(Day 4) EL SHADDAI (God Almighty)
Here we see a further unfolding of God’s names to His people, signifying further revelation of His provision or of His person to those He chose. Though this is rendered God Almighty and sounds awesome and explosive, this is not the true essence of this name, which is said to be one of the most tenderest of God’s names! God Almighty is an inadequate translation of this name and misses the deeper meaning of this wonderful title of God. The name is a beautiful revelation of God’s love to towards His creation.
Though Elohim is an Almighty name of God and expresses His Almighty-ness, Shaddai is, however a little bit more obscure! It’s a tough cookie, but the original view of the word shaddai is the same as the word derived from the word used in scripture for breast or pap! Therefore Shaddai literally means [metaphorically], ‘the many breasted one!’ or ‘the mighty one of much resourse and more than sufficiency!’ The word Shaddai suggests, ‘perfect supply’ and perfect comfort’. So a better translation of the name would be ‘God All-bountiful’ or ‘God all-sufficient’. The God from whom all His people gather comfort, consolation and sustenance from the very bossom of God Himself.
One writer say’s and I quote ‘El Shaddai, then, is a most tender title, used of God exclusively in relation to His children. To the baby, the mother is the all-sufficient one! At her breast, the baby nestles, warm and secure and there finds sustenance. In a word, every need is met. By this vivid imagary of this title of God, His providential grace is most graphically portrayed. He is the Succourer and Satisfyer of His people. He is the Mighty one and All-gracious, through whose love and power alone all His promises are fulfilled. As this name fell upon human ears for the first time, it must have sounded like music indeed, giving Abram an altogether new understanding of God- of His heart of love; His compassionate understanding; His abundant power to fulfil the impossible; His delight in imparting the best of His gifts to His child’. [Herbert F Stevenson ‘Titles of the Triune God’]
In the context of Genesis 17:1, Abram had come to the end of his self-sufficiency. He didn’t need an All-powerful God alone, he needed comfort in his old age and assurance that though He was past it, God was All-sufficient and could sufficiently supply all that Abram needed and all that God had actually promised.
How about you and I? Are we self-sufisient or do we need the All-sufficient one to meet our insufficiency and inadequacy? Go pray about it.