Bible Study Commentary on the Names of God
Abraham finds Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider
by I Gordon
We have been studying the character and attributes of God as we go through this 'Knowledge of the Holy' series. One way in that we can learn more about this God we serve (hopefully!) is to look at how He revealed Himself in scripture through His different names and titles. So I wanted to start this little sub-series (a series within a series) on the compound names of God. We'll look at 7 different names which God has chosen to reveal Himself with. Here is what we will look at and on the off-chance (slim I know) that you don't speak fluent Hebrew, I'll add the translation (though with you it probably isn't required!)
1. Jehovah Jireh - The LORD our Provider
2. Jehovah Rapha - The LORD our Healer
3. Jehovah Nissi - The LORD our banner
4. Jehovah Shalom - The LORD our peace
5. Jehovah Roi - The LORD our Shepherd
6. Jehovah Tsidkenu - The LORD our righteousness
7. Jehovah Shama - The LORD is there
This study will be focused on the first compound name, Jehovah Jireh (or Yahweh Yireh - I prefer the name Yahweh to Jehovah but as most know these names using Jehovah I will use that... may change it around sometimes!) But before we getting into that, let me just slip one more name in quickly.
The first compound name before the first compound name
To find the REAL first compound name of God you don't have to go any further that Genesis 2:
Genesis 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
That which is translated LORD God in this passage is 'Jehovah Elohim'. Why is this important? Well we see that the first mention of Jehovah/Yahweh is connected to creation. It isn't just that 'God' in the generic way created the Heavens and the earth. Lots of people in many cultures and religions have some general idea that 'God' created this world, but then it is left up to them to determine who their particular 'God' is. No. The Bible right from the start is specific on who created the Heavens and the Earth. It isn't just 'God', it is Jehovah Elohim.
Jehovah Jireh, my provider, His grace is...
So let's move on to our study of Jehovah Jireh. When you first hear Jehovah Jireh, what comes to mind? If you are like me then the mouth starts humming, the heads starts swaying and the toes start tapping! Pretty hard not to... that Jehovah Jireh song, though a little old now (I'm showing my age!) is pretty addictive. You can be in the most conservative church but when Jehovah Jireh is sung even the most reserved feel this overwhelming compulsion to start clapping and (goodness) even swaying! I'm sure you know the one:
His grace is sufficient
For me, for me, for me (x2)
My God shall supply all my needs
According to His riches in glory
He gave His angels
Charge over me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me, for me, for me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me
And then you repeat those lyrics somewhere between 18-26 times. So why bring this up? Well, because firstly, I like this song and secondly, because it does a very poor job at describing what Jehovah Jireh is ESSENTIALLY about. I'm not saying it is wrong. No... Jehovah Jireh is about the provision of the Lord and the lyrics are biblical. But the problem is what our minds do with it. Influenced partially by this song, our minds automatically start thinking of the main things that God gives and provides. We think of the different needs of this life like food, a home, jobs, health, a partner, family... there are many blessings that the Father of Lights pours down upon us. But the interesting thing is that when you look up 'Jehovah Jireh' you find that it is mentioned only ONCE in the Bible and the context of the passage gives a different thought of God's provision than the things mentioned above.
So to be clear, Jehovah Jireh does speak of the One who provides all things (and we will look at some of the general verses that speak of this in this study) but His SPECIFIC provision tied into this name Jehovah Jireh is something far more important.
The specific provision of Jehovah Jireh
So where then is the first and only mention of Jehovah Jireh? Come on... think! Can you remember seeing it before? More than likely you read from a translation that will put it like this:
So (someone) called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."
I've taken out who actually called a certain place 'The LORD will provide' because I don't want to make it too easy for you! But can you remember that verse above? Who was it that called a certain place 'The LORD wil provide' (which literally is 'Jehovah Jireh') and said that 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided'? And which mountain was it? And what is it that was actually going to be provided on that mountain? So many questions. So few answers!
Do you know? Oh, ok. Alright... it's not easy to build suspense in a written study! The person that said this was Abraham. The mountain was Moriah and the occasion was the sacrifice of His beloved son Isaac. And what was the provision? Well God provided a substitute, a ram that was sacrificed in the place of Isaac. It is in this context that Abraham gives us the name of God Jehovah Jireh. God is our provider... and His provision is... Himself.
I have written specific studies on this chapter before:
So I won't go into another full study of this chapter (Gen 22) but it is worth noting a point or two in connection to this name 'Jehovah Jireh'. You may remember that in the story Isaac knows that they are going make a sacrifice to the Lord but wonders where the sacrifice is.
Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. (Genesis 22:8)
The word translated 'provide' here is our word Jireh (or Yireh). God was going to provide. He would provide the lamb to be sacrificed. But the Hebrew is interesting here. As mentioned in a previous study,
"Arnold Fructenbaum says that the Hebrew reads 'yireh-lo' allows for two equally valid options here. It can mean that 'God will provide for Himself' an offering or it can be also mean 'God will provide Himself' as an offering. Both would be true. In the short term He would provide a ram as an offering. In the long term He provided Himself. That's why when a very godly man dressed in camel's hair, first set eyes on Jesus, the first words out of his mouth were these: 'Behold the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.' God had provided Himself as an offering. Do your best to never get used to that thought! "
So the first and most important provision of Jehovah Jireh is Himself. Jesus would be provided as the lamb for our sins. There is no other provision that comes close to that. Not in time or eternity. You want to know about the nature and character of God? Well there it is. That is the God we serve. That is Jehovah Jireh. He is the One that wouldn't even spare Himself but gave everything... His very life, so that you and I could be saved.
David Guzik writes: 'Abraham didn't name the place in reference to what he went through. He didn't name it "trial hill" or "agony hill" or "obedience hill." Instead, he named the hill in reference to what God did; he named it "provision hill." He named it knowing God would provide the ultimate sacrifice for salvation on that hill someday.
The Lord who sees beforehand
Digging a little deeper in this word Jireh we find that it literally means 'to see'. Even our English word 'provide' is from the Latin word prōvidēre meaning 'to foresee' ('pro' meaning before and 'videre' meaning vision).1
So 'Jehovah Jireh' teaches us that God is the one who not only sees all, but He sees all before it takes place and therefore makes provision for our needs. That is a wonderful thought. He did it for Abraham in our story where He foresaw that Abraham would need a sacrifice to replace his son Isaac and He obviously foresaw mankind's need of a sacrifice before we even needed one. In fact He foresaw this before anything was even created for we read that Jesus was
'the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.' (Rev 13:8)
"What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Now that is amazing foresight! And what about the everyday needs that we have? Does God foresee these? Of course He does.
Jesus told us not to fear for 'Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him' (Matt. 6:8).
Personal provision from the God who sees
I'd like to share a short story from a wonderful couple, Bob and Sheila, who were on the leadership team at my church. The story comes during a time when they were really struggling financially and shows God provision and foresight in even the small things of life! This is their story as retold by Sheila:
"Bob wasn't on a very good wage and was only paid once a month. So it was often a short feast when he was paid followed by a longer famine. Towards the end of the month when we had no money left we ran out of toothpaste of all things. Bob said "pray for some". But I replied "you cannot pray for things like that. God supplies vegies because we live in a rural area!" So Bob took off to work on his bike praying for toothpaste. Later that morning a dear friend arrived out of the blue with a parcel of groceries for us. Praise God - there was a tube of toothpaste. I said to my friend "we so desperately needed toothpaste, we had run right out!" and she replied "the Lord told me to buy you toothpaste but I was so embarrassed to just bring that I decided to add some extras!" Praise God for His faithfulness in the smallest of things and friends that hear from the Lord!"
So let's have a look at some Biblical promises concerning God's provision.
Some key verses concerning God's provision
|Aspect of Provision
|The source of provision
The Father of Lights
|James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
|The reason for provision
Our Father's love and care
|Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
|The means of provision
Seek the Lord!
|Psalm 34:10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.
Job 38:41 "Who prepares for the raven its nourishment When its young cry to God And wander about without food?
|The different types of provision
All things for practical and spiritual life
|A covering - physical and spiritual: Genesis 3:21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
Food and environment: Genesis 8:22 "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease."
Rest: Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
His presence: Hebrews 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,"
All things for life and godliness: 2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
|Our response to His provision
We realise it all comes from Him. Give thanks, give to others and ourselves to the Lord.
|Realise that He is the provider: 1 Cor 4:7 'What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?'
All things are from Him: 1 Chronicles 29:16 "O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours.
Give thanks for what He does/gives: Luke 17:15-16 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan ...
Give to others!: Matt 10:8 ...Freely you have received, freely give.
Finding God as Jehovah Jireh requires a state of need. And it requires obedience and sacrifice ourselves. Someone said 'Abraham learnt that God provides when he laid everything on the altar.' So if you are experiencing a time of trial and need, do not despair! It is during those times that God draws near. It is during those time that we learn something more about Jehovah Jireh - our provider. God is a wonderful provider. He isn't Father Christmas, but provides what we need. And our response, as seen above, is to realise that all good things come from Him, to thank Him for them, and to also give out to others of the good things God gives us.
And also remember that the GREATEST and MOST IMPORTANT provision of all is what God gives us through the cross! Jesus is God's first and foremost provision! It is the provision of the person and work of Jesus that meets humanities deepest and greatest needs!
May you continue to learn more about Jehovah Jireh!