During Passion week God led me to write about a particular name of His. I didn’t realize then how personally meaningful it would become.
“El –Shaddai” is most often translated “God Almighty” in English versions. The 1599 Geneva Bible sometimes uses “God all-sufficient”. These two descriptions are the most commonly accepted interpretations. This name indicates absolute power enough to complete all His purposes for all eternity with a sufficiency filling all needs and desires of all His creation.
Abram was the first to whom God revealed Himself in this way. God said, “I am El-Shaddai – God Almighty. Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” Remember last week we looked at how Sarai, Abram’s wife, tried to fulfill this promise in her own way? I love how God did not break His covenant with them even though they had not waited for God to show Himself as the Almighty and All-Sufficient One. God had a plan that would confound human understanding and any other realm of possibility. Isaac, Abram’s son, reminded his son, Jacob, of this covenant when he said, “May God Almighty bless you…may God pass on to you and your descendants the blessings He promised to Abraham…” God personally renewed this covenant with Jacob who passed on the blessing to Joseph’s sons and brothers. El-Shaddai was a name familiar to these patriarchs of ancient Israel. They recognized God as their protector, supplier, sustainer; He was sufficient for everything! Job, who likely lived during the same time often called God “El-Shaddai”.
Another perspective on El-Shaddai suggests the name may come from the Hebrew word for “breast” which portrays God as the One who nourishes and fills us. I find this picture especially significant. All moms who have had the amazing experience of nursing their baby understand the deep sense of satisfaction knowing you have supplied all the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. Even with bottle-feeding, we have the ability to sufficiently fill their hungry tummies with nutritious sustenance. What a beautiful analogy of our all-sufficent God! In His presence I need never be found wanting. He longs to abundantly bless us with every blessing.
On the Thursday evening before Easter this truth took on fresh significance as I observed communion with my church family. The service followed the model of the last supper Jesus and His disciples shared before His arrest and crucifixion. As Scriptures were read and we worshiped the Lord in song, I reflected on how Christ had become the fulfillment of that age-old covenant El-Shaddai had made with the patriarchs.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”
Earlier, Jesus had told the crowds, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and He who believes in me will never be thirsty…I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If a man eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
When Jesus died on the cross, He poured Himself out; He gave His own blood. As theperfect Lamb of God, His death became the all-sufficient sacrifice. Never again would we have to sacrifice any animal to atone for our sins. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness,” the writer of Hebrews says, “…now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Christ alone is sufficient enough to secure the gift of eternal life for all who believe in Him. As Paul said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
The invitation of Christ is mine and yours to receive “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Recently, a friend shared this quote, “You cannot have a need I cannot supply. A flower or one thousand pounds, one is no more difficult than the other. All power is MINE.”
Jesus wants me to participate in all He is. Christ is all I need. He has paid for all my sins for all of eternity.
Until next Sunday,