God revealed Himself as Jehovah-Jireh to Abraham at the culmination of a supreme test (Gen. 22:8-14). Abraham had walked with God for at least fifty years. He had had many occasions to demonstrate his faith and faithfulness to God. There were times when he can be held up as performing nobly. Such an occasion was when he gave Lot the decision to take the choice land (Gen.13:5-11). His actions were somewhat questionable when he told a half-truth to Abimelech (Gen. 20:2-14), and one would have to say that he failed by his turning to Hagar for an heir (Gen.16). However, over the years he had grown very close to God; the scripture refers to him as God’s friend (2 Chron. 20:7; Is. 41:8; Jam. 2:23).
What characteristics did Abraham demonstrate which would classify him as a friend of God? What can one do to earn that designation? To explore the answers to that question, see what the book of Proverbs and the words of Jesus say about the qualities of friendship. A friend loveth at all times (Pr. 17:17); a friend sticks closer than a brother (Pr. 18:24); a friend must be friendly (Pr. 18:24); and a friend counts as faithfulness the wounds of a friend (Pr. 27:6). And Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14, 15). To summarize one could say that a friend of God would be loyal, dependable, companionable, trusting and trustworthy, committed, and obedient. James cites Abraham as one who shows the relationship of faith and works. Abraham fulfilled both (Jam. 2:21-24).
In Gen. 22, Abraham is an old man. He has everything life can offer; he has fame and fortune, but he still has opportunity for growth in his walk with God. So God calls him to a final test. God asks him to sacrifice Isaac, his son of promise. Abraham immediately sets in motion a plan to do just as God asked.
Why would God request something so diametrically opposed to His nature? For one thing the incident paints a beautiful picture of God’s sacrifice of his own Son. But there are other things that one can learn regarding faith, obedience, and God’s provision. Abraham believed God’s promise that his seed would be “as the stars of heaven;” he believed the promise would be fulfilled even if it must come by way of resurrection (Heb. 11:17-19). Abraham also believed in and prophesied God’s provision for a burnt offering – the Sacrificial Lamb: “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: . . .” (Gen. 22:8).
Just at the time he raises his hand to plunge the knife into his son, the angel of the Lord calls for him to stop, and he sees that a ram has been provided for the sacrifice. Verse 14 says that “Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-Jireh; as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.”
The giving of the name, Jehovah-jireh, was a revelation of God’s provision for a sacrifice and atonement for sin. It was a promise that God was going to provide a sacrificial lamb for the atonement of mankind. Can the argument be made that the name also indicates that one can look to Him as Jehovah-jireh who will meet all other needs – physical, financial, emotional, etc? In pursuing this question, answers can be found in other scriptures that indicate the answer is “Yes.” This writer draws that conclusion by the following sampling of evidence that God is indeed Jehovah-jireh for needs on earth as well as needs in Heaven.
- The miracle of Elisha in supplying the widow’s oil (II Kings 4)
- Jesus’ concern that the crowd of four thousand be fed (Mark 8).
- The model prayer instructs that one pray for “daily bread.” (Matt. 6:11).
- John’s words, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2).
- Paul’s words, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
Although God’s word assures his children that he is a provider, there are times when it might seem that he is not honoring his promise. People sometimes fall onto bad times, lose jobs, face disasters, or suffer other catastrophic issues. God is faithful; He asks for trust. Among the factors that must be considered when discussing the issue of the “prosperity” of a Christian are these: national resources, individual capabilities and expectations, and spiritual priorities. However, Jesus would not have taught to pray for daily bread (Matt. 6:11) if He thought there were going to be any exceptions caused by time or place. In the fifth verse of that passage, he says, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Surely His will in heaven, is for needs to be met!
It is the opinion of this writer that the main reason for poverty worldwide is that God has removed his hand of blessing from nations and governments because of past “sins of the fathers.” Even in those circumstances, however, individuals can trust in the promise of Jehovah-jireh to meet their needs, even though at times the supply seems meager. Even in spite of unholy governments, every Christian has a promise for basic necessities. David said, “ …yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Ps. 37:25). Jesus was not referring to only the blessed people when he said, “…(sparrow) one shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31). The American Christian should be humbly thankful for a Godly heritage established by men who sought the will of God for a “nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance” (Ps. 33:12). The present generation should accept the serious responsibility of obeying God and interceding for continued blessing to America, claiming God’s promise in 2 Chron 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven.” God will not cease to be Jehovah-jireh!
Although it is true that God once chose a shepherd boy to become a king, that is not the usual plan for shepherds! Shepherds can generally expect to be shepherds; some might aspire to own their own sheep, however. And some do become land and sheep owners. Most often people have jobs that fit their interests and abilities; one must not be cubby-holed into a misfit position. Ps. 128:1, 2 promises happiness and satisfaction in one’s job: “Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.”
Even before the earth was cursed, God gave Adam a job to do. Worthwhile work is a blessing! The following scriptures are security for those who wish to have satisfactory jobs that provide a sufficient income to “have lack of nothing.” First is 1 Thes. 4:11, 12 “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you: That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” And next consider Is. 3:10 “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” Every person should consider his own interests, abilities, goals, and ambition in seeking the Lord’s plan for his life, with the assurance that the Lord’s plan for him is success as described in Ps. 37:23-26:
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
One reason some might doubt that God is a provider, is that he does not always answer in the way we wish, or perhaps not as quickly as we want. One might pray for a wedding ring having in mind the beauty that costs $3600; God’s provision might be for the one which cost $69.95. Remember, the ring was provided!
Another factor to be considered with the revelation of God being Jehovah-jireh, is that this manifestation may be conditional. One cannot judge another person’s spiritual condition based on the abundance of his earthly wealth or lack of such. But it is a measure by which one can evaluate himself in light of other circumstances as discussed above. He should keep in mind John’s prayer, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,” (3 John 2), and Jesus’ words, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
As stated previously in this chapter, the word jireh means provide or see. God does both. Nothing catches Him unprepared!
God sees our needs beforehand and provides for them. The name JEHOVAH-JIREH is a revelation of God’s willingness and ability to meet every need of His people. Romans 8:32 declares: ‘He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things.’ ALL things!