(Exodus 6:2-3) And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty [El-Shaddai], but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
The Patriarchs did not know God by His name Jehovah (the Ever Becoming One, or Revealing One) but by His name El-Shaddai - God Almighty. El-Shaddai is first used in Genesis 17:1-5.
"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God [El-Shaddai]; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee."
Remember that Abraham, as far as producing a son, was "as good as dead." God had promised Abraham a son in Genesis 12 but his faith was faltering. So El-Shaddai comes and reveals Himself to Abraham as the El-Shaddai - the Almighty God.
I. The Meaning of the Name - Almighty God
A. "El" is found 250 times in the Bible.
1. The word "El" is the root of Elohim from which we get "mighty, power, omnipotence, the strong one."
(Psalms 18:2) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
(Psalms 68:35) O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.
2. The name El describes God as the strength giver to His people.
B. Shaddai is translated 48 times in the Bible as "Almighty," and 24 times as "Breast."
1. As the El-Shaddai God is described as the One who nourishes and supplies the needs of His people.
2. He is the Almighty One who supplies and satisfies our every need.
II. The Use of the Name El-Shaddai
A. Remember the 'law of the first mention'?
1. We learn a great deal about El-Shaddai by looking at the first time it occurs in Scripture
2. In Genesis 17, Abraham had taken matters into his own hand and by fleshly means had a son, Ishmael.
3. But God had promised a seed for Abraham.
4. Both of them laughed at this promise, but El-Shaddai comes and both Abram and Sarah receive faith.
(Romans 4:19-21) And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
(Hebrews 11:11) Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
B. El-Shaddai is the All Sufficient One…He doesn't need our help!
1. Abraham and Sarah had to learn that what God promises He will give. He needs no fleshly help.
(Hebrews 11:12) Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
2. Abraham's and Sarah's bodies were as good as dead…
3. But El-Shaddai needs no help from the works of man.
C. The Application for Today
1. Religion seeks to 'help God out'
2. But He is El-Shaddai the Almighty God.
3. He doesn't need our help.
4. This is certainly true in the area of salvation!
5. Jesus Christ saved us totally apart from works.
III. El-Shaddai is the One who Blesses Us and Makes Us Fruitful
A. We must be careful not to get ahead of God.
1. Biblical example of Naomi.
2. Like Abraham, she and her husband didn't trust God to take care of their needs.
3. They made the choice to relocate in the heathen land of Moab.
4. There her husband died, as well as her two sons.
5. She returns to Israel a bitter woman.
(Ruth 1:20-21) And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
B. God sometimes uses circumstances to chasten us and teach us that He is El-Shaddai.
1. Naomi serves as an example to us.
2. Before we can be filled we must be empty.
3. We have already seen how he took Abraham who was childless, and blessed him so that he would be the father of a great nation.
4. Naomi shows us that it sometimes takes chastening to make us realize our insufficiency and to make us empty of pride and self-sufficiency.
5. Another biblical example would be Job.
a. Job was a good man.
b. But he was made to see his own self-righteousness by El-Shaddai.
(Job 5:17) Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
(Job 42:5-6) I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
C. The application for us.
1. God desires fruitfulness in our lives.
(John 15:16) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
2. God is the All-Sufficient One.
(John 15:5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
3. When we do not realize our total dependence on Him He purges or chastens us.
(John 15:2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
So we see that the name El-Shaddai speaks to us of God's power and sufficiency. It also speaks to us of the inexhaustible supply of God's riches and strength. And it reminds us that His strength is made perfect in our weakness and His fullness in our emptiness. Do we long to be filled with His power?
Do we have needs that must be supplied? We must empty ourselves of our own pride and self-sufficiency and let El-Shaddai fill us and make us fruitful.