The Lord Will Provide
Abraham called the name of that place, Jehovah Jireh, (the Lord will provide) as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord, it shall be provided.”(Genesis 22:14)
Genesis 22 tells us that God put Abraham’s faith and obedience to the test by asking him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. The command seemingly contradicts everything we know about God. However, in Abraham’s day, people sometimes would sacrifice children on altars dedicated to their idols. Nowhere else does the Bible record God ever asking someone to sacrifice a child to Him. Clearly, God was testing Abraham to see if he was devoted to the trueGod as his neighbors were committed to their false gods.
Obeying such a command required Abraham to trust God at a new deeper level of faith. On the way to the place of sacrifice, Isaac asked, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”(Genesis 22:7) Can you imagine how sobering this moment was for Abraham? Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” (Genesis 22:8) We don’t know all Abraham was thinking, but clearly he trusted God to provide everything he needed for the imminent sacrifice. He acted on his belief that God was his Provider. He did what God to,d him to do.
When God saw that Abraham did not merely claim to have faith in Him but was willing to act out his trust through obedience in this excruciating task, He stopped Abraham and provided a ram for the sacrifice. Abraham named that place after the characteristic of God he had just come to know by experience- “Jehovah Jireh, meaning The Lord Will Provide”. Abraham came to an intimate knowledge of God that day through the experience of God as his Provider.
This is how we too, grow to know God. As we experience God firsthand, we come to know Him in new and increasingly deeper dimensions. We can learn that God provides as we read this story about Abraham’s walk, but we really know God as Provider once we experience Him providing something specifically for us.
Henry and Richard Blackaby
Perhaps no other story in the Old Testament paints such a picture of the Father and Jesus. Abraham and Issac, father and son are on their way to offer a sacrifice. Most of us in our day do not understand the importance or significance of such an act. We are so blessed to live in the age of grace, enjoying the benefits and blessings provided for us by Christ Jesus. But in the Old Testament no such provision had been made for sin other than the continual offering of sacrifice on the behalf of humans. Like most things, this became distorted and in the land of Canaan where Abraham resided human sacrifice was nothing unheard of or practiced. Hoping in some way to appease the gods, often children were offered. This practice continued into Jesus’s day and even later in various parts of the world. Such practice even occurs in our day through abortions and the like.
By the time we get to this story, Abraham is an old man. He was 90 when Issac was born and by now Isaac is a strong young man. When they arrive on the mountain, Issac asks once again, “Where’s the sacrifice? Abraham replies, “You’re it!” We know that had Issac refused, he would have been able to overpower Abraham. As we continue the story, we find Issac bound upon the altar and Abraham drawing back the knife to offer the sacrifice when God speaks, “Abraham, stop, there’s a ram in the bush. Offer it instead.” So father and son went home together that day.
Fast forward to a dark day at Calvary. Once again a father and son make their way up a mountain. Carrying a cross, the son is preparing to offer his life. This time there’s no ram as a substitute. As before there’s no resistance for the son and father have already reached an agreement. The Father will offer the sacrifice and the Son will be the sacrifice. So it’s done, God offers His Only Son as the final sacrifice for us and the penalty for our sins. From that hilltop comes the shout from the Son, “It is finished.” The master plan for the redemption of man is complete. Nothing more needs be done. All that’s necessary has been accomplished. Three days later, the Father speaks, “Arise my Son” and sin and death and hell were conquered for all time. Have you sinned? Failed in some way? Lost without hope? There’s not a ram in the bush but there’s a Savior died on a cross and is alive forevermore. He holds your freedom, your forgiveness and your life in His hands. Why not trust Him?
Dr. John Thompson