THE GREAT ‘I AM’

JEHOVAH JIREH

There is in Israel a mountain range named ‘Moriah’. It has an interesting and instructive history.

It was on this mountainous area that Solomon built the temple for the LORD [2Chronicles 3:1], following through with the plans made by his father, David [1Chronicles 22:1-19]. Here in the temple, in the administration of the Levitical sacrifices forgiveness and atonement were provided by the LORD through the mediation of the Levitical priesthood.

It was on this mountain that David sought to appease the LORD’s anger against Israel which he had incurred by numbering the fighting men of Israel. He purchased the threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite, and there built an altar to the LORD and presented sacrifices to the LORD. In response the LORD provided release from the impending judgement.

It was on this mountain that Abraham, instructed by the LORD to offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice, raised his knife over Isaac in trusting obedience [Genesis 22]. So strong was his knowledge of the LORD that with simple trust he said to Isaac ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son’. In response to the LORD’s provision of a ram as a substitute for Isaac, Abraham named that place ‘Jehovah Jireh’: the LORD will provide.

This ‘Jehovah Jireh’ is not another name of God; it is Abraham’s name for this place, this mountainous range known as ‘Moriah’. ‘Jehovah Jireh’ commemorates God’s provision of a substitutionary sacrifice by which a human being was redeemed. As such it anticipates the sacrifices offered here by David, and it anticipates the multitudes of sacrifices provided through the temple rituals.

But all of these are also themselves mere symbols of a far greater reality, a far greater, permanent provision: It was here on this mountainous area of Moriah that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, died. It was here through this death, that the LORD provides the one, real, permanent sacrifice for sin, through which we escape his otherwise inevitable judgement.

Here on Mount Moriah, the place Abraham called ‘the LORD will provide’, is the final and ultimate provision, the final and ultimate sacrifice, decided and planned by God for our salvation before the creation of the world:

Here the LORD provides ‘the Lamb slain from the creation of the world’ [Revelation 13:8].

Here the LORD provides ‘a lamb without blemish or defect …chosen before the creation of the world’ [1Peter 2:19,20].

Here the LORD provides ‘this grace given us in Christ before the beginning of time’ [2Timothy 1:9]

Just as the death of Jesus had to be at the time of the Passover Feast to fulfill its prophetic symbolism, so his death had to be here in this place, here on this mountain, to fulfill the prophetic symbolism embedded in the Genesis 22 narrative, to fulfill Abraham’s prophetic statement in Genesis 22:8 – 'God himself will provide the lamb', to fulfill his prophetic naming of this place ‘Jehovah Jireh - the LORD will provide’, and to fulfill the Genesis 22:14 comment 'And to this day it is said, "On the mount of the LORD it will be provided."'

While it is true that the Lord provides our physical needs, let us not lose sight of the biblical foundations and the biblical significance of these words: that 'Jehovah Jireh' speaks in the ultimate sense of God's provision of complete and immeasurable salvation through the substitutionary death, here on this mountain, of his Son: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

 

© Rosemary Bardsley 2013