El-Olam, Everlasting God, and El-Chay, the Living God

El-Olam: Genesis 21:33-34

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord (Yahweh), the Everlasting God (El-Olam). And Abraham sojourned many days in the land of the Philistines.

Everlasting God

El-Olam is used four times, olam more than 400

The key word in this name, olam, translated “eternal,” originally meant that which was secret, hidden, concealed, or unknown. The Jews used the word when they wanted to refer to an unknown or indefinite time. Thus, in Leviticus 25:32, olam is translated “at any time” (KIV) or “always” (NIV). In Joshua 24:2, it means “long ago” (NIV). From the idea of an indefinite past or future, the Jews soon developed the idea of “eternity,” which referred to the incalculable and unknown past and to the incalculable and unknown future. Olam came to mean “everlasting” and is generally so translated in our Bibles. Where the word is used of God, it usually also includes his immutability, or unchangeableness. Times change, people change, needs change. El Olam never changes. This is the meaning of the word in Psalm l00:5: “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations”. The word has the same significance in Isaiah 40:28: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom”. James Montgomery Boice, Commentary on Genesis, Volume 2

El-Olam is a God of Promise

  • He is always and eternally available to us
    • With His presence (Genesis 21:22)
      • The omnipresent God who is eternally changeless
    • With His protection
      • The omnipotent God who is eternally changeless
      • when Abraham calls on El Olam, he is calling for God to protect the Promised Land from the enemies of Abraham’s descendants after he died. Abraham wanted Beer-sheba and the Promised Land to be his family inheritance forever.
    • With His preparation (Genesis 22)
      • The omniscient God who is eternally changeless

El-Olam is Eternal

  • He lives forever (olam) (Deuteronomy 32:40; Revelation 1:8)
  • He numbers our days (Psalm 90)
  • He is an everlasting King (Jeremiah 10:10)
  • He is immutable (Psalm 102:27; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 1:12; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17)

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

El-Olam’s Attributes are Eternal

  • His Love (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • His Loving kindness / mercy / Steadfast Love (Psalm 100:5)
  • His Glory (Psalm 104:31)
  • His Truth and Faithfulness (Psalm 117:2)
  • His Righteousness (Psalm 119:142)

El Chay: Joshua 3:9-10

And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord (Yahweh) your God.” And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God (El-Chay) is among you and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

El Chay Will Not Fail

  • He will do what He says (Joshua 3:10)
  • He is a God of miracles (Joshua 3:13, 15-16)
  • Darius understood it (Daniel 6:26)
  • God of the living, not the dead (Mark 12:24-37)

El-Chay Will Not Perish

  • Unlike idols, which will perish (Jeremiah 10:10-11)

El Chay Endures Forever

El Chay is Our Hope

“We should not hold onto life here on earth as it is the temporary trappings that distract us from our purpose and the life God has given us to live. How much freer would we be if we simply followed God in a surrendered life rather than running around trying to make our lives work out as we plan hoping God will bless it?” Michelle Bentham, michellebentham.org

 More on the LIVING GOD

  • Longing/Thirsting of our soul: Psalm 42:2; 84:2
  • Preferable to idols: Acts·14:l5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9
  • Fearsome: Hebrews 10:31

Praying to God by Name

From “Praying the Names of God” by Ann Spangler


Reflect On:    Psalm 90

Praise God:        For he has no beginning and no end.

Offer Thanks:     That God has made your soul immortal.

Confess:             Any tendency to live without reference to heaven.

Ask God:           To make you grateful for every day that passes.

Reflect On:    Isaiah 46:4 and 40:28-31

Praise God:        For his eternal vitality.

Offer Thanks:     That God promises strength for the weary.

Confess:             Any tendency to complain of your aches and pains rather than praying about them.

Ask God:           To increase your strength and renew your energy.

Reflect On:    Ecclesiastes 3: 11 and John 17

Praise God:        Who is the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is, who was, and is to come.

Offer Thanks:     For the promise of eternal life.

Confess:             Any tendency to live as though this world is all there is.

Ask God:           To deepen your hope of heaven.

El Chay

Reflect On: 2 Kings 19:14-37

Praise God:        Because he is God over all the earth.

Offer Thanks:     Because God hears your prayers and sees your needs

Confess:             Any lack of prayerfulness for yourself, your family, your community, or the world.

Ask God:           To deliver you from your enemies.

Reflect On: Joshua 3:9-10

Praise God:        For his saving actions.

Offer Thanks:     For the ways God has driven out your enemies.

Confess:             Any tendency to believe that God is unable or unwilling to act on your behalf.

Ask God:           To drive out the enemies that continue to harass you.

Reflect On: Romans 8:9-11; 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

Praise God:        For his Word, which is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword.

Offer Thanks:     That the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you.

Confess:             Any ambivalence you have toward yielding to God’s Spirit.

Ask God:           To help you taste the joys of the Spirit-controlled life.

Next: YHWH (Jehovah)

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