Gen 22:14-18 Jehovah-jireh 11/2/2003

 

 

 

 

#1. Take Now Thy Son, Thine Only Son (Gen 22:1-2, 21:12, Heb 11:19, Rom 15:4, 1John 4:19)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. The LORD Shall Provide (Gen 22:12,14, John 1:29, Rom 8:32, Heb 12:22)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. The Obedience of Abraham (Gen 22:16,18, Rom 3:12, Phil 2:13, Jos 24:2, Eph 2:10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4. The Faith of Abraham (Rom 4:11-17)

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to Gen 12:1 (2X). We are continuing our series that is called,

From the time of creation, in Gen 1:1, until God has completed His purpose, in Rev 22:21, God has been, and is building a beautiful harmonious structure that we have called, "The Wisdom of God". Why does this structure, or building, bear this name? It does, because God spoke, and the universe came into being. This is how God created and this is how God by His providence preserves and governs everything, from Gen 1:1 until Rev 22:21. Two weeks ago we talked about "The Church" (2X) and one week ago we talked about "Who Is God of This Church?" Today we are going to look at the people in this church, which officially began with Abraham. The title of today's sermon is, "Jehovah-jireh" (2X), which means, "The LORD Shall Provide". But before we go to Gen 22, where this name, Jehovah-jireh has been quoted, let us look at one of the first contacts God made with Abraham here:

Ge 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Ge 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Ge 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

At this point in history Abram and his family dwelt in Haran, which is a city in the upper part of the land of Mesopotamia. And God said to Abram, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee". And Abram obeyed. Abram immediately packed up all that he had and went southwest to the land of Canaan, which was a land that he had never seen before. How did Abram dare to subject his family and his servants to such a long travel and to possible starvation in this unknown land? The answer is very simple: Abram believed what God said, and Abram believed that "The LORD shall provide" (2X). You must see the wisdom of God in the simple promise that God made, "and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed". How could the Seed of Abram possibly be a blessing to all the families of the earth? Have the physical descendants of Abraham so far been a blessing to all the families of the earth? Absolutely not! Both Arabs and Jews are the physical descendants of Abraham, and their enmity against each other has brought only grief and trouble in the world. They are NOT the Seed of Abraham whom God is talking about here in Gen 12:2-3. The promise to the Seed of Abraham is a promise to the Lord Jesus Christ, as we read in Gal 3:16, "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ." Therefore, the nation God is speaking about here in Gen 12:2-3 is the nation of the family of Christ, the invisible church universal, and through Christ Abraham is going to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. This is how God would display His wisdom in all His providence. Please turn now to Gen 22:1 (2X).

You all know what followed. Abraham had to wait until he was 100 years old before he received Isaac, his first son. Isaac was the son of the promise, just like Christ was the Son of the promise made in Gen 3:15, the Seed of the woman. In this Isaac was prefiguring the Lord Jesus Christ. God did not record in the Bible how old Isaac was at this point in time. But now God said to Abraham:

#1. Take Now Thy Son, Thine Only Son (Gen 22:1-2, 21:12, Heb 11:19, Rom 15:4, 1John 4:19)

And offer him up for a burnt offering unto Me. We read in Gen 22:1-2,

Ge 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

Ge 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

God put Abraham to the test. Did God not know how the test would end? Of course God knew, because He is a God who knows the end from the beginning. God did not need to know the outcome of this test. I am sure that Abraham made certain that the voice he was hearing was the voice of God. He did not want to fall in the trap that Adam and Eve fell into when they heard the voice of someone else than God. But Abraham had demonstrated that he was in total subjection to God. Abraham was prepared to act on whatever the will of God was that would be made known to him. Nevertheless, was this a severe test of Abraham's faith? Yes it was, for several reasons. First of all, it was sad for Abraham that he had to send away his son Ishmael, but now God also required that his only remaining son Isaac had to die. Secondly, it was sad that his son Isaac had to suffer a painful, violent death. Thirdly, it was even more grievous that Abraham himself had to be the executioner of his son Isaac. Fourthly, when Isaac would be dead, the whole salvation of the world seems to have perished. What more could he have to do with God when the only pledge of grace is taken away? Fifthly, This command from God seemed to be in contradiction to the promises that God had given him earlier. Can God contradict Himself in His Word? Absolutely not! But when Abraham had concluded that the God whom he knew could not be his adversary, he reconciled in his mind how the contradiction might be removed, and he left the unknown issue in the hands of God. We read in Heb 11:19, that Abraham believed "that God was able to raise Isaac up from the dead", to cause His promises to be fulfilled. So, Abraham's confidence in the Word of God remained unshaken. Did Abraham need this test? No, Abraham did not need this test, because Abraham obeyed God in everything God said. Then for whom is this test? This is a chapter full of information for us, that we would remember how everything in the Bible is harmoniously connected to give us a solid hope, which we can trust. God says in Rom 15:4, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that WE through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope". Today we want to discover how WE can strengthen our comfort and hope by patiently working through this story in Gen22.

It all sounded like a cruel joke played on Abraham. Isaac was the son of the promise. God said in Gen 21:12, "In Isaac shall thy Seed be called", meaning that all the promises of God were funneled through Isaac. Now God asked Abraham to kill his son Isaac. God rubbed it in a bit more when He said, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest". Did Abraham love Isaac dearly? O yes, but Abraham loved God more than Isaac. Where did this love for God and this obedience to God come from? God shows it to us in the NT, where God said in 1John 4:19, "We love Him, because He first loved us". Therefore, Abraham loved God, because God first loved Abraham. Man does not naturally love God. To love God is a gift that must come from God. Abraham believed God, because God planted faith into Abraham. Man does not naturally believe God. Faith in God is a gift from God. Abraham obeyed God, because God planted obedience into Abraham. Man does not naturally do those things that are pleasing in God's sight, because man is by nature an enemy of God. By nature man hates God's commandments. Obedience to God's commandments is also a gift from God.

And God said, "get thee into the land of Moriah", and "upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of". Where have I heard this name before? Moriah? Let me read to you from 2Chron 3:1 (2X), "Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite". Was that a coincidence? Absolutely no coincidence! God, in His wisdom, created a historical scene, which later would develop into a spiritual picture of Christ crucified. It was almost 1100 years later that Solomon began to build the Temple in Jerusalem most likely on the same spot where Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac. The land of Moriah was called "the land of Divine Worship". Already in His secret counsel, God had determined to fix there the place of His ordinary worship. There is where thousands of bulls and goats and lambs were sacrificed, in burnt offerings, which were all pointing to the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

What did Abraham do when he received this command from God? We read in Gen 22:3,

Ge 22:3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Ge 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

Ge 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

Ge 22:6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

Ge 22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Ge 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Ge 22:9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

Ge 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

Ge 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

Ge 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

Ge 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Ge 22:14 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.

Jehovah-jireh, the LORD shall provide, as it is said to this day, which means even today!

#2. The LORD Shall Provide (Gen 22:12,14, John 1:29, Rom 8:32, Heb 12:22)

In Gen 22:8, Abraham spoke a great truth when he said, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering". The LORD shall provide! Where do we read about the Lamb that God will provide? John the Baptist spoke these famous words when he saw Jesus coming to him: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Christ is the Lamb that God will provide for all those whom He chose to be the Bride of Christ in the life hereafter. Just think of the great love which God had for us, that He chose to be our Deliverer from Hell and Provider for our souls. How does He provide for us? He took away the guilt of Adam's sin cleaving to us and He took away the guilt of all our other sins, which we committed, because after Adam's sin we came into the world as wicked sinners, haters of God and haters of everyone associated with God. Christ, the Lamb of God, took our guilt away by taking our place and enduring in our place on the cross what we would have to endure for our sins. Christ on the cross made a full satisfaction to God for all our violations of the Law of God. That is why Christ on the cross had to endure in our place the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Nothing less than that could satisfy the righteousness of God. Christ on the cross also imputed His righteousness to our souls and elevated us to the status of sons of God. Just think of it: Already now are we called sons of God. There are 11 places in the Bible where we are called sons of God. The Bible does not use the term daughters of God. Instead the Bible calls all of us the Bride of Christ. There are 14 places in the Bible where God mentions a Bride, and all of them refer to the Bride of Christ. If we then are the Bride of Christ, how can we not be provided with everything we need? "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things"? (Rom 8:32) Christ is the only Mediator between God and man. Christ on the cross on Friday April 3, in the year AD 33, was the only time and was the only way to remove the guilt of sins. There was no other time in history, nor will there ever be a time, when sins can be forgiven. Therefore the sacrifice of Isaac could not have atoned for even one sin. God stopped Abraham in his tracks when God called him in Gen 22:11, and God said to him in verse12,

Ge 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

That is why Abraham called that place, "Jehovah-jireh", "The LORD shall provide". We see in V.14

Ge 22:14 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.

This sounds like a fulfillment of a promise: "As it is said this day, in the mount of Jehovah it shall be seen". What day does this refer to? It refers to This Day, which means "Today". What will be seen today? With the eyes of faith we shall see that the Lord provides in the mount of Jehovah. What is the Mountain of Jehovah? It is Mount Sion, where the Lord resides. Let me read to you from Heb 12:22,

Heb 12:22-23 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven,

"Mount Sion", is where God resides in the souls of those who have been "Born Again", and is called "The City of the Living God", and it is also called "The Heavenly Jerusalem", and it is also called "The Church of the Firstborn". While we are on earth we are already citizens of the Heavenly Jerusalem. The saints in heaven are not complete if we, the saints on earth, have not yet joined them. The mountain of Jehovah is the church in heaven as well as the church on earth, consisting of only "Born Again" souls. Today, when we are able to see that the Lord provides in the camp of the saints, then faith has become seeing. This is the fulfillment of the statement in Gen 22:14, "As it is said this day, in the mount of Jehovah it shall be seen". What shall be seen there? The provision of the LORD shall be seen. The Lord Jesus Christ is the provision of the LORD.

There are people who translate Jehovah-jireh as "Jehovah will see". They teach that God not only looks upon those who are His, but also makes His help manifest to them, so that in turn they may see Him. This is generally true, but I do not think that this verse teaches that.

What other provisions did Abraham see there on Mount Moriah? What do we see in Gen 22:13?

Ge 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Abraham offered the ram in place of his son Isaac. Providentially God had placed the ram there,

so that this ram would be the proper sacrifice to the LORD. Since the ram was substituted in place of Isaac, God shows us, in a picture, how salvation is to take place. Someone, who is the Lamb of God, has to die in our place so that we can go free. The ram represented Christ who had to die in place of His people. Where else do we see sacrificial animals representing Christ? Allow me to choose three more time references. About 1100 years later, when the temple in Jerusalem was completed, there were many animals sacrificed at the dedication of the temple. For example, we read in 1Kings 8:63, "And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD". These 142,000 animals were sacrificed in only one week. Many more thousands or perhaps millions of animals were sacrificed in the temple as time went on. All throughout the OT we read about these animal sacrifices, which could not take away one sin, because these sacrifices were all types and figures of Christ's sufferings on the cross. Only Christ could endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Only Christ could satisfy the justness of God.

Next, move another 1000 years later, and we see the Lord Jesus walking toward John the Baptist, who loudly proclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The Lord Jesus did not look like a lamb. John was referring to the Passover Lamb, which the children of Israel sacrificed and ate in the night when they were set free from slavery in Egypt. Their Passover Lambs did not set them free; God did that, as a totally free gift. But their Passover Lambs were representing Christ, who had the power to set them free from their slavery in Egypt. Let us draw a parallel here. Christ was the Passover Lamb supplied by God; that is why He was called, "The Lamb of God". People are not set free from their enslavement to Sin and Satan by intensely studying the Bible, or by praying to God, or by doing any other good work, but God sets people free from their enslavement. God does that as a totally free gift. Christ died for His people as a totally FREE GIFT.

Next, we move another 2000 or more years later, and we see the Lord Jesus in the NH&NE standing on the right hand of God the Father, Let me read to you from Rev 22:1 and 3,

Re 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Re 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

Even in the NH&NE the Lord Jesus Christ continues to be called "the Lamb", even though Christ will never again be sacrificed as a Lamb of God. But God is not letting us forget who redeemed us, and to whom we must give thanks, for being our substitute in taking the penalty for sin in our place. This action of Christ of atoning for our sins was such a great and incomprehensible act that it rings throughout all eternity with great honor and glory. And thus we see that Christ, the Lamb of God, which God provided for a sin offering, can be seen al the way through the Bible. Let us now look at:

#3. The Obedience of Abraham (Gen 22:16,18, Rom 3:12, Phil 2:13, Jos 24:2, Eph 2:10)

Ge 22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,

Ge 22:16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

Ge 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

Ge 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

What is God's message here? Does God say, "O Abraham, you are so good, and you have been so obedient to my commands that I will cause you to be "blessed", and through your descendants I will cause all the nations of the earth to be blessed"? Is this really what God is saying? No! That cannot be, because God says, "There is NONE good, NO NOT ONE!" (Rom 3:12) We are obligated to harmonize everything we find in the Bible. Therefore, when we read in Phil 2:13, "It is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure", we must apply that to this extraordinary behavior that we see in Abraham. Abraham was not by nature a lover of God. Abraham was born in rebellion against God, like anyone of us. The entire family of Abraham served other gods. We read in:

Jos 24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.

Did you hear that? They, including Abraham, served other gods. No, Abraham was not born as an angel. Abraham had to be converted, and Abraham had to be "Born Again". He did not make himself "Born From Above". God did that. And God planted this extraordinary faith in Abraham, and God planted this extraordinary obedience in Abraham. But then, why did God speak to Abraham this way, as if the good works of Abraham were a cause for his reward? Now we know that grace and reward are incompatible. And yet, since the blessing mentioned here is promised to the seed, and contains the hope of salvation of the world, it may seem to follow that eternal life is given to Abraham in return for good works. But if we compare this with Gen 12:2-3 we see that God's statement in Gen 22 is nothing more than a confirmation of what He already promised years earlier. God pays nothing as a debt, but He gives His own benefits the title of a reward. God shows himself hereby to be doubly liberal. God stimulates us to holy living, and transfers to our works a goodness that actually belongs to Him, because "He created us unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:10). In other words, God says, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant", when in fact He has done the work in us and through us. In this God shows Himself doubly liberal. And in this commendation of Abraham God encourages us to continue the work He has carved out for us. Every one of us has an assignment from God. If we do not have an assignment from God, we should doubt if we ever have been saved. God did not save us to sit as a bump on a log. God saved us for a purpose, and when He saved us He also indicated the purpose for which He saved us. God's message to us is: "Find out how you can be of service to the Kingdom of Heaven". Then God said:

Ge 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

What does this mean? Should we interpret this literally? For example, should we interpret literally Ge 28:14, where God promises to Jacob, "And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth"? (2X) This is not physically feasible. This earth cannot be populated with such a great number of people that there are as many people as there are dust particles. Therefore, we must let God define the terms. God says in Deut 1:10 The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day "as the stars of heaven" for multitude. They were at that time about 2,000,000 people strong, but with the naked eye we van see only 5000 to 8000 stars in the sky. God says in Heb 11:12 "Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable". This was written about 2000 years ago. At that time already God called the number of Jews to be "as the sand which is by the seashore". Let God define the terms since, obviously, we are not able to come up with a reasonable number.

"I will multiply thy "seed" as the stars of the heaven". Which seed does God have in view here? Does God refer to the physical descendants of Abraham? Before we answer this question, let us see how God uses the same word "seed" in verse 18, "And in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed". This word "Seed" cannot refer to the physical descendants of Abraham; this word "Seed" must refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus we want to capitalize the word "Seed" in verse 18. Now apply this conclusion to verse 17. When God says, "And thy Seed shall possess the gate of His enemies", notice the personal pronoun "His"; it means that God was speaking of a single person here in verse 17; this person is Christ. Again, capitalize the words "Seed" and "His". This means that the word "Seed" earlier in verse 19 must also refer to Christ; capitalize that also. Now you can see what God is saying in verse 17. "And in multiplying I will multiply thy Seed as the stars of the heaven" refers to the large number of people who are going to be drawn into the family of Christ. We do not know how large this number is, but God calls it "as the stars of the heaven". But what does it mean, "Thy Seed shall possess the gate of His enemies"? Who are the enemies of Christ? All the unsaved and all the demons, including Satan, are the enemies of Christ. Where do His enemies dwell? They dwell spiritually in Hell, because Hell is to be in the condition of being under the wrath of God. What then is the gate of His enemies? It is the gate of Hell. It means that the Lord Jesus Christ is in full control of who is allowed to escape this condition of Hell, and who must stay under the wrath of God. Those for whom the Lord Jesus Christ did not pay the ransom on the cross are not permitted to escape. This sounds very cruel, but think of all the cruelty these enemies of Christ have committed in nailing Him to the cross, and think of all the cruelty they are going to commit. Think of the death-camps Dachau, and Auswitz, and Buchenwald, and Treblinka, and so on. And what we see is that every generation is more cruel than the previous one. Let us now turn to a happier note. What is:

#4. The Faith of Abraham (Rom 4:11-17)

Please turn in your NT to the Epistle to the Romans 4:11 (2X). Abraham did not hesitate to kill his only son in obedience to God. Most people look up to the faith of Abraham as something so great that it is out of reach for most people. And yet many of them do not hesitate to claim that they have the faith of Christ, which is infinitely greater than the faith of Abraham. But what does the Bible say of the faith of Abraham? Abraham is called the "Father of All Believers". We read here in Rom 4:11-17,

Ro 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised (a Gentile): that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised (Gentiles); that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Ro 4:12 And the father of circumcision (Jews) to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

Ro 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law (not through obedience), but through the righteousness of faith (received as a gift)

Ro 4:14-15 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Ro 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law (ref. to believing Jews), but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham (2X); who is the father of us all (ref. to all believing Jews and Gentiles),

Ro 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not, as though they were.

Verse 16 says, "it is of faith, that it might be by grace". Therefore faith is a gift of grace; it is a gift of God's unmerited favor. The faith that Abraham had was freely given to him by God. The faith that we have, and that every saint of God has, has been freely given to us by God. Therefore, our faith is like his faith. If we have been saved, we have received the faith of Abraham. That is wonderful news. It means that we also will stand fast in times of testing. God brings on the testing. God does not need to know the outcome, but we do, so that we know where we stand. And if we have been saved, we will persevere in the faith, guaranteed, like in the case of Abraham. For this we can give God thanks.

AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.