13Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” Gen. 22:13 through Gen. 22:14 (NIV)
One of the reasons that I am so amazed at God is because of his constant love and care for us–His children. I am amazed at his limitless resources. I am astounded at how one word from His mouth can heal cancer as if it was never there. I am in awe at how God knows exactly what I need, and how He will intervene at just the right moment.
Genesis chapter 22 is just one of those moments. To sum up verses 1 to 12 of chapter 22, God had instructed Abraham to go to Mt. Moriah and sacrifice his most prized possession—his son, Isaac. Abraham trusted God so much that he was actually willing to go through with it. In verses 9 & 10 Abraham tied Isaac, laid him on the sacrificial altar, and raised his knife to thrust it into his son’s chest. Just at that moment God called to him and provided a substitute sacrifice—a ram caught in a thicket.
There are a couple of questions that are initially raised in my mind. Why couldn’t God have just told Abraham to go to Mt. Moriah and sacrifice a ram that is going to be caught in a thicket? Another question might be, was the ram there the whole time?
I’m sure by this time Abraham didn’t care about any of those answers. I would imagine that he was so full of relief and joy that he couldn’t contain himself, but this was a major turning point in the life of Abraham. It was such a turning point in his life that he named that place on the mountain “Jehovah Jireh”, meaning The Lord Will Provide.
If all Abraham had to do was climb the mountain and find a helpless ram, where would the trust be? God was not playing a game with Abraham. He was not playing a trick on him. He was giving Abraham a test. The outcome of this test would determine if he had the ability to carry out God’s plan for his life. Abraham had to face this test in order to understand certain character qualities of God.
God desires to reveal himself to us in numerous ways. He wants us to know His love and His peace. He wants us to know His saving grace and mercy. But He also wants us to know Him as our provider. What exactly is it that He provides? The simple answer to that is—everything that we need!
Many times, however, in order to know His provision we must experience lack, hurt, discomfort, and even pain. There are times when God will take us through a time of testing. These tests usually don’t feel good. As a matter of fact they usually hurt. But God knows that in order for us to fulfill the call that He has on our lives we need to first experience some discomfort so that we can then feel the ultimate comfort a peace of God’s provision. You cannot truly know the peace of God, unless you have gone from a period of no peace to full peace. You can’t truly understand the provision of God unless you have gone through a valley of need, and then experienced His rich blessing.
So how does this tie in with worship? In Genesis 22 Abraham never said that he was being tested. He never complained about this act that God had told him to do. He simply said that he was going to go up the mountain to worship. I don’t know if Abraham even recognized that this might be a test. I don’t know exactly what he expected to come out of the situation. I do know that his only response to the situation was worship.
5And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship…..” Gen. 22:5 (NKJV)
Are you facing a trial or a test at this moment in your life? Maybe the money has run out, maybe a child has turned his back on what he knows to be right, or maybe you and your spouse aren’t getting along the way you know that you should. I believe that God is trying to bring you to a place that He can reveal his character of provision. God is waiting for you to approach that situation with worship so that He can reveal the ram caught in the thicket.
Another thing that struck me about Abraham’s test was his unwavering faith. In verses 7 and 8, Isaac himself was confused. He knew that they were going to make a sacrifice, but they did not have a lamb. In verse 8 Abraham stated, “God will provide the lamb.” Hebrews 11:19 tells us that Abraham had already accepted the fact that he was going to be killing his son, but he knew God would raise him from the dead. Either way Abraham had no doubt that God would provide.
In your situation have you allowed doubt to enter your heart? James chapter 1 says that the person who doubts should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. That’s how serious doubt is. Doubt and fear are synonymous. Doubt removes all faith. God does not dwell in the midst of doubt or fear. The only way to battle doubt is through unmoving faith and trust. It was Abraham’s faith that let him up the mountain with Isaac. It was his faith that bound his son and placed him on the altar. It was even his faith that raised the knife.
Finally, in the midst of faith and worship, God spoke to Abraham and provided the way out of the situation. God was providing according to His word. Not only did God provide, but He also rewarded. As you go through your trial, as you experience those painful times, you must remember that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him in worship and a provider for those who keep their faith in Him.
God is leading you to his provision. He is the supplier. He knows your area of need. He knows where you hurt. He is not sitting back in His heavenly Lazy Boy just watching your agony. He is moving you toward His provision. Don’t stop worshiping, don’t stop trusting. Your provision is coming.