At one of the most heartbreaking moments in all of Old Testament history God revealed one of the most heart-building covenant names—Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Who Will Provide.
At the summit of the mountain of testing, Mt. Moriah, Abraham was resigned to the demand of God. Perhaps he had sharpened the blade of his knife to reduce the pain he would inflict on his only son, Isaac, to bring about a quick and merciful death. Just as Abraham raised his strong arm to plunge the knife into his long awaited promise, the voice of an angel stopped him and spoke for God—
“Do not lay a hand on the boy!”
Abraham had passed the most demanding test imaginable.
Another voice split the wind at the summit of Moriah: the bleating of a lamb caught in a thicket. Jehovah had indeed provided a lamb, fulfilling the promise Abraham had made to Isaac as they climbed the mountain trail. Abraham learned something more about this God who met with him and spoke with him—He was the God who provides.
Today so many of us will go off to work like we do every weekday.
In this we are following the image of God in us—we are those who provide. This provision goes far beyond paychecks and retirement accounts. Those who work outside the home provide resources needed inside the home. Those whose work keeps them in the home provide resources needed outside the home as they send out their family members rested, clothed, and fed—ready to meet the world. As we work, we are providers.
However, our provision to the needs of others does not flow from our own capacity—we are sharing with others what God has shared with us. Abraham brought the wood, fire, and Isaac, but God put the lamb in the thicket. We provide what we can because God has already provided what we need.
The Psalmist said that God-Who-Provides does so for all of creation.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
It is said that the one who provides for the family “brings home the bacon.” True enough, but God made the pig, the pig farmer, the pig processor, the pan and the gas or electric to cook it on, or the microwave to nuke it in.
There is a flow to all of this, a flow of grace and provision. And the whole thing makes the Father smile.
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom…”
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “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.” 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. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Give us today our daily bread.
1 Timothy 5:7-8
Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Lord Jesus, the Holy Scriptures tell the story of Abraham and Isaac—You lived it. Somehow, Your Father restrained His mighty hand as cruel men abused You and nailed You to the cross. A multitude of angels held their weapons in check as Satan had his day. Though each angel wanted to, none cried out to stop this murder. The knife that Isaac was spared became the rusty Roman nails that pierced Your hands and feet, the bits of iron in the whip cut Your back and the poison spear that tore Your side. All the while, You, Father God, were providing: love for a world that hated You; forgiveness for a humanity soaked in sin, and life for those living in a culture of death. I rest amazed in Your provision. All I will ever need is found in You! Thank You, Lord. Amen
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him all creatures here below!
Praise Him above you heavenly hosts!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved