Knowing God by His Names ~ Provider 4
Knowing God by His Names – 4
Jehovah – Jireh (Ji-rah)
* Genesis 22:1-19 (read this portion of scripture)
* Key Verse: ‘So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide…’ (Jehovah-Jireh) v.14
* Today’s Focus: This weeks study is written in devotional form, due to the material being so rich, I hesitate to ‘run through’ quickly and have us not fully glean what the Lord might have for us. Please read Genesis chapter 22 if at all possible before proceeding on. Take careful notice to the relational term… son, underline that word each time it appears. Then notice also love, sacrifice, worship, and ‘the lamb’. We are looking at YHWH-Jireh … Jehovah-Jireh.
Most of the compound names of God, reflect some historic event or God displaying His character in meeting someone’s need. The Hebrew word ‘raah’, from which ‘jireh’ is rooted, is translated, ‘to see’. The English borrowed the word ‘provision’ from the Latin language. Pro-vision is ‘to see beforehand’, indicating God seeing a need and thus supplying for that need. God is pro-active in His seeing – Provider.
Genesis chapter 22, is known as the ‘supreme crisis’ in Abraham’s life. He has seen and experienced God move in favorable ways, now he is called to test his faith, as mentioned in verse one. ‘Abraham’… God calls to him, ‘here I am’, Abraham’s response…v. 2 ‘take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love.’ There is a small word that is omitted in the NIV, and other translations, which appears in the King James, the New American Standard and the Amplified, v. 2 ‘take now your son, your only son..’, to some this may be minor, but looking at the original Hebrew, bears merit to dig deeper. It is the particle ‘na’… or as we would translate it… please. It could be rendered, ‘take please your son, your only son’. Victor P. Hamilton writes in The Book of Genesis the following:
“this particle ‘na’ occurs many times in the O.T., some 60 times in Genesis alone. But only 4 times in the entire O.T does God use the word in addressing a human being. In each case these four passages God asks somebody to do something that transcends human comprehension.”
These are found in Gen. 13:14, Gen. 15:5, Gen. 22:2 and Ex. 11:2. God, not attempting to be polite, yet is using an urgent, strong affirmation rather than a plea. He goes on to instruct Abraham to go to the mountain region of Moriah, and ‘offer’ Isaac as a burnt offering. This is fascinating, this is the first time ‘offer’ or as some translations render it, ‘sacrifice’ appears, also the word, ‘love’ and later in verse 5 …’worship’. These are significant, as we look at Abraham’s full experience of God.
Abrahams obedience is quick and detailed, Gen. 22:3 ‘early the next morning’ he is up, packed and ready to go. Taking them 3 days, they finally approach the mountain, the 2 servants brought along are told to stay and mind the donkey, ‘while I and the boy … worship and then we will come back to you’, notice the ‘we’… such faith proclaimed already. As they prepare to ascend the mountain, verse 6 says that Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it ‘on’ Isaac, he carried the wood on his shoulders, sound familiar? Jesus did the same thing, what a beautiful ‘type’ of Christ for us, the Father near by, watches as the Son, carries His own cross, that He would soon be raised up on and sacrificed. John 19:17, ‘He went out, bearing His own cross’.
There is not much said about the journey up, except one very important conversation between father and son, verse 7, Isaac spoke up and said… ‘where is the lamb, for the burnt offering’, oh can you feel the heart of Abraham tighten… ‘God Himself will provide the lamb…’ Abraham responds.
Statements have been made about the lamb, Jesus our One and only final sacrifice, that I feel can paint a picture of our Christian walk, Isaac asks… ‘where is the lamb’, John the Baptist states, ‘behold the Lamb’ (Jn. 1:29) and we along with the angels proclaim ‘worthy is the Lamb’ (Rev. 5:11-13), what a progression of faith… asking – stating- proclaiming. The difference between the three, asking, we are seeking to find. Stating answers found, He is found, an expression of faith is made, most often this is done quietly, where proclaiming is to announce publicly, to praise, extol. We move from seeking, to finding, to now a seen and heard proclamation of praise. There is some serious bowing going on.
Once on the mountain the altar is prepared, Isaac bound. What submission, what trust, many commentators differ on Isaac’s age, ranging between age 12-25, whatever age, he was amply able to refuse, and fight the aged Abraham. Do you suppose his eyes were closed, or glancing away, I sense they were focused on Abraham. What an intense moment. As Abraham gathers the knife, his mind rehearsing the promises spoken by the Lord, that same voice now commanding him to do and have results that seem irrational. D. Stuart Briscoe writes…. ‘the promise of God required that Isaac live, while the command of God demanded that he should die.’ Knife raised, heart positioned – God speaks! God’s timing is perfect, verse 11 ‘the angel of the LORD called out… ‘Abraham, Abraham’, see the contrast with verse 1, ‘God said to him, Abraham,’ I envision it more of a whisper. Now it is called out ‘Abraham, Abraham,’ a firm loud statement. Abraham passes the test… ‘now I know you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’ Can you imagine the quick response on Abe’s part… ‘yo God I am your man!’ as the knife is thrown over his shoulder. I shared with a dear friend, I too want to pass the test of devotion, where God calls out my name, not just a quiet gentle whisper (those are great too) but in His timing, a strong ‘DeDe, DeDe now I know…’. May we listen for God’s voice in those most trying times, when He is asking something of us, that is beyond us!
As I thought on this mountain top experience, I was drawn to two others, Noah, Gen. 8:4 ‘… the ark came to rest on the mountains of Arat’. Think of his experience to get to the mountain, his too was not one of choice, a rocky boat, all that dampness, and not to mention the fragrance… but as he reached his mountain top – the Lord provides a safe dry place, a place of new beginnings, God knew exactly where and when to ‘get out’. Moses, Ex. 19:3 ‘Moses went up to God, and the LORD called him from the mountain..’. God provided a place of conversation, a time for instruction, his too was an intense time. Then Abraham, a place of pain… sacrifice… yet, God showed Himself BIG! Each time, obedience was the perquisite to God’s provision. It is in the mountain top times, often grand and joyous, we can have new beginnings, conversations with God, intense moments and even painful agony of heart.
Abraham breathes easier now, just as he looks up and sees a ram caught in the brush, he takes it and offers it to the Lord. Here is our key verse, 14 ‘Abraham called that place, The LORD Will Provide’ he said this out of his moment, but too it is prophetic. The name Jehovah Jireh, The LORD will Provide “draws attention to God, not Abraham. It is not Abraham-has-performed, but God-will-provide. Faith then is ultimately based on God’s character and the reliability of His word.” (Victor P. Hamilton, Handbook on the Pentateuch).
This mountain experience was the last recorded dialogue we have between the Lord and Abraham, what a faith builder, faith strengthener, an example. Just as Abraham, at times we too need to be taken to what seems extreme, to see what is in our hearts, not only for God to see, us as well. God allows us in circumstances – positioning us to see His hand move. God the Father, knew what He was asking of Abraham… Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will He not also, along with him graciously give us all things. Now, that is Jehovah Jireh – God will Provide!
1. Imagine you are Abraham, making that 3 day trek towards Moriah to sacrifice your son, what is in your heart?
2. Explain in your own words, the connection between Abraham’s statement in verse 5 ‘we will worship’ and the painful sacrifice that actually took place on the mountain.
3. Without obedience we may never experience the provision God intends for us, has He whispered your name, is there something He is asking you to offer Him, are you willing to exchange it to see God’s hand move on your behalf?
4. As we pray to Jehovah Jireh, we are praying to the God who see the situation beforehand, and is able to provide for us, what is it you are asking the Lord to provide?
Resources used in this study: Praying the Names of God – by Anne Spangler; Knowing God by His names – by Dick Purnell; Names of God – by Nathan Stone; Lord I Want to Know You – by Kay Arthur; He Shall be Called – by Robert J. Morgan; The Names of God – by Ken Hemphill; The Trinity – By Jack Hayford; The Strong’s Concordance; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament; The Vines Expository Dictionary; Genesis – by Derek Kidner; Preachers Commentary, Genesis – by D. Stuart Briscoe; Handbook on the Pentateuch – by Victor P. Hamilton; The Book of Genesis – by Victor P. Hamilton; The Pentateuch – by W.H. Griffeth Thomas.
In Him, DeDe