The Names of God – El Shaddai

This is the fifth post in the series on the names of God.

In the last post we studied the name El-Roi. Believers serve El-Roi, the God who sees. He is not a distant God, who does not care about the needs of His people. He sees each need, every good work, all distress, and each sin. He hears every one of our prayers. Christians can confidently say, as Hagar did, “You are a God of seeing… who looks after me” (Genesis 16:13).

Sixteen years elapsed between Hagar’s encounter with El-Roi and the first appearance of the name El-Shaddai. “El Shaddai means ‘Almighty God.’” [1] This is obviously referring to God’s power. “Though the derivation of this word is uncertain, the most accepted one is that shaddai is connected with an Akkadian word that means ‘mountain.’” [2] God is strong and immovable like the mountains.

In Genesis 17:1-2 the Lord told Abraham, “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.” This name is connected to God’s covenant with Abraham and the reaffirmation of that covenant with Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 35:11-15, 48:3). In Exodus 6:2-4, God told Moses that it was by His name El Shaddai that He entered covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “‘God Almighty’ revealed Himself as a powerful deity who was able to perform whatever He asserted.” [3] God promised Abraham descendants and a land. He was more than capable of keeping that promise, as God Almighty.

Believers can find great comfort in our all-powerful God. He has made promises to His people throughout history, and He is powerful enough to keep all those promises. God can keep every promise He makes, because He is El Shaddai, strong and immovable.

[1] Herbert Lockyer, All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible: A Unique Classification of All Scripture Designations of the Three Persons of the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975), 12

[2] Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 52.

[3] Merrill F. Unger and William White, Jr., eds., “God,” Nelson’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996).

Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version ®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.