“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-Jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.” (Genesis 22:14)
Abraham had been called by God to offer his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering upon a mount in Moriah. Abraham was faithful to God’s command and was willing to sacrifice Isaac, but the angel of God intervened to prevent him from going through with that particular act. In the place of Isaac, God provided a sacrifice for Abraham to offer instead, in the form of a ram caught in a thicket. In response to such a miraculous intervention of God’s providence, Abraham named this place “Jehovah-Jireh” which means “the Lord will provide or the Lord has seen”. If we examine our lives, I believe that we will also see these Jehovah-Jireh memorials of not just providential blessings but the ultimate Jehovah-Jireh of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
We often make reference to the “providence” of God when God blesses a certain situation to unfold to our benefit or protection, whether it be safety from a car wreck or God’s guidance into a particular path or similar circumstances. Providence means “to provide beforehand”, and we see a beautiful picture of God’s providing beforehand in Abraham’s test of faith on mount Moriah. God called Abraham to offer Isaac, but in His infinite foreknowledge, God knew all along that He would provide the sacrifice to take Isaac’s place. However, Abraham was not privy to that information until just at the climax of the story, almost at the point of no return. Despite the fact that Abraham did not know about the Lord’s provision for his son until the appropriate time, God put all the plans in motion to where that ram would be there at just the right time. Such is the case with God’s acts of providence in our lives. While God does not ordain every event that occurs or puppeteer all of man’s actions, God does very often, with His perfect foreknowledge of all events, set circumstances to occur for the “right thing” to happen at the “right time”, for a great remedy to be provided at the time of our most sincere need. Certainly, the timing of the angel’s intervention and seeing the ram was the “right thing at the right time” for Abraham.
God had “seen” the need of Abraham that would occur in that moment far beforehand, and He had then “provided” the remedy very much in advance at just the right location, even though Abraham hadn’t even got there yet. God’s hand of providence was in motion even before Abraham got up to begin the journey to Moriah. Such is the case as well with all of God’s providential interventions in our lives. God has seen the need far in advance, and has already provided for the need in the future, even if we don’t see it or God’s plans beforehand until right at the pivotal moment. God is oftentimes working beyond our view for our future benefit and good. (While all events without exception do not fall into this category, we don’t need to discount the fact that God does actively intervene providentially in our lives for our good.). In hindsight, sometimes we can see how things worked out “just right” even though we didn’t understand how the moving pieces fit together when they were actually occurring. Many today – even many professing Christians – will chalk this up to “good luck” or “fate” or “chance”. But for the child of God, we need to give God the praise and glory for caring for us enough to provide for our deliverance, even very much in advance. We need to praise God’s providence, not to frivilously chalk these instances up to chance or fate.
The same case is true with all of God’s providential blessings in our lives. God in His perfect foreknowledge of all events and even knowing the thoughts and intents of our hearts, He “sees” the dire need that we will have at certain moments in our lives, and He “provides beforehand” the remedy to meet our need. Not only does God know what we need before we ask (Matt. 6:8), but God also is working (oftentimes beyond our sight or our vantage point) to make sure the adequate provision shows up at just the “right place and the right time.” It’s such a comfort to know that God is not just passively watching our lives and allowing us to fall into the pitfalls without helping us along. As any good father would do, when he sees the child approaching a dangerous pitfall, he will stoop down and take the child’s hand to pull them from danger and into a place of safety. God as our Heavenly Father has perfect vision of all the perils in our lives, and He is attentive to actively provide beforehand that when the time of that urgent need actually comes, we have exactly what we need to meet that difficulty. God is not a laisse-faire deist, but He is intimately involved in the lives of His children to encourage, protect, or ultimately “provide” for them in whatever means the Father deems appropriate.
The ultimate Jehovah-Jireh provision was the advent of Jesus Christ and His subsequent death to save His people from their sins. Jesus’ sacrifice and death was not a knee-jerk reaction to the fall of man, catching God off-guard and then having to scramble to find a solution to the problem. While God did not cause the sin of Adam and fall of man, He did have perfect foreknowledge that Adam would be enticed to that sin and plunge mankind into the penalty of death. God “saw the need” very far in advance, and before the world even began (before the offense actually occurred in real time) God “provided beforehand” the remedy for the need of His children, which was the atoning death of Jesus Christ. When Isaac asked Abraham his father, where the actual sacrifice was that was to be offered, Abraham said: “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8). This was pointing towards God coming Himself to provide the offering for sin as Jesus was “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). God did not subcontract out the salvation of sinners, but God came “himself” to get the job done right., and He did finish the job that He came to complete.
God did not leave this work to someone else to complete, He came Himself to make sure the work was done perfectly and completely. There are some works that we might trust others to carry out correctly, but the most important work of all time – the salvation of God’s elect – God did not entrust that work to anyone else. God was manifest in the flesh to make sure that work got done right. As the old saying goes, if you want something done right, then do it yourself. God took that attitude in regards to eternal salvation. God provided for man’s greatest need (salvation from their sins) long in advance and Jesus came at the “right place at the right time to complete the right thing”. Many might question the timing of Jesus’ advent, but rest assured it was at the “right time”. Jesus’ death was provided for and planned years in advance and God provided the need for His children in just the right manner. Praise be to God, the work was planned beforehand, but ultimately the work was perfectly completed and finished by Jesus Christ upon the cross. We have been redeemed from the wrath to come because of the Jehovah-Jireh sacrifice of Christ – the Lord seeing and providing beforehand for the remedy of the sins of His people.