This is another powerful name for God. Jehovah Jireh…….the Lord our Provider!
We could say Yahweh Yireh, but somehow Jehovah Jireh trips more easily off the tongue. Y and J are interchangeable in Hebrew. Let us look at Genesis 22:1-19
“Now it came to pass……....that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am. Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” and he said, “Here I am my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, side you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 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.” Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said, “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son- “blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the sea-shore; and you descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.”
Abraham is at this time about 130 years of age and Isaac is about 30 years old. Abraham, in his old age, had the joy of seeing his son Isaac, grow and flourish; all seemed to be well and to be settled, all was at peace. Then out of the blue, as is usual with God, Abraham received a word from the Lord. God commanded him to take Isaac to the land of Moriah, which means, ‘chosen of Yahweh’ and there to offer him as a sacrifice. This was a call to Abraham to show the supreme act of faith and obedience.
Now you or I would immediately say, ‘No way!’ But not Abraham. How Sarah reacted to this command we can only imagine, if indeed she even knew.
Abraham immediately prepared for the journey, taking the wood he had cut and chopped for the altar of sacrifice and giving it to Isaac to carry. He, his two servants and Isaac set off. It was a three day journey to the mountain that God had chosen for the sacrifice. That’s a long time to think about what lies ahead. The amazing thing about this is that Abraham had learnt that when God said, “Go!” He went and when God said, “Do this!” He did it. No sign of questioning, no doubts. But all the same he must have been full of anguish as he faced this trial. What agonies did he go through on that journey? He knew in his heart that God had told him six times already that his descendants would be as the sand on the shores and as plentiful as the stars in the heavens, and he knew that this had to come through Isaac, and yet here was God commanding him to kill his only son of promise.
Did he believe that God would really carry it through? Did he wonder if Isaac would be supernaturally raised from the dead? We don’t know.
But whatever he was thinking the fact remains that he purposefully went on. His actions, whatever his thoughts and feelings, were based on his faith and trust in a god, and what he already knew about Him. Where did Abraham get such faith to obey such a hard command? It came directly from the revelation of God’s name. He must have been constantly reminding himself how God had told him that He was El Elyon and El Shaddai.
Yes, God could raise Isaac from the dead. Yes, God could provide a way of escape. Nothing was out of God’s control, He could do anything. He had seen God’s work firsthand, seen His provision, seen His power. Hebrews 11:17-19
So they arrived at the foot of Mount Moriah. This is the hill on which Solomon built the temple. David, his father, bought the threshing floor there from Araunah and built an altar on the site, fully intending to erect the temple there himself, but the duty was passed to Solomon because David had too much blood on his hands.
Having left the two servants at the foot of the mountain, after telling them that they would return, Abraham and Isaac began their climb up to the top. Isaac then asked his father where the lamb for the sacrifice was. ‘God will provide a lamb!’ was Abraham’s reply. Abraham’s faith was truly amazing.
Isaac the sacrificial, son carried the wood up the hill, just as God’s own Son Jesus would carry His cross of wood to the site of His sacrifice. Abraham offered his only son Isaac as a sacrifice just as God the Father would offer His only Son. It took three days to get to the place of sacrifice, three days of Abraham considering his son to be already dead and that God would raise him up. Jesus was dead for three days before He was raised from the dead. Indeed Isaac did, figuratively speaking, return from the dead. This narrative is an amazing type and shadow of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Why, you may ask, did God ask of Abraham what He did when it’s clear from the Old Testament that God hated human sacrifice. It was to show that animal sacrifice could never fully atone for sin. One day Someone would have to die to save the world from sin and death. Someone would have to willingly lay down His life, Someone who was pure, Someone who was holy and sinless, someone who would atone for all the sin that has ever been once and for all time.
Abraham was about to make a huge discovery about God. He was going to learn a new name of God.
As Abraham bound Isaac and laid him on the altar, it’s obvious that Isaac consented. After all he was around thirty years old, (the approximate age of Jesus at His crucifixion, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were exactly the same age) an adult, and strong too. He must have been to carry all that wood for the altar. Abraham would never have forced Isaac to be bound and could never have forced him, he wasn’t strong enough. So it would seem that Isaac was acting in faith as well. He would have learnt about God from his father and he too had faith to believe that God could intervene and raise him up. He knew the promises of the covenant that God had made with Abraham of coming generations from himself. He was willing to be sacrificed just as Jesus would be in the future. Abraham prepared to kill his only son, he lifted the knife, ready to end the life of Isaac.
Suddenly a voice called out to him. The Angel of the Lord spoke out, “STOP!” What a cliffhanger! Have you noticed how God always does everything at the last possible minute?
The Angel of the Lord had to be Jesus Himself. He knew He would have to be the ultimate sacrifice eventually.
There tangled in a bush was a ram caught by the horns. A ready sacrifice suddenly seen, not spotted before. God provided! Isaac need not die! Abraham’s faith was tried, tested and proved. So Isaac was saved and the ram was sacrificed in his place. And Abraham called the place, ‘The Lord will provide!’ or, ‘The Lord Who sees!‘ In our language we could say, ‘The Lord will see to it!’ It’s interesting to note that the substitute sacrifice was a ram and not a lamb. In God’s agenda there can only be one Lamb of God, and that is Jesus Christ.
It was Abraham and Isaac’s willingness to do what God commanded that points forward to Jesus, and Jesus was the only One who could die for the sins of the world. It is also interesting to think that even as Abraham was preparing to plunge the knife into Isaac’s heart, his nephew Bethuel was bringing up his daughter Rebekah, the girl who was to become Isaac’s wife. God was seeing to things. He was preparing the way forward for Isaac. You see, even before we cry out to God, He answers. Long before we were even born, He was at work, forming and shaping the circumstances of our lives and He provides all we need to help and sustain us. All He requires is our faith, trust and obedience, and we will see His provision time after time in our lives.
In these verses from Genesis God again states His promise to Abraham and in fact this is the seventh time God does this. Seven is the number of completion and rest.
In verse 19 we see that Abraham returns to the young men waiting at the foot of Mount Moriah, but there is no mention at this point of Isaac and we don’t hear of him again until God provides Rebekah for him as his wife. Isaac is not in the picture for a season, just as Jesus ascended to heaven and waits there for His bride the church. He is alive, but not seen. Rebekah the type of the bride of Christ is taken away to Isaac’s home and we will be taken away by Jesus to His heavenly home.
Wonderful, isn’t it to see how God completely provides? He sees the end from the beginning, not just for Abraham, Isaac and Rebekah but for each one of us.
Praise be to His holy Name, our Jehovah Jireh, our Provider.
May you be richly blessed and may you know His provision in your lives.