El-Shaddai – God Almighty
What a field day the supermarket tabloids would have today if a child was born to a ninety year old woman and her one hundred year old husband. Modern medicine is just now beginning to explore the possibility of childbearing past menopause. Even a sixty year old woman bearing a child would produce major headlines. So think how astonishing this would be without the help of “modern medicine.”
Abram and Sarah were such a couple and instead of modern medicine they had the help of El Shaddai – Almighty God. God had previously promised Abram that he would be exceedingly fruitful. “Then he brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.'” (Genesis 15:5) Even at this point Abram and Sarah were past normal childbearing. On top of this, another 25 years went by without one child much less a sky full.
It seems appropriate that God would identify himself as El Shaddai when he appeared to Abram at the age of ninety-nine to tell him that the time had finally come. “Almighty God”. Only one who possessed ALL MIGHT would be able to bring this miracle to pass. God said; “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”(Genesis 17:1-11)
This was a monumental event in the life of Abram. So much so that at this time God changed his name from Abram to Abraham: from “Exalted Father” to “Father of a Multitude.” It was at this appearance that God did several significant things.
- Established a covenant with Abraham and with his descendants.
- Changed Abraham’s name from Abram.
- Promised the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession.
- Established circumcision as the sign of the covenant.
The child that God promised was born exactly at the set time that God had spoken to the old couple and they named him Isaac which means “laughter.” Sarah thought it appropriate. She said; “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:6) As you can imagine, this occasion was joyous beyond measure.
El Shaddai is the faithful ALL MIGHTY God who keeps his promise even when what he has promised is impossible. But nothing is impossible for God. It is good to remember El Shaddai when you are waiting on God to fulfill a promise that has been a long time coming. Abraham waited a very long time for Isaac; much longer than most of us have to wait. God showed up for Abraham and he will show up for you and me. He is big enough – mighty enough – for our biggest and most impossible dreams.