We first find the name Jehovah Jireh in Genesis chapter 22:13 & 14, and it means Our Provider. It is the story of Abraham’s call and willingness to sacrifice his only son, and of the providence and provision of God. This name is one of the many that provide a precious knowledge of God’s care for us, yet is among the few that speak of the necessity for us to show our love for our Lord through obedience and willingness to sacrifice for Him.
Abraham had walked with God many years by this time and had been called to many acts of faith, yet this particular one stood in a category all of its own. Never before had he been told to give so much. I can almost see the blood draining from his face, hear his heart thundering in his ears, feel his body go weak and numb, experience his desire to scream, and his inability to speak. Nothing about this command made sense. Everything about this command seemed wrong and heartless. Yet God did not want to take a life, He desired to be given a heart.
In Hebrews chapter 11, we see that Abraham remembered God’s promise that through this very child, Abraham’s seed would be as many as the stars in the sky and countless as the sand on the seashore (v 12 ). Why then, would he be told to destroy the life of this promissory child? As they walked toward the altar on which Isaac would be killed, Isaac questioned his father saying, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Gen. 22: 7). Abraham’s answer to Isaac as they walked gives us a peek into the faith that God counts as righteous: “Jehovah will provide for Himself a lamb” (Gen. 22: 8). “He considered that God is able (dunamai = possesses inherent ability) to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type” (Heb. 11: 19).
The English word “provide” is from the Latin (pro = before + vedere = vision) meaning literally to “see before hand”. Jireh is “to see”, or “to provide”, or “to foresee”, as a prophet. Philippians 4:9 tells us, “My God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory.” Our God always provides adequately! What, then, shall we fear? Abraham knew God as his provider and was ready to do His will – regardless of the cost. “Faith is not shown to be real until it is tested, and real faith is not only believing in spite of the evidence, but also obeying in spite of the consequences” (paraphrased reflection on Genesis 22). Abraham knew that covenant calls for withholding nothing from God, just as He withholds nothing good from us (Ps. 84:11).
And indeed Jehovah did provide. He provided a ram caught in a thicket for Abraham, and the Lamb nailed to the cross for all mankind. What greater Provision could we have than our Savior?
When we are in our greatest need for Jehovah Jireh to provide, “we must remember that our duty is to obey God’s commands, His duty is to keep His promises…these two things never conflict” (Dave Branon “Our Daily Bread”). As Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice his only son, the angel of the LORD stopped him. Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the provided ram, sacrificed the ram as offering, and called the place Jehovah Jireh – the LORD my provider.
The times of the Lord’s provision in my life have left me on bended knee in thankfulness. So many times God provides in ways I didn’t know I needed! Yet every time I come boldly before the throne of grace in my hour of need (Heb.4:16), I know that the answer and providence is in His hands; my part is to trust and obey. Every financial need has been met when putting the Lord first in giving (Mal.3:8). Every trial is met with peace when my mind is stayed on Him (Is. 16:3). Every need for more faith is met when I refuse to hold on to fear and resentment because of trials that God allows to enter my life (Ja.1:2-4 ). Every need for godly companionship is met when I choose openness over isolation (Heb. 10:25). Every need for forgiveness is met when I do not allow my heart to turn from Him, but toward Him in repentance (Ps. 51:17).
Oswald Chambers wrote, “If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him…Never decide your own martyrdom.” God provides our needs in the place of His assignment. To submit all we are and have to His will, and to trust Him to supply every need is the essence of worship. I recently read the following commentary on worship: “How foreign to the modern concept where one’s senses are pampered rather than having one’s heart laid bare, broken, and contrite.” Abraham did not choose his sacrifice, he simply allowed God to provide as he obeyed, and he was given the providence of Jehovah Jireh.
Are you in need today? Run to the Name of the Lord, for only in Him will you be safe and find provision. Call on Jehovah Jireh, open your heart and your hand in obedience, trust in His heart, and watch Him provide as only God can, for He longs to do more abundantly than we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20)!