Jehovah Jireh

A story from your family’s past can define your family. It may be from the distant past, like the story of how your grandparents immigrated to America or from recent history, like your parent’s divorce and the devastation that brought. Our move to Camano Island in 1969 for Dad to be a full-time artist was defining for our family in terms of where we were from (Camano Island, WA) and what we do (art).

Genesis 22 tells the story of God’s test of Abraham. God tells Abraham to take his only son, his beloved son Isaac, to Mt. Moriah and to offer him there as a burnt sacrifice. Abraham knew that God had the right to require Isaac bear God’s judgment for his family’s sin. And Abraham knew that God had promised to bless the world through Isaac. He believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard describes the anguished obedience of Abraham as fear and trembling and every parent who reads the story enters that anguish to some degree.

When they come to the place of sacrifice, Isaac said, “My Father.” “Here I am, my son.” “Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” And there alone with his son before the face of God, Abraham built the altar, put the wood, raised the knife. Then the angel of the LORD called out “Abraham, Abraham, do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from me.” Abraham lifted up his eyes and “behold, behind him was a ram, caught in the thicket by his thorns. And Abraham…offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.” So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The LORD will provide.’

Rembrandts painting of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac

The story of God’s holy demand, Abraham’s anguished obedience, and God’s gracious provision defined Abraham’s family from then on. God was “the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac” (Genesis 31:42, 53) and “Jehovah Jireh” the LORD will provide. (Jehovah, or Yahweh, is a translation of the Old Testament’s primary, personal name for God: LORD). For the Jews, Abraham’s faith was the touchstone of faith, allegiance, and obedience to Jehovah. Until Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, God paid the debt of sin owed by all the families of the world. Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac foreshadowed God’s ultimate sacrifice. As a Christian your heavenly Father’s sacrifice of his beloved son Jesus, IS THE DEFINING STORY of your life. If God will PROVIDE for you in this ultimate way, can’t you trust him for your daily needs?

Walk today knowing that God is Jehovah Jireh who has and will provide for you.

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