What do you think about when you think about God? Does he seem real or more like a character out of a book? Do you grasp his majesty or is he more of an afterthought in your faith?
When you start to look at the original Hebrew in the Old Testament, you realize the ways that God identifies himself AND the ways that the people of Israel specifically honored God by name because of His character.
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about the character and being of God and I invite you to join with me as I learn more about who He is and why He deserves our utmost praise and adoration. Click here to read the first, second, and third posts in the series.
The name of God we will be looking at this week is “Jehovah Jireh,” which means “the Lord will Provide.” Jehovah Jireh is deeply personal and revealing of God’s character. We first hear the name Jehovah Jireh used for God by Abraham in Genesis 22.
To provide some back story, Abraham was promised by God that he would be the father of many nations (see Genesis 17). This came as quite a shock to both Abraham and his wife Sarah as Sarah had been barren for many years, and yet, the Lord knew what he was doing. When Abraham and Sarah were well past child bearing years, their son Isaac was born.
However, the Lord’s deliverance of his promise did not stop there and Abraham’s faithfulness to the Lord would be further tested. In Genesis 22, we see God tell Abraham to bring his son Isaac up to a mountain, and offer him as a burnt offering to the Lord. How was Abraham to become the father of many nations when God is calling him to sacrifice his only son?
As Abraham and Isaac made the journey up the mountain with everything they needed for the offering, except for a lamb, Isaac keeps asking his father “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
“Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together.” (v. 8)
When they reached the top of the mountain, Abraham set up the altar, placed Isaac on it, and brought out his knife in preparation to sacrifice his only son. As Abraham wielded the knife above his head, the angel of the Lord called to him.
He replied, “Here I am.”
Then he said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from me.” Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said, “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.” (v.11-15)
Kind of a traumatic story if you ask me! The fear Abraham must have felt, the confusion of Isaac, the wondering about God’s promises, etc. The list could go on.
Abraham was so fully submitted to the Lord and trusting of His faithfulness, that he did it anyways and the Lord provided.
“Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn,” this is the Lord’s declaration: “Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son, I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the city gates of their enemies. And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring because you have obeyed my command.” (v. 15-18)
Abraham did not know what the outcome of sacrificing Isaac would be, but he fully trusted God’s plan with it. He knew that if God had promised to make him the father of many nations, that either Isaac would be raised from the dead or God would find another way. His faith was so great that he was willing to do the impossible, knowing that his Jehovah Jireh would provide.
2020 has been a weird year. Maybe not “almost sacrificing your only child on an altar” weird, but for many of us, it has been one of the hardest years we have ever experienced. It is hard to see an end in sight to all of the chaos, division, and heartbreak that many of us are feeling regularly.
I think that one of the most beautiful things, though, about being a Believer, is the opportunity to look back at the many ways that God has been faithful.
Next month marks the one year anniversary of my Papa’s death. He is the first grandparent I have lost and his decline happened suddenly and rapidly. While at school last fall, it felt like every call my sister and Abby and I would get from our parents contained more bad news about his health, but looking back, I can still see God’s provision through it all. I had my sister there to walk through it all since we were at school today and we got to spend his last birthday with him just two months before. If any of this had happened during 2020, we would’ve missed out on those moments.
Maybe it isn’t so easy for you to look back on your life and see God’s faithfulness and that’s okay too. I know I have been there before and many others have been as well. When I was in third grade, I learned about the “faith chapter” in the Bible, otherwise known as Hebrews 11. I had to memorize all forty verses, and while I probably could not say it all by heart anymore, it has served as a great reminder to me of God’s provision when his people are faithful. You can read about Abraham and Moses and the people of Israel and Rahab and the Prophets, but I’ll leave some excerpts from it below.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible…All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance,admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11:1-3, 13-16 NIV
The greatest provision of all is the gift of eternal life and a relationship with a Heavenly Father who gives good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:11). We are strangers in this world but our Jehovah Jireh will sustain us until He calls us home.
Prayer: Divine Promises
Song: Do It Again
Your promise still stands Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness I’m still in Your hands This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet