Yahweh Yirah "The Lord Will Provide"

9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” 13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:9-14)

God Reveals Himself

God reveals Himself and His character through His various names.

  • El Elyon "God Most High"
  • El Shaddai "All Sufficient One"
  • Yahweh "Self Existant One"
  •  Adonai "Master"
In Genesis 22, we learn He is Yahweh Yirah--The Lord Sees or The Lord Will Provide.  The first mention of Yahweh Yirah appears in this passage when the Lord tests Abraham's faith by instructing Abraham to take his beloved son, Isaac to the land of Moriah and offer him as a burnt sacrifice.  In this narrative, we see Abraham's faith demonstrated by his obedience.  He rises early in the morning and sets out with Isaac and two of his servants.  When he sees Moriah in the  distance, Abraham leaves his two men behind while he takes Isaac, loaded with wood, to worship the Lord.  Isaac asks his father where the lamb is for the burnt offering. Abraham's response demonstrates his belief that all things are under the Lord's control and He will provide what is needed at the proper time.  When Abraham raises his knife to slay his son, the angel of the Lord stops him and declares Abraham's faith.  Then Abraham sees a ram caught in a thicket, takes the ram, and sacrifices it in Issac's place.  At this point, he names the place Yahweh Yirah "The Lord Will Provide".

God's Names Enrich Our Faith

I have been studying the various names of God in the Old Testament, and the names of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the New.  Learning about Him and His character through His various names has enriched my faith and my prayer time.  When I am praying to Yaweh Yirah, I am reminded I am praying to the One who sees my situation, can provide whatever I need, and make that provision at the exact time I need it.  Not a moment before or a moment after.

When my mother passed away unexpectedly, He provided peace and comfort.  When we received Seth's autism diagnosis, I feared Seth would never understand salvation and wouldn't know a relationship with Him.  The Lord calmed my fears by reminding me that He created Seth and He is in control of all things, especially Seth's salvation.  In 2015, Seth gave his life to Jesus.   As I reflect on His faithfulness to provide in my past, I know I can  trust Him for my future.

Near and Far Fulfillment of His Name

When Pastor was doing his survey of the Old Testament books on Wednesday nights and came to the prophets, he explained that their prophecies had a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment. This is also true of our understanding of the Lord as Yahweh Yirah.  For Abraham, in the near term, God provided the ram as a substitute for Isaac.  But His name also pointed to a future fulfillment when Yahweh Yirah would provide for you and me through Jesus Christ.  He is our substitute.  Romans 8:32 says "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all".  If He provided His beloved Son so that we may be reconciled to Him, how can we ever dare to question His provision for our needs and concerns that we face every day.  Health concerns, a place to live, food for our tables, loneliness, grief.  When we face these concerns, we are challenged to surrender our needs to His care and trust He will provide in His timing.  Paul reminded the believers in Philippi, "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (4:19).  

Questions to Ask

So when it comes to the needs I face, I ask myself three questions as I reflect on this narrative:

  1.  How can I obey any instructions the Lord gives me through His Word?  (Abraham obeyed the Lord when he took Isaac to be sacrificed.)
  2.  Will I trust Him to provide?  (Abraham trusted the Lord as we see in his response to Isaac's question in v. 8, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
  3.   Are there any limits to my obedience?  (Abraham lifted the knife when the angel of the Lord stopped him.)

After all. if He takes care of the sparrows and the lilies of the field, will He not also take care of me.  He has already provided for my ultimate need through the sacrifice of His most beloved Son.  How can I not trust Yahweh Yirah?