I'm up early this morning, sitting on my couch alone, waiting for the littles to roll around and wrinkle their little noses at the world. I'm NOT an early riser, so this morning stillness is a rarity. A perfect time for me to sit in my jammies, coffee in hand, and force myself not to scroll through Facebook or watch an old Top Chef, but instead think a little about our Almighty God.
"A" - He is Almighty
I'll actually be doing three posts on the letter "A." Almighty, Angry, Awesome. I love these three aspects of our God. I love the depth and breadth of what they each signify and how they paint a vivid picture of Someone who does and feels and is.
Our God is Almighty.
I cozied up to my homegirl, Google, (she never judges me for my PJ choices, today's being lime green with pink polka dots and brown terriers. Don't be jelly.) and my other homegirl, Caffeine. And with these two by my side, I learned a thing or two about our Who HE is.
Almighty = El Shaddai
Apparently, El Shaddai is first used in the Bible in Genesis 17:1-2, "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.'" (NIV)
El meaning God.
Shaddai. Almighty. This is where it gets interesting.
The translation of Shaddai to our English "Almighty" seems to be debated. There are a few explanations for the word Shaddai.
First, the root could be the Akkadian word, sadu, meaning mountain. Which would translate El Shaddai directly to God, the One of the mountains. This could signify God's strength and power, but also his dwelling place or a place to go and seek Him, often described in the Bible as in the mountains.
This holds additional significance from a historical perspective. Many cultures and religions have worshiped mountains (Mount Olympus, anyone?) and viewed them as closest too or the actual dwelling place of their gods. Sacred mountains are viewed as a source of power that is to be awed and revered.
El Shaddai isn't just any old sacred mountain.
He's the ONE of the mountains. The ONLY One.
Additionally, sacred mountains are seen as the source of something vital. Blessing, water, life, healing. Which leads me to the second meaning of Shaddai.
Second, is the Hebrew root, shad, meaning breast. Yep. Breast.
A place of food, nurturing, provision, growth.
In the Hebrew culture, mountains and breasts wouldn't have the same connection as in our own culture. The connection would NOT be a visual one, but more of action, the two providing food and protection, nurturing those who sought them for sustenance.
The second half of the word, dai, is unique to Hebrew and means sufficient. So Shaddai, would also mean self-sufficient. A complete and sufficient source.
He is God Almighty.
The One of the mountains. Our sufficient nurturer and provider.
As blueletterbible.org puts it, "This refers to God completely nourishing, satisfying, supplying his people with their needs as a mother would her child. Connected with the word for God, El, this denotes a God who freely gives nourishment and blessing, He is our sustainer."
Guys. I GET this. As a mama, as a nourisher, sustainer, protector. But I'm not sufficient in these things. Not like He is.
I love knowing the depth of this meaning and seeing it in context.
I love that our all-sufficient nurturing/providing/sustaining/nourishing One and Only Mountain was referred to as El Shaddai forty-eight times in the Old Testament, and thirty-one of them were in Job. If anyone needed to remember God's nurturing/sustaining/nourishing Mountainous properties, it was Job. Am I right?
In calling Him Almighty in his affliction, Job was recognizing both the reverence and awe and power of the One of the mountains, but also his ability to nourish and sustain and provide for Job.
I love that when God first calls Himself El Shaddai to Abram, that He does it combined with the covenant to grow his family to a mighty nation. Highlighting both his power to do so and the fact that he will nourish and sustain the family and nation He is promising.
I love that I understand this side of God more deeply as a mama striving to nourish and sustain and provide for my own little people. I love that He is an All-Sufficient source of these things for me and them. I love that He is a strong, powerful, awe-inspiring Mountain. And I pray I can walk before Him blamelessly as Abraham did.
He is our All-Sufficient powerful, Sustainer, Nourisher, Nuturer, Provider.
Remember. He is ALMIGHTY.
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1 (NIV)
What do you think? How does this change and expand your view of God? How are you worshiping Him as ALMIGHTY?