Do you feel like you are sinking?
God had promised to bless Abram and make him a great nation. However, this meant that at the age of seventy-six, he had to pack up and leave his home with no clear direction as to where he was going. God’s only instructions were “leave and I will show you the way.” For eleven years, Abram followed God’s leading, but there was no sign of Him keeping up His end of the deal. Abram and Sarai were still childless, and one could not be “a great nation” without first having a son.
Abram started thinking that maybe God needed some help in fulfilling His promise. Therefore, when Sarai came up with a way that “they” could achieve God’s promised child, Abram rationalized it as being a good plan. Abram wanted things in his own time. He was not willing to wait any longer. Thus, like many of us, he took matters into his own hands; he married Hagai and fathered a child, thinking that all would go well.
Abram played with Ishmael, spent time with him and loved him as any father would. Yet, something was different.
Abram was not walking in the will of God.
Therefore, God was silent.
How bitter were those years for Abram?
Had he concluded, like the little boy, that without God he was “sunk?”
Did he realize that taking things into his own hands, not only hurt him, but also those in his family?
I am sure Abram soon recognized the folly in not waiting and trusting in God.
And, how many times during those years did Abram feel he had disappointed God? How many times did he wonder if he had strayed too far from God?
After thirteen years of agonizing silence, when Abram was ninety-nine, the Lord finally appeared to him.
“I am God Almighty (El Shaddai); walk before me and be blameless. I will
confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your
numbers” Gen 17:1-2 (NIV).
Up to this point, Abram knew God only as El (The One True God), Elohim (The Creator), and El Elyon (The Most High God / The Sovereign God).
Now God reveals a new name to Abram:
The All-Sufficient One, The Almighty, The Nourisher. (“Shad” meaning “breasts”– pointing to a mother who tenderly provides nourishment for her child.)
El Shaddai was reminding Abram that He was The All You Need God.
He was The Almighty who knew exactly what He was doing – at all times! In essence, God was saying, “Abram, for eleven years you experienced me as El Shaddai without knowing it. Then, you decided to trust in yourself. For thirteen years you have been trying to do things your own way. You have discovered, painfully, that YOUR way does not work. Now learn a new thing about me. I am El Shaddai. I will do what I have promised, and I will do it at exactly the right time!”
Abram needed to get this! We need to get this! We need to understand that God wants to bless and nourish His children, and because He is Almighty…He will do just that.
God’s provisions may not look the way we want. His promises may not be fulfilled when we want, but He is El Shaddai. He will do what He says.
It is to Him we must run when we are depleted in our relationships, finances, ministries, and workplaces. He will never turn us away. And, He will be more than enough!
What is the significance of knowing God as El Shaddai?
As our EL SHADDAI, He is not only our Nourisher, He is also our Protector.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High (El Elyon) will rest in the shadow
of the Almighty (El Shaddai)” Psalm 91:1 NIV.
El Shaddai keeps His promises.
El Shaddai is All-Sufficient! He sustains us freely.
Abram lost sight of God as his El Shaddai while he waited.
Abram’s great solution turned into his biggest nightmare!
Have you not also experienced the same thing?
The quandary is that we have refused to see God as El Shaddai and allow Him to be the Almighty in our lives.
We have kicked Him out of our schools, government, homes, and even our churches, and so our greatest plans have turned to nightmares.
Habakkuk clung to this (Hab 3:17-19).
Paul rejoiced in this (2Cor 12:9-10).
Abram learned this, and as a result, fell on his face in worship before El Shaddai (Gen 17:3), submitting to His Lordship. El Shaddai then poured Himself into Abram. He changed Abram’s name to Abraham and made him fruitful at an age when fruitfulness was considered impossible!
When I submit to El Shaddai, as Abram did, He will also pour into me all that I need to be light in this dark world. In fact, the more I submit, the more He will pour, until the overflow pours down onto those around me!
Does your heart echo the little boy’s prayer?
If so, then you have experienced God as your El Shaddai. If not, then may I suggest you get to know Him as your El Shaddai?
He wants you to. Will you let Him?