Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
EL SHADDAI – God All Powerful and All Sufficient
This name for God is used seven times in the Old Testament. The first usage is in Genesis 17:1
Genesis 15:1-6 – 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?” Then 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.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are 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 17:1 – 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.
Abram (Abraham) – “I know Lord, you are El Elyon, the Creator and Possessor of all things. So where is my child? Where is the one to be born in my house from out of my loins? You told me I would be the father of many nations. Well, I’m getting old God. I’m still childless after all these years.”
Years before Abram had been confronted with another crisis. After years of trying Sarah was still unable to have children. At that point Abram gave up waiting on God and took matters into His own hands. He had a child by Hagar, Sarah’s maid.
Abram thought he was helping God out but it only caused problems. He hoped the child by Hagar would be the promised heir to Abram. He was not in God’s eyes. This child was illegitimate because he was not the child of faith and promise. The Lord told Abram “this shall not be your heir.”
- Any time you began to doubt the promise God gave you – you are headed for trouble.
- Any time you take matters out of God’s hands and do your own planning, you are in trouble.
- Any time you try to get ahead of God, you are asking for trouble.
- An illegitimate answer to your dilemma as a result of your manipulation of the situation will result in calamity.
Descendants of Hagar and Abram – the Arabs/Palestinians. Abram’s solution to God’s promise is still causing problems today.
- Short cuts do not work
- Your answers are not always the right answers
There was no sign that Sarah would ever bear a child. And Abram was just getting older. By the time Ishmael turned thirteen, Abram was ninety-nine years sold. This man had to be on the verge of losing all hope that God’s promise would ever be fulfilled. Once again, his faith was being tried.
Scripture makes a point here to everyone who has chosen to follow Jesus. It says that God uses our crises…the most difficult, trying times in our lives…to give us hopeful revelations of who he is. Each revelation is like a separate beam reflecting out of a diamond. It reveals a different aspect of our Lord’s nature, giving us fresh views of his character and power toward us.
As Abram faced yet another crisis, the Lord decided once again to give his servant a fresh revelation of Himself. He wanted Abram to be fully persuaded of His faithfulness. So, scripture says, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God (El Shaddai); walk before Me and be blameless.”
El is another name that is translated as “God” and can be used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God’s character. Another word much like Shaddai, and from which many believe it derived, is shad meaning “breast” in Hebrew (some other scholars believe that the name is derived from an Akkadian word Šadu, meaning “mountain,” suggesting strength and power). This refers to God completely nourishing, satisfying, and supplying His people with all their needs as a mother would her child. Connected with the word for God, El, this denotes a God who freely gives nourishment and blessing, He is our sustainer. What an incredible revelation for Abram to receive at this time. God was speaking very personally to his servant here, saying,
“Abram, you already know I have power over every condition in your life. I’ve convinced you that I’m in control of all things…that there are no accidents in your life, no situations that are merely fate or luck. I am the head, the chief, the boss of all creation…and my word is eternal. Now I’m going to tell you something else about my nature that you need to understand to continue in faith.
“I am not only in control of all things…but I also keep my word. No obstacle can keep my word from coming to pass. I’m not bound by the laws of nature or fettered by any man. I can do anything at any time. There are no mountains too high for me, no valleys too low, no rivers or oceans too wide. I’m supreme above the power of all nature, men and devils. When I say something is going to be done, it’s already done. Nothing can keep my promise. I am El Shaddai…all-powerful, all-sufficient keeper of my promises. I guarantee my word.”
God saw that Abram was focusing on all the impossibilities of his situation. Abram simply could not see past his age, his dried up body, Sarah’s dead womb. So the Lord specifically revealed Himself to Abram as the God who gives life to the dead. He opened Abram’s eyes to the part of His nature that performs the impossible, that calls into existence things thought to be non-existent.
Once Abram received this revelation, he believed God was who He claimed to be. And, afterward,
Romans 4:20-21 – He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
This godly man knew that God could not lie. The Lord had sworn to make him a father of all nations. Surely God would do what He said He would do.
Abram’s newfound faith eventually brought forth the child of promise. Your faith in God who always keeps His word will cause you to see the promises of God.
May God help us to discover the secret that Abraham knew about walking uprightly before the Lord. Here is the secret to a godly walk; we are to receive…to acknowledge, believe, embrace and act upon…the revelation God gives us of who He is. That is the secret, plain and simple. We are able to walk uprightly before the Lord…not because we have willpower, knowledge, or even a covenant promise in hand; we walk uprightly because we are fully persuaded that El Shaddai will keep His promises to us.
Are you fully persuaded?