17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. 2 I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” 3 At this, Abram fell face down on the ground.
One of the things we learn about worship from Abram it that worship is not a one-time wonder but a journey of dependence. God first made this covenant with Abram in Genesis 12:1-4 when he was 75 years old and 10 years later we find Abram and his wife still waiting. Weary of waiting on God and seeming to get nowhere they tried to bring about the fulfillment of the promise in their own strength. Genesis chapter 16 describes their attempt to bring about God’s promised blessing in the story of Hagar. But it wasn’t God’s timing and it wasn’t his way. Have you ever had to wait 10 years for anything? How about for a promise to be fulfilled? Today in our hurry up results driven society we don’t have time to wait for anything and most of us would have given up long before viewing waiting on God as a lost cause. Yet there is more and in chapter 17, after an additional 14 years have passed with still no action we find Abram at the age of 99.Talk about a frustrating fulfillment, today some of you are waiting on the Lord, how long will you give Him? Would you wait 24 years with the pain of unanswered prayer, for Abram 24 father’s days passed without a single promised child. The truth is that Abram had taken a wrong turn and for 14 years there was silence from heaven. 14 years for Abram to learn the cost of acting on his own to experience the consequences of serving God in the flesh and acting presumptuously. For 14 years Abram lived with the fruits of his impatience and that is where some of us are today. You have followed your own plan and God has allowed you to have your way, now you live with the results of recklessness. Sometimes we are permitted to go our own head-strong way so that we might learn the folly of acting apart from God. One of the most frightening things in life is that if you insist on having you own way, God may let you have it. That could have been the end of the story, Abram didn’t trust and did it his way amounting to nothing. Yet God appeared to Abram asking him to believe and trust at a time when Abram may have thought that his best years were behind him. It is amazing to consider that when we think it is all over, God may be thinking about beginnings. God reveals a new side to his character as He reveals the name El Shaddai (all sufficient one) for the first time in the midst of Abram’s weakness and inability. Up until this time, Abram, knew God only as Jehovah and El Elyon (Lord most high) now in his inadequacy he hears “I am El Shaddai” your all sufficiency. Sometimes we have to come to the end of ourselves before we can come to the beginning of God. As God revealed Himself as the all sufficient one He was in effect saying, don’t worry about what you have or haven’t yet received. I am all you need and will supply you with all you need. Today are you doubting that God is able to supply you with all you need? Things may look hopeless, impossible and useless, we may be barren like Abraham and Sarah, having exhausted all our resources. Do you know that at your wit’s end when nothing has worked there is El Shaddai the all-sufficient one? The name “El-Shaddai,” emphasizes God’s infinite power and begs the question, how great is our God, El-Shaddai? How mighty is He, what can he do? In the very next chapter God again promises the son, fixes the time for his arrival and asks a question. Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” That is an excellent question “Is anything too hard for God?” The answer is, of course not, He is El-Shaddai, God Almighty. The prophet Jeremiah says, “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you” Jeremiah 32:17. How great is our God, El-Shaddai? An angel comes to a young woman named Mary and tells her that she is with child and that He shall be the Messiah. She asks, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” Luke 1:34 . The angel responses with, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37 Why is this possible? Because He is El-Shaddai, God Almighty, seven promises are given in the form of “I will statements”
1. I will make my covenant with you (v. 2)
2. I will multiply you (v.2)
3. I will make you fruitful (exceedingly) (v.6)
4. I will make of you many nations (v.6)
5. I will establish my covenant with your descendants (v. 7)
6. I will give you (and your descendants) the land of Canaan (v. 8)
7. I will be their God (v. 8)
With this new revelation comes the call to respond, “serve me faithfully and live a blameless life” If Abraham wanted to know God’s power, he had to walk, to live close to the Lord and be blameless, to consistently respond to God in repentance and faith. He must be sincere and honest in his devotion and obedience to the Lord, faith always directs us to obedience. Do you feel burdened today? Have you been relying upon your own efforts only to sink to your knees or fall on your face? Have you been struggling with patience? If so will you get to know El Shaddai, so you can have a fresh encounter with Him and as Abraham was instructed, “Walk before Him” wholeheartedly. When Abraham realized his emptiness He rejoiced that God was enough, and that literally changed the trajectory of his life. With this new Revelation, God says, even though the promises seem to be pipe dreams and impossible from a human perspective, I am almighty. When we admit our insufficiency, the Almighty is sufficient to meet all our needs, when we are empty, God is enough!