Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of Yahweh-Jireh

Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of Yahweh-Jireh

Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of Yahweh-Jireh.

“… and Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son Isaac. So Abraham called the name of that place, Yahweh-jireh, the LORD-will-provide…”  (Genesis 22:13-14).

Yahweh-jireh was another name of God created by Abraham, this time on Mr. Moriah. The Hebrew words mean LORD-provides, LORD-will-provide. And this name highlights one of the most mystifying stories in all of Scripture. A few years earlier, God had promised Abraham to be a father of a multitude. And God fulfilled His promise with the miraculous birth of his son Isaac. And now, years later, Isaac is a teen-ager, and he embodies God’s promise. Out of Isaac will come a great nation. And suddenly out of the blue, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mr. Moriah. Sacrifice my son, he thinks? My miracle child? The son through whom will come countless descendants? Sacrifice Isaac, of all people? God’s request made no logical sense. Child sacrifice was common in that part of the world at that time, but surely Abraham didn’t expect this pagan practice of God. This was a practically obscene request to make of any father, but of Abraham? But in Hebrews 11:19, Scripture says that Abraham tried to make sense of this outlandish request by assuming that God would raise Isaac from the dead after the sacrifice. Abraham assumed that was the only way that Isaac could continue the family line. That reasoning must have been sufficient for Abraham, for he agreed to comply with God’s request.

The ominous scene continues as they walk up the mountain together, father leading the way as son carries the wood for the fire. Once up at the top of Mr. Moriah, Abraham constructs the altar for the sacrifice. Isaac agrees to stretch out his body on the altar. What was Isaac thinking as his father stretches out his arm holding the knife to slay him? What was Abraham thinking as he continued to trust God in the midst of this painful act? How did he continue to trust in God’s wisdom during this trial? Surely his heart was breaking into a million pieces as he raised the knife.

And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” (22:10). But the Angel of the Lord, the Messenger of Yahweh, came to Isaac’s rescue.  This Angel was the pre-incarnate Christ, and He called out to Abraham, “Do not lay your hand on the boy, or do anything to him!” (22:11-12). Unexpectedly, in the nick of time, God in the flesh held back Abraham’s knife and provided a ram caught in the bushes. The ram, not Isaac, was God’s provision for the sacrifice. God was happy to save Isaac’s life and confirm Abraham’s faith in the process. Jesus intervened, saved Isaac from being sacrificed, and confirmed Abraham’s deep trust in God. Abraham then thought up a new name for God to honor the occasion… Yahweh Provides. The Messenger Jesus then spoke to Abraham a second time, repeating the promise to Abraham of so long ago, that there would countless descendants in Abraham’s line. “In your seed, all the nations of earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.

Gospel Fulfillment. This rather strange and difficult story is a clear picture of what happened much later on a nearby hill, Golgotha. The Mt. Moriah incident reveals a deep mystery beyond us, the mystery of a Father sacrificing a Son. Abraham’s feelings must have mirrored the Father God’s when Jesus stretched out on the cross. And Isaac’s feelings were certainly duplicated by those of Jesus as He prepared to be sacrificed. The difference in these monumental events is that in Isaac’s case, he was spared. And in Jesus’ case, He was not. Jesus was like the ram caught in the bushes. Father God allowed His Son to be sacrificed for the salvation of the world. During Jesus’ Passion and death, the Father’s heart must have broken into a million pieces, just like Abraham.  The glorious fact is that Abraham received his son Isaac alive after Isaac had been as good as dead, as did the Father on Easter Sunday. This mysterious episode in the life of the Patriarchs was a living parable, for it prefigured the Death and Resurrection of the Lamb of God.

A prayer to the Person of Yahweh-Jireh (yah-way yeerah), honoring Jesus, the incarnation of the-Lord-will-provide:

We rejoice in you, Yahweh-jireh, LORD-provides. For you have provided our redemption through your only Son, the very Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. You have sacrificed Him in your compassion for us, Lord, because we were bruised reeds you would not break, smoldering wicks you would not snuff out. You delivered Him up while we were yet helpless and bound by our own sinfulness, that we might live through Him. O what a mystery of love, that Jesus was like a lamb led to slaughter, bruised for our iniquities, pierced for our transgressions. How marvelous is your mercy, LORD Provider. Worthy is your only begotten Son, your pure Provision, through whom you will graciously supply all our needs according to your riches in glory. We bow before you, Yahweh-jireh, and praise your holy Name. Amen.