Wednesday, December 13, 2023

El-Shaddai—God of Power (Psalm 65)

"Being clothed with power; You who still the noise of the seas" (Ps. 65:6–7)

The God we worship is not one who is constrained by external forces, nor is He powerless against the devices of men and fallen angels, but He is all-powerful, omnipotent, almighty. El-Shaddai has been translated as “He who is sufficient,” “the thunderer,” and “the overpowerer,” and the Greek translation is “the one who is all powerful.”

When the Bible refers to God as El-Shaddai, as it does when God made Himself known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex. 6:1), God’s power is being emphasized. When God dealt with Moses, He revealed Himself as being able to do all that He had said (Num. 11:23). Moses allowed fears of his own inadequacy and impotency to cloud his judgment. He did not, at first, trust in the power of God but only saw the frailty of his own ability. Too often, Christians act like Moses did when God commanded him to lead the people out of Egypt. They think they are incapable of obeying God because they see their own weaknesses. But God gives His people the ability and the strength to fulfill His purposes and His will.

The power of God evokes two responses in man: fear and trust. We fear Him because we know He is more powerful than we are. It is natural to fear anyone who has power over us. As we approach El-Shaddai in worship, we should tremble before His almighty power. Jeremiah became overpowered by God (Jer. 20:7), and Job, as we will soon discover, was overwhelmed with fear when God spoke to him from the whirlwind.

Fear, however, is not the only response we should have when we come face to face with God’s power. We should trust in Him because He has the power to fulfill His promises and to protect us and sustain us. As frail human beings, we have no power over nature, over the effects of the fall, over our own sin, over the temptations of Satan. But Christ is all-powerful, and He has promised to deliver us from the chains of darkness that threaten us. He gives us the grace to endure the trials of this life, and He has the power to remove even the most daunting obstacles in our lives. No one else has that power, and our trust would be misplaced if we relied on anyone else except El-Shaddai, our almighty Lord.

Read Exodus 6:1–13. What was Moses’ initial response to God after He told him to go to Egypt? Has God called you to do something that you are afraid you cannot do because of your own weakness? If so, look to God for strength. Meditate on the For further study passages that speak of His power.