Wednesday, October 19, 2011

El Shaddai

With my Ladies Bible Study group, I am studying the book, Lord, I Want to Know You, by Kay Arthur.  It is a study of the names of God.  Having grown up in church, I am quite familiar with all of God's names.  I know what they mean and have probably heard a sermon or other teaching on them, but do I *know* them?  Do I truly live as though the are all absolutely true?

So far we have looked at:
  • Elohim - The Creator God
  • El Elyon - The God Most High, Sovereign
  • El Roi - The God Who Sees
  • El Shaddai - The All-Sufficient One
Each lesson, though short, has impacted me in a new way.  It is great to be reminded that God created everything for his glory, and that each creation was intentional! (Even my flaws were intentionally created by God - chew on that one for a minute!) I felt completely reverent and in awe realizing that my God, the one who took the time to create me just so, is also the Most High God, sovereign over everything.  Isn't it amazing that with all the power He has, He still takes the time to know me?  I was encouraged that God truly sees everything that is happening on earth.  Not only does he see it all, he cares about what is happening, and is involved in caring for us.  He actually has a plan for us all - even those who don't know him personally - and makes sure it is accomplished.

This last week, I was especially struck by El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One.  In today's English, we use the word sufficient to mean, "just barely enough." I got to thinking about that, though.  If something is sufficient, it is enough. If I have sufficient food for today, no one goes hungry.  If I have sufficient gas to get to my destination, I don't have to stop to refuel.  If I have sufficient money to pay my bills, I do not run out before they are all covered.  If I have sufficient grace to make it through any situation, I...well, what does that mean?  It means God is my protector, the unconditional lover of my soul.  When I run into the arms of my El Shaddai, I never come away wanting. This covers all my weaknesses!  As I read about it, I got the image of my body as a glass shell.  Most of it was filled in with the image of me, but there were big empty spots and gaps where my patience should have been, my compassion, my self-control...But when I turn to El Shaddai, I pictured him being poured out to fill in all the gaps that were in my glass body "container." He is enough for each of those weaknesses! This also covers all the unpleasant circumstances I face. All. Of. Them.  When we suffer loss, He is sufficient.  When we face illness, He is sufficient.  When we face the rebellion of a child, He is sufficient.  When our source of income is suddenly gone, He is sufficient.  When our spouse does the unthinkable, He is sufficient.  When we face death itself, He is sufficient.

II Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

Hebrews 1: 3: "The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." (emphasis mine)
How would I be different if I lived with a full understanding of God as my El Shaddai?

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