In the Bible, El Shaddai is one of the Hebrew names used for God. It’s mostly translated, “Almighty,” but that doesn’t give the full picture. Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies tells us that many Hebrew scholars say El Shaddai is derived from two words, “sufficiency” and the prefix, “who is,” showing God’s infinite sufficiency for all beings. Other scholars say El Shaddai is derived from a word meaning “breast,” indicating that God is All Bountiful. Think about it. When a baby breast feeds, what does the little one get? Plenty of good nourishment, for one thing, until he or she is satisfied. The baby also gets antibodies that both protect the baby from getting diseases and fights the disease if it attacks. The breast of the mother also gives great comfort to the little one and a connection with one who deeply loves them.
Whenever we are studying a word or phrase in the Bible, God set it up so that we learn a great deal about the meaning in the first place it’s used. The first usage of the Hebrew El Shaddai is found in Genesis 17:1:
“When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him. He said to Abram, ‘I am God Almighty. Live in my presence with integrity.’”
The word “Almighty” here is El Shaddai. The Almighty God told Abram to live in God’s presence with integrity. Like the phrase my grandparents often used, “Honest to God.” Other translations read: “always do what’s right,” “be blameless.”
God was telling Abram to be honest and do what’s right because He, El Shaddai, was going to take care of all the things Abram needed. It wasn’t worthwhile for Abram to have to live any other way. Nothing he could get by fraud, stealing, or lack of honesty was going to be better than what El Shaddai was going to give him.
El Shaddai was going to be his sufficiency in all things. El Shaddai was going to be more than bountiful to him; He was going to supply endless nourishment; He was going to give Abram every weapon he would need to triumph over any enemy. And El Shaddai was going to be Abram’s intimate companion forever. What in the world could be better than that?!
Let’s be like Abram and get to know El Shaddai close up.
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