BECAUSE HE IS EL SHADDAI WE CAN BELIEVE HIM WHEN WE DOUBT
Hudson Taylor (Pioneer Missionary to China) once said, “There are three stages in any great work attempted for God: Impossible, difficult, done.”
The Lord is saying to Abraham – “You think it’s hard to have a baby when you’re 100 and your wife is 90? I am El Shaddai!"
In the next chapter, The Lord speaks to Sara, "In a years time, you’ll give birth to the Promised Child". The Bible records Saras response: She laughs.
She asked – “I am worn out and my lord is old, will I have delight?”
Genesis 18:14 “Is anything impossible for the Lord?”
Throughout the scriptures, we are reminded that El Shaddai is the God of the impossible
- Jobs response after experiencing the goodness of God, even in the midst of suffering – “I know that you can do all things…”
- Jeremiah 32 - we read about the Children of Israel being in Babylonian captivity.
God said He would deliver the children back to their promised land. Jeremiah wondered how this could happen given this nation’s strength. But once again it is set forth that NOTHING is too difficult for God. Mighty Babylon fell in ONE DAY!
- When Mary was visited by the angel that told her she would bear the child of God, she asked how it was possible since she had never been with a man.
Gabriel told her in Luke 1:36-37, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”
- After the rich young ruler left Jesus, the disciples wondered aloud how ANYONE could be saved. Jesus responded in Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
El Shaddai is the God of the impossible
It was impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have a child…but Abraham would be painting a nursery soon. It’s impossible for a sea to part…but the children of Israel crossed on dry ground. It's impossible for animals to speak but Balaam’s donkey had lot’s to say. It's impossible for a virgin to conceive, yet Mary would be expecting
It’s impossible that a dead man could live again but after three days in a cold, borrowed Tomb King Jesus rose victoriously, walked out of the grave and into the hearts of all who would believe on Him by faith.
There are lot’s of things in your life and mine that seem entirely impossible.
That endeavor – that dream – that ambition - that calling – that healing – that need being met – that prayer being answered – that person who’s far from the Lord being saved...all of these things seem to be impossibilities.
If it’s left up to us, our wisdom and our strength – impossible would be an accurate way to describe things – That’s when doubt creeps in and overwhelms us
But we serve El Shaddai, He is the God of the impossible!
Because He is El Shadda, we can believe Him when we doubt!
BECAUSE HE IS EL SHADDAI WE CAN TRUST HIM WHILE WE WAIT
As already mentioned, nearly 30 years has passed since God first called out to Abraham in Mesopotamia and made him a promise and the last time that we are told that the Lord had communicated with Abraham was in Genesis 16, some 13 years before.
From the time we pick up in Abraham's story, he’s spent most of his time in waiting.
That’s Kind Of The Story Of Our Lives, Isn’t It?
We're waiting for direction about a huge decision – maybe concerning a career, major, relationship, starting a family – and we're still waiting.
Why The Wait?
· To crucify our idols.
God uses waiting to crucify our idol of efficiency. We live in an accomplishment-driven culture where value is measured and marked by productivity. How much you get done defines your worth, and we can be guilty of making that an idol. But waiting destroys that. We can’t always maximize efficiency if we’re waiting on God—and that’s okay. Are we putting our worth in our plans and productivity, or in God?
· To Build Our Faith
Foundationally, he uses waiting to increase our trust in him and loosen our perceived control. Waiting reminds us we’re at the mercy (literally) of God’s timing, and we have no power to change that.
As humans, we crave control, yet waiting pulls that from our grasp. Waiting pries our fingers from the ledge and confronts us with an uncomfortable question: “Will we give up on ourselves and trust God wholly?”
The wait is often necessary in order to prepare us for the blessing.
What God is going to ask Abraham to do – as you read on in chapter 17 and especially in chapter 22 aren’t exactly easy. I think it’s safe to say that Abraham wasn’t ready to obey these difficult commands in chapter 12 or 15.
His faith had to grow first – so there’s the reason for the wait.
As we wait –
a. Wait Obediently
Psalm 37:3-4 “Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires”
b. Wait Confidently
Isaiah 40:31 - “Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint”
Because He is El Shaddai, we can trust Him while we wait!
BECAUSE HE IS EL SHADDAI, WE CAN RUN TO HIM WHEN WE HAVE FAILED
As encouraging as Abraham's example of faith is for us, let’s not pretend that he was without his own struggles.
In Genesis 12 – there’s a famine in the region and Abraham made his way to Egypt.
Problem number #1 – The Lord hadn’t called him to Egypt. He left the land where God called him to go
Problem #2 – He was terrified of Egypt’s ruler.
Fearing the Pharoah would see Sara, want her for his own and kill him in order to accomplish that goal, Abraham lied and said Sara was his sister.
In Genesis 16 we find another story of Abrahams sin
Genesis 16:1-6 “Abram’s wife, Sarai, had not borne any children for him, but she owned an Egyptian slave named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.” And Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So Abram’s wife, Sarai, took Hagar, her Egyptian slave, and gave her to her husband, Abram, as a wife for him. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan ten years. He slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she saw that she was pregnant, her mistress became contemptible to her. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for my suffering! I put my slave in your arms, and when she saw that she was pregnant, I became contemptible to her. May the Lord judge between me and you.” Abram replied to Sarai, “Here, your slave is in your power; do whatever you want with her.” Then Sarai mistreated her so much that she ran away from her.”
They noth blew it.
She should never have suggested this and he should never have gone through with it.
Instead of trusting that the Lord was indeed Jehovah Jireh, and that He would fulfil His promise to them, they’d taken matters into their own hands and in doing so, sinned grievously against God.
EVEN STILL – Look again at our text in Genesis 17:1-2
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live in my presence and be blameless. I will set up my covenant between me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.”
In Genesis 15 – The Lord makes a Covenant (promise) to Abraham.
Covenant is the most solemn, binding, intimate contract known in the Bible
The Hebrew word translated “made” is karat, which means “cut.”
It was the custom in making covenants for those entering into it to pass between the divided parts of sacrificed animals.
The ritual of cutting an animal in two and walking between the severed pieces communicated that a person was pledging their very life to fulfill their promise.
YET - Abram was in a "deep sleep" and clearly did not walk between the lifeless carcasses.
It was God Himself, and He alone, who walked through the path of death, as symbolized by a flaming torch. So the covenant was an unconditional covenant in that it was God alone who would fulfill the stipulations.
It was a covenant of grace, for Abram had done nothing to merit God cutting this covenant.
This covenant isn’t dependent upon Abrahams behavior but YAHWEHS character.
The Lord has made a promise to Abraham and in doing so, He puts His name on the line. If He doesn’t come through on the promise, then He’s insufficient. He’s a liar.
HERE IN OUR PASSAGE – Despite Abrahams failings…despite his sinful actions…God remembers His Word – He establishes the covenant that He cut. He proves Himself faithful and trustworthy!
Because He is El Shaddai, you and I can run to Him when we fail, when we sin, when we fall short of His glory because He has made us a promise too.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
Because He is El Shaddai, we can run to Him when we fail!