Sermon 1 of 6
The Names of God: El Shaddai
Ben Read, Genesis 17:1 - 17:8, 24 May 2020
We are starting a new series this evening, in which we are looking at the different names of God in the scriptures.
The first name we’re going to look at is El Shaddai, God Almighty.
This is a fascinating name because it is only used 7 times in the whole Bible. It was first used in the Book of Genesis, when God appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as ‘El Shaddai’. The name Yahweh, the true God who saves, was not used until the book of Exodus when God revealed himself to Moses:
“God also said to Moses, ‘I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord [Yahweh] I did not make myself known to them”.
So, what does El Shaddai mean? Why did he only appear to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, and what can you and I take away from knowing that name?
What does El Shaddai mean?
I think it is worth looking briefly at the remaining 6 references to El Shaddai in scripture, and as we do so, we’ll see that all of them are in the context of God speaking, and making a covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to greatly increase their number and be fruitful.
All the references to El Shaddai paint a picture of a God who is mighty to do as He says. What He says comes to pass.
It reminds me of a character called Kuiil in the new Star Wars Movie. Whenever he said, ‘I have spoken’, his decisions had to happen. There was no point arguing or having alternative ideas. He had the final say.
It is the same with God. When God speaks, that is what is going to happen.
You only need to look in Genesis 1: ‘And God said, “let there be light, and there was light.’
He is Almighty. He has spoken.
El Shaddai is first mentioned in Genesis 17:1-2
“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.”
This was God’s covenant with Abraham, and when Abraham heard it his reaction, in verse 17, was to fall face down and to laugh, because it seemed a ridiculous notion for a man 99 years of age, and his wife of 90, to have children.
But in verse 19 God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son.”
So, in the face of a natural impossibility, God declares that Abraham and Sarah will have descendants. ‘I am El Shaddai. It will be so because I have said so and I am Almighty.’
And true to his word Abraham did, of course, have a son Isaac, father of Jacob.
Which leads us to the second mention of El Shaddai in Genesis 28:3
“May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.”
Here is Isaac speaking to Jacob with absolute confidence in God’s promise, because He is the Almighty one who said He would do it.
Similarly, in Genesis 35 :11 God spoke to Jacob: “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. “
This message is trustworthy. God says, ‘Let there be fruitfulness’, and there is fruitfulness.
The fourth reference comes in Genesis 43:14
And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.’
Here Jacob was giving a benediction as his sons were about to go off to Egypt, to meet Joseph. He is fearful for his youngest son Benjamin’s life, and he calls on God Almighty, El Shaddai to grant him mercy. Jacob trusts that God can do this because he has already said He would.
In Genesis 48:3-4 we see Jacob, an old man, about to die, blessing Joseph and his grandchildren.
“Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, “I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers.”
The next reference is in Exodus 1:6 where we see all of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob fulfilled:
“Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7 but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.”
El Shaddai, the one who has spoken, brings about his purposes, and there can be no other alternative.
The final mention of El Shaddai in the bible is in Ezekiel 10:3-5. This is in a different context because it describes the sound of the wings of the cherubim, in the holy temple in the presence of Almighty God.
“Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. 4 Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord. 5 The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.”
The sound made by the wings of the cherubim was thunderous and inescapable, exactly like the voice of El Shaddai when He speaks. His voice thunders to every corner of the universe.
If you look at the root words of the Hebrew ‘Shaddai’, the meaning becomes even clearer.
One root is in the word meaning to over-power. God is the one who overcomes.
We can recognise this in the verses in Isaiah which mention that ‘the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this’. This is describing an Almighty God who will not be stopped. He will overcome.
Another root is the word for breast, which describes the all-sufficiency of God, the life giver, the provider. This is especially relevant in the context of the promise He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to bring forth the nation of Israel.
If we consider these qualities of El Shaddai: the one who has spoken, the over-powerer, the life giver, it is easier to answer the next question.
Why did God only appear as El Shaddai to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
The short answer is that it was enough for them. When Moses came later and the people needed delivering, then God made himself fully known as Yahweh, the God who saves. He is indeed, El Shaddai, mighty to speak and to act, but also Yahweh, the God who saves.
Exodus 6:6 says:
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.”
But for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, El Shaddai was enough. Listen to what it says in Hebrews 11 :17-19.
“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death”.
Why did Abraham reason that God could bring Isaac back from the dead? It was because God had spoken. He had said that it would be through Isaac that his offspring would be reckoned. Abraham had faith in El Shaddai.
In Genesis 32 Jacob is frightened because he thinks Esau is coming to destroy him and he ends up wrestling with God from nightfall to sunrise.
Read Genesis 32:26 -29
“Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’
But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’
27 The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’
‘Jacob,’ he answered.
28 Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Why is God’s blessing the most important thing for him? Because he knows this is El Shaddai, and if El Shaddai blesses him he will be blessed. He will be protected from his brother.
In the same way that the word of El Shaddai was more than enough for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to have faith, God reveals to us, everything that we need at the right time.
So, what does it mean for you and me to behold God and know him as El Shaddai?
We are in the privileged position of knowing Yahweh Shaddai, The Lord God Almighty, who saves, who is personal, who is the trinity, and the Godhead.
So how can we apply what we know of God Almighty, El Shaddai, to our own lives?
First of all, El Shaddai is the over-comer.
So often in life we feel that we are being overcome. How many sins we battle with day in day out, constantly failing and struggling! So often we may feel like giving up.
Jesus says, ‘Take heart because I have overcome the world’. The cross, for all its scorn and shame was the very place of victory for God. It may have looked like the world had overcome him: He was dying, weak, pathetic, but actually it was God’s sovereign and unassailable plan that Jesus would go to the cross to die in our place for our sins and to be raised to life again. When things looked at their worst, God was overcoming the world. So, if we belong to Jesus then we belong to the over-comer, which means we will never be overcome. 2 Corinthians 4:8
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;”
In Jesus we have one who has overcome the world on our behalf.
So, what is it in your life that you feel is overcoming you? No matter what it is, take shelter in El Shaddai, the Almighty One who overcomes.
El Shaddai is the promise-keeper.
El Shaddai has made a covenant with his people, based not on our ability to be faithful to him, but on his faithfulness to us.
If you look back at the history of the nation of Israel, God had every reason to throw in the towel on this project. You need only to look at the character of Jacob, a liar, and a troublemaker. Not the stellar, standout character that you would want to build a nation on.
Then, look at his sons, the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel, the pillars of the Jewish faith. Ten of them hated their brother and wanted to kill him.
This was the most dysfunctional family you can imagine. Why on earth would God want to continue with this imperfect troublesome family? Because He is a promise-keeping God. And His promises are always to do us good.
So, you and I can be sure that if El Shaddai has said, ‘I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean’, then we will be clean. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, then He is faithful to forgive and to save us.
So, do you feel that there are things in your life which are beyond forgiveness?
El Shaddai has promised to keep you. Not because of your faithfulness to him but because of his faithfulness to you. So, walk before him faithfully.
He is a God of relationship. He is our sustainer, our overcomer. He wants us to walk with him, and before him.
The references to El Shaddai repeat the phrase “This is what the Lord Almighty says”. He wants us to speak to him, to listen to him, to be in communion with him. Do you come to this service once a week, via social media and then when it’s over, turn God off again for another week? Or do you walk before him in the light of his faithfulness to you, in the light of his presence in you? Yes, we struggle. But that is why He is the promise keeper. So, walk before Him in repentance and faith.
You might fall but if you do, look at Jacob and see how God is faithful to his people even when they are not faithful to Him. You might sometimes doubt, but just look at what the Almighty has done throughout history when He has said He will do it.
You are parched and longing for God to say something to you. Open the scriptures and hear the cherubim’s’ wings, I am El Shaddai, walk before me faithfully.
Will you recommit to doing that, to walk before El Shaddai the Lord God almighty the one who has said, “I have spoken”?
Genesis 17:1 - 17:8
17:1When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.
We're going to read genesis 17 verse 1 to 8. So either follow along on the screen or you can turn up in your own bible Genesis 17 verse 1 to 8. When Abraham was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, I am god almighty. Walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.
Abraham fell face down. And God said to him. As for me, this is my covenant with you. You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abraham.
Your name will be Abraham. For I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful. I will make nations of you and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come to be your god and the god of your descendants after you.
The whole land of Canon where you now reside as a foreigner I will give us an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you, and I will be their god. Well, good evening from me, and welcome to another evening PM sermon. If you've been following along the last couple of weeks, you'll know that we've just finished our series looking at the IAM statements that Jesus makes in the book of John. And I hope you've joined me in really appreciating and just enjoying looking at Jesus from all of these different angles. He's so many different sort of ways we can behold him and learn more about him and love him more as a result of that.
And we're gonna be starting a new series from this evening. Which kind of carries on this scenic tour looking at God and who he is. And we're gonna be doing that this time by looking at the different names that there are fore God in the scriptures. And I'm gonna be starting us off tonight, so I'm gonna pray as we start. Further, we thank you for the opportunity to open up your word.
We thank you that this is your word and that you are a speaking God who reveals yourself to us. Thank you for this name El Shaddai that we're gonna be looking at, and I pray that you would show us and teach us what it means and how we ought to behold you as a result in Jesus' name. Oh, man. So as as I said in the prayer, the first name we're gonna be looking at tonight is El Shaddai, which is translated in our bibles as god or mighty El Shaddai. And it's a fascinating name because it's only used 7 times in the whole bible.
The word Shaddai has used plenty of times, which just means almighty. You'll see that as you as you read the scriptures. But his name, l Shaddai. God almighty. There's only 7 instances.
Yahweh in contrast is used 6823 times. And what's really interesting about this name is that before god gave his name Yahweh to Moses, in the book of Exodus. God appears to Abraham to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai. And listen to this. In Exodus chapter 6 verses 2 and 3, God says to Moses, I am the Lord.
I appeared to Abraham to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, El Shaddai. But by my name, the Lord, Yahweh, I did not make myself fully known to them. It's quite interesting now, isn't it? So what does El Sharai God Almighty mean? Why did he only appear to Abraham Isaac and Jacob as Elshadi with that name.
And what can we, you and I, learn from knowing this name about God? Those are the 3 questions. That I'm gonna be looking at tonight. What does El should I mean? Why did he only appear to Abraham Eiser and Jacob with that name?
And what can we, you and I take away from knowing that name? So first of all, just get straight into it. What does El Shaddai God almighty mean? Well, I think it is worth doing a whistle stop sort of tour through the remaining 6 verses to see them in context because there are only other 6 other verses. And as we do, we'll see that all of them are in the context of god speaking.
5 of them are in Genesis and are about God making a covenant promise to Abraham Isaac and Jacob to greatly increase their numbers we had Genesis chapter 17 read to us. And they're they're a covenant that they would increase the numbers and be fruitful so that they would be coronation. And the sixth mention is kind of a a bonus 1 thrown in in the book of Azikule, which you'll see. And all of them paint a picture of a god who is mighty to do as he says. This is not a god who talks to talk but doesn't walk the walk.
His talking is his walking. What he says goes, if he has spoken, then that is what is. It reminds me a bit of a character called Quail in the new Star Wars TV show, the Mandalorian. If you've seen it, you'll know. And if if you haven't, don't worry too much.
But All you need to know about this character is that what he says goes. So if he says something, there's no point arguing, there's no point coming up with an alternative idea. He's got this little line that he repeats a few times where he just says, I have spoken and then he sort of walks off and then you and that's the end of conversation. There's no point trying to come up with anything else. Here's the final say, no 1 can undo what he said because he has spoken.
And it's the same with God. When he speaks, that's the way it's going to be. If you know Genesis chapter 1, we see In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And God said, let there be light, and there was light. When God speaks, it happens.
In that moment when God said let there be light, light had no other option but to exist. He is almighty he has spoken and that's the picture that we're gonna see of El Shaddai. So let's have a look at these verses in the bible. The first mention as we as we had read is in Genesis chapter 17 verse 1, which says when Abraham was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him in said, I am god almighty, El Shaddai, walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you, and will greatly increase your numbers.
So we have God who appears to Abraham and he establishes this covenant between himself and Abraham. Abraham must walk faithfully with God, and God will increase his numbers. Now verse 17 reads Abraham fell face down he laughed, and he said to himself, will a son be born to a man of a hundred years old? Well, Sarah, bear a child at the age of 90 verse 19. Then God said yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son and you will call him Isaac.
I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. So God appears and he speaks to Abraham. And in the face of a natural impossibility, a man of a hundred years old, and a woman of 90 years old, he declares he's gonna have to sentence after him. He says, I am El Shaddai. I will greatly increase your numbers.
It will be so because I have said so and I am almighty. And then true to God's word, Abraham does have a son Isaac. And then Isaac is the father of Jacob. And so the second mention of El Shaddai is in Genesis 28, which says, so Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him, do not marry canine women.
Go at once to madam harrang to the house of your mother's father. Beth, you will. Take a wife yourself there from among the daughters of labor and your mother brother. May God almighty, El Shaddai bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. So here is Isaac speaking to Jacob, and he says, may, hell should I bless you and make you fruitful?
Because he's the almighty 1 who's promised that he would, so would he do it? And then thirdly, Genesis 35, verse 11. God appears to Jacob and says, I am God almighty, El Shaddai, be fruitful and increase a number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. Again, this message is trustworthy, because it comes from the 1 who acts as he speaks.
When he says let there be light, there is light. He's spoken. When he says, let there be fruitfulness, then there is fruitfulness. He's El Shaddai, God almighty to do as he says. Fourthly, in Genesis 43, we see Jacob now called Israel.
He's giving a Benediction to his sons as they're about to go off to Egypt. And without getting into the story, he's he's basically fearful for his youngest son's life, Benjamin. So he says in verse 14, and may God almighty, Al Shaddai grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. So Wood El Shaddai, the 1 who has spoken his promises, that a nation will be born from his sons. Would he have mercy and ordain that Benjamin comes back alive?
He can do it because he has spoken and he said he would. So would you be merciful and deliver him? Then finally, fifthly, in Genesis 48, we see Jacob, now an old man, and about to die, blessing his grandchildren. Verse 3 says Jacob said to Joseph, God almighty, El Shaddai appeared to me at loose in the land of Kainan. And there he blessed me and said to me, I'm going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give you this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.
And then, literally, if you just turn your bibles a few pages later, in Exodus chapter 1 verse 6, we see all of God's promises. To Abraham, Isaac and Jacob fulfilled. Chapter 1 verse 6 of Exodus says this. Now, Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful. They multiplied greatly and increased their numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.
So do you see El Shaddai, the 1 who has spoken brings about his purposes, and there can be no other alternative. Let there be light. There is light. Let there be fruitfulness and there is fruitfulness. And did you notice there is exceeding fruitfulness?
This is not a government sort of scraping past its target. You know, fudging the numbers to make it look like they've completed what they set out to do. There's exceeding fruitfulness here. He's El Sharai, the almighty 1. He fulfills his promises.
So those are the mentions in Genesis and the final mention of El Shaddai in the whole bible is in ezekiel chapter 10 verse 3 and this is the this is the bonus 1 that's kind of thrown in and it's describing the sound of the wings of the cherubim in the temple in the presence of the glory of God. So don't worry too much about the details of this of this quote, but this is what it says. Now, the cherubim was standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in. And a cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple.
The cloud filled the temple, and the core was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord. And then this is the bit. The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer chord, like the voice of God almighty. El Shaddai, when he speaks. The sound of the cherubim's beating wings in the presence of the glory of the Lord with thunderous and inescapable, like the voice of El Shaddai when he speaks.
When El Sharai speaks his word thunders to every corner of the universe, there was no part of the outer core that could not hear the beating of the wings of the angels. And there is no corner of the universe that did not hear an obey the command, let there be light. El Shaddai, the almighty says, I have spoken. And so he appears to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, El Shaddai, it was his covenant promise to make them into a father of a great nation. You know?
And it will happen because he has said so. And he is the almighty. So El Shaddai, the almighty 1. And very briefly, if you just look at the etymology, the root word of the Hebrew words Shadi, then it continues to build the picture up a little bit. So 1 of the words that Shadi may have come from is over powerrer or the 1 who overcomes, the 1 who overpowers.
And we see that in verses like the zeal of the lord almighty will accomplish this. Which speaks to this almighty god who's not gonna be stopped when he wants to do something. He will overcome. He will empower. He will do his will.
And secondly, it might also, Shaddai, come from the word for breast, which speaks to the kind of all sufficiency of God. You know, he's the 1 who's the life giver, the provider. And particularly in the context of of the promises he makes to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to to sort of bring forth this nation, bear this nation into fruition. Then then that's I think both of those are quite helpful. Things to to to build up this picture.
And so with all those things in mind, the El Shaddai I've spoken, the over powerrer, the life giver. I think when you when you hold all of that and you can see all of that think it's easier to answer the next question, isn't it? Why did God only appear as El Shaddai to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? This is my second point. Why did he only appear as El Shaddai to to these men?
And I think the short time series because it was enough for them. You know, when Moses came later and the people needed delivering. Then God makes himself fully known as Yahweh. Exodus chapter 6 verse 6. God says to Moses, I am the Lord, Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
So now that the nation has been established, they need El Shaddai to save them, to deliver them. And so like Gandalf, as he approaches Saruman who's sorry. As he approaches Theoden who's possessed by Saruman, as he approaches him as Gandalf the Grey, but when he reaches any rose off his gray cloak and says, I am Gandalf the White. So, God says, I I am El Shaddai, but you know, I'm also, I'm Yahweh. I'm the God who saves.
I'm the God who is mighty to speak and to do. I am the God who saves as well. But for Abraham Isaac and Jacob, Al Shaddai was enough. In Hebrews chapter 11, we see by faith Abraham when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. By faith Isaac, blessed Jacob and he so in regard to their future.
By faith Jacob when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph Sons. We see that there was enough in El Shaddai god almighty, the all sufficient 1, the 1 who speaks and who makes a covenant for them to believe and to have faith. Listen to Hebrews chapter 11 verse 17 again. By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his 1 and only son even though God had said to him.
It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead And so in a manner speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. Now, why did Abraham reason that God could bring Isaac back from the dead? Is it because he had some kind of supernatural foresight of the Cross of Christ and of the resurrection of dead? Well, no.
It's because God had spoken. He had said that it would be through Isaac that his offspring would be reckon. And so if God wants to suddenly sacrifice him, then God must be able to bring him back from the dead because God has said that he will be through Isaac, that his Oscar will be record. Abraham had faith in El Shaddai. And in Genesis 32, Jacob It's frightened because he thinks his brother, Isor, is coming to destroy him.
And it's a strange, slightly soap opera kind of bit of story. And Jacob ends up wrestling with God 1 night. I haven't got time again to go into this particular story. But Jacob and God are wrestling at night until sunrise. And then in Genesis 32 verse 26, God says this.
Let me go for his day break. But Jacob replied, I will not let you go unless you bless me. The man asked him, what is your name? Jacob, he answered. Then the man said, your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel.
Because you have struggled with god and with humans and have overcome. Jacob said, please tell me your name. But he replied, why do you ask my name? It's interesting, isn't it? What would God have said then?
Would you have said, shall we? But he doesn't. Then he blessed him there. So here is Jacob. He's afraid of his brother and he's wrestling with God and he refuses to let God go unless he blesses him.
So why is God's blessing the most important thing in the world right now for him? It's because he knows that this is El Shaddai And if El Sharai blesses him, then he will be blessed. If he speaks, then it will be so. He will be protected from his brother if El Shaddai protects him from his brother. I will not let you go El Shaddai unless you bless me.
So for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, El Shaddai, the almighty 1, the over powerrer, the life giver, was enough, was more than enough for them to have faith. And God reveals everything we need at the right time and so he appeared to them at that time as else should I. So thirdly then, what about us? You know, what does it mean for you and I to behold, God is and know him as as Shaddai, El Shaddai. Well, actually, we were in the privileged position of knowing yay, Shaddai.
You'll recognize the phrase the lord god almighty from scripture says a lot. And that is the lord, yay almighty, Shaddai. Yay, Shaddai. You know, all that else Shaddai is but even more. He's the almighty god who saves.
The almighty god who's personal. The almighty god who is Trinity, a godhead. So there are still things that we can learn from his shuddh kindness that we can apply to our lives. And I've got a couple of things for us to apply. First of all, El Shaddai, the overcomer.
So often in life, we feel like we are being overcome. Don't we? You know? How many sins do we do we battle away with day in, day out? Constantly fail and we constantly struggle.
So often, we feel like just giving up because we've been battling away for years and we feel like we've made millimeters of progress. Sometimes the walls just feel like they're closing in around us. But Jesus says, take heart because I have overcome the world. The cross for all of its scorn and shame was the very place of victory for god. It looked like the world had overcome him.
He is dying, weak, pathetic. But actually it was god's sovereign and unassailable plan that Jesus would go to the cross to die in our place for our sins. And to be raised to life again. When things looked at their worst, God was overcoming the world. And so if we belong to Jesus, then we belong to the overcomer.
You know, and that means that we will never be overcome. 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 8 says we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed. The world can do its worst against us now. In fact, Satan can do his worst against us now.
But Jesus is the 1 who gives us a victory. Even over death. In fact, in all these things, we're more than conquerors because of Jesus Christ. In Jesus, we have 1 who's overcome the world on our behalf. So what is it in your life that you feel is overpowering you?
It's overcoming you. Is it work or stress or anxiety or depression or illness? Is it sin and temptations? Is it financial burdens? Whatever it is.
Take shelter in El Shaddai, the almighty 1 who overcomes. Secondly, El Shaddai, the promised keeper. The promised keeper. El Shaddai is a covenant god. He makes promises between himself and his people, and his promises are based, thankfully, not on our ability to be faithful to him.
But on his faithfulness to us. And because he is a faithful god, he's a promise keeper. You know, God had every reason didn't he, to throw the towel in on his project nation Israel. You know? Okay.
Fair enough. We got off to a quite a good start with Abraham. Yeah. I'll give you that. But by the time we get to Jacob, I mean, my goodness, me, what a troublemaker he was, steals his brother's birth.
Right? Steels his brother's blessing, has to run away because he thinks he's gonna be murdered, goes to his uncle, gets played by his uncle, but then plays his uncle back. And then has to run away from him too. Everywhere Jacob goes, he burns bridges. It's not exactly the type of stellar standout upright character you wanna build a nation on, is it?
And then when we get to his sons, who are the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel, You know, these are the establishes, the fathers, the pillars of the faith. 10 of them, hate their brother and wanna kill him. This is the most dysfunctional family you can imagine. Why on earth would God continue with his covenant to these pitiful evil trouble making imperfect people because he's a promise keeping god. And so you and I can be sure that if Elle and I has said, I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean, then you'll be clean indeed.
We can be sure that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us as our sins and purify small and righteousness. We can be sure that if you declare with your mouth Jesus' lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. We can be sure because El Shaddai is the author of those promises. And El Shaddai always keeps his promises. Did you notice how his promises are always good?
I will bless you. He says, I will make you fruitful. These aren't kind of promises we need to be afraid of. These are good promises. And what comfort is is to know that the almighty, the 1 who has sovereign power and who acts as he speaks is the 1 who wants to bless you.
So do you do you feel like you constantly mess up? Do you feel like you don't deserve God's forgiveness? You know, maybe maybe this time you've gone too far or perhaps perhaps you don't see how you can ever live the kind of life that you want to, that you know you ought to. El Shaddai is a promise keeper. Not because of your faithfulness to him, but because of his faithfulness to you.
So that's the second thing. El Shaddai is a promise keeper. Thirdly, and final application for us. He is El Shaddai, So walk before him faithfully. God is not merely an isolated god just with a sort of title like he's the most almighty.
Sort of up there. He's not someone who simply wants to be worshiped from a distance. He reveals himself to Abraham and he says, I am El Shaddai. Walk before me faithfully and be blameless. He's a god of relationship.
He's our sustainer, he's our overcomer, not just in order to show off, but in order that we would be able to walk with him, to walk before him, You know, most of the references in the rest of scripture about Shaddai are this. This is what the lord almighty says. This is what the lord almighty says. He wants to speak to us. He wants us to hear him.
To listen to him. To be in communion with him. So do you kind of come to this once a week? You know, you open your laptop, you turn your TB on, you get your phone out, watch the service, and then when it's done, you turn gone off again for another week. Or do you walk before him in this world?
Do you walk before in the light of his faithfulness to you? Do you walk before him in the light of his presence in you? Do you walk before him in the light of listening to what he says? Because he's a speaking god and wants to speak to you. Look, we struggle.
We're not perfect. But that is why he is the promised keeper. So the question is, do you even walk before him at all in repentance and faith? He is El Shaddai. He is the almighty.
He is the overcomer. He is the promised keeper. He is the sustainer. He's the 1 who speaks. And wants a relationship with you.
So do you want a relationship with him? Do you want to walk with him? I am l Shaddai, God says, walk before me faithfully and be blameless. So wrapping all that up, My parting shot to you is will you walk before him all the days of your life? You might fall, but if you do, look at Jacob and his sons and see how God is faithful to his people even when they're not faithful to him.
You might sometimes doubt, but look again at what the almighty has done throughout history when he has said he would do it. You might be longing just your your dry, your parts, you're just longing for god to say anything to you. Well then open up the scriptures. Hear the sound like the cherubim's wings in the presence of the glory of God. I am hell should I walk before me faithfully.
Would you commit? Would you commit? Recomit to doing that? Walking before yay, Shaddai. The lord god almighty, the 1 who has said I have spoken.
Perhaps just take a minute now to reflect, think about some of these things, pray them through. And then in a minute, I will close by praying. Further, we thank you for revealing yourself to us at all. Thank you because without that, we would not know you. We would not know what you'll like.
We would not know what to do. We would not know how to be saved. Thank you for this name that you reveal yourself as to Abraham Isaac and Jacobel, Shadi. Thank you for all that it means that you are the overcomer, that you have overcome the world on our behalf. Thank you that it means you're the sustainer and the life giver.
Thank you that it means you're the promise keeper. Help us to to trust you to walk in the light of who you are and help us help us to be faithful to you because you're faithful to us. In Jesus' name, amen.
Preached by Ben Read
Ben is a Trainee Pastor at Cornerstone and lives with his wife Ceri who is a youth leader and helps run the women’s ministry in the church.
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