He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, February 22, 2016

El Shaddai

Names and how they are given, are fascinating.  This not only applies to people but places. In the earliest days of urban development in what's now the United States, streets were often named for landmarks, like Church, Market, Monument, Canal, Wall, Court, Dock, etc. or obvious topographic or hydrological features like Hill or Water; or references to the street's position like East or Middle. Often major streets were named for symbols of power and authority, like State, King or Queen.  After the American Revolution, the names of heroes and leaders like Washington and Jefferson also served this role.  Martin Luther King Blvd is in many cities while Dolly Parton Blvd is found in TN and Jeff Gordon Blvd is in IN.

Often, seeing a monument immediately causes observers to recall knowledge about the event or person.  The Crazy Horse memorial is just one example.  Many know who the Indian, Crazy Horse was, because of his history.  The same holds true for Mount Rushmore and others.

            It fascinates me how some Native Americans chose to wait to name a child until the child “developed” their name. Often the name had a personal or possibly a “sacred” meaning.  Nature was often used in naming, as were descriptions of the child or even birth position.  As a child grew, sometimes his name changed, even several times, as names were altered to commemorate a significant life event.

            In our modern world, as parents, we often choose to name our children with traditional family names, or from a really fun TV show we’ve seen, after a particular person who has impacted our lives, or even Biblical names.  One family I know well, chose Azariah and Malachi for their son’s names.  How special!

            Have you ever wondered if your name reflects who you are?  When someone speaks your name might they recognize a particular characteristic that matches the name?  I suggest most would not, but it happens when considering the many names of God.  Each name shows a different characteristic of Him.  El Shaddai, a name used seven times in the Bible, is first used in Genesis 17:1 describing God as being “All Sufficient” and “Lord God Almighty.”  When used together we are seeing a God who takes care of all our needs with great strength and power.  He is a God who looks after His children with tenderness yet with intensity and authority, just as we would see to the needs of our own children.

            As a human parent, however, we do not have the ability of working out all the problems our children have, or often, even our own problems.  We are not mind readers, don’t have a clue how things are going to end up and don’t always even have the slightest means, if we could come up with a solution, to making everything we would like to accomplish, work!  We can only make decisions based on what we know, (or think we know), from life experiences and what we have been taught. 

God however, has a way of “showing up” just when we need Him! He seems to work out the details of a problem or issue in the most peculiar way that is just perfect….and in ways we would never expect.  This is possible because He does know the beginning from the end.  He knows our hearts, minds and motives.  And he loves us more than we, as parents, can love our own children.  He is God and treasures each of us in our differences, our strengths and weaknesses, our likes and dislikes, abilities or the lack thereof.  He loves and accepts us just the way we are…..  and right where we are.   He is Lord God Almighty who is “All Sufficient.”