I’ve always been fascinated by the names given to God in scripture. The first time we come across ‘Jehovah Jireh’ is in Genesis 22, the story where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Right at the last moment an angel steps in – Isaac is spared and God provides a ram to be sacrificed instead.
These days, we often use ‘Jehovah Jireh’ to refer to God’s provision in terms of a new hot tub or a white Mercedes. But God’s provision is bigger than that.
If you compare the story in Genesis 22 to the story of Jesus on the cross, you start to see all kinds of similarities. Last time, I counted about 40, and I reckon I might have missed some.
For example, in both, the father leads his son to be sacrificed. In both, a donkey is involved on the road to sacrifice. Each son is the one and only son, and a descendant of Abraham. Both sons carried the wood to the place of sacrifice. The list goes on.
There’s one big difference though. In the first story, there was a substitute. 2,100 years later, there wasn’t.
Jehovah Jireh provides Jesus, the lamb, to take away the sins of the world. It’s Christ’s ultimate sacrifice that is the greatest provision from God. It’s only Christ that can rescue us from the consequences of our own sin.
Here’s three ways we can respond.
Our lives should be a massive outpouring of thankfulness. We should resist getting grumpy. We’re living for someone beyond ourselves, knowing that we hang from destruction by a thread of God’s grace. Who are we to get chippy about anything?
We should be among the most generous and sacrificial people on the face of the planet. Not just financially – although that’s a good thing – but with our lives too. We should be opening our homes, giving freely, lending without expecting back, being gracious and forgiving quickly.
So often we live with limited horizons. God knows you, he knows your life and he has it planned for you. The Bible is stamped with the message, ‘God has got it.’ His desire is that all people are saved. Let’s act like that. Let’s seize every opportunity. If our agenda is the same as God’s agenda we can dream big dreams and God will back us.
With all this, I do also believe God provides for us in a material way (he says so in Matthew 6). That doesn’t mean we should pray for a Porsche, but pray for God’s provision in Christ – pray for rescue – and God will provide that and meet all our needs along the way.
Right up to the last minute, can you imagine how Abraham felt? He says ‘We will go and worship and we will come back.’ He ties his son to the wood, and his son doesn’t resist. The son is in faith too. Sometimes right up to the last minute we are waiting for the provision of the Lord. ‘I will provide,’ says the Lord, ‘Will you trust me?’
With Jesus, there was no ram in the thickets because he is the lamb. Now, he’s the risen lamb. We live with resurrection DNA. Thankfulness, generosity and big vision. The ultimate provision of God is Christ.