“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,’” (Genesis 17:1, ESV)
There have been numerous postulates formed over the actual meaning of El Shaddai. El certainly means “God.” The truth is, we simply don’t know for sure the meaning of Shaddai. Most English translations, as the ESV above, translate it as “Almighty;” and that certainly makes sense. It has also been translated as “All Sufficient.” While I am not a scholar, this is the translation that seems to make the most sense to me.
God gave Abram a task: he was to leave his country and go to a land that God would show him. It’s humorous that we demand serious signs of guidance before we cross the street to share Jesus with our neighbors. And yet Abram obeyed.
God had recruited Abram to enter into a covenant that promised descendants who would inherit all of the land on which Abram traveled. God promised that through Abram all of the nations of the earth would be blessed.
In our text in Genesis 17, God tells Abram that He is El Shaddai. I believe that God wanted to reassure Abram that He is all-sufficient, that He is more than enough! God wanted him to know that there would never be a circumstance in which He would not be enough. God would supply his needs (Philippians 4:19). He would provide an heir, as well as a mighty nation.
When I go on a trip, I make a list of what I will need. I try to plan for every contingency. Abram had no idea where he was going. He had no clue how to pack. I can hardly imagine it! But God was plan A. There was no plan B. Abram had El Shaddai; he would not be found wanting.
Is God our El Shaddai?
Is He really?
Do we become so fretful before the lost of this world? Do we express deep worry in front of new believers? Do our lives speak of a God who is almost enough?
Are we bearing God’s Name in a worthy manner?
I get it. Life can be hard. I would be a liar if I told you that I never express doubt, fear and worry. I have taken God’s Name in vain (carried or born it) by not exalting Him as more than enough.
To bear His Name well, we have to know Him. And scripture gives us all the proof we need that God is all sufficient. Like Abram, we need to take that first step, trusting that regardless of where that step lands we are loved and our needs will be met.
The world will never be attracted to an empty faith or an impotent God. We must learn to trust El Shaddai.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
Image by Pixabay on Pixabay