A New Revelation of God
Every advancement in our spiritual life must spring from a new and greater view of God. It was the vision of God that sent Abraham forth on his new career of faith, and it was always a new revelation of God that led him to further advancements in the successive steps of faith. It was the revelation of God to Jacob, first at Bethel and next at Peniel, that led to the great crisis of his life. It was a revelation of God that sent Moses forth to deliver Israel. It was a similar revelation that made Joshua the conqueror of Canaan. The vision of God brought healing and new life to Job, and called Isaiah to his great prophetic mission. And it is such a vision of God that alone can meet the needs of our hearts and inspire our souls to our heavenly calling. It is God we need to see—God in His mighty character as El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One.
The name El Shaddai stands for the Almightiness of God. We might translate it to mean the God of the supernatural. Men are trying to get the supernatural out of the Bible and explain it all on rationalistic principles. The devil is engaged on a parallel line to get the supernatural out of Christian life and to bring religion down to a mere matter of ethics, morals, and humanitarian improvement. But the very essence of Christianity is that it is the revelation, worship, and fellowship of a supernatural Being—and it is all Divine from the first century to the last. God’s great object is to make Himself known to us and then to work out His almightiness in us. Every situation into which He brings us is just a frame in which to set His promises and a mold in which to cast some new manifestation of His all-sufficiency. The very difficulties that surround our lives today are but opportunities for God to show Himself to us as El Shaddai.
What This Means
This goes beyond merely acknowledging that God is almighty in the abstract, that He has the attribute of omnipotence. All will admit this in a general way, for if God be God at all He must be all-powerful. But many of us hedge Him around with such limitations, laws, and modes of operation as to practically tie His hands and make it fruitless for Him to do anything really supernatural in our lives. To really believe in the all-sufficiency of God means that He is actually at liberty to do for us all that we need a God for—and that we have a right to take Him as everything for which we are unequal and insufficient. He has promised all things necessary for life and godliness, He has provided all things, and we have a right to come to Him for all things, presenting without question this mighty check written on the bank of heaven: “God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
In the first place, it means that we have a God who is equal to accomplish the salvation of any sinner, however lost and however long resisting the mercy and grace of God. He is equal to the salvation of your son, your wife, your friend, and even your own soul, whoever you are and whatever you may be. It means that He is equal to the sanctification of any temperament, no matter how impracticable; the counteracting of any habit, no matter how ingrained; the overcoming of any defect, infirmity, and sin, no matter how deeply rooted and aggravated; the victory over any and every temptation that may come; a life sanctified through and through and “preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) It means that He “is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24)
It means that He is equal to your physical need. He has made provision for your sickness as well as your sins, your infirmities of body as well as your infirmities of temperament, and the supply of all needed strength, health, and help until your lifework is done (Matthew 8:16-17; James 5:13-16).
It means that He is equal to your circumstances, that He can sustain you, comfort you, and keep you under all possible unfavorable conditions, making you happy when everything around you is unpleasant, using and blessing you when everything seems to conflict and hinder; and that He can transform circumstances, turning the curse into a blessing and bringing up the fir tree and the myrtle instead of the thistle and the thorn (Deuteronomy 23:5; Isaiah 55:13).
It means that He is equal to your work and ministry, no matter what the difficulties and obstructions may be, that He can overcome the antagonism of China, the caste of India, the barbarism of Africa, and even the lethargy and selfishness of the professed church itself. He can carry on and complete His glorious work in spite of the selfishness of man, the hate of Satan, and even the faithlessness of His own followers. As old Matthew Henry quaintly expresses it, El Shaddai means “a God that is enough.”
“Enough for you, enough for me,
Enough for all forever.”