When I think of Abraham in the Old Testament, I think of a faith I can only strive to attain. God asked Abraham to go to a mountain and offer his son Isaac, who he had waited so long to have, as a burnt offering. I can’t imagine what Abraham was thinking in those moments and the dread he potentially would have been feeling on his journey. Nonetheless, Abraham trusted in God and told Isaac, when he questioned where the lamb was, “The Lord will provide.”
Earlier in Abraham’s life, God had made a covenant with him and gave him three promises that we often refer to as the land, seed, and nation promise. I can only imagine what Abraham was thinking, as God requested this sacrifice from him. How could these promises be fulfilled without his son? If Isaac, his only son with Sarah, was to be sacrificed, how would he have abundant offspring, and how would all the nations of the earth be blessed through him? That’s what makes Abraham’s faith so astounding, even though these were huge hurdles in the story, Abraham knew that the Lord would provide.
Back to the scene of Isaac and Abraham, they both ascended the mountain. Abraham built the altar, bound Isaac, and reached for the knife to carry out God’s request. At that moment, an angel of the Lord called to him and told him, “Do not lay your hand on the boy… for now I know that you fear God.” Abraham looked up, and a ram was caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham took the ram and offered it up to the Lord. He then called the name of that place “Jehovah Jireh” (The Lord will provide).
Often, when the phrase, “The Lord will provide” is said or recited, our human nature tends to think of our physical being, at least for myself. Jesus even spoke of this when teaching to his disciples. He told them do not worry about tomorrow, for God will provide the things you need. That is true, but this phrase represents something much bigger than our physical needs. Spiritually, the Lord will provide.
God stopped Abraham from offering Isaac, but God knew he would fulfill his promise that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through Abraham’s seed. God knew that this promise was symbolic of the request to sacrifice Isaac. God knew he would send his only Son to earth, to become a man with a nature like ours, and be the salvation of the world. He knew that this would take place in a brutal sacrifice of his innocent son, but that mankind would now have a way to be reconciled with him. John 3 tells us that God loved us so much, that he gave his only son for us. If we believe in him, we will not perish, but have eternal life. Paul tells us in Ephesians that even before the foundation of the world, God had a plan so we could become holy and blameless through Jesus. What a magnificent thought! What a magnificent God! The God of all creation has chosen us, has given us a way of salvation, to be with him forever in eternal glory! Truly, the Lord will provide, and has provided! Jehovah-Jireh.