A hard working man fell on rough times through no fault of his own and couldn’t work or support his family. Soon all of their money was gone. A rich friend heard of him and send a large sum of money in an envelope with a note, “More to follow.” A few days later another envelope came. For weeks and months the envelopes appeared when needed, until finally he was able to get working again. The “more to follow” comforted and sustained the family through their time of need.
God supplies our needs in a similar fashion. He provides what we need now with the promise of ‘More to come” when needed. The name “El Shaddai” reveals that aspect of His character. It first is revealed to Abraham in Genesis 17:1 when he was 99 and childless. God reaffirmed His promise that Abraham would have many descendants. God backs up His promise with this revelation of His Person – He is “El Shaddai” so He is sufficient to provide.
El Shaddai is often translated “God Almighty,” and while this is true and accurate, there is a greater depth of meaning contained in “Shaddai.” “Shad” refers to a nursing mother, so god is saying He is to His people what a nursing mother is to her baby: comfort, satisfaction, nourishment and provision of all their needs. Thus God is “All Sufficient.”
God provides for us as a father provides for his children (Romans 8:32), as a mother for her offspring (Isaiah 49:15), as a gardener for his plants (Isaiah 27:3), a friend for those who depend on him (Proverbs 17:17), a keeper for his charge (Psalm 121:4-8), a banker for his funds (John 10:28+ and a shepherd for his sheep (John 10:11).
Abraham experiences God’s sufficiency to provide descendants for him (Genesis 17:1). Isaac tells Jacob the same thing (Genesis 28:3). On and on the name is passed through the Old Testament. Of the 48 times it is used of God, 31 occur in the book of Job. Job recognizes that what has happened in his life is being used by God to mature him and prune him so he will be more like Jesus (Job 5:17). This principle of God disciplining (not punishing) His children so they mature is found throughout the Bible: Hebrews 12:10-11 and John 15:1-8 specifically. God allows trials into our lives to cause us to turn to Him so we can see He is sufficient for our every need. Paul discovered this through his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:9). We should notice the same truth in our own lives as we look back at how God has worked in us to make us more like Him. Truly all things do work together for good (Romans 8:28) even if they aren’t good themselves. We have His promise that He will not give us more than we can handle with His help (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Naomi, in the book of Ruth, is another example of El Shaddai providing for His own as they go through trials and difficulties. Having lost her husband and sons to death, Naomi returns home to Israel. She realizes they never should have left for they were out of God’s will for their lives and that eventually ended in the difficulties she was currently facing. When she returns she confesses this to her friends but affirms God is sufficient to help her through it. Twice she refers to Him as El Shaddai, All Sufficient God (Ruth 1:19-21). God is sufficient when we face affliction to get us back to following God (like Naomi) or when we right with Him but He wants to stretch and mature us more (like Job).
No matter your situation, He is El Shaddai, All sufficient God. Like Paul, we can confidentially affirm that we can do all things through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). Whatever the future holds for you, El Shaddai will see you through.
Where do you see God working in your life to show you that He is El Shaddai to you? What trials are you facing in the present time? Are they to bring you back closer to God or are they to help you grow more in your faith as you again see His grace is sufficient? When has God uses trials and pain in your life to help you grow spiritually? What can you learn from those times to apply to your current situation?
BIBLE STUDY ASSIGNMENT
El Olam, Everlasting God, shows God is in control of all. Read Genesis 21:33 and Isaiah 40:22-31. List some of the main things in your past that show God was really in control of it all. How did God show that He was still in control? What is He doing now in you life to show He is still in control? Pray and thank Him for this.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)