“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.” (Genesis 17:1)
Friend to Friend
I was exhausted. I was drenched in sweat. I was filled with inexplicable joy–a joy I had never known. It was the day Steven Hugh Jaynes, Jr. emerged from the pocket of my womb and made his grand debut into the world.
When my son was born, I never knew so much love could be wrapped in one tiny package. After twenty-three-and-a-half hours of pushing and pulling, heaving and hoeing, he finally decided to leave his comfy sauna and face the bright lights of the delivery room. As soon as the umbilical cord was severed, the nurses whisked him away to make sure ten fingers and toes were accounted for, wrap him in a cozy blanket, and place a cap on his fuzzy head.
We got to visit for a little while, this new little person and I, but alas they needed to run a few more tests to make sure all was well. A few moments later, a nurse brought my little man to my room, placed the squirmy bundle on my chest, and smiled. Steven’s head bobbed about like he was looking for something. He whimpered. He searched. And then he found what he was rooting for. Steven latched onto my body, and the miracle began. Nourishing, life-giving sustenance began to flow. And for the first time I truly understood the name…El Shaddai.
One of the names of God in the Old Testament is El Shaddai. God said to Abraham, “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” (Genesis 17:1).
The word El means “mighty” or “strong. El Shaddai is most often translated “God Almighty,” “God the powerful one,” or “God, the mighty one.” Shaddai comes from the Hebrew root word shad, meaning “breast.” It gives us a wonderful picture of God as “the one who nourishes, supplies, and satisfies.”
The word Shaddai describes power, but not in the usual mighty sense. It is the power to nourish, to sustain life, to quiet one’s longings. God’s name, El Shaddai, is used 48 times in the Old Testament, 31 of those occurring in the book of Job.
The Hebrew root word shad may seem a bit odd at first glance. But if you have ever held a hungry, crying, restless, or anxious babe in your arms, and then witness the calm that sweeps over him when placed to your breast, you understand.
If you haven’t experienced that firsthand, but witnessed it, you understand. The crying ceases, the restlessness calms, the hunger is satisfied, and anxiousness melts away. And to that child, the mother from whom life-giving, soul satisfying nourishment flows is all-powerful. What a beautiful image of our God who satisfies our every need, calms our every fear, and soothes our every longing.
When God appeared to Abraham and introduced the name, El Shaddai, God Almighty, Abraham believed that God was able to accomplish all that He had promised. God’s words were the flow of faith that Abraham needed to nourish his doubts that God would do what He said He would do. It didn’t matter that Abraham was ninety-nine years old. It didn’t matter that Sarah was eighty-nine years old. The laws of nature do not apply to the One who created them. With God, all things are possible. With the revelation of the name, God let Abraham know that He was all-powerful and could do anything He pleased. He was not bound by the laws of nature or fettered by the decisions of man. Nothing could stop His word from coming to pass. Not even a dried-up womb or a withered-up man.
No matter what you’re going through today, you can cling to the truth that God is El Shaddai—The All-Sufficient One. Whatever you need… God is. He has within Himself the life-giving sustenance you need… the life-giving sustenance your heart longs for.
El Shaddai, there is nothing too hard for You. You have everything I need. Forgive me when I root about this earth looking for people, possessions and power to satisfy my deepest longings. You, only You, can truly satisfy the longing of my heart. You are El Shaddai. The Nourisher, Sustainer, and Soother of my soul.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What do the following verses tell you about how God is able to satisfy your longings? Romans 16:25, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Ephesians 3:20-21.
More from the Girlfriends
Do you long for more in your relationship with God? Well, guess what. God wants it even more. And the good news is that something more does not mean doing more. If you feel something is missing in your spiritual journey, then check out, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. Learn how to experience moments of Sudden Glory as God makes His articulate presence known to you on a daily basis! And to learn more about the names of God, see our Girlfriends in God book, Knowing God by Name.
© 2021 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
I am clinging to God today as my mom has a heart procedure and my brother is seeing his Oncologist for terminal cancer. Lord please give us your peace and comfort. Thank you for being our El Shaddai.
As I read this devotion this morning the powerful words you have written began to bring in to focus the powerful love of our savior, Jesus Christ. The love that is perfect and life-sustaining without judgment and blemish. We are so loved! Just thinking of that love gives me so much hope! Thank you, for reminding us of Jesus’ great love and forgiveness.