“God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Genesis 22:8
This moving account in Genesis 22:1-4 always grabs my heart and mind because it demonstrates the deep and providential love of God on so many levels. Yes, it is love we see, although we are told that God tested Abraham with an unimaginable request. Amazingly, Abraham held nothing back from God. He knew God’s ways were holy, merciful and good and that God was faithful to His Word. God had made covenant promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), that a nation would come from his seed and that the world would be blessed through his seed. His Isaac was the promised covenant child.
Abraham may not have understood God’s purposes, but he believed — when he walked up on the mountain to make the sacrifice — that he and Isaac would return to the waiting servants. To Isaac’s confusion, Abraham said confidently, “God Himself will provide a lamb”. Whether it was an actual lamb or whether Isaac would be resurrected from the dead (Hebrews 11: 17-19), Abraham knew he could trust God. Gloriously, God had already provided for a ram to be caught in the thicket, making way for an appropriate, substitutionary sacrifice.
From this event in Genesis 22, we see the love of God at Calvary foreshadowed. God Himself would provide the Lamb –His beloved and only Son — to be the atonement sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world. God would hold nothing back, for His love is boundless. From the beginning, He planned a provision through His Son for the forgiveness of sins and the redemption of lost souls.
What a lesson to my heart! God is always Yahweh-Yireh, the Great Provider. God sees His people’s needs before they become apparent to them, and He makes provision ahead of time for what will be needed.
Therefore, I take two profound lessons into my mind and heart. May they also bring you peace and encouragement.
1- God is sovereign and wise. At all times, He works according to a plan that He put into place from the beginning (Is.37:26). He knows about my circumstances before they occur, and He provides what He determines I need. I can, therefore, live with confidence – trusting His heart, walking in His ways, watching for His provision.
2- In Christ, God’s love for me is personal and specific. Although I have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb, I do not get to avoid the difficulties and heartaches of life. The Lord promises that I do not have to face my troubles alone. (Is.43:1-3) To me, that is His ultimate provision for my life. He is there with me, strengthening me and deepening me spiritually. Jennifer Kennedy Dean said it so well, “He promises us that any troubles we experience have been filtered…Only if the glory they produce will outweigh the pain they cause do they reach you. And they never reach you in full force. You have a shelter and a refuge.”
How many times have I seen these truths demonstrated in my life! Two huge examples I will give come from early in my marriage to David.
We had no idea where God would use my husband after he graduated from seminary, for our inquiries had met dead ends. Yet, God directed a few mentors to push us towards a position we never would have otherwise considered. We saw God’s hand of provision in that job and took it in obedience to Him. After ministering in that church, David was urged by those he served there to plant a new church – which grew to be Providence Baptist. God knew what we needed before we did, and He put provisions in place for each stage of our journey.
At about the same time, we were expecting our second child. We had no extra money to pay for our son’s hospital bills, but we told no one, simply entrusting our situation to God in prayer. A couple that was praying for the fledgling church felt God urge them to provide for our particular need. Their monetary gift was the exact amount of the hospital bill. God is always Yahweh-Yireh!
With every obstacle or trial I encounter in my life, God demonstrates that He is weaving together circumstances to accomplish His purposes. I might only see one thread in His tapestry, but His plan is flowing from one situation to the next. The Lord will provide, not always what we think we need, but what He knows we need to grow our faith and to make a glorious display of His sovereignty, wisdom, and love!
Yahweh-Yireh, Please give me the patience to trust and follow You with expectant, spiritual eyes. Then I will recognize the tapestry of provision you have woven throughout my days. Thank you for faithfully providing for my needs as you see fit. I praise you for your sovereign wisdom and loving presence in all my peaks and valleys.