From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Three, Day One
God revealed himself as El Shadday, God Almighty, to Abram and told him of the everlasting covenant he was establishing with him and with his descendants. Until the time of Moses, when another divine name was revealed, the patriarchs considered El Shadday the covenant name of God. When we pray to El Shadday, we invoke the name of the one for whom nothing is impossible.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." (Genesis 17:1-2)
GOD REVEALS HIS NAME
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers."
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you and I will be their God.". . .
God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."
Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!" (Genesis 17:1-8, 15-18)
Lord, help me to know you as my All-Powerful God, the one who is able to sustain and bless me, to fulfill every promise he makes. Increase my awe of you and of your power so that, like Abraham, I may follow you faithfully, always believing you are enough for me.
Understanding the Name
The Hebrew El Shadday (EL shad-DAI), often translated "God Almighty," may literally be translated "God, the Mountain One." Since many of the gods of the ancient Near East were associated with mountains, early translators may have made an educated guess regarding its meaning. Like the mountains themselves, God is seen as strong and unchanging. El Shadday reveals God not only as the one who creates and maintains the universe but who initiates and maintains a covenant with his people. Shadday occurs thirty-one times in the book of Job and seventeen times in the rest of the Bible. In the New Testament, the Greek term Pantokrator is often translated as "Almighty."
Studying the Name
Why do you think God revealed his name when speaking of the covenant he made with Abraham and his descendants?
Note that in addition to revealing his name, God also changed Abram's and Sarai's names. What do their new names signify? See also Genesis 12:2-3.
What was Abraham's response to the promise and the revelation of God's name? How do you think you would have responded if God had revealed himself to you as he did to Abraham?
Galatians 3:7 indicates that "those who believe are children of Abraham." What does God's covenant name, El Shadday, God Almighty, mean for your life? How have you experienced God's almighty power working on your behalf?
For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. Be sure to check out Ann's newest book, Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness.