IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: JEHOVAH JIREH, (GOD WILL PROVIDE)
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.”
— Genesis 22:14.
The name Jehovah-Jireh is one of God’s compound names in which His identity is covenant connected to certain attributes, guaranteeing His fulfillment in those areas. We look at the origin, meaning, and purpose of the name Jehovah-Jireh in relation to us.
“ABRAHAM called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh,” or “Jehovah will see it,” or “Jehovah will provide,” or “Jehovah will be seen.” 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.
I believe that the truth contained in the expression “Jehovah-jireh” was ruling Abraham’s thought long before he uttered it and appointed it to be the memorial name of the place where the Lord had provided a substitute for Isaac. It was this thought, I think, which enabled him to act as promptly as he did under the trying circumstances. His reason whispered within him, “If you slay your son, how can God keep his promise to you that your seed shall be as many as the stars of heaven?” He answered that suggestion by saying to himself, “Jehovah will see to it!” As he went upon that painful journey, with his dearly beloved son at his side, the suggestion may have come to him, “How will you meet Sarah when you return home, having imbrued your hands in the blood of her son? How will you meet your neighbours when they hear that Abraham, who professed to be such a holy man, has killed his son?” That answer still sustained his heart— “Jehovah will see to it! Jehovah will see to it! He will not fail in his word. Perhaps he will raise my son from the dead; but in some way or other he will justify my obedience to him, and vindicate his own command. Jehovah will see to it.” This was a quietus to every mistrustful thought. I pray that we may drink into this truth, and be refreshed by it. If we follow the Lord’s bidding, he will see to it that we shall not be ashamed or confounded. If we come into great need by following his command, he will see to it that the loss shall be recompensed. If our difficulties multiply and increase so that our way seems completely blocked up, Jehovah will see to it that the road shall be cleared. The Lord will see us through in the way of holiness if we are only willing to be thorough in it, and dare to follow wheresoever he leads the way. We need not wonder that Abraham should utter this truth, and attach it to the spot which was to be for ever famous: for his whole heart was saturated with it, and had been sustained by it. Wisely he makes an altar and a mountain to be memorials of the truth which had so greatly helped him. His trials had taught him more of God,— had, in fact, given him a new name for his God; and this he would not have forgotten, but he would keep it before the minds of the generations following by naming the place Jehovah-jireh.
Trials are adverse circumstances that God either introduces or allows in our lives to both identify where we are spiritually as well as to prepare us for where He wants us to go. If you are alive, there is no escaping life’s trials.
You are either in a trial now, you’ve just come out of a trial, or you are getting ready to go into a trial. Trials are unavoidable realities of life.
But even though we all experience them, we also should take comfort in knowing that trials must first pass through God’s hands before reaching us. Nothing comes our way without first having received His Divine approval. And in order to get His Divine approval, there must be a Divine reason for Him to approve it.
Observe as you read this chapter that this was not the first time that Abraham had thus spoken. When he called the name of the place Jehovah-jireh he had seen it to be true,— the ram caught in the thicket had been provided as a substitute for Isaac: Jehovah had provided. But he had before declared that truth when as yet he knew nothing of the Divine action, when he could not even guess how his extraordinary trial would end. His son Isaac had said to him, “Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” and the afflicted father had bravely answered, “My son, God will provide.” In due time God did provide, and then Abraham honoured him by saying the same words, only instead of the ordinary name for God he used the special covenant title— Jehovah. That is the only alteration; otherwise in the same terms he repeats the assurance that “the Lord will provide.”
That first utterance was most remarkable: it was simple enough, but how prophetic! It teaches us this truth, that the confident speech of a believer is akin to the language of a prophet. The man who accepts the promise of God unstaggeringly, and is sure that it is true, will speak like the seers of old: he will see that God sees, and will declare the fact, and the holy inference which comes of it. The believer’s childlike assurance will anticipate the future, and his plain statement— “God will provide”— will turn out to be literal truth. If you want to come near to prophesying, hold you hard to the promise of God and you shall “prophesy according to the measure of faith.” He that can say, “I know and am sure that God will not fail me in this mine hour of tribulation,” will, before long, drop pearls of divine confidence and diamonds of prediction from his lips. Choice sayings which become proverbs in the church of God are not the offspring of mistrust, but of firm confidence in the living God. To this day many a saying of a man of God is quoted among us, even as Abraham’s word was quoted. Moses puts it, “As it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen;” and we might mention many a sentence which is said unto this day which first fell from the mouth of a faithful spirit in the hour of the manifestation of the Lord. The speech of the father of the faithful became the speech of his spiritual seed for many a year afterwards, and it abides in the family of faith unto this day. If we have full faith in God, we shall teach succeeding generations to expect Jehovah’s hand to be stretched out still.
True faith not only speaks the language of prophecy, but, when she sees her prophecy fulfilled, faith is always delighted to raise memorials to the God of truth. The stones which were set up of old were not to the memory of dead men, but they were memorials of the deeds of the living God: they abundantly uttered the memory of God’s great goodness. Abraham on this occasion did not choose a name which recorded what he had done, but a name which spake of what Jehovah had done. It is true Abraham’s faith was worthy to be remembered throughout all generations, for there he believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness, and the Lord said to him, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” There the patriarch had endured the extreme test: no gold was ever passed through a hotter furnace. But true faith is always modest; from her gate boasting is excluded by law. Abraham says nothing about himself at all, but the praise is unto God, who sees and is seen; the record is, “Jehovah will provide.” I like that self-ignoring; I pray that we, also, may have so much strength of faith that self may go to the wall. Little faith is very apt to grow proud when, to its own astonishment, it has wrought righteousness; but strong faith so completely empties itself, and so entirely depends upon the all-sufficiency of God, that when anything is achieved it remembers nothing but the divine hand, and lays the crown where it ought to be laid. Growing in experimental acquaintance with the God of the covenant, faith has a new sung and a new name for her God, and takes care that his wonderful works shall be remembered.
Note yet further, that when faith has uttered a prophecy, and has set up her memorial, the record of mercy received becomes itself a new prophecy. Abraham says, “Jehovah-jireh,— God will see to it”; what was he doing then but prophesying a second time for future ages? He bids us know that, as God had provided for him in the time of his extremity, so he will provide for all them that put their trust in him. The God of Abraham liveth, and let his name be praised, and let us rest assured that, as certainly as in the patriarch’s distress, when there seemed no way of escape, the Lord appeared for him and was seen in the mount, even so shall it be with all the believing seed while time endureth. We shall all be tried and tested, but in our utmost need God will see us, and see to our deliverance, if we will but let faith have her perfect work, and will hope and quietly wait the moment when the Lord shall be seen working salvation. The Lord is the Preserver of men and the Provider for men. I long for all of us to get this truth firmly fixed in our hearts, and therefore I shall try to show that God’s provision for Abraham and Isaac typified the far greater provision by which all the faithful are delivered from death; and that God, in providing in the mount, has given us therein a sure guarantee that all our necessities shall be provided for henceforth even for ever.
Consider, then, that the provision which God made for Abraham was symbolic of the greater provision which he has made for all his chosen in Christ Jesus. “Jehovah-jireh” is a text from which to preach concerning providence, and many have been the sermons which have been distilled from it; but I take the liberty of saying that providence, in the ordinary sense of the term, is not the first thought of the passage, which should be read with some sort of reference to its connection, and the more so because that connection is exceedingly remarkable.
When Abraham said “Jehovah will provide,” he meant us, first of all, to learn that THE PROVISION WILL COME IN THE TIME OF OUR EXTREMITY. The provision of the ram instead of Isaac was the significant type which was before Abraham’s mind; but our Lord tells us, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad;” and surely if ever Abraham saw the day of Christ, and was beyond measure glad, it was at that moment when he beheld the Lord providing a substitute for Isaac. At any rate, whether Abraham understood “the full meaning of what he said or not, he spoke not for himself, but for us. Every word he uttered is for our teaching, and the teaching is this: that God, in the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, made the fullest provision for our greatest needs; and from that we may infer that whatever need shall ever occur to us, God will certainly provide for it; but he may delay the actual manifestation thereof till our darkest hour has come.
“Just in the last distressing hour
The Lord displays delivering power;
The mount of danger is the place
Where we shall see surprising grace.”
The Lord gave our Lord Jesus Christ to be the Substitute for men in view of the utmost need of our race. Isaac was hard pressed when God interfered in his behalf. The knife was lifted up by a resolute hand; he was within a second of death when the angelic voice said, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad.” God provided instantly when the need pressed urgently. Beloved, was Isaac nearer to death than sinful man was near to hell? Was that knife closer to the throat of the beloved Isaac than the axe of the executioner was near to the neck of every sinner, aye, to the neck of the whole race of man? We have so sinned and gone astray that it was not possible for God to wink at our transgressions; he must visit our iniquities with the just punishment, which is nothing less than death eternal. I constantly meet with persons under the convincing power of the Spirit of God, and I always find that in their apprehension the punishment of sin is something terrible and overwhelming. When God deals with men by his convincing Spirit, they feel that their sin deserves nothing less than the wrath of God in hell. So it was with our race; we had altogether destroyed ourselves, and were shut up under condemnation by the law, and it was in that dread hour that God interposed and proclaimed a Saviour for men. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I would to God we all felt what a dreadful thing it is to be lost; for then we should value the provision of the Saviour much more than we do now. Oh, sirs, if no Redeemer had been provided, we might have gathered here this morning, and if you could have had patience to hear me, all I should have been able to say would have been, “Brethren, let us weep together and sigh in chorus; for we shall all die, and, dying, we shall sink into the bottomless pit, and shall abide for ever under the righteous anger of God.” It must have been so with us all if a substitute had not been found. If the gift of the loving Father had not been bestowed, if Jesus had not condescended to die in our place, we must have been left for execution by that law which will by no means spare the guilty. We talk about our salvation as if it were nothing very particular: we have heard of the plan of substitution so often that it becomes commonplace. It should not be so; I believe that it still thrills the angels with astonishment that man, when he had fallen from his high estate, and had been banished from Eden, and had become a rebel against God, should be redeemed by the blood of the Heir of all things, by whom the Divine Father made the worlds. When death and hell opened their jaws to devour, then was this miracle completed, and Jesus taken among the thorns was offered up a sacrifice for us.
God desires to reveal himself to you as Jehovah-Jireh—your provider. He loves you. Share his grace and love with others; receive it for yourself today and know that He is with you, He sees you. Feel His loving arms around you and give Him the glory.
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