For the past few weeks we have been studying the names of God at church on Wednesday nights. Taking the time to look at the various names and their meaning can be an enlightening adventure. One of the names for God mentioned in Genesis 22 is Yahweh Yireh, which means “God Will Provide.” It appears at the end of the story where Abraham almost offers his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Not understanding God’s call to sacrifice his son, Abraham nevertheless was intent on being faithful to whatever God asked. As he prepared to do the unthinkable God told him not to harm Isaac. We are then told that Abraham looked up and saw a ram nearby caught by its horns in a thicket. Abraham offered the ram as a sacrifice instead of Isaac. Verse 14 says, “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.’”
Although there is much about this story that I do not understand, I feel that the revelation of God’s name as Yahweh Yireh is most significant. Abraham learned that day that God is the God who provides. The rest of the Scriptures go on to validate this name. In a most ironic twist, many years later God would do precisely what He asked Abraham to do, sacrifice His only Son. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection God provided for all the possibility of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
I have experienced God as Yahweh Yireh in many ways throughout my life. He truly has provided for my needs. God’s provision is sometimes specific and sometimes general. As we look at Creation we cannot help but acknowledge that over and over God reveals Himself as Yahweh Yireh. He has provided everything we need to live and enjoy life. We live on a planet that provides the air we need to breathe and trees to purify the air. He has created a world with vast resources for water, food and shelter. God has provided us, unlike other planets, with a climate that sustains life. Things like the sun, moon and rain, which we pretty much take for granted, are actually examples of God’s provision for us.
God truly is the “Giver of all good gifts” (James 1:17) and as such deserves our worship and praise, as well as our thanksgiving. Hopefully we will learn not to take God’s many provisions for granted but will, instead, receive them each day with gratitude and a recognition of the need to be good stewards of all of His gifts. If you haven’t paused to thank God (Yahweh Yireh) lately for providing for your needs, now would be a great time to do so.
(I took the top picture at Lake Cumberland State Park in Kentucky. I photographed the bottom scene in the Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.)