Last week I began series about Eternal Life. I shared from John 17:3 that eternal life isn’t just about getting saved. According to Jesus eternal life is about knowing God intimately and experientially. This means a person can be saved and not really know God very well at all. It’s with that thought in mind that I’m writing this series of articles on Eternal Life. Click here for last week’s article.
I made the point last week that one of the best ways to know God is through the seven redemptive names of God from the Old Testament. These names reveal His character and nature, which demonstrate what He is like. In this article I want to look at the name Jehovah-Jireh or The Lord Our Provider, which is revealed in Genesis 22:14:
14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Why did Abraham call this place the Lord will provide? At the beginning of Genesis 22, God spoke to Abraham and told him to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah. Think about how ridiculously challenging that demand was. It would be hard for any good father to sacrifice a child, but in Abraham’s case he was sacrificing a child that he had waited 25 years to be born. This is also the child that God promised Abraham to make a great nation out of and to bring so many descendants through that Abraham would be the Father of many nations!
Imagine Abraham trying to process God’s request. Abraham loved God and was a man of faith who had given up everything to follow after the Lord and now it seemed that Lord was asking for Abraham to give up everything God had promised him. I’m sure it seemed like God was being cruel by playing some sort of intense psychological warfare on him.
Before we go further in the story, I want to address the idea that God is cruel to His followers. First we need to understand God is a perfect Father. Jesus said if we who are evil give good gifts to our kids, how much more will our Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who love Him.
The second thing I want to highlight is why God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. God asked Abraham to this because God wanted to promote Abraham. God never intended to have Abraham kill Isaac. He did want to test Abraham’s heart though, to ensure that Abraham was serving God for who God was and not for the promise God had made him. The reason this was essential for God to promote Abraham is because when God promotes people He is giving them influence over others. He wants His leaders to influence people for Jesus, which means they must be yielded to God and His ways. If a person is selfish and self promoting, they will eventually use their promotion to promote themselves instead of serve and promote those who have been placed in their trust.
After God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham obeyed immediately. The Bible says he saddled his donkey and took two young men and Isaac with him to go to Mount Moriah early the next morning. On the third day, as Abraham looked out, He saw Mount Moriah. Abraham left the two young mean and took Isaac with him to go to the mountain. Before Abraham left he said, the boy and I will both return to you.” What a faith statement.
As they walked up the mountain Isaac asked Abraham, where is the lamb for the offering? Abraham’s response was, “God will provide the lamb for the offering.” It’s amazing that Abraham knew that God would come through in some way and that Isaac would live even when everything Abraham could observe naturally made it look like Isaac was going to die. Look at Hebrews 11:
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
Hebrews 11 verifies that Abraham knew that Isaac was going to live. It doesn’t say that Abraham knew how God was going to rescue Isaac, but it does make it clear that even if Isaac would have died on the alter, Abraham believed God would resurrect him.
When they got to the Mount Moriah, Abraham built an alter and placed wood on it. He then tied Isaac up with ropes and laid him on the alter. At that point, Abraham took a knife and pulled it back to do what was almost unimaginable. I can’t imagine what was running through Abraham’s head as he was pulling the knife back to kill the person he loved more than anything. At that very moment an angel spoke and said, “Abraham, Abraham. Do not lay your hand on the lad because now I know that you fear God since you have not withheld your only son from me.” Abraham then saw a ram in the thicket (a prophetic picture of Jesus) and offered the ram as the sacrifice.
What a powerful story of God’s provision and how Abraham passed the test of trust! Abraham demonstrated that he loved God more than God’s promise and he trusted that God would provide in the face of impossible circumstances. Abraham then called the place, Jehovah-Jireh or the Lord will provide.
The lesson we need to learn from this story is we can always trust God. There will be times where we may go through difficult situations and it looks like we may do without, but the truth is Jehovah-Jireh – the Lord will provide.
I want to encourage you to trust God in the face of the impossible. Get in His word and study it for yourself. Find out His promises and plant them in your heart and declare them out of your mouth like Abraham did. Abraham is our example. This means he isn’t just someone we are supposed to read about and celebrate, but we are supposed to follow his example and become fully surrendered like he was.
There will be times in our lives that it will seem like God promises us something and then asks for us to lay the promise aside to pursue Him first. If we don’t lay everything down, we don’t really know Him as Jehovah-Jireh. We will have an intellectual knowledge about God that will deceive us instead of an experiential knowledge that will transform us.
Before I close I want to share one other profound thing about the story of Abraham and Isaac. This article was worth reading to get to the next paragraph. Here it goes:
Most Bible scholars believe that Jesus was God crucified at the same location where Isaac was offered as a sacrifice. This means when God revealed Himself as Jehovah-Jireh, He was actually making a prophetic statement about Jesus. God provided Jesus for us at this location. God made plans to provide Jesus for us before Adam ever sinned and humanity knew we needed a savior. This demonstrates the Father heart of God to provide for His children. This whole story about a Father offering his son is a prophetic picture of what God did for us when He offered his Son to save us. I pray this article is helping you realize just how much your Father loves you. According to Romans 8:32 if God gave His only Son for you, how will He not freely give you all things. He is your provider. Learn to receive Him this way today!
If you would like to learn more about how to overcome adversity that tries our faith, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.