Statistical methods with empirical likelihood (EL) are appealing and effective in conjunction with estimating equations through which useful data information can be adaptively and flexibly incorporated. To overcome the challenges, we begin our study with a careful investigation on high-dimensional EL from a new scope targeting at estimating a high-dimensional sparse model parameters. We show that the new scope provides an opportunity for relaxing the stringent requirement on the dimensionality of the model parameter. Motivated by the new scope, we then propose a new penalized EL by applying two penalty functions respectively regularizing the model parameters and the associated Lagrange multipliers in the optimizations of EL. By penalizing the Lagrange multiplier to encourage its sparsity, we show that drastic dimension reduction in the number of estimating equations can be effectively achieved without compromising the validity and consistency of the resulting estimators. Allowing both the dimensionalities of model parameters and estimating equations growing exponentially with the sample size, our theory demonstrates that the estimator from our new penalized EL is sparse and consistent with asymptotically normally distributed nonzero components.