Again, we are talking about Abraham. Why? To really understand the meaning of Jehovah Jireh, we need to know more about the covenant between Abraham and God.
When Abraham was 75 years old, God called him to move from Haran, where his father had settled, to a land God would show him. He didn’t even tell him where he was to go! Just go to the land that God would show him.
What is remarkable about this is that Abraham didn’t grow up knowing the one, true God. His people worshipped the moon! But when God revealed Himself to Abraham and told him to go – he went. (Genesis 12)
Then God promises this old man that he and his wife would become a whole nation that would be a blessing to the whole world. Right?!?!? He had no children.
I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Gen 12:2-3)
In Genesis 15, God again promises that Abraham would have a son. Verse 6 says:
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Then God again promises Abram a land. Abraham asks,
Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?
God enters into a blood covenant with Abraham – only breakable by death, and God cannot die. (Genesis 12:9)
So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
Blood covenants were a serious matter. Not only could they only be broken upon death, but everything one had was available to the other, and vice versa. And there were blessings and curses associated with the blood covenant. You can read about them in Deuteronomy 28.
So, when God told Moses to offer his son, Isaac, he was calling on the terms of their covenant. When Isaac was a young man, somewhere between 6 and 37, God told Abraham to go to Mt. Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice. But, with Isaac dead, how would Abraham become the father of nations. Would they have to start over with another son? I tend to think Isaac was maybe 10 or so, because how could Abraham tie him up and put him on an altar if he were a grown man. My opinion.
Was Abraham horrified at the idea of sacrificing Isaac? Probably yes and no. This was the son promised to him, through whom would come nations. But also, no. The gods of other peoples and nations, the gods Abraham grew up with, and those he encountered in Egypt, demanded human sacrifice, so why should he be completely surprised? Would God give him another son and start over? Would Isaac be raised back to life?
When Abraham and Isaac were traveling to Mount Moriah, Isaac carried the wood (just like Jesus carried His cross) and Abraham carried the knife and fire. Isaac asked “where is the sacrifice.” A legitimate question! Abraham said that the Lord would provide, but the word used here for ‘provide’ is not Jireh. It could be translated ‘the Lord will see’ or ‘the Lord will show.’
As we know, they reached the place of sacrifice, Isaac was tied up and put on the altar, and Abraham lifted the knife to kill his son. But God called to him. We’re still in Genesis 22.
12 “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.”
13Abraham 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. 14So 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.”
15The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Jehovah Jireh means The LORD will provide. We usually think of His provision in terms of everyday needs. He provides so I can pay my mortgage… so I can retire … so I’ll find a way out of my predicament … so I’ll have enough food, etc. And He does, but I think this kind of provision flows from His Name as El Shaddai (All-Sufficient God) and Everlasting Father.
Jehovah Jireh shows us God provides what we absolutely need the most, a Savior. Because Abraham had offered his only son, and because of the blood covenant, God could do no less. He offered His Only Son – Jesus.
Jehovah Jireh – God will provide the sacrifice – and He did.
God does meet our everyday needs. He is El Shaddai – always enough. He is Everlasting Father, Who loves His children without measure. He is Jehovah Rohi, our shepherd, and He is Jehovah Rapha, our healer. But Jehovah Jireh reveals that He provided our redemption. He made a way for us to approach Him in every way. He bore all the curses due us for breaking the covenant, so now we can have all the blessings.