Jehovah Jireh, Our Provider
The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall.
John Emmons said, “Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us.”
We’re like the impala sometimes, aren’t we? We want God to help us but we don’t always want to do what He says. Specifically, we’re not always interested in going places we cannot see before. It’s tough to give control of our lives to God. We generally acknowledge that God will provide but maybe we’re not really sure He’ll come through for us.
What can deepen our faith in God?
One of the ways is to know and understand His names. Scripture tells us there are a number of names for God. As we learn to call Him what He goes by, our knowledge and awe of the Almighty will grow and our faith will deepen. One name of God is Jehovah Jireh, God our Provider. We know from the Bible that God loves to meet the needs of His people. He counts every hair on our heads and He sees the sparrows that fall to the ground. And because of that, He will take care of us (Matthew 10:29-30).
Perhaps the most moving and heart-wrenching account of God’s provision is found in Genesis 22. Here is a little background: Abram was called by God when he was 75 years old. In Genesis 12, he is told to leave what he had always known and live in a land that God would later show him. To let go of all that was familiar to him demonstrated incredible faith. God then promised Abram that the entire world would be blessed through his offspring. But when time passed and Sarah was still not pregnant, Abram took things into his own hands and fathered a child by his wife’s servant. Finally, after 25 years of waiting, the son of promise was born to them. When he and Sarah got the news, they both started laughing, and so God gave the boy the name Isaac, which means laughter.
Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude of nations.” Now the promises of God could be fulfilled through Isaac. I imagine that the household was filled with laughter and joy. But God still had some things he wanted to teach Abraham. And through Abraham, we can also learn.
We Are Reminded That God is Our Provider When We Are Being Tested.
Keep in mind that God does not tempt us as Satan does; He tests us in order to bring out the best. Real faith is not believing in spite of the evidence, but obeying in spite of the consequences. We are never exempt from the challenge of faith and we are never too old to be used by God. Sometimes the most trying tests come after years of following God faithfully.
God tells Abraham in Genesis 22:1,"Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
This was Abraham’s opportunity to demonstrate whether He loved the Lord with all his “heart, soul and strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). God gives no explanation; just an expectation that Abraham would obey this staggering command. Sometimes we are not given reasons either because God just wants us to faithfully follow Him.
We Are Reminded That God is Our Provider When He Checks Our Obedience Level.
When Abraham received this tough test of faith, he didn’t argue with God; he also didn’t check with others. Not one word of objection is recorded in the entire text. Instead, he practiced immediate obedience, as seen in verse three. Delay almost always turns into disobedience. If you know what God wants you to do, and you put it off, then you are not obeying Him.
We Are Reminded That God is Our Provider When He Reminds Us of His Timing.
With the knife hovering in the air, an angel of the Lord calls out, “Abraham! Abraham!” Once again, Abraham responds as a servant, “Here I am.” Then Abraham breathes a huge sigh of relief as he hears these words: “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:11-12)
Abraham had passed the test but he still needed to complete the sacrifice, so God made provision for him in verse 13: “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.”
God’s timing is always incredible, isn’t it? Abraham passed the test and as a result, he called that place “The Lord will Provide.” This is the name “Jehovah Jireh.”
He is our Provider and He always supplies the right thing at the right time and at the right place. He is never late; He is, however, seldom early and He certainly does not cater to our timetable. God tests us to grow our faith, to keep us focused, and to make us fruitful.
It strikes me that before we can know Jehovah Jireh, before we can experience God as Provider, we must first be willing to obey Him fully. Is there anything you’re holding on to today? What is your Isaac?