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Provide

Have you heard the name… Yahweh Jireh or perhaps better known as Jehovah Jireh?

Since I began serving the Lord I can recall very early on hearing the statement; the Lord will provide – He is our Jehovah Jireh. At some point I also came to the knowledge that this was based upon an occurrence in Genesis having to do with Abraham. But like so many others that is about as deep an understanding as I got. And I am sad to admit it remained this way for some time. That is until I began to ask God to give me understanding as I began to read the Bible for myself. And to give understanding of His Word is something God is very willing to do.

Do you ever consider how much wrong or at least incomplete information we hear about concepts in scripture from our peers, our family members, even from the pulpit itself? How many “truths” do you right now hold dear, yet cannot yourself go to the Word of God and reason it out for yourself? Do not misunderstand me, I am not saying that one must have complete understanding of every doctrine or concept found within scripture, or contained in our statements of faith to experience their benefits or to have faith in them – but we should be striving towards this goal as much as is possible. At minimum we should be daily searching the Scripture and prayerfully seeking understanding of what it is that we are hearing professed and pronounced, from the lips of others as well as from our own. Take for instance the aforementioned title of God, Jehovah Jireh- How many times have you heard it proclaimed that God will provide for such and such need in your situation because He is our Jehovah Jireh?

Before we go any further let me address this question. Am I in any way attempting to say that God is not interested in, or capable of providing for our needs, or that Scripture does not indeed describe God as the sole benefactor of ALL that our lives require concerning things spiritual, physical, mental, etc.? Absolutely not! I would be in grievous error (and without Help) if I were to believe such a statement. My concern is not whether God is THE provider of the several and various needs that arise in our lives, as He certainly is. My concern is with the place(s) in Scripture where we determine this.

As with all Scripture the admonishments given encouraging us to study the Scripture; to rightly divide the information; to seek out understanding; to read the Word daily; to know; to memorize; to keep; and so on are not there arbitrarily. But are given so that we might be equipped to stand and defend our faith against our adversaries (and our own doubts) when the need arises. To do so means diligent and purposeful study, by questioning whether what you hear agrees with what the Bible actually records.

Case in point- Jehovah Jireh, does this name/title of God declare that He is our provider or not? It does indeed mean that God will provide.  But not in the sense that we generally lend to it, nor does the context in which this attribute was revealed support the general usage of the term.

How so?

Throughout Genesis we find that God reveals aspects of His nature to us by using various names.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

God here is Elohiym, which is the plural form of the word El, representing powerful, mighty, strong! And this is supported and represented just as well in English, as the context is one of God creating EVERYTHING- pretty powerful indeed. This continues as we progress in the book and becomes quite specific when Abraham (Abram) enters the picture as the revealed Names of God become very focused and situation specific.

From the first chapter of Genesis to the twenty-first chapter we are given several specific names/titles of God, descriptions of who He is, what His attributes are, what His will is. In addition to Elohiym we see such names as:

Yahweh: (YHWH) rendered as LORD in many Bible versions- this is the personal name of God that describes Him as the Self-Existent One.  He is active in the past, present, and future simultaneously. He is the I AM who does not change.

Adonai: THE Master, Lord, Owner of everything!

El Elyon: Most High God

El Roi: The God who sees, and specifically the God who sees ME. And this name was given (revealed) to a Gentile.  gasp! Way back in the book of Genesis.

El Shaddai: The Almighty – All Sufficient provider

El Olam: The Everlasting God

Each of these names/titles illustrate some attribute of God that He wants us to understand. Many of them are given in multiple places so that with each usage our understanding of who God is can grow. (Yahweh, for instance, is used over 6000 times in the Old Testament) We often find the very first place a new name occurs, the immediate context wherein the name is revealed offers something very specific in regard to the meaning of the name itself. Within the narrative of Abraham and his walk with God we can see clearly that God chooses to reveal himself as El Shaddai, the All Sufficient/Almighty provider at the very moment Abraham sees an impossibility in his life- conceiving a child at 99 years old. The same holds true for all the revealed names of God in Scripture. During the account of the life of Abraham we witness God revealing Himself and His attributes through the various names He gives, we also see God working through different events and trials in Abraham’s life. In the man Abraham we can observe his journey through a period of growth in faith. We also should notice how at times it mimics our own, with its periods of waxing and waning. We can find great encouragement in this account if we are mindful of what is actually occurring, and that specifically centered around the events leading up to the revelation of the name Jehovah Jireh.

The story is probably familiar to most. Over a period of 25 years God forms a covenant with Abraham and during this time promises Abraham that He will make of him a great nation; and this to Abraham who is without a legitimate heir. During this period Abraham witnesses and enjoys many blessings from God, he experiences many successes as well as several personal failures. But we discover through it all that God is faithful and true. ultimately He does deliver to Abraham a child, a son, Isaac, whom Abraham loves very dearly.

And then God asks the unthinkable… Offer Isaac to me as a burnt offering, as a sacrifice!

What?!

You want me to give you my ONLY son?

More to follow. . .

On to part two

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