“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” (Genesis 22:14).
Abraham had just passed the most severe of tests. He had been willing to offer up his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. He must have wondered why God had asked him to slay the son of promise, through whom many descendants were promised, but he didn’t refuse or even question God. He was convinced that “God was able to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Yet he must have been greatly relieved when God stopped him from slaying his son, and thankful indeed when he found that God had already provided a ram to be used as “a burnt offering in the stead of his son” (Genesis 22:13).
While journeying to the place of sacrifice, Abraham had said that “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (v.8). Appropriately, after the incident, Abraham named the mountain Jehovah [the LORD] Jireh [will provide].
In Hebrew there is not a specific verb form to designate the future tense, and so the word Jireh could easily be translated “is providing.” Actually, where the Lord’s provision is concerned, the tense makes little difference. The Creator of time (Genesis 1:1) stands outside of time. We may sometimes be frustrated and disturbed because we see only the present, and we don’t even see that very clearly. But God sees and answers in the proper time, perhaps later than we have asked, or perhaps, as in Abraham’s case, beforehand, providing the ram already caught in the thicket.
How often have we received an answer to prayer, only to realize that events had been set in motion long before we had prayed? We should be aware of and thankful for God’s anticipation of our needs. “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer” (Isaiah 65:24). JDM