Continuing our ‘Names of God’ study, we look to Genesis 17:1, where we see God identifying Himself to Abram, “I am God Almighty, walk before Me and be blameless.” God (El) Almighty (Shaddai) a divine title used only 8 times in the O.T. and ‘Almighty’ used 40 times, 31 of those in Job alone (When Job questions God’s purposes, God displays His wisdom & power, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?” 40:2, DUDE!). Each time a new name of God appears we are to take notice, it reveals His nature, character, and majesty. In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Bible) it translates ‘Shaddai’ as ‘all powerful’ and according to rabbinic teaching, it is a compound word ‘sha’ (who) and ‘dai’ (enough) One Who is enough … All-Sufficient One. Many scholars deem the ‘power’ in which God is and operates is ‘beyond’ in the sense as ‘overpower’ thus the title ‘Almighty.’
Interesting point, in the same chapter that God introduces Himself as God Almighty, (‘All-Powerful Sufficient One’) God changes Abram’s name to Abraham (‘father of many’) and Sarai to Sarah (‘woman of nobility’). New character quality-name introductions all around. Peter declares this of us, that we too have a character quality-name change, when he said, you who believe, (and as Paul says, “you who were once far off, have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” – Eph. 2:13) you who through adoptive grace “are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.” (1 Peter 2:9*) God’s gracious great power through Jesus! We are HIS!
THAT is our God! Over… Beyond… ENOUGH!
This week we are looking at the first mention of the name of God, ‘Elohim’ (“In the beginning God…” Genesis 1:1) used well over 2,500 times from Genesis to Malachi (think God is trying to tell us something!) containing the idea of God’s creative power, His authority, and sovereignty.
Elijah and the bad king Ahab of Israel (“Ahab did more evil in the sight of the Lord than any of those before him.”- 1 Kings 16:30) are at the showdown on Mount Carmel. Ahab became a Baal worshiper, so…Elijah requests all the people of the region and the 450 false prophets of Baal to come and let’s get this decided right now! ‘Show me what ya got’, let’s see whose god can bring down fire – the winner – is THE God! The Baal folks prepared their bull sacrifice and began their calling out, yet funny how nothing happens, Elijah offers, “Perhaps you should yell louder” – they do. From morning until evening the fiasco continued… still no response. There is no movement or sound from the heavens, not even a slight flutter of a ravens wing (See 1 Kings 17:6). Elijah steps up (dramatic drum roll) he took 12 stones, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, creating an altar, he arranged the wood and the sacrificed bull. He didn’t stop there, he dug a large trench around the altar and had 4 large jars of water poured on the offering and the wood, again and again – 3 times the water was poured, filling even the trench. Elijah prayed…
“O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that You, O LORD, are God [Elohim] and that You have brought them back to Yourself.” Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The LORD—He is God! Yes, the LORD is God!” (1 Kings 18:37-39, NLT)
Here’s the totally cool part… as Elijah steps onto the pages of scripture, he speaks the word of the Lord that there would be no rain – for years (1 Kings 17:1). ‘Baal’ was considered the god of rain and what do you know, there was a drought in the land, so much for a ‘reigning Baal’ (HA!) What does Elijah do as he stands with his offering? With the lack of water, valuable as it is, he drenches the altar with it. I love it! Let me pour your god on here too and let THE God burn’m up! After this, the 450 false prophets were destroyed at Elijah’s command, and guess what? Elijah again prayed… it rained! God not only opened the heavens with fire, but He did what the false god could not! Nothing and no one comes against God’s word!
The Lord doesn’t just show up to show off, He-is-God! Full of creative power, and sovereign authority, Elohim.
Can I get a hardy “Go God!”
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)