El Shaddai

December 11, 2022

David Sorn

Do you live like God is truly God Almighty, El-Shaddai?

El Shaddai

December 11, 2022

David Sorn

Do you live like God is truly God Almighty, El-Shaddai?

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Genesis 17:1-8


Morning. My name is David Sorn. I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

We mentioned last week that due to our exponential growth, we are adding a 4th service starting on January 8th, which will allow us more space to tell more people about Jesus.

I also want to announce this morning, that due to our growth, we are going to be adding 1, or possibly TWO, brand-new House Groups in January on Wednesday nights.

(Host Homes Slide)

House Groups are our groups of 30 or so people, where you get a chance to be in Christian community, and grow deeper in your faith with people you can know.

This is what we’re about here.

One of our CORE values of our church is: We know our faith thrives in community, but struggles without it.

We want you living your faith out WITH other people.

However, if we’re going to pull off sign-ups for new groups in January, we need 2 more host homes for January.

Hosts are not the leaders, just people who open up their home and are a part of the group.

Has God blessed you with a home in our area that could be used for this?

If so, this is your time to step up and let God use you.

I would love to see you use your home for ministry…to let your home be a place where lives are changed every week.

If you’re willing to help us with this, can you make a note on your connection card, talk to our Adult Ministries Pastor, Josh Pollard, or email him, or if you don’t know Pastor Josh, you can talk to the welcome table as well.

And if you’re interested in joining a House Group, at this point I suggest you wait until we open up sign ups for the brand new ones on January 1st.


(Names of God Slide)

All right, let’s get into our message.

We are in the middle of a 5-week series called “Names of God,” where we are looking at 5 unique names of God in the Bible.

This week we are taking a look at El-Shaddai.

El-Shaddai is a name for God that’s used about 40 times in the Old Testament, the first half of the Bible, which was written in Hebrew.

And here’s what it means:

“El” is the Hebrew word for the common usage of the word “God”

And “Shaddai” means “mountain” or “strong” or “Almighty”

And so, in most English Bibles, El Shaddai is translated “God Almighty”

The God who can do all things in His might

This morning, we’re going to take a look at the very first instance of the use of “El-Shaddai” in the Bible

Genesis 17:1-8

Page 10

And in this chapter, we will once again encounter, Abraham.

Let me give you a history of Abraham’s life, a short recap of the chapters leading up to our chapter 17 today.

We meet Abraham in Genesis chapters 11 & 12 when he was already 75 years old,

He was married to a woman named Sarai (who would eventually have her named changed to Sarah), and they had no children

And then, God called them to a land they didn’t know (a land that would eventually become Israel)

And God also told them their family line would be as numerous as the stars.

Now, this is an amazing thing for God to promise because Abraham was 75, his wife was 65 at the time…and remember, they have no kids!

But the crazier thing is that Sarah doesn’t actually get pregnant with their child, Isaac, (who we talked about last week) for another 24 years.

24 years she waited.

What happened?

Let’s take a look at our passage today, and then we’ll talk through the passage and what happened in those interim 24 years.

(note: Footnote is letter “f”)

(Genesis 17:1-8) – NIV

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram[b]; your name will be Abraham,[c] for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

(El Shaddai Title Slide)

And so God Almighty, El Shaddai, reaffirms his amazing promise to Abraham, and speaks of his covenant (his agreement) with Abraham.

And later in the chapter, God says that Sarah, who’s 89 at this point, will have baby Isaac in her arms by this time the following year.


Now, before we celebrate this amazing miracle by God Almighty, let’s talk about what went wrong in the 24 years after Abraham first heard that God would give him and Sarah a baby

What was Abraham missing in those 24 years?

I think of it this way (for Abraham, and for us):

We Don’t Live Like God is El-Shaddai when:

#1: We don’t wait for His timing

Let me show you what I mean:

Maybe you know the background story of Abraham, or maybe you’re brand new to faith and just working through the Bible Pyramid on the inside of one of our Bibles

By the way if you need a Bible (and want to read it yourself), take that one, and the pyramid with you today.

But if you don’t know the background, let me tell you what happened a chapter earlier in Genesis, chapter 16.

And let me just preface with this: The Bible is NOT a book of stories about perfect people.

It’s a book about sinners and God

And so 24 years before our chapter, Abraham and Sarah hear that God is going to miraculously help Sarah get pregnant.

But after 11 years of waiting for Sarah to get pregnant, and for God to miraculously provide, Abraham and Sarah get tired of waiting, and decide to take matters into their own hands.

Sarah decides, somewhat shockingly, that she’ll just give her maidservant, Hagar to Abraham, and Abraham can have a child through her

And he does, and that child is named Ishmael.

But God says Abraham’s line will not be blessed through Ishmael because you can’t get God’s blessing if you’re not walking in God’s way.

They didn’t trust God…that He was El Shaddai, God Almighty who could make Sarah pregnant…even in her old age.

And if you’re going, “David, that’s not just physically possible for her to get pregnant like that, I would suggest you may also have a hard time celebrating Christmas this year, which is about a woman getting pregnant through the Holy Spirit” 😊

God can do miracles!

(El Shaddai Title Slide)

But some of you are in this spot right now where you have been waiting for God to move MIGHTILY and answer your deepest prayers.

And He hasn’t yet.

But listen, it’s not because HE CAN’T.

He’s El Shaddai.

It may be that it’s not in His will. His plan.

But it may also be that it’s not yet in His timing.

The challenge is, we are an impatient lot, especially in the days of instant gratification that we now live.

Many of you haven’t even gotten off your couch to Christmas shop this year.

You just tap some buttons on your phone, and BAM, Amazon Prime is at your door.

And so is it any wonder that we then struggle to wait for God?

Could you wait for 24 years like Abraham and Sarah needed to?

By the way parents, I know this is hard, but do everything you can to not put a screen in front of your kids when they have to wait at the doctor, in the car, at the restaurant.

I know it makes it easier for you now, but it makes it harder for them to learn to wait, later in life.

And learning to wait, especially, waiting on God, will be a critical skill for them to have as teenage or adult believers.

Because so often God wants us to wait…on His timing.

And waiting…is HARD.

And the truth is, even Abraham and Sarah couldn’t wait.

But listen, they pay the price for not waiting.

And if you’ve never read this part of the Bible before, read the few chapters around Genesis chapter 17…

…Especially the parts about Ishmael (the son of Sarah’s servant).

Those chapters are messy as all get out.

And the mess…is a direct consequence of not waiting and instead taking matters into your own hands.

And those chapters in Genesis ought to serve as a warning to us.

Like, if you’re waiting on God to bring you a Godly spouse…

…you can’t fix it by dating someone who doesn’t follow God, and just hoping they’ll find God along the way.

That’s doing what Abraham & Sarah did…it’s taking matters into your own hands instead of waiting on God!

If you’re waiting to be honored and promoted in your career, taking a job that doesn’t honor God, or takes you away from serving Him, isn’t the route you want to go.

We don’t find God’s blessing on the road of disobedience.

And in many ways, I think what God was doing during those 24 years, was waiting for Abraham & Sarah to figure that out.

To realize that they weren’t going to find His El-Shaddai power if they kept trying to do it themselves.

Especially by going against His ways.

And so let me ask you: Is there anywhere in your life right now that you’re looking for God’s blessing, but you’re not waiting for His timing?


And there’s a big connection here between timing and obedience, right?

Look again at verses 1 and 2 of our chapter now:

Genesis 17:1-2

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

What does El-Shaddai, God Almighty, ask of Abraham?

To walk before him faithfully.

And this is the 2nd thing that we too miss:

We Don’t Live Like God is El-Shaddai when:

#1: We don’t wait for His timing

#2: We don’t walk faithfully with Him

If you keep reading in our passage, and in the Old Testament, we see that God is establishing an everlasting covenant between Abraham and his descendants (that’s verse 7)

A covenant for them to be a fruitful nation and to be in the promised land

But they can be removed from the land (temporarily) if they are unfaithful (which did happen)

A covenant, is an agreement between two parties, not just one.

And even though Christians live under the New Covenant, where Jesus has died for our sins, we still have a role to play in this relationship.

We are to strive to “be holy as God is holy”

Despite what you may hear from some TikTok evangelist, God is not a vending machine who just waits to bless you indiscriminately

If your daily walk, and I mean your DAILY walk…like how you act at work, with your kids at home, or when you’re driving in your car by yourself.

If your daily walk is going in the opposite way that God wants you to go, but you keep coming here on Sundays saying, “God Almighty, El Shaddai, do a miracle in my life!”

God is going to say, “No.”

Because He wants your heart first. He wants you.

He would say to you “If I just answer your prayers, and I never get your heart, then you’ll just keep (as Romans 1 says) seeking created things and not the creator”

And that doesn’t mean that God only blesses people who always have their life together

What Abraham and Sarah did to involve her servant, was a massive mistake.

And even so, God still showed his grace. His mercy.

But He waited for Abraham to understand it first.


And so we miss God as El Shaddai (as God Almighty) when we don’t respect His timing, and when we don’t stand in awe of Him and thus walk faithfully with Him

But, maybe our most glaring miss is #3:

We Don’t Live Like God is El-Shaddai when:

#1: We don’t wait for His timing

#2: We don’t walk faithfully with Him

#3: We don’t truly believe He is that powerful

I think plenty of American Christians are stuck here

Faith is not our strong suit.

Sure, if you asked us on paper, we’d answer, “God can do all things”

But when it comes to our own personal lives, deep down, I’m not sure we even believe that.

We tend to almost be “functional atheists” when it comes to truly expecting God to do the miraculous in our own lives.

(El Shaddai Title Slide)

And one of the reasons, Christ followers should come to church every Sunday, and read the Bible every day, is because we need constant reminders that who God really is…is EL SHADDAI

When most Americans picture God, they’re not picturing El Shaddai, but something more like “Hippy Jesus”

The God who loves children, and baby lambs, and has lots of grace… (and that partly describes who He is)

But this is also the God that made the sun stand still, and parted the red sea, and created the planets…

This is the God that could answer the deepest, most miraculous prayers there are lodged deep in our hearts, like, “Would you provide me with a child? Even at 99?”

Or, maybe for you, “God, could you restore this relationship, even if it was me that set it on fire?”

Or, “God, could you turn my life around even if I’ve been running the wrong way for 20 years?

Can He do that??



The God who can do all things in his might!

Now, that doesn’t mean he does everything that you want Him to

But the Bible teaches us, like one of core values says, that we should “pray the impossible”

Because we worship the God who can make anything possible.


But what do you do with that tension.

I always explain it this way:

We are to pray with such faith that we believe God could do anything, and yet trust Him with the same level of faith even if God knows it’s better to do nothing.

But we pray the impossible because He’s El Shaddai

And He has done some incredible things in our lives (and in our church!)



In fact, I want to call our Baptismal Team on stage right now

As we are going to celebrate a baptism this morning.

Baptisms are reminders that God’s Son, Jesus Christ has paid for our sins.

And by our faith in Him, we were forgiven, washed clean.

Baptism is a symbol of what happens when a person believes in Jesus (that their sins were washed clean)

Baptism doesn’t save you.

But it is such an important symbol of his love.

Every person you see baptized at Renovation Church is baptized by a sponsor (people who’s had a spiritual impact on them)

I want you to believe that you can be in here in the next year baptizing your friend, your family member.

Some of you are going, “That’s not possible”

But who is the God we worship?

He’s El Shaddai!

He can do it!

Pray the impossible!”


(El Shaddai Title Slide)

What you’re hearing is a story of a life transformed by a real and powerful God, El Shaddai.

He changes lives.

We can see that, even in our passage today.

Look at what God says to Abraham in verse 5:

(Genesis 17:5) – NIV

5 No longer will you be called Abram[b]; your name will be Abraham,[c] for I have made you a father of many nations.

And so his original name was Abram.

That’s the name he had for most of his life.

It means “Exalted father”

Important father.

Honestly, imagine how painful this name was for him

He’d meet traders passing through, and they’d say, “What’s your name?”

And he’d answer, “Abram”

And they’d say, “Oh Exalted Father! How many kids do you have?”

“None. I have none,” he’d say painfully.

And then, God comes along, Abram is 99, NINETY-NINE!

And God says, “And now, Abram, exalted father, I’m going to change your name, and your new name is, Abraham, “father of many nations”

It’s so crazy, so preposterously wonderful, so powerful, that Abraham can hardly believe it…

And yet it’s true. And God does it.

And my friend, that is what our powerful God, El Shaddai, wants to do for many of you in this room.

See, cuz you have a name.

And for some of you, you’ve been labeled with a name.

Some call you by the name “Failure”

Some of you call yourself a “bad mom, a terrible father”

For others, maybe, in truth, the name that you feel describes you best is “a drunk, an alcoholic”

And you feel stuck with that name.

But like Abraham, God comes to you with a gift, a promise, and a new name.

The gift is His Son.

God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross in your place.

For your failures, your messes, and your sins.

And the Bible says, that if you believe in that, and you turn your life over to Him, He promises to turn yours around.

For now and for all of eternity…offering you eternal life in heaven.

And when you put your faith in Jesus, the Bible says, You get a new name.

Your name is no longer “Failure,” it’s CHILD of GOD

Your name is no longer “drunk,” or “worthless” “or adulterer”)

Your name is “Daughter of God. Son of God”

If you put your faith in Him…Jesus will look at you and say:

“I have seen your past, but I died for your past…on the cross.

“I have forgiven you, and washed your sins away”

And now, you take my family name, I have brought you into my FAMILY!

God can do that!

Even if you’re not sure that you see it yet!

God gave Abraham a new name (father of many nations) because God could see what Abraham would become even before Abraham himself could see it.

And God wants to turn your life around in the same way.

That’s the offer in front of you.

And God can do it.

Don’t you dare say that your life is too messy, and that He can’t couldn’t do it with your life!

He can…He’s El Shaddai!

But it starts with you.

It starts with you saying, “I need a new name. A new direction. I need to turn my life over to Jesus. And believe and follow Him”

And I want to give some of you a chance to make that decision even right now this morning:

So let’s just have everyone bow their head and close their eyes, just for a minute.

If you need to make this decision for the first time today…to confess your sins to Jesus for the first time and let Him forgive you…to make Him the leader of your life…to accept His gift of Eternal life…

In just a minute, I’m going to ask you to respond by RAISING YOUR HAND.

No one’s going to be looking at you, that’s why we had everyone close their eyes.

But sometimes in life, we just need that moment…to take a first step.

To say, “God I believe. Take my life”

And if you need to do that today, and I bet you already know it on your heart and you can feel it inside right now…

If you need to tell God for the first time today that you do believe, and you want to follow Him and be forgiven.

Then I invite you to raise your hand up to God right now.

The Bible tells us that in this moment we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths.

Repeat after me

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.


Okay, you can point down your hands and everyone can open their eyes.

For those of you that raised your hands, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…

So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…

in just a second, I’m going to close the service in prayer, and then right after the service, I want the TWO/THREE of you to meet me up here in front.

And I, and our follow-up team, for just a couple of minutes, are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started

If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member raised their hand, PLEASE come out there with them.

Let me just close by thanking God.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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