Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means "the Lord will provide"). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided." Genesis 22:13-14
I love it when my three-year-old nephew, Owen, asks me for something. On an average day, he might ask me to play with him (his most common request), get him a snack, or turn on his favorite movie. It is the sweetest thing when he calls me by his name for me, Lulu, and then makes his request for me. The reason why his requests melt my heart is because they show that he knows me by my name, he knows I am capable of providing for him, and he knows that I want to provide for him. I delight in saying "yes" to his requests, and when I say "no" or "wait," I always have a reason. If I, an imperfect human being, can say that I delight in providing for my nephew, how much more must God delight in providing for his children?
We have been looking all week at the personal name for God, Yahweh, translated as "I AM." Today, we will study a description of Yahweh found in Genesis 22: Provider. In this chapter of Genesis, Abraham experienced God's great provision. At the beginning of Genesis 22, God gave Abraham a command to take his only son, whom he loved, Isaac, and sacrifice him. Abraham was a man of faith because he trusted God throughout this situation. He knew God's character enough to know that God had a plan that involved saving his son. Even before he saw God's plan laid out, he took his son to an altar where a sacrifice would take place. Throughout this journey, Isaac noticed that they did not have an animal to sacrifice, and he asked his dad where the animal was. Abraham's response in verse 8 is breathtaking: "God will provide." Still, no animal came, so Abraham laid his son on the altar, prepared to obey God and sacrifice him. Suddenly an angel commanded Abraham to stop. He instructed him not to sacrifice his son. Now God knew that Abraham did not love Isaac more than he loved Him. Next, just as Abraham predicted, God provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac. Indeed, God provided. In fact, the mountain where the ram was sacrificed was named "the LORD [or Yahweh] will provide."
Abraham knew that Yahweh God is a Provider, even when his circumstances seemed to say otherwise. He trusted God to provide what he needed: a sacrifice. This ram that Abraham found was a picture of what was to come. Years and years later, God continued to provide when He provided a final sacrifice, His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. God made the sacrifice that Abraham did not have to. Jesus was the perfect, sinless sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. Through Jesus, God provided what we needed to have eternal life with Him.
Are you in a season of waiting on the Lord to provide? Maybe you are waiting on God to provide healing, the perfect job, a spouse, restoration in your marriage, or many other things. In your journal, make a list of all the things you are waiting on God to provide for you. Ask Him to continue to work in your life and provide for your needs. At the same time, praise Him for how He has provided for you by sending Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to rescue us from sin. Remember, His provision may look different than you hoped, but He will always provide for you in His time and in His way.
Read Genesis 22:1-18 (NLT)
Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called.
“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”
“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”
So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”
“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.
When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”
“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”
Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”
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