“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the Lord Almighty (El Shaddai), walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Genesis 17:1–2
El-Shaddai is the name of God that means God is sufficient for the needs of His people. El-Shaddai, Abram’s God, is our Almighty God, who is sufficient to provide for every need, even what seems impossible.
I found a great definition of El Shaddai in The Blue Letter Bible: “God Shaddai; pantokratôr (for Shaddai) – the Almighty. 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.”
El Shaddai is not only Almighty God, powerful and sustaining and His mighty presence intersects with His other character qualities, specifically El-Olam—the Eternal God. “He is the one who keeps every promise forever,” says Psalm 146:6. In His immense command and nourishing strength, El Olam keeps His promises, and El Shaddai follows through with what He says he will do.
“Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram, your name will be called Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful, I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you,'” says Genesis 17:3–6.
Imagine the commanding voice of God speaking to Abraham. Unable to stand in His presence, Abraham now flat on his face, God reveals Himself to him and explains what was going to happen next. God’s revelation to Abraham resulted in a deeper relationship because Abraham became God’s friend. God reveals himself to us through His names, so we can know Him better. El Shaddai was especially familiar to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When we think of El Shaddai, it sounds like the word “shudder or shuddering,” which could lead to the spiritual response of soul “shaking, trembling, quaking” because of our awe and wonder of God’s tremendous power. Our own reaction is based not out of fear, but of reverence for His majesty; as Abraham fell face-down, we, too might also feel compelled to respond with a physical reaction of worship, humility, or respect.
Our finite minds are stretched when attempts are made to comprehend the power of El Shaddai; it helps to experience Him in nature. Late last night, my husband, Jim, and I were outside underneath a pitch-black velvet sky, dotted with thousands of twinkling stars. Like an infinite shimmering canopy over our heads, we were caught up in amazement and stunned by the majestic heavenly expression of God’s power. We were reminded of El Shaddai, the name of God that means “The Almighty, All-Sufficient God.”
As we face challenges ahead, it’s refreshing to let God—El Shaddai, the Almighty, All Sufficient One—take our heavy load and exchange it for the presence of our friend, the Almighty, All-Sufficient, El Shaddai. El Shaddai is the God who is enough. Let’s worship Him in the creation and allow His presence to encircle us with His mighty power. Surrounded by this strength, His presence ushers in peace that enfolds the decisions and difficulties of the day. We are energized by El Shaddai’s enormous clout, giving us renewed hope as we walk into the purposes according to His plans.
By His power, God is able to accomplish anything, above all we could ever think. Ephesians 3:20 says, “By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare ask or hope.”
El-Shaddai, Abram’s God, is our Almighty God, who is Sufficient to provide for even the impossible. El Shaddai is more than able; He is the God who is sufficient and more than enough.
El Shaddai, thank you for your mighty power at work in me. You are more than able to accomplish more than I could ever dare ask or hope. Thank you for your sufficiency, ability, nourishment, friendship. Thank you for who you are, El Shaddai. May your presence and peace keep me close to you today. I pray I will make a difference today because you are my El Shaddai. In Jesus’ name, amen.