My message today is about one of God’s names: Yahweh-Yireh, also known more commonly as Jehovah-Jireh. Ancient Hebrew didn't have vowels, only consonants, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation on how to pronounce this ancient word. Yahweh is spelled YHWH. The letter Y can be pronounced as John or Yan. Also, the letter W can be pronounced as What or Vat. Therefore, Yahweh could be Jahvey. Added to this confusion is that in the middle ages, Jews wanting to avoid saying or writing God's name would add the vowels for the Hebrew word Adonai in with the consonants of YHWH to render YaHoWaiH or JaHoVaiH, which is where we may get the word, Jehovah. Most scholars believe the ancient pronunciation was closer to Yahweh.
1 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called.
“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”
This is a strange and disturbing passage with which we should never become completely comfortable. Anytime religious texts that promotes a loving and holy God commanding a person to sacrifice another human being, it should give us pause. However, the passage reveals God’s name: Yahweh-Yireh (or Jehovah-Jireh).
Yahweh means "I Am" or "I Am Who I Am". In other words, God is who He is and we don't get to determine what He is like. He created us in His image. We don't get to create Him in ours. God is the Great I Am.
Yireh means “see to it". Vanilla Ice once rapped: "If there's a problem, yo, I'll save it." God sees the problem and then sees to it and provides the solution.
People like there needs met. In a world of uncertainty, it’s good to know we will have food to eat, shelter for warmth, companionship, etc. Unfortunately, we always want more.
I had an experience that illustrates this. When my son was 2 years old, we were riding alone in the car and I had a really big bag of potato chips. I decided we were going to eat as many of those chips as we wanted. So I started eating and gave a chip to my son. He loved it and wanted more. SO I stated handing him chips one by one. He would eat one and ask for another. I decided I would give him as many as he wanted, but I wasn't going to give him the bag and let him stick his grimy two-year-old hands in the bag. After repeatedly giving Gavin chip after chip, he started asking for the bag. I told him, he could have as many as he wanted, but only one chip at a time. He couldn't have the bag. He didn't like that. He started to get upset and throw a fit. He wanted the whole bag to himself. He didn't want to have to depend upon me to give him each chip.
This is the human condition. We don't want to depend on God or anyone else. We want what we want and we want it independently. We want things our way and leads to sin. We see this from almost the very beginning of humanity. In Genesis, we read how Adam and Eve in the Garden f Eden. It was the very definition of paradise. They had every thing they could ever want and it was perfect. God said they could eat anything in the Garden except for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This alone would be a test to prove their loving obedience to God. But then a Satan slithers up to them as a snake and convinces them "God is withholding something good from you." And they wanted it and they believed a snake instead of God.
I see this in the church sometimes. People have everything they need—people in the church that care about them, people that sacrifice for them and love them unconditionally while overlooking their faults, and so many good things. And maybe for a time, they will tell you “This church has been such a blessing…” They will be fine for a time, but unfortunately it often happens that these same families start to want something more they feel the church isn’t providing—better music, better kids programs, whatever—and they go looking somewhere else or they just get bored with the church and stop coming. For them, God and His Church are just something to use to get what they want or need. They consume the church as a product or a fruit; and when they are finished with it or what more, they will move on and consume something or someone else. This is the human heart and it is incredibly wicked. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”
And so humanity finds itself broken and corrupt, with no way to be healed. But God is Jehovah-Jireh, the God who sees the problem and the God who provides the solution.
It is passages like this Abraham/Isaac story that convince me the Bible was inspired by God. Yes, God used people to write and compile the stories, but their work was guided by God. If it had only been a human effort, the editors would have gotten rid of passages like Genesis 22 a long time ago. The editing committee would have sat together and said, "Come on guys. This passage makes God look really bad. We need to get rid of it." But God is not trying to make us like Him. He is Yahweh. He is who He is.
This story has an important purpose. One purpose is to disabuse us of our entitlement mentality. Lest we ever begin to think of God as our personal Sugar Daddy in the Sky who only exists to give us stuff and make us happy, the story of Abraham and Isaac serves to shake us from our selfishness. In the image of Isaac on the altar, we see the agonizing cost of our broken relationship with God. We see the agony of a father (Abraham) poised to sacrifice his only son (Isaac) and we are appalled.
Many religions throughout the millennia have advocated human sacrifice (and even child sacrifice) as a method to appease or manipulate the gods. Yahweh actually forbids and abhors human sacrifice in the Bible (Deut. 18:10). Yahweh cannot be controlled—He is who He is and He is sovereign.
The story of Abraham and Isaac foreshadows what God has done for us. While other so-called “gods” (which are really idols and false gods or demons parading as god) entice people to sacrifice their children in order to get something, the One True God—Jehovah-Jireh/Yahweh-Yireh, the God who provides—gave up His own Son for us. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because we desperately needed it.
Many scholars believe (and I agree) that Mount Moriah, where Abraham laid his son on the altar, is the same location where thousands of years later Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified on the cross. God wanted Abraham and us to know the agony He would go through to provide for our deepest need and the cost of our atonement.
Notice what Genesis 22:14 says, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” These words were spoken 2,000 years before Christ was even born and died on top of Mount Moriah (what the Christians call Mount Calvary). No one could have known that one day a Messiah would be born that John 3:16 tells us is God’s “only Son”. No one could have known he would be called "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". No one could have known that God’s Son would be bound and nailed to a cross for our sin. No one could know this accept Yahweh-Yireh, who is the God who sees and provides what we really need.God, Yahweh-Yireh, sees deeply into every situation and even far into the future and works out His perfect plans for us. We must have faith like Abraham, especially when we don’t understand. We need to trust God is providing for our truest needs. And this is extremely important, because we feel like we have needs but we don’t always know what we really need. We cry out to God in our perceived needs. We pray for things we want and think we need. We may even pray for things that seem reasonable and even noble—things like safety for our family, healing and health, etc. And it’s ok to pray for those things. But God really see our deepest needs and He provides. And we have to trust Him because we can’t see the big picture and God’s providence may take forms we don’t understand. We can’t even see what’s going to happen this afternoon and God is thinking thousands of years down the road. He sees eternity and He wants you there with Him. So we have to have faith—like Abraham—and listen for God’s voice and keep our eyes open. God may provide a solution that’s just right there like a ram with its horns caught in a thicket.
What do you need today? What do you really need?
You may not know. You may have some idea. You may think you know.
But maybe God has something to show you. It could be a solution you haven’t seen before.
It could be that you’ve been looking at the problem all wrong.
God wants to give you new insight.
Ultimately, God has already seen to everything you really need for eternity.
On the mountain of the Lord it was provided in Jesus Christ on the cross.
Maybe you just need to accept it.
Well, I invite you to spend a moment talking to Yahweh-Yireh, the God Who Provides now.