Yahweh Jireh: God our Provider!

First Presbyterian Church of Elmer

107 Chestnut Street

Elmer, NJ 08318

Sermon Notes (Sunday April 24th, 2016)

Rev. Mouris Yousef, Pastor


Yahweh Jireh: God our Provider!

Genesis 22:1-14; Hebrews 11:17-19


You may have heard about the guy who fell off a cliff and on his way down he was able to grab onto a tree branch jutting out from the face of the rock.  As he hung there reviewing his options, he started yelling, “Is anyone up there?”  He was surprised to hear a voice say to him, “Yes, this is God.”  The man was greatly relieved, and quickly stuttered, “God, can you save me?”  “Of course I can,” responded God.  The man was really happy now and shouted out, “Great!  What should I do?”  The answer from the Almighty was not what he was expecting: “Let go of the branch.”  After a long period of silence, the man replied faintly, “Is there anyone else up there?”


Sometimes we’re like that man.  We want God to help us but we don’t always want to do what He says.  Specifically, we’re not always interested in “letting go” of those things that we think are holding us up.  It’s tough to release our grip and give control of our lives to God.  We kind of know that God will provide but maybe we’re not really sure He’ll come through for us.  And so we hold on, and wonder if there is someone else who can help us.


This morning we continue our meditations on some of the well-known Biblical names of God.  Last week, we meditated on El Shaddai, the Almighty, the all sufficient God, and its implications on our lives.  This morning our focus is on Yehwah Jireh ~ God our Provider.


Perhaps the most moving and heart-wrenching account of God’s provision is found in Genesis 22.  As I said last week, Abram was called by God when he was 75 years old from Ur the Chaldeans, the area that is now Iraq.  In Genesis 12, he is told to leave what he had always known and live in a land that God would later show him.  To let go of all that was familiar to him, Abram demonstrated incredible faith.  God then promised him that the entire world would be blessed through his offspring.  When he and Sarah got the news, they both started laughing, and so God gave the boy the name Isaac, which means “laughter.”  After 25 years of waiting, the son of promise was born to them.  But God still had some things he wanted to teach Abraham.  As we examine a couple Scriptures today, please allow me to highlight two important observations:


First: The Promise Tested

In Genesis 22:1-2 we read, “Some time later God tested Abraham.”  When we finish chapter 21, Isaac is still pretty young.  He is about 15-years-old, which means Abraham is around 115.  God wanted to test Abraham’s faith and faithfulness.  He is about to face an extreme exam.  This time God is going to demand something out of Abraham that will be extremely costly and exceedingly confusing: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of MoriahSacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”


Notice the four phrases God uses – your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love.  God is making it very clear who He is talking about and He is putting His finger on the fact that Isaac was everything to Abraham.  And that was part of the problem because God ALONE should be everything to him.  God was saying, “We’ve walked together for many years and now you have the son you’ve longed for.  Tell me, Abraham; is this son more important to you than your relationship with me?”  When he left his father’s country, by faith, we learn that Abraham loved God more than his father.  Now we learn that he loved God more than his own son.


When Abraham received this tough test of faith, he didn’t argue with God and he also didn’t check with others.  Not one word of objection is recorded in the entire text.  Instead, he practiced immediate obedience: “Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey.  He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac.  When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.”  Friends, a faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted!


Second: Yehwah Provided

Abraham has the faith to believe that both he and Isaac will return after they worship!  Notice the pronouns: “We will worship…we will come back.”  Abraham has the assurance that Isaac will return with him.  Think about this.  Abraham is prepared to sacrifice his son, so how can he come back?  Hebrews 11:17-19 fills in the blanks for us: “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.  He who had received 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 raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.”


As Abraham and Isaac walked up the mountain together, “Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”  “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.  “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”  Oh, how these words must have sliced right through a devoted dad’s heart.  Abraham then answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”  The word “provide” is the word ‘Jireh” and has a very rich meaning.  It is translated as “to see” and as “provision.”  Abraham knew that God would somehow see to it that everything would work out.  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.


We know from the Bible that God loves to meet the needs of His people.  God loves to come through for His people, but often not until we “let go.”  We don’t have to fully understand in order to surrender, but we do need to fully trust.  It’s like the story I heard of a house on fire.  The little girl was trapped in her upstairs bedroom.  As she leaned out the window, her father, who was on the ground said, “Jump.  I’ll catch you.”  The little girl was afraid and replied, “But, I can’t see you!”  To which the Father shouted, “That’s OK.  I can see you.”  She jumped to safety not because she could see but because she trusted the voice of her father who told her to jump.  She was willing to let go.  And it was in letting go that she was ultimately provided for.  Is there anything you’re holding on to today?  What is your Isaac?  It’s time to put it all on the altar and trust God.


The British Christian Missionary Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) had a plaque in his room while he was a missionary in China.  On it were these words: Ebenezer and Jehovah Jireh, which means, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” and “The Lord sees or the Lord provides.”  One looked back and the other looked forward.  One reminded him of God’s faithfulness and the other of God’s provision.  “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 2:14.  In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments
    Events at the Church