Many of the E names of God are compound names that begin with El. I originally planned to expound a bit on the etymology of the word, but I came across not only Hebrew and Greek origins but also Ugaritic, Phoenician, and other BCE texts. After some study, the only thing that was clear to me was that even the experts don’t agree completely on the origin of the word, so I decided to keep it simple. Quoting from my B is for Banner post: “A compound name is either God’s personal name YHWH or a generic noun meaning ‘god’ combined with a word describing an attribute or role of God.” El is one of the generic nouns meaning ‘god.’
I chose El Shaddai partly because I love the song by that name released by Amy Grant in 1982. The main reason, though, is that I love the meaning of the name–Lord God Almighty, All-Sufficient One. One of my references said this means that God meets the needs of His people completely, nourishing them and taking care of them as a mother would her child. Another reference says simply that God is enough.
The first use of El Shaddai in the Bible occurs in Genesis 17. After many years of promise, God comes to Abram to establish His covenant between them.
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Genesis 17:1-2
Abram and his wife Sarai, whose names were changed by God to Abraham and Sarah, were skeptical. Sarah was barren and had coaxed Abraham into siring a child with her maid Hagar, but later she decided that was a bad idea and sent them away. Now, childless and well beyond the normal age of child-bearing, neither of them could see how God would fulfill His end of the bargain. Then along came Isaac.
Another of my favorite songs was written by Don Moen. In it he says, “God will make a way when there seems to be no way.” Making a way when things seem impossible is El Shaddai’s specialty. That doesn’t mean He’s like Santa Claus and will make all your dreams come true. He nourishes like a mother, and sometimes mothers say no. Nevertheless, when His children are in need, nothing is too hard for the Lord God Almighty, and the All-Sufficient One is always enough.
Other names of God that begin with E:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earthquakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. Jeremiah 10:10
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. Psalm 148:13
El Shaddai by Anne Alexander; Journey: A Woman’s Guide to Intimacy with God; Volume 21, Number 3, March 2014; Page 34.