Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will provide…
Isn’t it amazing how perfectly this name describes God? And isn’t it even more amazing when we think back to when this name first occurred?
We have the case of Abraham in Genesis 22, where God has asked him to give up something precious to him. In exact words, ‘take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love…’ (:2). When I think back to this passage, I think to myself, why did God have to remind Abraham of the gravity of what he was being asked to give up? Your only son, seriously?! It was like rubbing salt in a wound. But thinking back, it seems like God was creating a differential line for Abraham. At this point we know that Abraham now not only has Isaac, but Ishmael also. If the verse had been left at take your son; who knows, perhaps Abraham would have gladly sought out Ishmael and offered him instead. But God reminded him that it’s the son he loves that he requires. The one that was given to him in his old age; the promise – that was what God required.
This chapter was just deeply toughing. It made me think, what is it in particular that I love that if God asked me to give up, I wouldn’t be able to? For some of us that’s our families, for others our jobs, our cars, our time, our food (appetite); and for some still, our lives. If God asked me for my life, would I be able to give it up? When God asks for my time, He’s also asking for my life… In the case of Abraham, he was already old. Isaac was the promise of the extension of his life; his genealogy. To be asked, at an age where Abraham knew that to have another child would be extremely difficult (talkless about what it took to even bring out Isaac in the first place). To be asked at this point to give up this hope, this promise of life; I can only imagine how tough it must have been for Abraham.
But more interesting and challengingly, is that Abraham never questioned. He never grumbled or complained; he simply obeyed (and quickly too!). Verse 3 of Genesis 22 shows us that he woke up early and set off to fulfil God’s request. Wow!!! Just wow! The amount of faith and confidence in God for Abraham to do such a thing. He never once doubted if this was the voice of God, he didn’t refuse by saying surely God cannot request such a thing of me. He simply obeyed without a wavering of faith; no wonder he’s called the Father of faith (Romans 4:16). I can imagine that if that was me, I would have cussed God out and said, why would He ask this of me if He was such a loving God. But Abraham never did, nor did he doubt God’s voice. He had walked with God enough to know that this was the voice of God.
And even more amazing, is that God showed his true character – that He’s a God who tests his people (James 1:13; Hebrews 11:17), and that he’ll never give us a test which we cannot pass (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can see that Abraham was willing to slay Isaac to be obedient to God (Genesis 22:10), even if God would not provide an alternative sacrifice. But to God be the glory, we see God reveal himself as merciful, and provided an alternative sacrifice to Isaac; a ram (Genesis 22:13). And this revelation prompted Abraham to name that place, ‘The Lord will Provide’ or as we’ve come to say, Jehovah Jireh.
Meditating on this event, I couldn’t help but think that the names we now call God all came from a story. Jehovah Jireh was Abraham’s story and personal experience, and this name was 100% personal to him. And whilst I can use this name to describe God, it truly becomes alive and life when it has been revealed to me by God, as it was to Abraham, that He and He alone is the ultimate provider.
I can imagine that for Abraham, whenever he called Jehovah Jireh, it was personal and filled with love for God who did not allow him to be childless. And God could feel that revelation and love when Abraham called him by that name. As if it’s a constant love confession, it becomes something so much more than just a name.
This revelation made me think to myself, which names can I call God? What has God done for me that’s so personal that when I call Him by it it’s more than a name but rather, a love confession. I want to be in a love relationship with God. I want it so that when he hears my voice call His name, he feels the love that I have for Him. I don’t want our relationship to be a formal meet-and-greet where I call Him, so stoically with no emotion or revelation. I want every name call, every greeting to send a love signal up to Him, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice. So, I’m still thinking of what I’ll like to call ‘love nicknames’ for God. Like Abraham called him Jehovah Jireh, I want to find my own names for God. Maybe, God my battery (‘cause He always energises me)? Anyways, it’s a work in progress but give it a go.
Which name(s) have you given to your God? Share with us below.
Ope O ❤
P.S: A short footnote, remember that there’s nothing that we give up for God that he will not give back in so much more (Genesis 22:15-19; Matthew 19:29).