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The God of the Impossible is the God of the Promise

The God of the Impossible is the God of the Promise

Throughout the Scriptures, when God revealed Himself to mankind, He did so in ways that directly correspond to the specific needs we have. This is true of when God revealed Himself as El Shaddai. He made Himself known as “God Almighty” in response to Abraham’s deep need.

In Genesis 15, God made a promise to Abraham, who was still called Abram at the time. Although Abram and his wife were childless, God “took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.…So shall your descendants be’” (v. 5). We can only imagine how it must have made him feel to hear that his offspring would be a numerous as the stars, which can hardly be counted, when as yet he hadn’t been able to conceive one child with his wife. Only a powerful God could have made such a promise and kept it.

Yet after living in the land of Canaan for ten years, Abram still did not have any children because his wife, Sarai, was unable to give birth. After waiting so long for God to fulfill His promise, Abram and Sarai thought they should take matters into their own hands.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived.…So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him. —GENESIS 16:1–4, 15–16

But Ishmael was not the child God promised, so when Abram was ninety-nine years old, God appeared to him again and said, “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]…and I will multiply you exceedingly” (Gen. 17:1–2).

The Scriptures say Abram fell on his face, and God went on to say:

“As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” …Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

Then Abraham…laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” —GENESIS 17:3–5, 15–19

In response to Abraham’s need for a son through his barren wife, Sarah, God revealed Himself as El Shaddai, “God Almighty,” the One who is able to do anything.

And the LORD said to Abraham…“Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, — GENESIS 18:13–14

What was impossible for Abraham in the natural would now be fulfilled in the supernatural through the One who is almighty, the One for whom nothing is impossible. Despite being far beyond child-bearing age, Sarah gave birth to a son they named Isaac, and the everlasting covenant God inaugurated with Abraham was established through Isaac and his descendants.

To read more from Rabbi Schneider’s To Know Him by Name, visit

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