Early on in our ministry with Rocky Mountain Bible Mission, I was traveling many miles a week to a number of Bible studies and youth groups throughout our northwest corner of Montana. When the roads were bad I drove our old Jeep Wagoneer. On one occasion we had some extra repair costs to keep it going. Since we were living on a very tight budget as missionaries, we prayed that God would supply the needed money to pay for the repairs. It came in a rather unexpected way, but God provided the exact amount we needed–just in time! We got a notice from the IRS saying we had made a mistake on our tax returns. Would you believe we had overpaid and had a refund check for the very amount we owed on our Jeep repairs! On another occasion we had a group of young people from Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, Washington here to help us with Vacation Bible schools in the month of June. While they were here the transmission went out in our old Wagoneer. When the group from Westminster got back home they had their church take up an offering for us and we received a check from the church for $5,000 telling us to put it towards a new Jeep! Well, with their gift and a trade-in, we were able to purchase a brand-new Wagoneer for $8,600 (This was a little more than 40 years ago. Today that price would be five times that amount!)
We serve a God who loves to provide our needs. It seems we often have our backs against the wall wondering how things will work out and then God comes through–often just at the last moment.
I’m reminded of the story of the severe test that God gave Abraham when He asked him to offer up his beloved promised son, Isaac, who was now about 13 years of age. Knowing that God’s covenantal promises (Gen. 12:1-3) were dependent upon Isaac having offspring, Abraham, willing to obey, believed God would raise Isaac back from the dead (Heb. 11:19). Abraham told the two young men he took with him on the journey to Moriah to sacrifice Isaac, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you” (Gen. 22:5). Isaac, seeing the wood and the fire, asked, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (v. 7). Abraham replied , “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering” (v 8). Abraham proceeded to bind his son and place him on the altar but as he raised the knife, “The angel of the LORD called to him…and 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.’ Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket…” (vv. 11-13).
Just at the right moment, God provided the ram to be substituted for Isaac. Abraham’s statement to Isaac can be literally translated: “God will provide Himself the lamb…” (v. 8), a prophetic reference to how God the Father would, at just the right time (Gal. 4:4), provide His Son as a substitutionary sacrifice: “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).
Appropriately, after the incident, “Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide (Yahweh yireh)…” (v. 14). Well, God, being unchanging (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8) is still the “God who provides.” God knows our needs and often, long before we even ask for help, He sets events into motion to meet that need–often just at the last moment. We should be aware of and thankful for God’s anticipation of our needs. “And it will come to pass that before they call, I will answer…” (Isa. 65:24).
God could just see to it that we always have what we need before we even know we need it, but He wants us to learn to depend upon Him, so quite often we get “between a rock and a hard place” and cry out to Him for help. I believe God loves to provide in a way that makes it obvious He did it and wants to show us how much He loves us and is aware of our needs and is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20).
What an encouragement to serve “Jehovah Jireh,” The LORD who provides!