“…Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
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 22:12-14
This is one of the most famous moments in the Bible. Isaac was the son Abraham and Sarah weren’t able to have for years. After decades of infertility, God blessed them with Isaac. All the promises of Abraham’s future, his legacy, his descendants and his inheritance from the Lord were contained in Isaac. And Abraham was willing to surrender it all to the Lord, leaving it all behind, for the sake of obedience.
The writer of Hebrews interprets the moment this way:
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.Hebrews 11:17-19
It was this moment that gave us one of the names of God. Traditionally “Jehovah-Jireh” or “Yaweh-Yir’eh” has been translated, “The Lord will Provide.” In a moment of crisis, God provided Abraham with the ram. God provided the sacrifice that Abraham needed at just the right moment. This is a foreshadow of what God would do through Jesus, providing for us the perfect sacrifice.
In the Hebrew, the word “Jireh” or “Yir’eh” literally means “to see.” So the literal translation of Jehovah-Jirah is, “The Lord will see.” And instead of the phrase being translated, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided,” the literal translation is, “in the mountain of the Lord it will be seen.”
There is a connection in the Hebrew between God “seeing” and God “providing.” This same connection can be seen in English as well. When we say, “see to it” we aren’t talking about looking at something. We’re talking about action. And we have the word “provision” which literally contains the word “vision” in it. One definition of “pro-vision” means “to see beforehand.” It’s about preparing ahead of time with “provisions.”
So in this one Hebrew word, Jireh, we understand that God is our provider because He is the God who sees our need ahead of time. God’s name, Jehovah-Jireh, isn’t just about God giving us stuff. It’s about the nature of a good Father who knows His children, a Father who is not preoccupied but fully present, and loves to provide for His kids. He sees us. He sees our situation. He sees our need.
Sometimes we need to remember that God is enough because God is our provider. He sees us. And because God is enough, He makes us enough. If you want to hear an uplifting song that highlights God as Jehovah-Jireh, listen to this one. It is called “Jireh” by Maverick City Music and Elevation Worship.