Names of God: El Shaddai

Gen17_1Have you ever observed the power of a thunderstorm, or the crash of the ocean waves, or the sheer intensity of a hurricane?  Listened to the wind as it whips through the trees, going where it wills and answering to no man’s call?  How about hearing the rushing roar of a waterfall as it cascades down a cliff, thousands of gallons of water crashing down into the swirling mists?  All these and more represent the awesome raw power of El Shaddai (El Shad-eye), God Almighty.  

Google defines “almighty” as “having complete power”.  El Shaddai has exactly that, complete power over all.  When talking about the might and power of El Shaddai, we can speak of the three “o”‘s of God: His omniscience, His omnipotence, and His omnipresence.

When we say God is “omniscient” what do we mean? Omniscient means “all-knowing”.  El Shaddai knows all things at all times.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay Your hand upon me.” – Psa. 139:1-4 ESV

El Shaddai knows our every thoughts before we even think them.  He knows what is in the deepest corners of our hearts: “for [He], [only He], knows the hearts of all the children of mankind” (1 Kings 8:39 ESV)  “God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything” (1 John 3:20 ESV).

El Shaddai is omnipresent, always present at all times.  He is there when we rise up in the morning, and He is there in the setting of the sun.  He is our strength in battle and a “a very present help in trouble” (Psa. 46:1 ESV).  There is no place we can go to be free of Him, there is no place into which He cannot follow.

“Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” – Jer. 23:24 ESV

“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.” – Psa. 139:7-10 ESV

It is a comfort to know that El Shaddai is with you at all times, He will never forsake you, and at the same time, it is terrifying to know that you can never escape His judgement should you incur His wrath.  I think that describes our God so well, both comforting and terrifying.

While El Shaddai knows all in all places, He is also able to do all for He is omnipotent, all-powerful.  Nothing can stop Him.

“I know that You can do all things,
    and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2 ESV)

Nothing has come into being without the direct influence of El Shaddai.  “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host” (Psa. 33:6 ESV).  The book of Job in chapters 38-41 paints a glorious picture of El Shaddai’s amazing, awe-inspiring, terrifying power. Please go and read it now.  It’s beautiful imagery, truly astonishing.

God’s power in never-ending, limitless, all-encompassing.

He changes times and seasons;
    He removes kings and sets up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding” – Dan. 2:21 ESV

He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20 ESV).

We could go on and on all day about the awesome power of El Shaddai, but what is jaw-dropping amazing is that God promises to use all that power for our good.  All that truly terrifyingly awesome power bound up in His love for His children.

“It is written,

‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him’.” – 1 Cor. 2:9

El Shaddai is truly God Almighty.

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