How can the Lord be ‘God of gods’?

Four times in the NET Bible the phrase “God of gods” is used, all of them in the Old Testament. One time it is used by a pagan king, but the other three are used by Moses, one of the psalmists, and an angel. The four passages are in Deuteronomy 10.17; Psalm 136.2; Daniel 2.47; and Daniel 11.36. (The NASB, ESV, and NIV also record the phrase in these four passages.)

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe.
Deut 10.17

If all other gods except the Lord are nothing but idols, how can it then be said that he is “God of gods,” as if both belonged to the same category?

The Hebrew word used in this phrase for both “God” and “gods” is “Elohim.” It is used of God in the plural, indicating, apparently, his wonderful powers. (Some scholars call it a “majestic plural.”) It is also used to refer to that which is great, to rulers, or to mighty ones. Jesus himself alludes to this use of it in John 10.34.

So God is superior to those things that many people consider to be gods. The word is used in a sense that accomodates a popular view of what is a god. Anything that anybody might consider to be a god is far inferior to the one true God who created the universe and made man in his image.

We should feel free, therefore, in proclaiming the one living and true God by use of this phrase. It should help us to make God our God, to put him first in our lives. And since Christ is God in human form, we should make him our only guide, authority, and power.

“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it” 1 Peter 3.15 NLT.

If you noticed a change in style in this devotional, it’s because I wrote it for and submitted it to a brotherhood magazine with worldwide circulation. Does this style sound better or worse to you?

What do you think?