The name of God, “Jehovah Jireh”, occurs only once in Genesis 22, and it means “The Lord Who Provides”. When the Lord called for Abraham's willingness to give up his son―for Abraham to put his love for God above all else, Abraham heart-brokenly followed the Lord's instruction. He built an altar, not understanding why the loving God who had miraculously given him Isaac in his old age, would now ask for him in return. God's purpose was not to wound Abraham, and take away the son he loved so much. It was a lesson in willing obedience. There on the mountain the Lord halted Abraham's obedience, and provided a ram instead. “So Abraham called the name of that place 'The Lord Will Provide', and it is said to this day, on the mount of the Lord it will be provided” (Exodus 22:14, AMP).
“Jehovah Jireh's” provision of the ram is a powerful testimony to Abraham's great faith and trust in God's character. Abraham followed God's instruction knowing not only was he called to offer his beloved son, but that in Isaac the promise he would be the father of a multitude of nations rested. The provision of the ram is a statement of faith that God does not abandon the children that He loves. The meaning of “The Lord Will Provide” was very real to Abraham when God stopped the sacrifice of his son, and provided a ram. In obedience to the test, Abraham was faithful to the last second, and God answered His faithfulness with His provision.
Why would God ask for something so precious from Abraham? The altar is our place of worship, and nothing should stand in the way of our “life offering” to God. The Lord didn't want Abraham to love anything or anyone greater than he loved Him. It is the same for us. God desires our love for Him to be above all else. “In worship”, Matt Martin said last night, “we lay our most price possession on the altar. There is nothing that gets between us and God.” The Lord longs for our willingness to lay all our prized possessions upon His altar. The Lord laid His most prized possession, Jesus Christ His son, on the altar for us. All He asks in return is our love and obedience.
“Isn't this what our heart longs for when we need the Lord to rescue us? We long for the Lord to save and provide. God sacrificed His own son for us. He doesn't expect us to sacrifice our own “son” in return, but He does ask us to sacrifice sin in our life and everything that separates us from Him. He asks for our heart to love and honor Him above everything else. Just as Abraham faithfully trusted God to provide, so we too need to trust Him. We yearn for a God who sees our need and provides for us. Sometimes we don't really understand what our need really is, but He knows and will bring it to light. When we put God first in our heart and life, He will always be sure that our needs are met. Just as He did for Abraham, He is never late and completely provides. “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, AMP).