This time we are going to look at the name El Shaddai, which means Almighty God and again we shall look at this name in relation to Abram. El Shaddai, the Almighty, all sufficient God is a precious name showing the goodness and grace of our God. This name occurs 8 times in the Old Testament. It talks of the God of miracles for Whom nothing is impossible.
‘He who dwells in the secret place of El Elyon shall abide under the shadow of El Shaddai’ (Psalm 91). The whole Psalm bears testimony to El Elyon and El Shaddai.
Shaddai on its own means ‘Almighty’ and comes from the root SHAD which means breast. Those of us who are mothers know all about the usefulness of our breasts to produce milk to feed our babies and we know that no formula produced by man can come near to providing the goodness that breast milk can. This picture depicts the all sufficient, all bountiful nature of God. We can rest on His breast, we can feed from His goodness, we can receive spiritual nourishment for our satisfaction. It’s a lovely picture, and one that very meaningful to us as women. As I watched my daughter feeding her babies and remember feeding my children, I see contented and satisfied babies nestling close to Mummy, receiving all they need for their well being.
Now we return to Abram who began to doubt that God was ever going to fulfil His promises.
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” The Abram said, “Look You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” The He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:1-6).
God reminded Abram of His promises and made a covenant with him to seal those promises. But as he got older Abram wavered in his faith that the promises would actually came to pass. The promised son had never arrived and now he was old, and Sarai, his wife, was past childbearing age, well past. We can understand why he began to doubt, we would too. So Ishmael was born to Hagar and we all know where that led. Abram was 86 at that time, but still God made him wait. He got to 99 years of age, and still he waited, and then after all those years, God gave Abram a fresh revelation of Himself. We shouldn’t get impatient with God. He will reveal His ways to us in His own time, not in ours. We can try to order our lives as Abram and Sarai did, and if we do then we shouldn’t be surprised when things go pear shaped. Ishmael brought trouble with him, which still survives to this day. No, it is much better to allow God to show us His way, for it’s always best. We say, we will do this, we will do that, we will plan this, we will plan that, but when will we learn to wait upon the Lord? Why do we always think that we know better?
Well so it was with Abram, but God had a better plan!
“When Abram was ninety nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I AM Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.The Abram fell on his face , and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you” (Genesis 17:1-11).
“Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name, and I will bless her and also give you a son by her, then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her. Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child? And Abraham said to God, ” Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” Then God said, ” No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year” (Genesis 17:15-21).
I AM El Shaddai – Almighty God – all powerful, all sufficient!
What an amazing revelation for Abram, can you imagine being spoken to like that by Almighty God? It’s as if God was saying to Abram, “I’ve already shown you that I am El Elyon, that I am in control of everything, now I am going to show you another aspect of My nature that you need to understand to help you continue in faith. I always keep My word and nothing can keep My promises from coming to pass. I AM Almighty God, nothing is impossible for Me. I AM All Powerful, All Sufficient, Keeper of My promises and Guarantor of My Word. I AM El Shaddai!”
Abram was being human! He only saw the impossibility within his knowledge of having a child at his age, and his past child bearing aged wife being able to give birth to a baby boy. He even found the idea of it all amusing, and laughed. But God showed Himself as the One who is control of life and death and can do anything. Abram would be the father of the child who was to be born to Sarai and he would be the father of many nations through his son Isaac. God would do all that He said He would. Abram believed, and God changed his name to Abraham, from ‘exalted father’, to ‘father of a multitude’, and Sarai became Sarah, from ‘dominant one’, to ‘princess’. Both had an ‘h’ added to their names, symbolic in Hebrew of the breath of the Holy Spirit.
As God revealed Himself to Abraham as El Shaddai so He wants reveal Himself to us. We can walk in faith with our God, not because we’ve got the faith thing all worked out and sewn up, not because we have will power, not because we are knowledgeable. No, we can walk in faith because we know that El Shaddai is our Almighty God, and know that He always keeps His promises and that there is nothing too difficult for Him.
Abraham live in a time of great cruelty and evil, his neighbours led wild, pagan and dissolute lives, God’s judgement was coming on them. The same is true for us today, all around we see society crumbling into dissolution and it is our faith in El Shaddai that keeps us going.
Don’t focus on your personal faults, failings and weaknesses, but keep your focus on Almighty God! Stop looking at the problems and turn your eyes on the One who can do anything. No problem is greater that El Shaddai! He is the One who holds you in His hands, He is the One who guides you, He is the One who leads you along the path of your life by the power of His Holy Spirit at work in you. Trust Him!
May God bless you,