When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and 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.” (Genesis 17:1-2)
Scripture says that the LORD appeared again to Abram thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael. We do not know what Abram’s relationship with the Lord had been like during those thirteen years of silence; but no doubt there were moments when Abram experienced great guilt. Perhaps there were even times when he wondered if the Lord still loved him. Yet, God is gracious. As He appeared unto Abram once again, the Lord referred to Himself as ‘El-Shaddai’ which means ‘God Almighty.’ Why did God need to remind Abram again of His greatness?
Perhaps God wanted Abram to know that as El-Shaddai, He had sovereign control. The word sovereign simply means that God rules over His creation. The Bible says this about God’s authority – “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…” (Isaiah 46:10) All that God has willed to happen will happen.
Perhaps God wanted Abram to know that as El-Shaddai, He had unlimited power. Notice once again that by this time in Abram’s life, he is ninety-nine years old. Surely that’s too old for someone to begin a family. Yet when God is in control, there is unlimited power at His disposal. The Bible says this of God’s great power – “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
Or perhaps God wanted Abram to know that as El-Shaddai, He would always be faithful. Concerning the faithfulness of God, we read – “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24) Abram could have looked at himself and his failures and wondered if perhaps his opportunity was over. Surely by now he would never have a son. Yet, the covenant God made to Abram never depended upon who Abram was or what he could do. It always rested upon what God was willing to promise. The Bible tells us – “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” (Hebrews 10:23)
Perhaps today there are some areas in your life where you feel uncertain or insecure. Perhaps you wonder if life has passed you by and you have been forgotten. If so, consider once again the name El-Shaddai (God Almighty).
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)