by Mike Ratliff
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” (Genesis 17:1-2 ESV)
In these last days it is imperative that God’s people have a more complete knowledge of God. So, in light of this, let us look at one of the names of God that speaks much about His power and provision. God keeps His part of the covenants He makes and it is this name, El-Shaddai, that God used for Himself that gives us much comfort as we come to understand that He helps and blesses His people. El-Shaddai ( אל שׁדּי ) – We must never forget that in Hebrew we read from right to left and this name of God is two separate words, Ēl( אל), meaning, “might,” and Shaddai (שׁדּי ) , meaning , “the Almighty, the Powerful One, or the Mighty One.” As a combined name of God, El Shaddai, which occurs seven times in Sacred Scripture, was the covenant name for God to the Patriarchs until the time of Moses. The Jewish rabbis believed that the term meant the “One who is self-sufficient.” God’s covenant was moral and ethical in character, not ritualistic or orgiastic.
The KJV and the ESV translate El Shaddai as God Almighty or Almighty God. This covenant name of God is spoken to Abram (Genesis 17:1-2 above) very appropriately here because it carries with it the concept that it is El Shaddai who sustains His covenants. He is the one who preserves His saints. He is the one who saves.
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” (Hebrews 10:15-17 ESV)
In the book of Hebrews we read of the New Covenant replacing the old. This covenant was made through the blood of Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ declared this covenant in effect at the Last Supper.
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:27-28 ESV)
All in Christ are in this blood covenant with the Saviour. Each of them have had the laws of God put on their hearts and written on their minds and have had their sins forgiven. This is the power of the cross. All in this covenant with our Lord are being sustained in it by El Shaddai. He is God Almighty my brethren.
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge– even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9 ESV)
The Greek word translated in this passage as “sustain” is “βεβαιόω” or “bebaioō.” This verb is in future tense. This refers to the fact that El Shaddai shall preserve all in Christ to the end of this age, complete them at that time then they will all be with their Lord forever. Paul was confirming to the Church each genuine believer’s salvation by their preservation in a state of grace. God is faithful and will do this.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:22-39 ESV)
My brethren, we are held in our Lord’s hands and the Father holds us together with Him. El Shaddai is sustaining us in this state of grace. He is keeping us in this covenant. No matter how we are persecuted or mistreated or denigrated or treated by the enemies of the truth, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The verb “separate” here is the Greek word “χωρίζω” or “chōrizo.” It means, “to place room between.” It implies one coming between two people to force them apart. It is in Aorist tense, Infinitive mood, and Active voice. This describes punctiliar action but does not signify the time of the action. I believe that Paul is telling us here that no matter what our enemy tries to do to come between us and our Saviour, from now until he is cast into the Lake of Fire, no matter what sort of force he brings to bear, even death, he will not be able to do it. We are secure in the covenant with our Lord and are sustained by El Shaddai.
Be encouraged my brethren! El Shaddai is working in each of us to keep us in this state of grace. This does not mean that we can just kick back and coast to the end. No, we are commanded in scripture to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We are commanded to become Spirit-filled by drawing near unto God, prayer, worship, and submission to the brethren. We are commanded to walk in repentance and abide in Christ, to run the race that the Father has set before us. We must pursue our Lord and stay on the narrow, difficult path while making disciples all along the way.
Soli Deo Gloria!