Jehovah Jireh – the lord will provide

I have to admit, I love studying the Old Testament. As we explore those early historical accounts, we learn so much about who God is! Abraham’s story, especially when God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac is one of those.

“Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac – and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” (Genesis 22:2). Though Abraham’s faith journey has been a roller-coaster ride – sometimes he shows great faith and other times he shows no faith and tries to take control of a situation, putting all the focus on himself; what HE can do — this time he is obedient. So Abraham, who is probably about 115-120 years old prepares for the 45-mile journey. He loads up a donkey with everything needed for the sacrifice, and he, a couple of his servants and Isaac take off. I can’t imagine that trip. Not only is the terrain difficult, but what do you talk about when you know what God is asking you to do? What is Abraham thinking about? Are the servants asking, why do we have to travel 45 miles? Couldn’t you have done the sacrifice at home? Isaac is confused because there is no lamb for the sacrifice.

A couple of days on the road and they arrive. Abraham binds Isaac, lays him on the altar, and draws his knife. But God stops him! “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught 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 [Jehovah Jireh], 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)

This is one of those characteristics of God we learn about through studying the Old Testament: Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. Too often, though, when we call God Jehovah Jireh, we make Him out to be a vending machine. I need this…God will provide. I want that…God will provide. If I plunk enough quarters in the “God provides machine” whatever I need or want will come out! I remember once the wind blew the lid off of my garbage can and I couldn’t find it for days. Then it showed up down the street, and I said, “Jehovah Jireh, God provides!!” I know, it’s embarrassing, but I hear stories just like that from time to time.

You know what? The word Jireh comes from a word that means “to see.” So, Jehovah Jireh means so much more than he provides, It means God sees to it. When there is no other way, God sees to it. God doesn’t blindly provide “stuff” when we want it, or even when we need it. But when we are facing a test, we relinquish control, and we trust Him, God sees to it that we endure the test and come out for the better on the other side. Sometimes that means a lesson learned or a changed heart.

I think Abraham had a change of heart. He could have called that place the Mountain of Agony or the Hill of Obedience, but that would have made the sacrifice of Isaac all about himself. Instead, he calls the place, God Provides or God Sees To It, and puts all the focus on God.

What about you? When you are facing a test of some kind, do you take control of the situation yourself, or do you trust that God will see to it and provide a way for you to persevere through it? Is it an addiction you can break? God will see to it when you turn it over to Him. Is God calling you to do something, and you have no idea how? God will see to it when you give up control. We will all face tests during our lifetime. The question is, what will it look like for you on the other side?

The writer is the discipleship pastor at Connection Point Church of God, Sidney.