I’ve been studying through the name of God in order to deepen my knowledge of Him. Last week’s article, I AM, investigated the root of some of the other names, including this one. That name, Yahweh, has been translated as Jehovah.
I love the source of this name. This story discloses a couple of attributes of our God. The name itself means the LORD will provide or I AM PROVIDER/PROVISION. He shows Himself to be a provider during this event in more ways than one.
The text comes from Genesis 22. I won’t quote the entire story, but you can read it at the link. The section begins with: After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.”
I think it’s interesting to note a character trait of God that has nothing to do with this name, but it shows in this first verse. God tested Abraham. He’s been teaching/training Abraham for decades and now He examines him to see if he’s truly learned the lessons.
God basically directed Abraham to give up his son. Yes, that son. The son of the promise. The one that Abraham rested his hope of a legacy on. God had told him that He would make Abraham a great nation. And this boy was the guy who would make that happen.
I don’t know about you, but my son is pretty important to me. Notwithstanding that he alone will pass down our last name from this branch of our family bush, I like him. I wanna keep him. When I call him Dear Boy, that’s a sincere sentiment.
Sacrifice him? I can’t imagine such. True, it was probably a little easier for Abraham to comprehend it than me. Human sacrifice was an acceptable practice among the pagan rituals that surrounded him. Even though that requirement wasn’t true to God’s own nature, Abraham didn’t question.
The writer of Hebrews in chapter 11, verses 17 and 18 gives a succinct synopsis of this story. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said,”Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
Abraham didn’t just go through the motions. He had supreme faith in God, knowing that what He said He would bring to pass. God said that He would make Isaac and his children into a great nation for Abraham. The requirement of Issac’s life didn’t negate that promise. Nor did it hinder Abraham’s assurance that God intended to make good on His Word.
I think Abraham learned his lessons mighty well. God, his teacher, was impressed. “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies …” Genesis 22:16-17
The Lord Provides
Between Abraham’s faithfulness and God’s applause is an intricate piece of this story and the source of this character trait of the Lord. Abraham tied up his son, put him on the altar, and poised to end his life, the “angel of the Lord” stopped him, telling him not to hurt the boy. A ram was nearby with his horns caught in a bush. Perfect for the needed sacrifice.
The Lord provided the ram. Because that’s His character. In the musical Two From Galilee (which I get to have a part in putting on the stage this Christmas) a major message is, “If God ordains it, He will make a way.” And you know what? Abraham already knew that. When Isaac asked him about the missing sacrifice as they traveled, Abraham told him then that God would provide the sacrifice. He knew it before he ever reached the place to which he was called.
The final verse of the story completes the picture of God’s provision. “and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed …” Genesis 22:18
In that final verse, God made the promise to us as well. All nations—that’s us. Christ is the promised blessing, the rich provision of redemption that we desperately need. And we are the supremely blessed recipients. All the way back in Genesis, God was preparing for this provision. How cool is that?
Your Turn: What amazing blessing has the Lord provided for you recently?