Scripture – God tested Abraham and said to him, … “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering….”
“… Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns…. Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide (Gen. 22:1-14 NLT condensed)
Observation – In this scene, Abraham’s faith is tested. He is found willing to sacrifice his only son, believing God could raise him from the dead. In the nick of time, God provides a substitutionary sacrifice in place of Isaac, a “ram in the thicket.” Abraham responds by naming the place, Jehovah-jireh (The-LORD-Will-Provide.)
This is a foreshadowing of what would take place thousands of years later. It is the ‘cross-scene’ of the Old Testament. God provided for all of us His only begotten son, the Lamb of God. He died in our place, as our substitute, on a cross outside the walls of Jerusalem, in an area long ago known as… Moriah… the LORD did provide.
Application – The applications of this text are limitless, but my mind could not let go of this one concept and its implications – God’s Provision. For days, I’ve been trying to reconcile the tension between His provision and my human perspective. Too often I’ve seen and probably used passages like this as Christian “band-aids” for the world’s suffering. “You lost your job? “The cancer’s come back?” … Haiti?!… “Hang in there… God will provide.” Regardless of whether or not God provides the practical solutions to our present trials, He does promise to provide His presence.
How I reconcile this tension between God’s provision and my human perspective has a profound impact on how I view and experience life.
Will I accept everything this world brings, both the joys and the trials, as from the hand of God? Or, will I, in my pain and suffering, reason that He has not provided; won’t provide; or worse, doesn’t care enough to provide?
In Acts 21, the Apostle Paul’s destiny is foretold – to be bound and to suffer for Christ. Paul’s response? “For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” I have no doubt Paul held firm his faith in Jehovah-jireh even as the executioners ax fell. I’m convinced that the heroes of the faith never considered God’s provision to be what they could gain in this world.
So it seems, God’s provision is more about faith in His presence than it is about deliverance from life’s difficult circumstances. Though God is still very capable of providing “rams in thickets” and He often does, ultimately, the presence of Jesus Christ in my life is all I really need. His presence being the ultimate provision!
And… He’s promised the presence of His son to all who believe in His name.
Prayer – Jehovah-jireh, You have provided the peace that comes with your presence in spite of my circumstances. I’m thankful for the many “rams in thickets” You’ve sent my way, but I am most thankful for the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice opened the door allowing me to personally experience Your presence. You are my provision.
This post originally published in January 2010.