Name of God - El Shaddai: God Almighty
El Shaddai – God Almighty
Daily Verse: “When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be blameless.”
☆ Genesis 17:1 HCSB
Let's Talk About It: In this portion of Scripture, God is about to make a covenant with Abram. In doing so, his name will change from Abram to Abraham. In today’s day and age, there are many legal loops to jump through to do such a thing. When changing the name of a child, both parents must sign off and give permission. As children of God, we each are given a new name (Rev. 2:17). No one must deal with legal proceedings to receive it – not in the traditional sense, anyhow, but by coming into relationship with Christ and co-signing on the covenant God made with Him, He gives us a new name.
This story of the covenant between Abraham and God is one that showcases that God is God Almighty, El Shaddai. Before I dig deeper into this passage of scripture, let’s look at what Shaddai means. The Hebrew Strong’s Dictionary explains that the meaning of Shaddai (shad-day) is Almighty, however, other Hebrew lexicons say that the etymology (or the origin of the word) is unknown. The definition of almighty according to Webster’s Dictionary is unlimited in might, omnipotent, all-powerful, and irresistible. It can also mean great, or extreme.
I would go as far as to say each of the definitions describes God at some point or another in Scripture. In Genesis 15, we see His omnipotence. He can enact (or cut) a covenant with Abraham showcasing His power of such with a type of Christ (a mirror of what Jesus will do in the New Testament). Abraham cannot come into covenant with God because He is a sinner, so God puts him in a deep sleep and while sleeping, allows him to see what is happening spiritually when the covenant is made – seeing a smoking fire pot and flaming torch pass through the animals that have been laid out in sacrifice (15:17). This same fire pot and torch are what lead the Hebrews through the wilderness. This shows that He is unlimited in might, all-powerful, and great.
God is also extreme. After Isaac is born, God asks Abraham to use him as a sacrifice, and rather than question, Abraham walks in obedience. Many imagine Isaac being a teenager, however children, even male children, stayed with their parents until marriage. In fact, in many cases, the male built a room on to his parent’s house and the woman joined him by living there after marriage. The family unit was important to survival, and there wasn’t as much independent living as there is today. In addition, males weren’t seen as adults until they were about 25 years old. Many suspect Isaac was in his early twenties when Abraham was marching him up the mountain to be sacrificed.
This paints a different picture entirely as we now understand Isaac was tied down on the altar and Abraham had his blade raised to strike when the angel alerted Abraham to a ram in the thicket. We can surmise then, that Isaac was just as obedient as Abraham…willing to lay His life down. This, again, is a type (picture) of Christ.
We see both situations enacted again in the New Testament. God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, so that He could be sacrificed and serve as the atonement of sin for all mankind. Jesus, like Isaac, was willing to lay His life down in order that all of mankind could be saved. Many believe this is something Jesus did not want to do, which is why He prayed in the garden and asked that the cup be taken from Him. Nevertheless, when He saw that it was God’s will that this should happen, He did so willingly. These are all portraits that paint God as extreme, all powerful, and even irresistible.
I can remember when I was walking down a road of destruction. I was about twenty years old and addicted to crack-cocaine. As I was headed to spend the last twenty dollars I had to my name, my tire blew out on my car. I had to pull over and not knowing how to change a spare, immediately wondered what I would do. It was pouring down rain, and as I opened the door to look at the damage, I felt nothing. In fact, I wasn’t wet at all. I looked around and it was raining everywhere, but over me. I looked up to see the sky and there in the clouds was the face of Christ – clear as day.
I immediately felt the overwhelming desire to go home and tell my mom what I was doing, and that I needed help. In that moment, Christ became irresistible to me. I wanted to encounter Him again. I wanted to know Him more. I just knew that He was the way to get out of the mess I had made of my life. So, the person I was with changed my tire and then I told him, “I have to take you home. I’m not going to get high anymore.” The entire way back to his place, he told me how I was just hallucinating, and that I would be back within a week.
I never went back. In fact, I went to church and got delivered. My mom took my car and kept me locked up in her house for a month, paid my bills like my car payment and insurance so I could focus on getting clean, and took care of me. She didn’t let me get a job until she and I both felt like the access to go get something was something I would not succumb to. She helped me remain free and ensured I would not become ensnared again.
God Almighty showed Himself strong in my life that day. He literally moved heaven and earth to look me in the eye of those clouds. Now that I know the Bible more, I realize I had my own Damascus Road experience like Paul did. It was life changing. This is just one way in which I know God as El Shaddai. There are many others, honestly, but I want to know how do you know Him as El Shaddai?
Our study of God’s names, and His character comes to close with this name. If you are just joining us, there are 44 other names of God you can read about and study, and you can view them all here. – Crystal