The Lord Will Provide
“Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided’” (Gen. 22:13b–14).
The events of Genesis 22 occurred in “the land of Moriah” (v. 2), a region of great significance for the ancient Israelites. Second Chronicles 3:1 tells us the people of God worshiped on Mount Moriah (elsewhere called Mount Zion), for that is where the temple was built. There is some dispute as to whether Mount Moriah can be directly identified with the mountain on which Abraham offered Isaac, but many commentators believe they are the same place. In any case, Jerusalem and its temple were certainly located in the region of Moriah, if not on Mount Moriah itself. Thus, Abraham’s journey there was also an example to the old covenant community of the importance of their worship in Jerusalem (Deut. 12:1–28; 1 Kings 11:36).
Today’s passage provided other principles of worship the Israelites were to follow. Immediately after the Lord orders Abraham to spare Isaac’s life, the patriarch looks up and sees a ram providentially caught in a thicket. Abraham substitutes this sheep for his son as a burnt offering, illustrating the Lord’s willingness to accept the life of an animal in place of a human being (Gen. 22:13). When the Israelite offered a ram on the altar he was to know that though God rightly demanded the death of the worshiper, He graciously provided for another to be offered as a substitute in his place.
Abraham clearly understands the Creator’s provision, for he names the place in Hebrew Yahweh yireh, or “the Lord will provide” (v. 14). The patriarch went before God, willing to give the very best offering and trusting in Him to supply his every need (v. 8). The Lord did meet Abraham’s needs, and so we can expect Him to do the same for us when we truly offer all that we are to Him.
Matthew Henry says God accepted animals as “a pledge of that expiation which should one day be made by that great sacrifice.” God loved Abraham and spared Isaac’s life, but He showed an even greater love when Christ was on the cross. For when we had incurred a debt that we could not pay, the Father “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32). May we imitate Him and worship God in love with the best of our time, talents, and possessions.
How we worship God reveals whether or not we trust Him to supply our needs. Whenever we get a raise, gain an extra hour in the day, or learn a new skill, we ought to think about how we can use such things to further His kingdom. Take a hobby of yours and consider whether it can be made to serve Christ’s church. Or, learn a new skill that you can put to use in the service of others — especially for those who are incapacitated or indigent.
Passages for Further Study
- Lev. 1
- 1 Chron. 6:49
- Mark 10:17–31
- Heb. 12:28–29
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