Facets of God’s Character: Sovereign Over All

Do you know who is in control? It is so easy for us to yearn for that. We strive and strive to have the control so we feel safe and secure. But, wait, where is God in all of that striving? I love the Bible stories from Sunday School that taught me such amazing truths from the pages of scripture.

The Hebrew name El Elyon speaks of God as the Most High God. El means powerful and here the El is used twice, indicating that God has supreme power, there is no higher authority. Elyon means that God is the highest one, the exalted one. We often use the term sovereign to describe this attribute.

Our Sovereign God is Creator, Provider, Sustainer, Ruler over all. Job 42:2 tells us He can do all things, no thought or purpose of His can be restrained or thwarted. Daniel 4:35 tells us that He does according to His will and no one can stay His hand. He is all powerful.

One of my favorite Bible story is in Daniel 4 where King Nebuchadnezzar shares his story of transformation. He explains how he was at home in his palace relaxing, not worried about a thing, because he in his pride thought that he had everything under control.

Pride is an offense to God, and is is the opposite of the humilty of heart we are suppose have before God. Proverbs 16:18 tells us, “Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall. ”  Well, that is the truth that we will see King Nebuchadnezzar learn.

He has this nightmare that shakes him to the core, but he has no idea of what it means, so he calls in the wise men of Babylon. He asks these magicians, enchanters, fortune tellers and witches to tell him what the dream meant but none of them are able to do so. And then Daniel was called in and with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit Daniel is able to interpret the dream.

Daniel was afraid to even tell the king the meaning because it was in regard to what would happen to him if he didn’t turn from his evil ways. The king encouraged him to give it to him straight, so Daniel explained that the king was the tree he dreamed about. He had grown strong and great, ruling over much. And the holy angel that spoke of chopping down the tree, destroying it in the dream, was speaking of the king also. It was a warning that if the king did not change his ways he would be driven away from other humans to live with the wild animals. He would eat grass lik the ox. This would go on for seven years to make him realize that the Most High God, El Elyon is Ruler over all. Daniel warned the king that he better make some changes, but the king ignored it all.

When all is going well, and in our human pride we get to thinking we have it all under control, sometimes we laugh at trouble as if it cannot touch us. We lose sight of who God is. We lose sight of His sovereignty. It seems so much more comfortable being in control. But that is not what is real. Our hearts always need to bow in humility before the Most High God, El Elyon.

Back to King Nebuchadnezzar. Things went on without change for a year. Then as he stood on the balcony of his palace proclaiming his own greatness and how it had all come about by his hands, for his honor and glory, suddenly the verdict was given and the kingdom was taken from him. The king was driven out to the fields as he had been shown in the dream. He was given seven years to learn that El Elyon is the Ruler over all.

There in the field he ate grass like and ox and grew feathers like and eagle. He had claws like that of a hawk. Then, at the end of seven years he was given his mind back and he blessed God, giving Him thanks, and giving Him the glory due His name. It was then that he was given back his kingdom and he became greater than ever.  Daniel chapter 4 comes to a close with King Nebuchadnezzar singing and praising the King of Heaven. King Nebuchadnezzar learned humility the hard way. He learned of the sovereignty of God by way of a very difficult lesson.

King Nebuchadnezzar in his pride had taken credit for what was God’s alone to take credit for. 1 Peter 5:6 tells us, “…humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in His good time He will honor you.” When we do it His way, he promises to give us honor also.

Humble yourself under El Elyon. Remember He alone is the Sovereign One. He is the One with all wisdom, and power, and strength. We, like Adam and Eve, and like King Nebuchadnezzar, often want to be the god of our own lives. This name of God tells us the truth about Who He is. He is the One we honor, and the One we give glory to. He is the One in control, and the One we are to be in submission to?

What are your trying desperately to control that you need to turn to El Elyon with?  Is there something in your life that holds a higher place than Him? It seems so easy to conceal our pride, or think it is a lesser sin. But that is not how God sees it. His truth is clear, King Nebuchadnezzars story makes God’s view of pride very evident. I know I need to fall on my knees before El Elyon and confess my pride, what about you?

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Surrendering: Be Fully Present

Philippians 2:3 AMP says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives or strife] but in an attitude of humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous] regard others as more important than yourself.”

This verse seems applicable to our level of presence with others. When you are fully present you are totally engaged and focused on what the other person is saying and doing. But all too often we are too overwhelmed with our own stuff. We miss what others have to share. When we do this we are acting in a way that says we are more important than the other.

You know how it goes, you are physically there, but there are one or more things that keep you from fully focusing on the conversation. You may be preoccupied with self, just focused on something that you can’t seem to get out of your mind. Maybe it’s the busyness of your schedule, or the exhaustion you feel, or maybe it’s the party you are planning. Even so, you nod politely as if you’re listening, when you really are only partially attending to what is being said. You go through the motions. I know I am guilty of this.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians to be humble, to think of the other person as more important than ourselves. This means we need to set aside the things that are bombarding our minds, and give our full attention to the other person and their needs.

Being fully present is a way of really showing love. It is like saying, “I am really with you in this. I want to hear what you have to say. I want to be with you, there is nowhere else I would rather be.”

I think that Jesus was fully present in His relationships. When He was with someone, He was really with them, focused on them and their needs.

I want to learn to change, but it will take a conscious effort.  My inattentiveness, my selfishness, and my busyness get in the way. I want to learn to make a point of being fully present, not preoccupied or distracted. I want to develop self-control in this area, setting aside self. I want others to know that I really care about them.

Showing love to other people is one of the most Christlike things we can do. Who do you need to demonstrate the love of being fully present with today?