THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD Lesson #23
The Sufficiency of God Exodus 6:3
When the Lord was about to deliver Israel out of Egyptian bondage, he spoke to Moses and said, “I am the LORD: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of God almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” When he was about to save his people, God revealed himself by the name, Jehovah, which means Deliverer, Savior, God who saves. And when he sent Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob out to follow him in strange lands, he appeared to them by the name God almighty. That name, “God Almighty,” is translated in the margin of our Bibles, “El-Shaddai,” which means “God Almighty,” identifying our God as One whose power is infinite and uncontrollable.
This name, “El-Shaddai,” however, speaks of much more than God’s omnipotent power. It suggests the idea of “God who is a Nourisher.” In fact, El-Shaddai is said to bless his people with “blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb” (Gen. 49:25). As a mother nourishes her children with the milk of her breast, so the Lord our God, El-Shaddai, tenderly nourishes his own elect with the fullness of his Being.
El-Shaddai also means, “God who pours out.” He not only nourishes us, supplying everything we need to sustain us and keep us, but he also pours out upon us all the blessings of his grace. Our God is a fountain overflowing and gushing out with grace that flows to us with constant fullness, like a mighty river from the throne of God.
And El-Shaddai means, “God All-Sufficient.” The Lord our God is so great and glorious that he has all sufficiency in himself, for himself, of himself, so that he needs nothing to make him happy and complete. And El-Shaddai is God All-Sufficient for his people. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as they made their pilgrimage through this world, needed nothing but God whose name is Sufficient! That person truly lives by faith who lives in the confidence that he needs nothing but God, whose name is El-Shaddai - God All-Sufficient. This attribute of God, his sufficiency, implies three things about his great and glorious Being.
GOD’S ALL-SUFFICIENCY IMPLIES SELF-SUFFICIENCY, AND INDEPENDENCE. In other words, God needs nothing from anyone. Preachers often portray God as a pathetic being who is in desperate need of man, as one who cannot be happy and satisfied without man, and one whose will, work, and glory greatly depends upon man. But from the beginning God revealed himself as El-Shaddai, God Almighty and All-Sufficient. God is so infinitely great that he stands in need of nothing and is in need of no one. The self-existent God is the self-subsistent God. He is perfect, complete, happy and satisfied in himself. We can add nothing to him. And we can take nothing from him. He is God (Rom. 11:35-36).
John Gill wrote, “God in his divine persons, God Father, Son, and Spirit, have enough within themselves, to give the utmost, yea, infinite complacency, delight, and satisfaction among themselves and to one another.” From eternity, “the Father delighted in the Son, `the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person;’ the Son in the Father, before whom he was always rejoicing, when as yet no creature existed; and both in the blessed Spirit, proceeding from them (see Prov. 8:30). For creation adds nothing at all to the perfection and happiness of God, nor makes the least alteration in him.”
There is no vacuum in God, which we must fill. He lacks nothing that must be supplied by his creatures. We stand in need of God. He alone supplies our every need and supports us in life. By him we consist. In him we live, and move, and have our being. He upholds us by the word of his power. But God needs nothing from us. God All-Sufficient is God Self-Sufficient!
The services we perform for God in faith are not for his benefit, but for ours (Acts 17:24-25). In the Old Testament the ordinances of worship were for man’s benefit, not God’s (Psa. 50:7-15). All those sacrifices, ceremonies, rituals, priests, and holy days were for the instruction, comfort, peace, and edification of God’s people. But God received nothing by them. The ordinances of worship in the New Testament are for the same purpose. God gains nothing by what we do. Our worship, service, and obedience to God does not enrich him. They enrich us, but not him. By these things we are led into communion with the living God and brought into the enjoyment of his gracious presence.
· Our praise does not benefit God. It benefits us.
· Our prayers do not benefit God. They benefit us. The throne of grace was set up, not for God, but for us (Heb. 4:16).
· Our sacrifices, services, and acts of obedience to God do not benefit him. They benefit us (Job 22:2-3; 35:7-8; Lk. 17:10; Tit. 3:8).
Even the righteousness, obedience, and sacrifice of Christ as our Substitute added nothing to the perfection of God’s glorious being, but was altogether for our benefit (Psa. 16:2-3). His obedience was for us (Rom. 5:19). His death was for us (1 John 3:16). His resurrection was for us (Rom. 4:25). His exaltation is for us (John 17:2). His intercession is for us (Rom. 8:34). His second coming is for us (1 Thess. 14:13-18). Even His judgment in the last day is for us (Isa. 14:1; Rev. 18:24).
Not only is it true that we can never add anything to God, but no creature can ever take anything from him either. The sinful deeds of the wicked do not in anyway diminish the happiness, perfection, and glory of God (Job 35:6-8). God is so infinitely great, so thoroughly self-sufficient that no creature can add anything to him, take anything from him, hinder his work, impede his purpose, or in anyway alter him. God needs nothing from anyone; and loses nothing to anyone!. His name is El-Shaddai - God All-Sufficient!
BECAUSE HE IS ALL-SUFFICIENT, GOD IS ABLE TO SUPPLY ALL THE NEEDS OF HIS PEOPLE. God is able to do whatever he pleases. He is able to fulfill all his promises. He is able to accomplish all his decrees. And he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. Nothing is too hard for our God. He who sent manna from heaven every day to feed a hungry nation for forty years can feed you. He who caused water to gush out of a rock in the desert can refresh you. He who caused a pair of shoes to walk thousands of miles for forty years and remain new, and caused a coat to last all that time without the least wear, can clothe you. He who caused an ax to swim can keep you afloat. The name of our God is El-Shaddai, God All-Sufficient!
We see something of God’s infinite sufficiency in the physical world around us. In his good providence, God gives life and breath to all things (Acts 17:25). He breathed into Adam the breath of life and gives the breath of life to all the sons of Adam. He is called the God of our life (Psa. 42:8), because we get life from him. And he supports, maintains, and preserves the life he has given from his own sufficiency as long as it pleases him (Job 10:11-12; 12:10; Psa. 66:9). it is God alone who provides for all men all the necessities of life and supplies the needs of all his creatures daily (Psa. 104:27-28; 145:15; 147:9). Out of his great, infinite sufficiency, in the exercise of his wisdom and power, our great God and heavenly Father totally rules the universe (Psa. 22:28; Prov 8:15-16; Matt. 10:29-30). So great is God’s infinite, incomprehensible sufficiency that though he made all things, sustains all things, provides for all things ,and rules all things, his sufficiency is never diminished!.
But, above all else, we know El-Shaddai to be God All-Sufficient because we have experienced his all sufficient grace. El- Shaddai is the God of all grace. He is able to cause all grace to abound toward us; and he does. He is able to supply all our needs; and he does, out of that rich and glorious plenitude and all-sufficiency that is in him, by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
1. Our Lord Jesus Christ is an all-sufficient Mediator (John 1:14, 16; Col. 1:18-19; 2:9-10).
2. Christ is the Mediator of an all-sufficient covenant (Eph. 1;3).
3. And God bestows upon his elect all-sufficient grace in Christ (2 Cor. 12:9).
When he says, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” he means for every believing sinner to understand that his grace in Christ is sufficient to justify, pardon, and cleanse him, keep him in life, sustain him in death, bring him up to heaven, and present him faultless before the presence of his glory in the last day! The name of God our Savior is El-Shaddai - God All-Sufficient. He is able to supply all our needs. And he does (Gen 22:7-14).
GOD’S ALL SUFFICIENCY ALSO IMPLIES THAT HE IS PERFECT. One who lacks nothing, needs nothing, to whom nothing can be given, and from whom nothing can be taken away is perfect. God is perfect in his nature (Matt. 5:48). He is immutable (James 1:17), omniscient (Job 37:16), wise (Rom. 11:33), omnipotent (Isa. 40:26-28; 59:1), holy (Lev. 11:44), and pure (1 John 1:5). His perfection is displayed in all his works (Deut. 32:3-4). Whether we speak of creation, redemption, providence, or grace, we are compelled to joyfully confess with the psalmist, “As for God, his way is perfect” (Psa. 18:30). (See Eccles. 3:14). And before he is finished with us, if we are his, God will make us perfect, too (1 Pet. 5:10). We are perfect now positionally and representatively in Christ Eph. 1:6; Col. 1:12; 2:9-10). And soon we shall be perfect personally and experimentally with Christ (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:1-3). We have confidence that it shall be so, because the name of our God is El-Shaddai!