God of Heaven
There are many names for God used in the Bible having unique meanings. One of those names is first used by Abraham in Genesis 24, the God of heaven. An examination of its usages in Scripture provides insight into another aspect of Yahweh, the Great I Am.
1 Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in every way. 2 Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “Please place your hand under my thigh, 3 and I will make you swear by the Lord [Yahweh – I am], the God [Elohim – One true God] of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, 4 but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” Genesis 24:1-4
Abraham wanted his son, Isaac to take a wife from his homeland, far away from the promised land that he now inhabited, so he sent his servant to find her among his relatives. He promised the servant an angel to accompany him. It was necessary that the God of heaven and earth would accomplish this.
What is the significance of the God of heaven?
What is the significance of the God of heaven? The original Hebrew tells us that Elohim, the One true God was the God of the entire universe, not just the God of the Jews. God of heaven is used almost exclusively in reference to events in foreign lands, while in captivity, etc. The emphasis is on the fact that He is the Lord of all.
Cyrus the Great
2 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 ‘Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:2-4
Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, is used by God to allow His people to return to their homes. This king refers to the Lord as the Lord, God of heaven, acknowledging his ultimate authority over all things. He encourages the people to return to the eternal city, Jerusalem and rebuild the temple, the house of the Lord. And why? Because “He is the God who is in Jerusalem”.
Read: Learning How to Follow
In spite of Cyrus’ strong support, the rebuilding of the temple faced much opposition. At one point, he stopped its construction for a time and so did his successor, Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:21-24). The prophet Haggai and Zerubbabel influenced the rebuilding to resume under King Darius.
In Ezra 6,8-10, he decrees that the rebuilding is to be financed by the royal treasury and that everything required for the sacrificial offerings, including wine and anointing oil would be provided to the priest upon request, that they may offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.” This God of heaven would be counted on to support even the king and his sons. Ultimately, God wishes that the earth’s inhabitants will recognize His splendor and greatness.
1 All you peoples, clap your hands. Shout to God with a voice of rejoicing. 2 For Yahweh Most High is awesome, a great king over all the earth. 3 He subdues peoples under us and nations under our feet. 4 He chooses for us our inheritance, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. 5 God has gone up with a shout, Yahweh with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises. Sing praises to our king, sing praises. 7 For God is king of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding. 8 God reigns over nations; God sits on his holy throne. 9 The princes of the peoples are gathered together with the people of Abraham’s God. For the shields of the earth belong to God. He is very exalted.” Psalm 47:1-9
God of Heaven Cares for All
Abraham’s God is not just a regional God, responsible for His own people or geographic area. He is the God of all and not to be taken for granted by anyone. The God of heaven cares for all people while those who recognize His authority and sing His praises will experience His greatest blessings. In Daniel 2:44, Daniel recognizes while in captivity in Babylon the God of heaven as One who “will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed”.
This authority is not temporary but has eternal consequences. After King Nebuchadnezzar was finished with his trial, “eating grass like cattle” in Daniel 4, he
“blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation.”
We see over and over again that foreign kings who had dominion over the Israelites were impacted by the God of heaven, acknowledging His greatness in some way.
What can believers glean from this study? If pagan kings can perceive the God of heaven, how much more should the believer understand that He is sovereign over all natural forces and deserves our allegiance when we are at home and when we are not. Wherever God’s plan takes us, His authority goes with us, even in the remotest parts of our lives.
Ordained in 1994, planted a church in Northeast Ohio in 1998, spent 12 years as its pastor, have had a ministry to nursing homes for 15 years until Covid hit in March 2020, spent 3 years ministering to recovering men at Salvation Army. With all the Covid restrictions, God has led me to write blogs, a brand new way to communicate the messages He gives me.