Read 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 13 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 79th 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 85, 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 centre 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 13 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. — 2 Corinthians 6:18
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.