard hearted rebellion. When we come to Him in repentance, He is ready to forgive. It is only because He has forgiven us that we have the power to forgive those who sin against us.
Elohay Marom – God of Heights (Micah 6:6)
He is the High God, far above us in holiness and righteousness. He is superior in every way and seems unapproachable for Micah says that there is no sacrifice that we can give Him in order to approach Him. It is good to be reminded of this truth for we at times over familiar with God and take for granted that we can approach Him at any time through Jesus. He is the High and Almighty One. It is only because of His great mercy that we can approach the God of Heights.
Elohay Mikarov – God who is near (Jeremiah 23:23)
God is also the One who is near. He sees us from close up. Unlike the song popularised by Bette Midler and Cliff Richard He is not watching us from a distance! He is close and involved and sees what His creation is doing in fine detail.
Elohay Mauzi – God of my strength (Psalm 43:2)
He is the source of our strength when all other sources have run dry. When we re weak, then He is strong!
Elohay Tehilati – God of my praise (Psalm 109:1)
Tehilati comes from the root ‘halal’ meaning praise. He is the reason for our praise, He is the theme of our praise, He is our song, our hymn.
Elohay Yishi – God of my salvation (Psalm 18:46)
He is the One who brought our salvation with His own arm because we cannot save ourselves (Isaiah 59:16).
Elohim Kedoshim – Holy God (Leviticus 19:2 / Joshua 24:19)
God is holy, the characteristic sung before His throne by the seraphim. Holy, holy, holy is the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Like Isaiah He alone can make us holy by cleansing us of all our sin, our lips, our hearts and minds through Jesus.
Elohim Chaiyim – Living God (Jeremiah 10:10)
He is alive! He is the source of all life! All idols are dumb and deaf and blind, but not our God. He sees and hears us and He speaks to us. He acts according to His own will, not ours. That is why we should at all times pray within His will, according to His word. He is listening, He wants to hear from us.
Elohay Elohim – God of gods (Deuteronomy 10:17)
He is above all other gods. There is no God like our God! There is no authority that can be compared with Him. He is the summit, the highest and He will no other god to be above Him. He will not share His glory with another.
What gods do we have in our lives that we need to destroy before Him. Self, money, ambition, family, reputation, pride, entertainment and many others.
What a wonder that the God above all gods would desire to be in fellowship with us. It is we who disappoint Him, never the other watch round.
Hopefully our response to Him will be as in Psalm 91, ‘My Elohim, in Him will I trust.’
In His glorious Name,
Next time… El Elyon – God most high.