Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide

 •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 7
A. J. Pollock
The Lord Will Provide
See, an old man, two young men and a lad have been traveling for three days, the young men and the lad quite ignorant of the object of the journey. Had they known of it they would have been sorely troubled, especially the lad, who with bounding step and all the strength of budding manhood coursing through his veins, pursued his journey without a care.
No wonder if the old man were more than serious, perhaps weighted down with grief, and yet keeping the awful secret of that journey locked up in his breast until the dread moment arrived when it could no longer be kept. Was ever a more fiery trial or deeper grief than Abraham’s when God told him to take Isaac, the son of his dearest affections, his only son, and offer him up for a burnt offering?
And yet it was not merely the heroic summoning of nature’s powers that enabled Abraham to go forward on that journey. His grief was not without alleviation. He remembered how God had called him out of his tent years before and bid him count the number of the starry deep, and gave him the wonderful promise, “So shall thy seed be.”
And then we read the grand words, sublime in their simplicity, in their faith, in all they imply of God, “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
For Abraham was well stricken in years, and to nature God’s promise was impossible. God’s words were everything to him, circumstances nothing. For the One who created everything out of nothing, was equal to any promise He made.
So we read of Abraham, “Who against hope believed in hope.” Faith’s paradox. Unbelief might make Sarah laugh, but when the promised heir arrived God made her to laugh again, and Abraham in the triumph of faith’s realization called him Isaac [laughter], for gladness and hope came with God’s promise.
And further, when Isaac was born, God told Abraham that He would establish an everlasting covenant with him (Isaac), and with his seed after him; so though Abraham obeyed God, he knew the promise rested in Isaac, and Abraham rested in the promise, and that God would fulfill to the very letter all He said.
With the remembrance of all this, and with the same faith then operative in his heart, he could now go forth at God’s command. With grief, on the one hand, filling his heart, yet with unshaken confidence in God, he moved forward in that sad journey.
And as they journeyed Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place of sacrifice afar off. He bid his young men abide with the ass, whilst he and the lad would go yonder and worship, and come again to them. How sublime! Go and worship and return. How faith triumphed over nature. Would any of us be in a worshipping spirit under circumstances like those? “And return.” He spoke to the young men calmly, as if Isaac would return with him. How, he knew not, save that God was able.
And as the lad and he journeyed together what thoughts filled his heart. What a contrast to the beauty and quietness of nature all around was the tumult of his heart. And what a stab in the quick of his affections was the artless question of his boy: “My father... behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
There was the fire and the wood, but where was the lamb? What a question: and how the very heart of Abraham must at the moment have burst with grief had it not been for that glorious faith which sustained him.
With a strange unnatural calm he built the altar and placed the wood in order upon it. How great must have been his grief, but greater still the energy and purpose of his faith, when he laid hold of his darling son and bound him, and laid him upon that altar. How supreme the anguish of the moment when he took the knife in his trembling hand to slay his son, and extinguish, as far as nature went, the light of his eyes and the hope of the promise. One could imagine how, with closed eyes, blind with grief, he summoned all his strength for the last act in that drama of sublime obedience.
But no, his hand is stayed by One who saw Abraham’s faith would not withhold his son, his only son. With what intensity of relief did he then behold a ram caught in the thicket by its horns, and offer him for a burnt offering instead of his boy.
Then with keen prophetic gaze he looked beyond the coming centuries and called the name of the place “JEHOVAH-JIREH” (the Lord will provide). Faith mounted up with eagle’s wing, and cried aloud in exultation, “In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.” On the sad journey he had replied to Isaac, “God will provide Himself a lamb” — in other words, the Lord will provide.
God had promised that in Abraham should all nations of the earth be blessed; but the promise could only be confirmed through death and resurrection. Abraham was a sinner, and his offspring according to nature, sinners. How then could God bless the whole earth through him? How could all the nations of the earth be made happy in him? The answer is CHRIST. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is CHRIST” (Gal. 3:1616Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)).
Jehovah-jireh pointed on to Christ. In Christ all the nations of the earth will be blessed.
Centuries have rolled by, and upon the lonely mount in the land of Moriah, on which Abraham and his son stood, behold a gorgeous scene. “Kings shall come out of thee,” said God to Abraham, and now Solomon, his lineal descendent, is dedicating a glorious temple, the Architect of which was God, even if the king had the high honor of being His clerk of works (2 Chron. 5, 6, 7).
But see another scene. A long line of kings has come and gone. The nation is rent in twain, the ten tribes are scattered and hidden by God; the two tribes, a mean, weak remnant, spread over the land, are tributary to the Romans.
Solomon’s temple is destroyed, a meaner temple, which succeeded Soloman’s is gone too, and a temple built by Herod the Idumean, now stands on Mount Moriah. How the glory of Israel is abased!
Through the streets of Jerusalem is a sad procession: a Man, bearing a heavy cross, on the way to be crucified, and at His heels a frenzied rabble. Women rend the air with their lamentations. Strange things happen that day. At noonday, when the sun is at its highest, darkness fills the whole land. What is the meaning of it?
Centuries before when Abraham, at God’s command had taken sacrifices, dividing them in pieces, and watching over them, lest birds of prey should seize the carcasses, deep sleep and a horror of great darkness fell upon him as the sun was sinking in the west; and when the sun was fully down and darkness covered the land, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp passed between the pieces (Gen. 15), proclaiming that only through the death of a substitute, and that in awful judgment, could God in righteousness maintain His covenant of promise to Abram.
But here at midday, an horror of great darkness covers the land. Nature is thrilled. The rocks rend. The graves are opened. The mysterious veil is rent in twain from top to bottom. What does it all mean?
It is the fulfillment of JEHOVAH-JIREH. It is an answer to “In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.” That Man bearing a cross to crucifixion is the grandest and greatest of Abraham’s seed. He is the Seed of promise. Beyond Him there is none other. In Him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Outside of Him there is nothing for this sad world. All is wrapped up in Him.
For though truly of Abraham’s seed, yet to the taunt of the Jews, “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” He could say, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” thus indicating that He was Jehovah, the untreated, self-existent, I AM, — JEHOVAH.
Truly more than a man, “God over all, blessed forever,” yet a man, in tender grace, on that cross He secured the promise to Abraham, and through him to the whole world.
This, then, was the glorious fulfillment of Abraham’s prophecy, for prophecy it was. What a rest of soul to sit down and meditate on how God has secured everything in Christ for His own glory, so that He may carry out all the purposes of His heart of love in blessing poor fallen men.
And yet Abraham’s eye of faith pierces on beyond the present gloom. The Lord said to the taunts of the unbelieving Jews, “Your father, Abraham, rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it and was glad.”
At the cross He could say, “This is your hour and the power of darkness.” This was not then the day Abraham saw with prophetic gaze. That is still future. We look forward to it. Amid the clash of arms, the unrest of nations, the Christian can look forward with patient hope, patient because hope is sure, to that day when Christ shall reign King of kings and Lord of lords, and the whole earth shall be filled with His knowledge as the waters cover the sea.
What a grand scope, what sublime truth, what living hope is expressed by these two words, or rather this one compound word, pregnant with meaning and blessing to the whole earth — JEHOVAH-JIREH.
The mount of the Lord shall see His exaltation as it has seen His sorrow. There was no hand to stay the knife in that day; He knew perfectly who was to be the Victim; He had no need to ask, Where is the Lamb? There was no ram caught in the thicket by its horns. He was the willing Victim, shrinking from it with inexpressible shrinking, yet moving with deliberate steps towards the hour of all time, to fulfill the reason why He came into the world His hands had made, — to die. The pathos and grief of the scene as Abraham journeyed with his son to offer him up we can imagine. But the sorrows of this scene are too sacred for analysis. No plummet line can sound the depths of His feelings — this is utterly beyond us.
By His death He has laid the foundations of His triumph, and the mount of the Lord shall yet see His glory, and streams of blessing shall flow therefrom till all nations of the earth shall be blessed, and Abraham’s eager eye shall be more than satisfied.
“Every mark of dark dishonor,
Heaped upon the thorn-crowned brow,
All the depths of His heart’s sorrow
Told in answering glory now.”
And yet hundreds buy the text, JEHOVAH-JIREH, hang it on their parlor wall, and think it means the Lord will provide for their needs, the rent, food, clothing, etc. How selfish are our hearts, and how we naturally drag things down to suit our mean horizon. We have plenty of scripture to assure us on that line. For instance, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” This is grand indeed, meeting our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
But let JEHOVAH-JIREH stand in all its matchless majesty and sublime simplicity. Let us feast upon the thought, adore Him who is the pledge of it, the Day-Star arisen in our hearts, and wait for the fulfillment of it when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.
Then shall creation cease her groaning, and God shall be, glorified. Let us lift up our eyes and see on the marvelous horizon of faith’s vision, God’s providing. The dark lurid clouds of apostasy, heralding the Antichrist, are more than silver-lined with the promise of His coming.