You might think the title is bordering on being heretical, but I urge you to bear with me as I unpack my thoughts.
We learned that God is Provider from Abraham who built an altar to the Lord and called the place “Jehovah-Jireh”, the Lord my Provider (Gen 22:14). He chose to name it such because of what he had just experienced.
Abraham had waited over twenty years for the birth of Isaac, the son that God had promised to him. Finally, he had arrived. As Isaac grew up, Abraham loved him more and more.
When Isaac was about thirty years old (perhaps a little older than that), God appeared to Abraham and said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
Abraham’s heart sank, I’m sure, even though he didn’t show it. The death of Isaac would not only mean the death of his beloved son but also the death of a dream of having descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the sea shore (Gen 22:17 See also Heb 11:12). Nevertheless, Abraham obeyed. Rising early in the morning, Abraham “saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him” (verse 3).
Long story short, as Abraham was about to plunge the knife into the body of his son, God “called to him from heaven” (verse 11). It was never God’s intention to take Isaac away from Abraham; He only wanted to test him to see if he would be willing to part with him. As far as Abraham was concerned, Isaac was dead the day God appeared to him and asked that Isaac be offered up as a burnt offering.
Immediately after God’s intervention, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw a ram “caught in a thicket by his horns”. Abraham “took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.” Consequently, Abraham called the place Jehovah-Jireh, because God provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac.
This is a very touching story; and an encouraging one too. But what Christians have done, unfortunately, was to take the name “Jehovah-Jireh” out of its context, used it and abused it. They have concluded that God would provide all our needs because He is our Provider (emphasis on “our”).
A closer examination of the context will reveal that God did what He did – to provide – in response to Abraham’s obedience and faith. If Abraham had acted otherwise, would God have provided? I’ll let you answer that for yourself.
Therefore, God is a Provider, but only to those who trusts in Him; and what better way to show that we trust in Him than to give up something, something precious.