Jehovah Jireh: The Lord Who Provides
We currently studying a few of the Names of God in the Create Truth Art Challenge. Last week we studied Jehovah Rapha and this week is all about Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Who Provides. Below is the devotional part the Challenge (the Truth Prompt). You can find the entire lesson as well as all of the other weekly lessons in the Grace in Color Classroom. It’s FREE to sign up, so head on over so you don’t miss a thing.
This is a favorite among the names of God because let's face it, we all like to be provided for, right? And what a beautiful thing that we have a God who sees to our every need. But, as with most of our preconceived ideas of scripture based on childhood stories and 80's worship songs (you know you are singing it), there is so much more to learn.
The name Jehovah Jireh translates as The Lord Who Provides, The Lord Who Sees, The Lord Who Will See To It or The Lord Who is Seen. Charles Spurgeon says it like this in his sermon on this text “We are offered a variety of interpretations, but the exact idea is that of seeing and being seen. For God to see is to provide. Our own word “provide,” is only Latin for “to see.” You know how we say that we will see to a matter. Possibly this expression hits the nail on the head. Our heavenly Father sees our need, and with divine foresight of love prepares the supply. He sees to a need to supply it; and in the seeing he is seen, in the providing he manifests himself.” Love that!
Jehovah Jireh is first used in scripture in the account in Genesis 22:1-14 when Abraham is spared from sacrificing his own son. It has honestly been one of the more disturbing accounts in the Bible for me in the past. I think this is due to the fact that although I can sometimes empathize and imagine what the men and women of the Bible were feeling, I simply cannot put myself in the place of Abraham in this story.
Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac on an altar as a burnt sacrifice. We have the benefit of the written Word where we know the ending of the story, and we are told from the beginning that God was testing Abraham. Abraham, however, did not know these things. He only had the promise that God made to him that “through Isaac shall your offspring be named”. (Genesis 21:12). I can only begin to imagine his thoughts as he rose the very next morning to obey God, taking his young son up the hill without a lamb to offer, in preparation for his sacrifice.
Abraham trusted God to provide, even before He did. He didn't know how or when the provision would come, but he knew it would come. He understood that true worship of a mighty God required that he come with total, unconditional surrender. He was given a promise, but even so, was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience.
Of course, we know the rest of the story. Just as the knife was raised against Isaac, God stopped Abraham's hand and provided a ram in the thicket instead. Talk about a storyline! At this point, I can begin to imagine the feelings of Abraham. He felt more than relief. He felt more than joy. He felt more than adoration and thanksgiving. I want to fall on my face weeping just reading the story. And I suspect this is exactly what Abraham did in that moment. He sacrificed the ram and named the place Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Who Provides.
So, those are some of the facts of this story. Why exactly is it in the holy Word of God, though? And what does it have to do with Christ? This is something we must always ask. In this case, the foreshadowing is pretty clear. The ram is the substitute for Isaac and Christ is a substitute for us. How fitting that it was an act of obedience in being willing to kill his son that points to an act in which God did that very thing for us.
As I mentioned above, I can't relate to Abraham much in this story, although I should certainly learn from his selfless act of worship. In this particular story, however, I am not the “Abraham”. I am the “Isaac”. I was on the altar because of my sin. I was actually deserving of death from my righteous Father's hand. And I was spared because of a substitute. The perfect lamb of God.
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? —Wesley
Yes, Jehovah Jireh is a God who provides for my needs, but most importantly, he freely offers salvation from the death I deserve. He sees to my salvation.
This account is heavy. And there are many more facets to it than mentioned in this short devotion. I strongly encourage you to read and study the text in Genesis as well as this sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon on this topic. This is only an excerpt from the sermon and it's still lengthy but his points are worth the concentration and contemplation it requires to get through them.
How does this retelling of the story of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac speak to you today? How quickly did Abraham respond to God's command, despite his human reluctance to do so? Is our obedience immediate? Is it even obedience if it is not?
What is God teaching us about genuine worship in this account? Read Romans 12:1-2.
And how can we continue to be encouraged when we read about God's timing in this story? He saw the need all along but did not provide the ram until the very last minute. God was not “late”, it was in His plan all along.
Finally, I think it's good to consider why God provides for us? Yes, he loves us and He is a good Father, but there is more to it than that. Warren Wiersbe says this: “Why does God provide our every need? For the great glory of His name! “Hallowed be Thy name” is the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13), and it governs all the other requests. God was glorified on Mount Moriah because Abraham and Isaac did the will of the Lord. We must pause to consider this important truth.”
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live. –Van de Venter
REMEMBER: An organized list of all of the devotions and creative prompts for the Create Truth Art Challenge can be found in the Grace in Color Classroom. Feel free to sign up for the FREE challenge at any time. Create Truth Art is designed so that you can jump in at any time. Each devotion and art prompt can stand alone. Of course, the goal is to be in God’s Word more and more, so I’d love it you followed along with us each week! There is, however, no pressure and no stress involved in this fun way to grow closer to God.