1. Slides 2-3 – Genesis 17:1-8, 15-16 Intro
    1. Exodus 6:2–3 (NIV) 2 God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name the LORD I did not make myself fully known to them.
    2. Slide 4 – Last sermon talked about El Shaddai as the former name and YAHWEH as the revelation of God’s character
    3. But, El Shaddai was a beautiful name in Genesis and is associated with some marvelous encounters, especially in conveying identity and destiny. We will look at two stories.
      1. El Shaddai encounter affects, identity, increase (fruitfulness), inheritance and requires consecration.
      2. Today we will just look at identity.
    4. First let’s look at the meaning of this name
  2. Slide 5 – El Shaddai – meaning
    1. 5x in Genesis
      1. Shaddai – 41x total, 31 in Job
    2. Meaning
      1. DBL Hebrew – a title for the true God, often with a focus on the power to complete promises of blessing and prosperity
      2. The Many breasted God – nurturing, God the mountains/mountainous wilderness.
  • Meanings (https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Shaddai.html)
    1. Slide 6 – God my Destroyer, God my Protective Spirit, God my Rainmaker, God the Self Sufficient, God who is abundant/enough
      1. If you lived shortly after a world-wide flood you might call Him God, the destroyer as well.
    2. “Wail, for the day of YHWH is near. It will come as destruction (shad) from Shaddai” (Isaiah 13:6).
  1. Slide 7 – Greek translators, when considering all of this, settled on Pantokrator in Job and then used it everywhere else. (Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 17:1))
    1. Also translated Tsebaoth mostly as Pantokrator
    2. Their decision effectively merged the two names into one by the time the NT rolled around.
  2. Slide 8 – Pantokrator shows up in the N.T. in 2 Corinthians 6:18 and 9 times in Revelation
    1. Slide 9 – I am the alpha and omega, says the Lord God, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Rev. 1:8)
  3. Encounter with Abraham – Gen 17:1-10
    1. Slide 10 – Gen 17:1-10 – I am El Shaddai – vs. 1
      1. Identity – Name Changed – vs. 5, 15
        1. Humor “exalted father” becomes “father of a multitude”. (Abram + hamon) What did the servants think?
        2. Was Abraham excited or embarrassed to share?
        3. Addition of the “H”, also to Sarah’s name. One H for Abram and one H for Sarah.
          1. Sarai (My Princess) and Sarah (Princess) both mean princess
        4. Encounter with Jacob
          1. Slide 11 – Gen 35:9-13 – I am El Shaddai . vs 11
            1. Identity – Name Changed – vs 10 (32:24-32)
              1. Jacob does not get told the name of the one who changes his name in Genesis 32. In Genesis 35 we find out it was El Shaddai.
              2. Most commentaries focus on heel grabber, supplanter, one who contends with, etc.
              3. This is wordplay: In Hebrew, the name Jacob is ya’aqov, while the word for “heel” is aqev. The name ya’aqov is actually derived from the Hebrew word aqav, meaning “to protect.” Ya’aqov is likely an abbreviated version of the name ya’aqov-el, meaning “May God protect.”[1]
                1. Aqov, aqev, aqav
                2. Like kids teasing each other with rhymes for names
                3. 27:36 He has deceived Esau uses the Hebrew word ’aqab here, which is a wordplay on Jacob’s name in Hebrew, ya-aqov. Ya-aqov means “to protect,” and was given to Jacob as a name because of wordplay with a different word (see note on 25:26). Esau suggests that Jacob’s name actually has to do with him being a person who supplants or cheats other people. Jacob is a trickster[2]
              4. Israel – God wrestler or fighter(Lang); struggle, strive, fight –God will struggle, may God struggle, God will fight (FSB); “You have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”;
              5. Jacob will no longer have to fight, but God will fight for Him.
              6. Jacob has wrestled with God and man and has prevailed.
                1. Wrestled for what?
                2. For the blessing, for the inheritance, for the increase, for the destiny that was on the family.
                3. Esau despised it, but Jacob fought for it. He came out of the womb grasping to be the firstborn.
              7. In both stories the El Shaddai encounter changed their name/identity.
              8. In a Yahweh encounter you get a revelation of God, in an El Shaddai encounter you get a revelation of yourself.
            2. Encounter with Peter
              1. Slide 12 – Matt. 16:13-19 – identity conversation… who is Jesus?
                1. Peter has a revelation of who Jesus is, then Jesus gives Him a revelation of who He is and will become.
                  1. Yahweh and El Shaddai encounter.
                2. Simon meaning – “hear”, vanished tribe, Jonah means dove.
                3. Peter meaning – stone
                4. Identity – He is a stone, associated with “the Rock”, He is (or will be) solid and firm.
                  1. Jesus associates Peter’s “rockness” with the foundation of the church.
                    1. “but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, Eph. 2:19-20
                    2. Jesus is the cornerstone and Peter is one of the stones, as are the other apostles…
                  2. Peter (singular) has authority to bind and loose. In Matt 18 they will all have it.
                5. What about us?
                  1. The El Shaddai encounter is also available to us as well through the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God has marked our identity generally and specifically.
                    1. Abraham and Peter speak of identity bestowed, Jacob speaks of identity pursued.
                      1. Like 2 train tracks: General and unique
                    2. Slide 13 – The Bible speaks in several places about our identity bestowed.
                      1. 1:4b-5 – In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ
                      2. 3:3-4 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
                      3. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is
                      4. 2:17 – To the one who conquers… I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
  • Jacob’s example teaches us that we can also seek the Lord to understand our unique identity and calling. God also wants to speak very personally to each of us. He wants to speak personal things to us about our unique identity just as He did with Abraham, Israel and Peter.
    1. One of the ways this is taught in the NT is in the area of Spiritual Gifts.
    2. Slide 14 – Bill Johnson Quote in the Forward to Shawn Bolz’s book: “As much as I love healing and all the other manifestations of God’s love, I’ve never seen anything cut to the heart of a person quicker than an accurate prophetic word. In a recent study, several thousand people were asked what one question they would ask God if they could be assured he would answer.  The number one question, asked more times than number two and three combined, was: ‘What is my purpose in life?’”
  1. Our true identities can only be fully discovered and lived in a relationship with the Lord. If you are estranged from God, you will never discover who you really are and were created to be.  You can understand something, but not everything.
    1. School Board meeting… my heart broke for a generation that has probably never heard the gospel; they don’t know that there is a Father who loves them.
    2. So, they are lost, looking for community and on a quest to discover who they are.
  2. Slide 15 – El Shaddai has chosen us and called us to Himself. Through Jesus and the Holy Spirit our identities have been forever changed. Press in to Him and let Him speak words over you about your new identity as His child but also seek Him for revelation about your unique identity and that which marks you as unique from all His other children.


[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 25:26). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 27:36). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.