God is Our Provider
Genesis 22:13-14 NIV
13 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. 14 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.”
In the Bible, God walked with men and women and revealed His presence and nature to them. He did this because He loved them as individuals and gathered those who trusted Him into His family. As He reached into their lives, they came to know Him and told their stories from generation to generation and wrote them down for our benefit at God's direction. In Genesis 22, we see one of those encounters that fills in so many blanks for us about who our God is.
To get right to the point - God is a Provider. God is the Provider, our Provider. God will show this over and over and over again throughout scripture. But in this situation with Abraham, God is wanting to paint a very clear picture of just how far HE will go to save us so that we can know Him and enjoy Him forever.
God had had already promised Abraham that He was going to give him a son. Abraham and his wife Sarah were old and had been unable to conceive children. God fulfilled His promise - granting the old couple the joy of having a baby boy. They named the boy Isaac, because Isaac means "laughter." Sarah had laughed when God told them He would give them a son - what a joyful way for God to intervene in an old couple's lives!
On top of that, God had promised to make a great nation through Isaac that would bless the whole world. The nation Israel ultimately came through their baby boy, and Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of that promise to bless the world through them.
But at this moment, God tells Isaac to sacrifice his son Isaac on an altar. Abraham had probably seen how other nations around them offered child sacrifices, so Abe would not be unfamiliar with the practice. The problem was multifaceted though to Abe.
First, he loved His son! This was the son they had hoped for all their lives and that God had given he and Sarah! On top of that, God had promised that He would bless the world and make a great nation through Isaac. What could God be doing?
Well, though he didn't understand, Abraham believed God once again. They headed out in obedience to the place the Lord had showed them to make the sacrifice. In doing so, he participated in a miracle that changed his own life and allowed us to see how God sovereignly guides human life. Every test and trial has a deeply significant eternal purpose! As we learn to trust Him and obey Him, His glory is seen and we are fully satisfied through His presence and work in our lives.
Abraham told his servants that he and Isaac were going to go "worship." Even with the incredibly hard test that the Lord had given Abraham, He was able to make his obedience an act of worship. Also, Isaac was old enough to carry the wood. As such, he was old enough to have resisted God's command and the leadership of his earthly father. But Isaac willingly submitted to what his Heavenly Father had commanded, though he believed it would cost him his life.
But before Abraham could carry out God's request, God intervened. God provided a ram for the sacrifice. Rather than Abraham sacrificing His son, God sovereignly provided a sacrifice for them, a picture of the Son that He loved and would give for us. This is yet another astoundingly clear picture of the good news of the Gospel in the Old Testament. (In Galatians 3:8, Paul makes the amazing statement that God "preached the Gospel beforehand" to us through Abraham!)
Abraham called the place where God provided the ram “the Lord will provide.” Ultimately God provided the way for our relationship with Him to be restored through His Son, Jesus, the perfect spotless lamb who died in our place. Just as Isaac bore the wood on his back, Jesus bore the wood of the cross on His back. Just as the ram was the substitute for Isaac, Jesus was the substitute for us. Just as Abraham believed that God could raise the dead, Jesus, the true Israelite and descendant of Isaac was raised from the dead to demonstrate His victory over sin and death! We are raised from the dead spiritually when we believe God's word of Christ, and we will be resurrected like Him to enjoy a renewed Heaven and Earth at His second coming! As God was working in and through Abraham and Isaac's life, He was also telling the story of His love and provision for us in Christ. Thank you Lord!
The writer of Hebrews comments in chapter 11 verses 17-19 that Abraham was obedient believing that God could raise the dead - amazing faith! Abraham didn't always trust God so faithfully, but God's work in Abe grew him up to be the person God had created him to be.
Abraham believed God, and God accounted his faith as righteousness! (Genesis 15:6) Our relationship with God is always about believing Him, trusting Him. As we respond in faith to Him and His Son Jesus, God gives us Himself as a gift and then works His righteousness into our lives on a daily basis. We are given the position of "right standing" with God as a gift through faith in Jesus Christ, and by faith each day, He grows us up practically as He helps us learn to live like Him.
Paul centers his revelation of the Gospel in both Romans and Galatians in this declaration by Moses about God and Abraham from Genesis 15. In his letter to the Romans, Paul also says, "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32) He also told us in Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus."
God is a giver. He loves to take care of His children. In the Lord's prayer, Jesus instructs us to ask for our "daily bread." God wants us to come to Him each day with every need in every situation. Rather than having to rely only on our own effort, God takes the responsibility for the provision for His family. He gave us the ability work (look at Genesis 1-3), and it is ultimately Him who gives us the ability to earn and produce a living. Yet He declares to us in the most magnificent ways, "I am your Provider!" It's a name that He proclaims to us so that we could come to Him each day with His nature in view.
Remind Him of His name (actually, remind yourself of His name...) and look for His answers. He may make you wait; He may not. But He is always faithful to His promise, He is your Provider.