El Shaddai

When I breastfed my children, I knew how dependent they were on me. I also knew I could quiet them when they were fussy by feeding them. I was their sole source of nourishment.

As strange as it sounds – Scripture uses this picture of breastfeeding to illustrate how God wants to take care of us! The Hebrew word shad means “breast”—specifically a woman’s breast. It is the root word for the name of God El Shaddai. His name reveals God as the pourer of life, nourishment, and blessings. While the Hebrew word is associated with nourishment, I also want us to consider the English translation “all-sufficient.” Webster defines sufficient as “enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end.” When we say that El Shaddai is the all-sufficient One, we are believing that He is enough for us.

We have enough food, time, people, and possessions. It may not always feel like it, but our God has promised to supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19). When we recognize God’s sufficiency, we can pursue greater dependency. We find El Shaddai first mentioned in Scripture in the book of Genesis.

God had promised a man named Abram that he would have many descendants. When twenty-four years went by after the promise, Abram and his wife grew impatient. Sometimes when it takes more than two weeks for a prayer to be answered, I get impatient so we can’t judge them too hard.

They used human logic to try to help God along. I have done that one too. What I love about El Shaddai, our All-Sufficient One, is that He enters the scene after Abram and Sarai have tried to force fulfillment. They decided to have Abram sleep with his wife’s servant to get this promised son. As you can imagine it caused a bit of friction when the servant got pregnant.

While our decisions certainly have consequences, El Shaddai understands our weakness and doesn’t kick us to the curb when we do not wait on Him and take matters into our own hands. After we make a mess of things, God can still fulfill His promises to us.

Abram had tried things his own way, but later he fell on his face before the Lord. (Genesis 17:3-8) He didn’t justify himself. He didn’t shame God for taking too long. He got low. This was a sign of deep respect and dependency. After Abram took this posture, God began to speak. He reaffirmed His covenant and gave Abram a new name. Abram means “exalted father,” but Abraham means “father of a multitude.” Every time someone spoke his name, he was to be reminded that God had plans for his children, grandchildren, and a multitude of descendants.

God promised Abraham not just an heir but a nation that would include kings and a kingdom. Abraham couldn’t out-sin God’s grace, and neither can we. Just because you may have tried to “help” God out and may have made a mess of things in the past, God isn’t done with you.

Abram made mistakes along the way. You and I have too. The enemy wants to convince us that God’s plan for us is beyond fixing. It isn’t true. God is our supplier. If we are still alive, then our story isn’t fully written. We can start today by leaning into God. This means that, like Abram, we get low. God’s sufficiency calls us to pursue greater dependency.

El Shaddai, you are the all-sufficient one. Help me to recognize my needs and depend on you as my provider. You are my source. Sometimes when I make mistakes, I feel like I can’t ask you for more. Help me to come to you knowing that you are the supplier of my needs. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Where is God calling you to recognize Him as all-sufficient in your life? Take a moment to identify a current need. Then thank God in advance for meeting that need.

If you want to learn more about El Shaddai or some of the other Names of God found in Scripture, check out the Names of God Bible Study: https://amzn.to/2DruRmI

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