Monday, April 23, 2012

El Shaddai

Genesis 17:1 “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God (El Shaddai); walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.

El Shaddai is another name or title of God. Like the other “El” names - El Shaddai is used to describe a specific characteristic or trait of God. In most English translations, this name is translated as God Almighty. This is a little unusual, considering the literal meaning. Shaddai literally means “many breasted”. This reference to the female body as a description of God must’ve made the translators a little nervous.

To be clear, God is NOT female! El Shaddai is not speaking of a lewd or pagan concept of God. Remember, the “El” names are descriptive of God’s nature. So what in God’s nature could “the many breasted God” be describing?

Let’s go back to Genesis 1:27. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God made man in His image, but that isn’t a reference to males. When we read that man was made in His image, it’s better said “mankind.” We know it’s referring to males and female because this verse says so! Both men and women were made in God’s image. God put part of His nature in the male and part in the female. Together, they were to reflect God’s entire nature. After God made mankind (male and female), He blessed them and gave them dominion over the earth (verse 28). Men and women were made to display God’s nature on the earth. This is why it has always been God’s will for children to have a mother and a father. Together they can relate God’s entire nature to that child.

When we realize this, we can understand that there is something in a mother’s nature that reflects God’s own nature. This is what the word shaddai pictures, the care that a nursing mother has for her child. So El Shaddai is the God Who cares for us.

El Shaddai is named many times in the book of Genesis, as God is dealing with the Patriarchs. Isn’t it interesting that God revealed Himself to these great fathers as Someone who cares like a mother?
Genesis 28:3 “May El Shaddai bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may be an assembly of peoples
Genesis 35:11 “Also God said to him: “I am El Shaddai. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.

Although Isaiah doesn’t use the name El Shaddai, he clearly describes the care God has for His people. Isaiah 66:13 gives us a beautiful word picture: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” The next time you see a mother comforting a child who hurt himself, you’re looking at a picture of how God comforts us in our own trouble!

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Sadly, we have seen many mothers who have forgotten and forsaken their children. You see, a mother’s love isn’t perfect anymore - we live in a fallen world now. But no matter how your parents cared for you (good or bad), God’s tender care goes far beyond that! Psalm 27:10 says, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then Yahweh will take care of me.

God cares for you. He’ll never leave you or abandon you (Hebrews 13:5). If you stay close to Him, He will bring you through whatever problem you’re in. Trust in the care of El Shaddai!

Psalm 91:1 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High (El Elyon) shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty (El Shaddai).”

No comments:

Post a Comment