Summary: All human strength fades, but our God is God Almighty. What hope and strength that name brings to us, just as it did to Abraham! A. A name that can terrify B. A name that gives hope because of the covenant C. A name that strengths us to live for him

Text: Genesis 17:1-5

Theme: El Shaddai (אל שדי) Can Do Anything

A. A name that can terrify

B. A name that gives hope because of the covenant

C. A name that strengths us to live for him

Season: Pentecost 2c -- God’s Names

Date: June 6, 2010

Web page:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Through this word from God recorded in Genesis 17, the Holy Spirit brings us the comfort of our almighty Savior.

"When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty (El Shaddai, אֵל שַׁדַּי). Walk before me and be complete. I am confirming my covenant between me and you, and I will make you increase very much."

"Abram fell on his face, and God said to him, "Behold, my covenant, yes mine, is with you. You will become the father of a multitude of nations. You will no longer be called by the name Abram. Your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations." (Genesis 17:1-5)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

He claimed to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee." Sports Illustrated crowned him the "Sportsman of the Century." His nickname was "The Greatest." He was the three-time World Heavyweight Champion, Muhammad Ali.

But where is that left hook followed by the hard right to the face that brought down George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle? Now at age 68 and debilitated by Parkinson’s disease, Ali is no longer the powerhouse he was. How the mighty have fallen!

"Time, like an ever-rolling stream, Soon bears us all away; We fly, forgotten, as a dream Dies at the op’ning day" ("O God, Our Help in Ages Past," Isaac Watts, /Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal/ 441:5).

But there is One whose power does not fade. His strength does not fly away. For he is not simply mighty; he is almighty. /El Shaddai/, אֵל שַׁדַּי, God Almighty. He needs no help or aid, for he is all-sufficient. He is the source who provides all for everyone and everything. He is /El Shaddai/, אֵל שַׁדַּי, God Almighty, the Omnipotent, the all-powerful. He can do anything. Remember that theme.

What hope and what strength that name brought Abraham, and what hope and strength it brings for you and me today. For /El Shaddai/, אֵל שַׁדַּי, can do anything.

A. A name that can terrify

1. How well have you met God’s standard?

In the 1940’s there was race, a race to get the mightiest weapon this world had yes seen. The United States had the Manhattan Project. Hitler had his heavy water experiments. After the war it was learned that Hitler was much farther away from developing the atomic bomb than some had feared. But what if he had gotten the bomb first? What would the world be like today? Might and power are good in the hands of an ally, but in the hands of an enemy -- what terror!

"I am God Almighty" (Genesis 17:1 NIV) /El Shaddai /(אֵל שַׁדַּי). Are these words of a friend of a foe? We like to think of ourselves as the good guys, but God’s Word has some disturbing news for you and me. For you see, it’s not you or I or some governmental or ecclesiastical organization that sets the standard, but God does.

"Walk before me and be blameless" (Genesis 17:1 NIV), he says. Do you always walk before God continuously, never wandering from his path, never straying away, always loving him above all, always fearing him with that holy, childlike awe and reverence, always trusting him first and foremost? Is his name continually on your lips as you call on him in every trouble and fervently, reverently pray to him who is your Hope, your Strength, your Glory? Is his name on your lips as you praise him before others telling of the wonderful things he has done giving him thanks in all circumstances? Is his Word deeply rooted in your heart, the foundation of all you say and think and do, cherished as your most precious treasure? How we have failed!

That word, often translated /blameless/, has the idea of being complete, perfect, no mark or blemish, nothing lacking. Now some can rightly claim to be blameless in the eyes of man. They have a good reputation and no criminal record. But what about in the eyes of God? The Almighty sees into the dingy corners of our hearts. He knows your secret sins. Nothing is hidden from him. And blamelessness before God is all or nothing. "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" (James 2:10 NIV). "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthews 5:48 NIV).

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