An Ancient view of God

Have you ever heard that the ancient's believed their rulers to be gods? This is true for the Egyptians who saw the Pharaohs as gods, the Babylonians who saw the Kings as gods and the Romans who saw the Caesars as gods.

In the Biblical text, the most basic word for a 'god' is אל (El). This Hebrew/Semitic word is found throughout the Near East and literally means “one of power and authority.” The Semitic people did not view a 'god' as a supernatural deity as we do, but simply as “one of power and authority.” Even in the Biblical text the word El is used for Laban in Genesis 31:29 - “El is in my hand to do you harm.” Laban was the one in power and authority over Jacob and was by the true sense of the meaning of the word, an El.

From the ancient perspective, a 'god' is anyone or anything that has power and authority over another. Who has power and authority over us? Our government. Our government is our El. In the same way Abram's El was the King of Babylon, which is why God had him leave and go to the wilderness where there was no king. Also, Moses' El was the pharaoh of Egypt and God removed him from there to the wilderness as well.

At this point most of you will be saying, “No, the God of the Bible is my El.” Is that true? While I believe it is possible for this to be true, in most cases it is not. Let's examine a scenario. Let's say that for one reason or another you are prevented from worshiping God or praying to him and you are no longer able to read or study the Bible or attend any services or studies. While I do believe this will have a negative impact on you and society as a whole, will it destroy you? No, you will continue to exist, you will still have grocery stores, gas stations, law enforcement and military for protection, electricity, garbage pick-up, etc. But let's change the scenario a little bit and say that our government, for one reason or another, no longer exists. Without a government we lose our entire monetary system, we lose our law enforcement and military. Without a monetary system there is no more grocery stores, gas stations, power houses, etc. In short, you are completely on your own. Could you survive? Most could not and within a few short months a major portion of our population would be dead, Christians and non-Christians alike. Now, which “power and authority” is more influential on your life today?

This is why God brought Abraham and Moses out of Babylon and Egypt. In the wilderness you are literally on your own and completely dependent upon the wilderness to provide for you and your flock and your own skills to survive and defend yourself. In essence, you are completely dependent on God. There is one other reason why God brought Abraham and Moses to the wilderness in the land of Canaan, but we will save that for later.