The Lord Will Provide
Abraham was walking up Mount Moriah when his son, Isaac, asked, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Gen. 22:7). God was testing Abraham’s faith, having commanded him to offer his son as a sacrifice at this place. Scholars have long wondered how Abraham could trust the Lord so much that he was willing to obey this command. Abraham gave the answer to Isaac: “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son” (Gen. 22:8).
Abraham was proved right: When he had tied his son to the altar, when he was about to slay his most beloved child, an angel of the Lord stopped him. The Lord said: “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Gen. 22:12). Abraham looked and saw a ram caught in a thicket, which the Lord had provided as a substitute for Isaac. He then named the place: “The Lord will provide” (Gen. 22:14).
Christians find their faith being tested as the coronavirus pandemic stretches on. At times like these, people want an answer and when that answer is slow to come they become concerned. But Christians know that Abraham’s faith provides the answer to our trial: “The Lord will provide.”
Abraham did not know how the Lord was going to provide for him until God did it. Trusting that the Lord would provide, Abraham committed himself to a faith that obeys God’s Word, as should we. Knowing that He will provide encourages us to trust and obey, living with a faith that gives us peace and calm in great difficulties.
The word that Abraham used for “provide” actually is a form of the word for “see.” The idea is that the Lord sees the needs of his people and then “sees to it,” providing what they require. Abraham’s experience shows that God especially has his eye on faithful servants who have reached the end of their resources. Whether it is inner strength and courage, material sustenance, or the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christians may confidently look to the God who sees them and quietly declare in faith, “the Lord will provide.”
God proved His care for us by the ultimate answer He gave to Abraham’s problem. The patriarch needed a sacrifice, so God provided not Abraham’s son but His own Son, Jesus Christ. He had commanded Abraham, “Take your son, your own son Isaac, whom you love” and offer him as a sacrifice (Gen. 22:2). This episode provided a picture of what God was planning to do for us: To give His Son, His only Son, Jesus, the Son whom He loves, and redeem us from sin and death by His blood. If God would do this to save our souls, Christians can be sure that He will provide for us during the coronavirus.
Paul urges us: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Especially as we look to Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, let us trust the Lord now for all our trials, saying the words of faith: “The Lord will provide.”
Richard D. Phillips is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina. He is a council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, and coeditor of the Reformed Expository Commentary series.
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