There is so much that can be studied about the name of God, “El Shaddai”. Actually a book could be written, and already has been. Today I would like to share some of what I have found and what it means to me.
In the old Testament God is called “El Shaddai” 7 times. The first reference is in Genesis 17:1 where God refers to himself as “God Almighty”. The name “El” translates as "God" and is used several times with other names to show aspects of God's character. In this case, “El” is used simultaneously with “Shaddai”. Some scholars believe that “Shaddai” comes from the Hebrew word “shad” which means “breast”. The word “breast” reminds us of a God who nourishes and satisfies His children. In several verses in Genesis the name “El Shaddai” is connected with being fruitful. One of these verses is: “May God Almighty (El Shaddai) bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you until you become a group of peoples (Gen. 28:3, AMP). Another verses states “By the God of your father, who will help you, and by the Almighty (El Shaddai), who will bless you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings lying in the deep beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb” (Gen. 49:25, AMP). The nourishment that “breast” denotes is connected to new life that springs from the womb. The nourishment which comes from “El Shaddai” brings great spiritual life, blessings, fulfillment.
Other scholars believe that the word comes from the Akkadians, who at one time inhabited Mesopotamia (the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers). The Akkadian word from which “Shaddai” might be taken is “sadu”, which means “divine mountain”. In Exodus 6:3 “El Shaddai” is revealed to be the God that called Abram (Abraham). “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them” (Exodus 6:3, NIV). Some scholars believe that since God called Abram out of Mesopotamia that the term “sadu” (divine mountain) traveled with him and became a reference to the Lord God Almighty. Another thought is that “Shaddai” or “divine mountain” is also used in reference to Mount Sinai‒the mountain of God's great power.
This morning “El Shaddai” is the only nourishment that fully satisfies my soul, and brings fulfillment to my life. He breathes life into mine. He is water from the well that never runs dry. He is the nourishment that forever satisfies my spiritual hunger. “For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance” (Isaiah 66:11, NIV). When life is hard, and I feel weak, and drained, His nourishment still supplies me. He becomes my strong tower‒ my mountain to which I run. I realize all the nourishment and help I need comes from Him. “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1, NIV). I run to the constant and unchanging rock of my salvation, and there I receive all that I need to sustain me through years of famine and of plenty. He is my “El Shaddai”.