“…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.

Reasoning Faith

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.”[Genesis 21:12] 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

This passage is found in the famous “hall of faith” section of Hebrews chapter 11. This is where the writer of Hebrews recounts all the many acts of faith done by those in the old covenant. The phrase “by faith” is used 22 times in this chapter. And it all points to the reality that they acted by faith even though they didn’t see the completion or fullness of the promise given to them. How much more should we, who now know the fullness of the promise in the new covenant through Jesus, act in faith? Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Yet, what I find so striking about this passage is the combination of faith and reasoning that we see from Abraham in his decision to do something that seems crazy. Sometimes people of faith, and faith itself, get pitted against reasoning…as if you can either choose faith or reason but not both.

But what we find in Abraham is a different kind of reasoning that is empowered by faith. Abraham was asked by God to do something that seems crazy. But context is everything. First of all, the crazy thing he was asked to do wasn’t to sacrifice his son. In the pagan world, it was very common to offer children as sacrifices to the gods. This was sort of standard practice for pagans. This was culturally “normal” for Abraham’s day. And before we get too judgmental, we need to remember that even in all of our modern advancements we live in a society that has legalized the murder of babies in the womb by their own mother.

The crazy part was that all the promises that God had given Abraham all rested on Isaac. Not only was God asking Abraham to do something that felt more like a pagan practice, but he was asking Abraham to give up all the promises that God made in favor of obedience to God. God was asking Abraham to choose the Promise Maker over the actual promises themselves. God continues to ask this of us today.

But notice Abraham’s reasoning. This wasn’t haphazard fideism or irrationally blind faith. Just as Abraham’s faith was grounded in the nature of God, so was his reasoning. He reasoned that God can raise the dead. In other words, his reasoning factored in the miraculous power of God and the goodness of God. So his obedience was both an act of faith and an act of reasoning.

Is it irrational to give your life in order to spread the gospel in closed countries knowing that you might be killed? It might seem that way to some. But if your reasoning factors in a God who is good, a God who sacrificed everything for you, a God who is powerful and loving, a God who longs to see others come to know the truth of Jesus, then it’s reasonable to give your life for such a God.

When God is factored into our reasoning, suddenly the impossible looks possible, the irrational becomes rational. As we see from Abraham, a life of faith is not just having God factored into our beliefs but having God factored into our reasoning. This is the God who can raise the dead to life, give sight to the blind, and heal impossibly broken hearts.

Generational Faith

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

2 Timothy 1:5

Timothy’s faith was something that came to him through his mother and grandmother. God always intended faith to be generational. Over and over in the Old and New Testaments, God reminds us that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 3:6, 15; Matthew 22:32; Acts 3:13). He is the God who passes blessing from one generation to the next. He is the God who remembers the promises He made to the last generation in order to fulfill them in the present generation.

Yet, the enemy tries to exploit this generational truth. If an ancestor of ours sins and that sin goes unaccounted for by the blood of Jesus, the enemy uses that as a legal precedent to invade the family line and pass down generational curses. This is one reason why we see common patters of sin passed down in families from one generation to the next (alcoholism, sexual sin, abuse, anger, poverty, curses from Freemasonry and other cults and false religions, etc).

The good news of the gospel is that we now have the authority, in Christ, to apply the blood of Jesus to any sin of our ancestor and see it canceled in Jesus’ name! That is our new inheritance in Christ. But we must be intentional about it.

The Lord warned the Hebrew people about the cost of disobedience in the family line:

The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”

Exodus 34:5-7

God’s character is described clearly here. He is compassionate and gracious. He is slow to anger and abounding in unconditional love. He is loyal and loves to pass blessing down from one generation to the next. He loves to forgive and show grace.

Yet, God is also perfectly just. It is impossible for Him to be unjust. Sin must be accounted for. That is why He sent His own Son to die for us. So that when we apply the blood of Jesus to the doorframe of our lives, the enemy will have no access. But if we are unaware that the enemy will sometimes try to use the sin of our parents, grandparents and ancestors against us, we don’t know to apply the blood of Jesus to it.

Below is a simple prayer you can pray to separate you from the sin of each preceding generation in your family line. Do this back to the 4th generation as a biblical precedent.

“In the name of Jesus, I declare the blood of Jesus to stand between me and (my parents, my grandparents, the 3rd, the 4th) generation as a wall of separation. I cancel every assignment of darkness. I remove every right of the demonic to afflict me because of the sin of that generation. And I call to me my righteous inheritance and blessings of that generation.”

(Rodney Hogue, Empowered)