Back in the 1880s, a devout Biblical scholar named Andrew Jukes wrote a book called The Names of God in Holy Scripture, the result of his many years of study and teaching. Jukes likened each title of God to one “note” in a musical “chord” that consisted of many notes—God’s titles.
As we continue our series, we are discovering that each title of God, or note, reveals more about His nature—His particular characteristics or attributes. By studying these titles, we can strike each note individually and enjoy the sound as we acquire an understanding of its meaning. With our knowledge of each title, we can ultimately strike an entire chord as we reflect on our understanding of God’s many titles. We’ll be able to hear the harmony of the full, rich chord revealed by His titles—the glorious sound of Who God is to His people.
God uses the title Jehovah to show the Lord in relationship with those whom He has created. Let’s now investigate the first of several descriptive titles that show how Jehovah functions on our behalf: Jehovah-jireh—“The Lord sees and provides.” We’ll search out examples from both the Old and New Testaments that furnish proof that God as Jehovah-jireh sees the need of His people and provides for it abundantly.
We find that the title Jehovah-jireh occurs in Genesis 22, after God provided a ram for Abraham to use as an offering. God did not want Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (see The Word’s Way, “Of Human Sacrifice”). Instead, Jehovah saw Abraham’s need and provided for it.
Genesis 22:8 and 14:
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering….
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
The boldface “provide” and “seen” are the same Hebrew word, raah, which is very interesting. This word raah is the dictionary form of the Hebrew word transliterated jireh in the title Jehovah-jireh. But why is raah translated here into two different English words—“provide” and “seen”? The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament explains that raah, in the context of verses 8 and 14, is used in the sense of God’s provision. In the King James Version, “seen” carries this sense of God’s provision; in English, to see to something is to provide it.
We see the emphasis on God’s provision reflected in The Amplified Bible, which renders Genesis 22:14 as, “So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide. And it is said to this day, On the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”
In All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible, Dr. Herbert Lockyer, Biblical scholar and author of the twentieth century, explains that for God, to see something is to provide it. He notes that as far as man is concerned, there is a good deal of difference between the meanings of “the Lord will see” and “the Lord will provide”: For man, to “foresee” is one thing, but to “provide” is another. Yet when it comes to God, “the two are found to be one and the same.” What God as Jehovah-jireh foresees, He can furnish—He can supply!
These sources help us to understand why both “provide” and “seen” are used for the Hebrew word raah and that God’s emphasis is on His provision.
While the title Jehovah-jireh is used only in Genesis 22:14, we find further powerful evidence that Jehovah sees and provides in the Book of Exodus. The children of Israel were provided a way to escape from the Egyptians by crossing the Red Sea. The American Standard Version clearly shows that the Lord, Jehovah, provided for His people.
Exodus 14:29 and 31:
But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea….
And Israel saw the great work which Jehovah did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared [respected] Jehovah: and they believed in Jehovah, and in his servant Moses.
Jehovah saw and provided a way to escape by way of His servant Moses. The people saw the great work that Jehovah did, and they believed in Him and in Moses.
Functioning as Jehovah-jireh, God also provided the children of Israel with food to eat while in the wilderness.
Exodus 16:4 and 15:
Then said the Lord [Jehovah] unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you….
And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord [Jehovah] hath given you to eat.
Once again, Jehovah saw and provided abundantly for His people. God gave of this bread to Israel for forty years—as long as they needed it!…
This is an excerpt from the September/October 2011 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2011 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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