The Almighty One

Genesis 17:1

THIRTEEN YEARS passed, and Abram didn’t hear anything from God. There was no vision. There was no voice. There was no visit. Only silence. Try to imagine: complete silence on God’s part for thirteen years.

Abram hadn’t handled the Lord’s earlier silence very well. After God’s first appearance in Ur, Abram had been talking rather regularly with Him. More than once, the Lord had appeared to Abram with reassurances. Around his seventy-ninth birthday, he’d met with God after a miraculous victory on the battlefield, but then he heard nothing for another six or seven years. Then when he was eighty-five, he and Sarai decided to implement their own plan.

When his decision to run ahead of God’s plan ended in spectacular failure, Abram came to a kind of end. As the expression goes, “he finally came to the end of himself.” While his longing for God’s promise remained front and center in his mind, he at last surrendered to God’s omniscient, sovereign care.

In this next encounter with God, Abram posed no questions and made no complaints about his long wait; he merely “fell on his face” (Genesis 17:3 NASB) before his divine Friend.

After thirteen years, the Lord broke the silence with a fresh reintroduction. When He appeared to Abram, He said, “I am El-Shaddai” (Genesis 17:1). A good paraphrase would be, “I am God . . . specifically, the almighty One.”

The straightforward message God communicated through this name after a long silence is the same one He wants us to know when He seems absent: While I am sometimes silent, I remain in control of your circumstances. The Lord said, in so many words, “I haven’t left; I’ve been here all along.”



Has there been a time in your life when God seemed silent? How has He shown Himself to you as the almighty One?


I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.


Taken from FAITH FOR THE JOURNEY, by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2014. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Posted in Bible Characters, Christian Living and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.