by: Jeff Schrage
As a challenging year comes to close and a new year begins, we feel like we need gas for our sputtering engines. To help with this I want to suggest a mantra for 2021. In Hebrew there are many different names for God and each of these names tells us something about His character. These names and what they reveal are designed to give us a fuller picture of our God. As we understand them, they should strengthen our trust and reliance upon Him.
The name El Shaddai is often translated “God Almighty.” When I read this name I have always assumed it referred to God’s strength and power. Recently I learned that it carries with it the meaning of God All-Sufficient. This translation changes what is communicated in some beautiful ways. The following quote provides a great explanation for what this communicates about God. Take some time to read it carefully and consider the glory, wonder, and majesty of our God.
“God is such an all-sufficient and such an excellent being, that nothing can be added to him to make him more excellent. Man in his best estate is so great a piece of vanity, Psa. 39:5, that he stands in need of a thousand thousand things; he needs air to breathe in, the earth to bear him, and fire to warm him, and clothes to cover him, and a house to shelter him, and food to nourish him, and a bed to ease him, and friends to comfort him, etc. But this is the excellency of God, that he has all excellencies in himself, and stands in need of nothing. Were there as many worlds as there are men in the world, and were all those worlds full of blessed saints, yea, were there as many heavens as there are stars in heaven, and were all of those heavens full of glorious angels, yet all these saints and angels together could not add the least to God; for what can drops taken out of the sea add to the sea? What can finite creatures add to an infinite being? Though all the men in the world should praise the sun, and say, The sun is a glorious creature, yet all this would add nothing to the light and glory of the sun; so, though all the saints and angels shall be blessing, and praising, and admiring, and worshipping God to all eternity, yet they shall never be able to add anything to God, who is blessed forever.” – Thomas Brooks in An Ark for All God’s Noahs: In a Gloomy Stormy Day
Having learned this about the character of God we see His sovereignty, his lack of need, and his ability to accomplish all that he wishes without diminishing in any way. This truth brings about awe and a healthy fear of God, but it also provides hope and comfort to know that if we have God as our portion, we shall forever be sufficiently loved and cared for. Here is a second quote,
“O Christians! God is an all-sufficient portion: his power is all-sufficient to protect you; his wisdom is all-sufficient to direct you; his mercy is all-sufficient to pardon you; his goodness is all-sufficient to provide for you; his word is all-sufficient to support you and strengthen you; and his grace is all-sufficient to adorn you and enrich you; and his Spirit is all-sufficient to lead you and comfort you; and what can you desire more?” – Thomas Brooks (see above)
And so, I would like to suggest a mantra for us as we embark upon this new year. This mantra is simply “God All-Sufficient.” We need to remember this, remind ourselves of this in trying times, and look for this idea as we read Scripture and see the beauty of how God provides for us. This fits nicely with the Christmas Eve message in Psalm 104 and these two paired together can give us a sufficient boost (or GAS – God All-Sufficient) as we battle with 2021.