THE NAMES OF GOD: El Shaddai

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.
Genesis 17:1-2

El Shaddai (EL shad-DAI) translates in the English as God Almighty or All Sufficient One. God first reveals Himself as God Almighty to Abram in Genesis 17. Here is where God first began to set apart a people for Himself, a people to be uniquely His and to be His representatives on earth. He tells Abram that He is God Almighty; not only is He the all-powerful God who is Creator, He is the All-Sufficient One.

As we learned in the lesson on Elohim, El is an ancient word used for divinity. All the definitions for El are related in contextual meaning: “strong, leader, power, might”. But, the fascinating thing about Shaddai (also spelled Shadday) is that a firm single definition is a little more difficult to establish. At first, I was confused by all the variations but, as different meanings to the word began to surface and the more I reviewed the Scriptures related to “God Almighty”, the more overwhelmed I became about the true and complex meaning of the Name that God uses for Himself.

Stay with me for little bit in the next couple of paragraphs as we review all of the meanings tied to the word Shaddai and I’m sure that you will begin to see an amazing and awesome God for yourself.

The reason that the word Shaddai is hard to define is because Bible scholars are unsure of the actual root word that was used in original ancient Hebrew text. The Greek authors of the Septuagint and the fourth century Latin authors of the Vulgate, translated the word El Shaddai as pantokrator and omnipotens (Almighty, Omnipotent).

First, let’s review a couple of English meanings for Shaddai.

Almighty: having unlimited power or influence; extreme. Synonyms: supreme, sovereign, all-powerful.
Sufficient: adequate for the purpose; enough

Now, let’s look at some of the actual translations of different Hebrew root word meanings that are also used to define Shaddai.
• (sdh; sadu): mountain
• (saday; sadeh): cultivated field, open field, pasture
• (shad): a woman’s breasts; to pour out, nourish
• (shadad): to deal with violently, to destroy
• (day):meaning, enou gh, sufficient. Other forms of day mean: what suffices, for need of; abundance

Do you see where I became confused? At first I thought, “This word is too much. It’s too hard to pin down.” Then I just laughed to myself as all of the meanings began to mingle and I saw that the word is not “too much” but the word overflows with SO MUCH!

One scholar noted that although El Shaddai describes power, it is not just intended to be a power related to violence or strength alone, but it is power of “all-bountifulness”. Shaddai is the Pourer forth of blessings, both temporal and spiritual.

If anyone needed to believe that God Is Who He Says He Is, as God revealed himself, it was Abram. In this passage, God tells Abram that He is El Shaddai (God Almighty) and if you believe in Me and do as I command, I will provide for you. I will make an everlasting covenant with you and I will make you fruitful and many nations and kings will come from you. I will provide for you and care for you. You will be my people. Abram was 99 years old and God promised him heirs with his 89 year old wife! Abram, now called Abraham, had to believe in El Shaddai!

My personal meaning of El Shaddai: God Almighty, the All-Powerful and Sovereign God who created all things, who is The God that nourishes like a mother gives milk to her babe the God who gives me strength and destroys my enemies, The God who is a Mighty Mountain and protects me, The God who provides in abundance all that I need. El Shaddai, The God whose grace is sufficient and The God who pours out His Life Blood for me.

 

Read the following passage and list all the different names for God that you see. Also, note any reference to some of the definitions we reviewed above:

“Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.[a]
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed[b] limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you,
because of the Almighty,[c] who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
blessings of the deep springs below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than[d] the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince among[e] his brothers.
GENESIS 49:22-26

God Almighty study verses:
1) Who first used God Almighty as a name for God? (Genesis 17:1)
2) What did Abram do when God revealed His name? (Genesis 17:3)`
3) To whom does power belong? (Psalm 62:11)
4) Who has the power to bless and curse? (Genesis 12:2-3; 22:17) (2 Corinthians 9:8)
5) How does God bless? (2 Corinthians 9:8)
6) Complete the following Scriptures:
(Job 5:17) ___________________Is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
(Psalm 84:12) LORD Almighty, _________________ is the one who trusts in you.
7) How does God surround us?(Psalm 125:2)
8) Those who trust in the Lord are like what (Psalm 125:1)
9) Where does God have us lie when we need rest (Psalm 23:2)
10) What are two things that God Almighty is able to do? (Psalm 80:19)
11) What is God called in Zephaniah 3:17?
12) Although El Shaddai means might, power, and destroyer, does He do wrong or evil? (Job 34:10, 12)
13) How will the LORD Almighty be exalted? (Isaiah 5:16)
14) Can anyone stop God from His plans? (Isaiah 14:24, 27)
15) Is God Almighty revealed in Scripture as a Destroyer? (Jerimiah 51:56, 29:17)
16) Does God Almighty restore? (Jerimiah 33:11-12)
17) Who is our Redeemer? (Isaiah 47:4)
18) What else besides bread shall man live on? (Matthew 4:4)
19) What are three things that Paul says were poured out upon him in abundance? (I Timothy 1:14)
20) Write out 2 Corinthians 12:9

Now that you see some of the different ways that God Almighty is revealed in Scripture, please take a few moments and offer a praise offering to God by outlining your own definition of El Shaddai.

ANSWERS (From the New International Version)
1) God Himself
2) He fell facedown
3) To God
4) God
5) Abundantly
6) Blessed, blessed
7) Like the mountains of Jerusalem
8) They are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever
9) In green pastures
10) 1) Restore us 2) save us
11) The Mighty Warrior (NIV)
12) No, it is unthinkable
13) By His justice and He will be proved by His righteousness
14) No
15) Yes
16) Yes
17) The LORD Almighty (NIV)
18) Every word that comes from the mouth of God
19) 1) The grace of our Lord 2) faith 3) love
20) But he said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

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