It is not possible for man to understand God unless God chooses to reveal Himself. Even when He chooses to do so, it will be a bit by bit revelation. This is because of man’s limited understanding and the separation between sinful man and a holy God. Even then, until the time of Jesus in whom God fully revealed Himself to us, God used to reveal Himself by different names. One such name is El-Shaddai which means God Almighty.
This name was revealed especially to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We read in Exodus 6:3 that El-Shaddai was the name by which God appeared to them. It was only later that the Israelites came to know God by His proper name, Yahweh (LORD). Now, the name El-Shaddai carries with it meaning that is a lovely description of our God. Meditating on this name would bring us special blessing today and also for our journey ahead.
When Jacob had come back to the promised land, God blessed him again. He said to Jacob, “I am God Almighty [El-Shaddai]; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you” (Genesis 35:11, 12 NIV).
Bible Scholars point out two special meanings associated with the name El-Shaddai which are very much seen in this passage. One, El-Shaddai is God Almighty who is all-powerful and all-sufficient to bless His children, nourish them and make them fruitful (Shaddai comes from its root word meaning “breast”). That blessing is given to Jacob here. Again, El-Shaddai is God Almighty who keeps His promises or One who is true to His word. So as God promised Abraham and Isaac the land, now God is once again repeating the same promise to Jacob.
Now what does that mean to you today? To get the answer to that question let us look at Abraham. God had promised him that the land to which he had travelled by faith, that very land will be given to his offspring (Genesis 12:7). But years passed. He had no offspring. So he acted out a human plan which did not have divine approval to have a child. That child was Ishmael. But that child was not God’s plan. Many more years passed. And when it looked most impossible, when he was ninety-nine, God appeared to him as El-Shaddai and changed his name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many) (see Genesis 17:1, 2, 5-8).
The revelation of God’s name as El-Shaddai in this context is important. God was in effect saying that He will keep His word no matter what the impossibility of the situation appeared to be. Abraham therefore changed his focus from the impossibility of his body as good as dead and against all hope believed in the words of El-Shaddai. Abraham was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Romans 4:21; read from 18-21 for better understanding). Thus Isaac, the child of God’s promise, was born.
So dear friends, God as El-Shaddai is one who keeps His promise to you. He is all-powerful to triumph over every impossible circumstance in your life. Yes, He is all-sufficient to bless you. Your little plans are not what God is going to bless. Instead He wants you to fully believe in what He has promised you. He is able to bless the latter part of your life more than the first (see Job 42:12). Only walk before God and be blameless (Genesis 17:1).