Advent Day 4: El Shaddai

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”
At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations!” (Genesis 17:1–4 NLT)

Grafting is a horticultural method wherein the branch from one tree, often fruit-bearing, is removed from its original tree and attached to the branches and root system of another tree. There are a few reasons this is done, but one of the most prominent is to transplant a fruit-bearing branch to a tree with a hardier root system, thereby increasing its yield or even its chances of survival. This also allows for some interesting creations, such as the so-called fruit salad trees, where a variety of fruits from the same family, such as citrus or stone fruit, all grow on the same tree.

This is part of what makes grafting a powerful image of the Christian faith. As Paul writes in Romans 11:17, “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.”

Our God, El Shaddai, is big enough and mighty enough to graft new branches onto Abraham’s family tree. Through Jesus, we have joined this multitude of nations and can, like Abraham, trust that El Shaddai will keep His covenants with us. Spend time studying Psalm 91, focusing on the promises for those who “find rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).