JEHOVAH JIREH: God Our Provider
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | 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.” Genesis 22:13-14
When God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and say, “Let my people go!” he was disheartened. Anyone who has ever walked through the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and has seen the gold and the magnificence which decorated the courts of the pharaohs can imagine in a small way how this 80-year-old man, who for the last 40 years had been a shepherd with loneliness for a companion, would feel, striding into the palace asking that some two million slaves be allowed to take a hike out of the empire.
Sure! Just like that. So Moses, fishing for something more concrete, says, “When they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ then what shall I tell them?” God told him to say that “I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:13-14)–something that made a lot more sense to them than it does to us today. Here’s why. God used a word that was based on the verb, “to be.” It means one who is the totality of existence. It is the basis of the word Jehovah, one of the names which God used to reveal who He is.
In ancient days, God’s name was revered, something sacred and holy, and the degree to which God’s name is profaned and trivialized today marks the distance we have come with our backs to God.
Guy Duffield wrote, “Scribes who copied the Scriptures used to wash their hands before they would write the word God. But when they came to the name Jehovah they would bathe themselves all over before writing it. So much did the Jews stand in awe of that awful Name that they substituted for it some lesser word for God whenever it occurred in their public reading of sacred Scripture.” (Guy Duffield, The Seven Great Redemptive Names of God, p. 4).
In Old Testament scriptures, the name Jehovah is also compounded with other names, giving us beautiful pictures of God’s nature and character. He is called, Jehovah Elohim meaning, “Jehovah God,” Jehovah Rapha meaning “Jehovah or God our healer,” Jehovah Shalom meaning “Jehovah or God our peace,” Jehovah Ra-ah meaning “Jehovah or God our shepherd, Jehovah Shammah meaning “Jehovah or God, the one present,” and so forth.
Each of these names for God is connected with something meaningful and significant that gives us guidelines for living in the early hours of the twenty-first century.
First, do you remember the story of a father who was asked by God to sacrifice His son on Mt. Moriah, at the same place where the temple was later to stand? His name was Abraham, and the son was Isaac. The first mention of the word love in the Bible was used of Abraham, describing how he loved his son (Genesis 22:2). Here’s the record. “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” (Genesis 22:13-14). The phrase we translate “The Lord will provide” is Jehovah Jireh or “The Lord our provider.”
Have you discovered that God still provides for His children? Have you learned that God’s provision is enough to meet the deep needs of your life, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, that He will be with you when you go through tough times and that He will provide for your needs?
If you are a regular listener to Guidelines or read the commentary, you know that at this point, I usually tell a story illustrating the Guidelines for today. You can be that living illustration or story. You can prove for yourself that the same One who provided a ram in the thicket for Abraham can provide for you today. He is still Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.
Resource reading: Genesis 22:1-24