Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ramcaught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14
God always asks us to trust Him, even when things don't make sense. Take Abraham and Sarah, for instance. During a starry night, God promises Abraham he will be blessed with a son, and not only that, his descendants will outnumber the stars glowing back at him. From our human perspective, a promise like seemed impossible due to Abraham's advanced age and Sarah being barren. God says Sarah will be the one who bears a son who will confirm the everlasting covenant that began with Abraham. Everything comes to pass. Isaac is born.
The impossible is made possible. God's promise fulfilled. If this story played out on the big screen, you'd expect the credits to start rolling and everyone living happily ever after. However, the story continues when God makes an odd request to Abraham: sacrifice your son. Why would God ask Abraham to do such a thing? Why this test? Why would God want to take away the thing He had just promised to Abraham?
Instead of letting questions get the better of him, Abraham obeys this test of faith. The place where the sacrifice was to take place was 50 miles from Abraham's home. Each step in their long journey must have been painful and excruciating. Everything in Abraham was telling him to stop and turn around. But, in an ultimate show of obedience, Abraham took the knife and was willing to kill his son. Abraham was willing to let go of what he deeply loved. At that moment, an angel tells him to stop and put the knife down. Off in the distance, a ram, which eventually served as the substitute sacrifice, is spotted.
Abraham builds an altar to mark this moment. He calls that spot Jehovah Jireh, which can be translated, as "the Lord will provide." By naming this spot, Abraham is taking a moment to describe God's character. Jehovah means "to be known" while Jireh stands for "to provide, to show up, or to be seen." A name like that speaks to the heart of God. He is ceaselessly revealing Himself to us so we will trust Him with everything we have. He wants us to see Him as faithful.
We tend to think of provision as merely getting what we need, want, or desire. Our version places the emphasis on what's been given. We are thankful for the item itself. Yet, when Abraham builds an altar and names that place Jehovah Jireh, the emphasis lies more in the provider than the provision. Abraham understood our natural tendency to take the provision and forget about the provider.
Provision is not just giving us what we need. It never bypasses faith. God never places us in a position where we'll become less dependent on Him. It's the exact opposite. God's faithfulness comes to us in our faith - not as a replacement for our faith, which is what we tend to want. Provision is the place where God's faithfulness intersects with our faith. God will always be with us, but only we can take those steps of faith toward Him.
· In what ways is God Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide) to you? When you say God is your provider, what do you mean?
God, You are my provider and sustainer. Remind me of this truth when I face situations where I question Your ways. Give me the faith to walk in obedience. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.