Tom Hayes


Genesis 22

Larry and I had only been on the phone for a few minutes. I had asked that the requested materials be sent to me as quickly as possible. And, I had no doubts that they would be promptly mailed. That's just how he operates. But, again, right before we got off the phone, my dear friend assured me one more time, "Tom, I'll see to it!" I knew that was his promise to personally handle the matter.

As I hung up the phone, I was thinking about his words - - "I'll see to it!" Here, in the mountains, they might better be translated, "I'll look after it," or, "I'll take care of it!" I couldn't help but remember Abraham's answer to his concerned son in Genesis 22, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb!" (22:8). Literally, the word "provide" means "see to it." The patriarch was convinced that God would see to it, or look after it.

It was a matter of faith! Abraham truly believed that in his hour of crisis, God would be faithful. He had faith in God's faithfulness! And, he had faith in God's ability and power. In fact, in another setting, we are told that He believed "God was able to raise him (Isaac) up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure" (Heb. 11:19). By faith, Abraham could see that God would see to it!

Through the ages, God's people have experienced His faithfulness. That's why they have often testified, "Where God guides, He provides!" Without question, God is faithful to His character! Therefore, we can expect Him to be faithful to His word and to His people. That's just how He operates, isn't it? As we observe His faithfulness in this memorable story, may we see Him afresh as "The God Who Will See To It!"

This chapter is one of the outstanding chapters of the Bible. The story reads like an award-winning drama. As the curtains open, the setting is most impressive. The rugged stage is ancient Palestine. The prominent characters, of course, are the notable Abraham and his obedient son, Isaac. For three days, the scene changes, act by act, until both of them stand together on the summit of Moriah.

The story begins by confronting us with:

1. The Gloomy Situation

While the scene is impressive, the mood is most serious and somber. It is wonderful that God would speak to any of His people. However, the opening words of the story tell us that this divine revelation called for a time of testing and trial. "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham" (22:1). Certainly, Abraham's response, "Behold, here I am" (22:1), is to be commended. Yet, it doesn't make the dark place he is to enter any less dark.

One contributing factor to the heaviness of the hour was:

A. The Divine Requirement

The special call was accompanied with a further command. The Lord said to Abraham, "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" (22:2). The miracle child was to be slain and placed on the altar. The seed of promise was to be the sacrifice. The son of the covenant was to be offered.

One big issue, as well, in the story, was:

B. The Disciplined Response

God wasn't playing games! But, neither was Abraham! Responding obediently, he "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" (22:3). Exhibiting further discipline, when he saw "the place afar off" (22:4), he instructed his servants and took his son to the place of the offering (see 22:5).

Another significant aspect involved Isaac's concern. Look at:

C. The Deep Reasoning

A cloud seemed to hover over the sacred spot. Serious questions began to race back and forth in Isaac's mind. He knew that his father had come to worship God, to offer a special offering to Him, and he knew that they had finally arrived at the designated place. However, there was no sacrificial animal, and putting a heavier load on Abraham, he curiously asked his father, "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (22:7).

At this junction, however, the scene changes and we are made aware of:

2. The Gracious Supply

To say the least, it was a desperate situation! From a natural perspective, the outlook was very gloomy and bleak! However, now, there is movement and transition in the divine drama. The tense setting becomes a glorious calm. The mountaintop becomes a beautiful cathedral. Abraham's altar becomes a gospel pulpit! The clouds disappear, and heaven's spotlight focuses on the patriarch and the response of faith to heaven's supply, "God will provide Himself a lamb!"

The title Abraham used for God reveals that he sensed:

A. The Mightiness Of God

"God" is the English translation of the Hebrew word, "Elohim," meaning the "Mighty One." F. E. Marsh aptly defines this great Creator-Name for God (see Gen. 1:1), as "the Putter-forth of power." In spite of the gloomy situation, Abraham was conscious of the mighty power of God! Like Jeremiah, he could say, "Ah Lord God! behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee" (Jer. 32:17).

Furthermore, it is evident that the patriarch saw:

B. The Willingness Of God

Had Abraham only spoken of "God," that would have been sufficient! For, He is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Eph. 3:20). However, he went on to say, "God will!" He did not say, "God can," or "God might." Rather, in "full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:22), he testified, "God will!" He laid hold of the willingness of God, and confidently affirmed to his son, "He will see to it!"

Also, Abraham acclaimed and appropriated:

C. The Fullness Of God

Using the Hebrew word yireh twice in this story, Abraham really celebrated God's provision. In verse 8, the word is translated "provide," and in verse 14, it is rendered "jireh," in the name, "Jehovah-jireh." Before the ram was provided, he celebrated God's fullness by faith, and then celebrated it again by sight, afterwards. May we also learn to glory, both now and forevermore, in a God Who will see to it, Who will "supply our every need "according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).

In a simply marvelous manner, the next few words set forth:

3. The Gospel Story

There are many special Messianic prophecies found throughout the Old Testament. Before this drama concludes, however, we are confronted with one of the greatest of all Christ-oriented utterances. Where is the prophecy? It is in the words, "God will provide Himself a lamb!" As we have seen, these words are vitally associated with the present dilemma. Yet, in a futuristic way, they also project Gospel truth.

First, the prophecy marvelously points us to:

A. The Story Of Christ's Condescension

Looking beyond his day, Abraham foretold another day. Approximately two thousand years before Jesus was born, the man of faith anticipated Christ's day, and Jesus said, he "was glad" (John 8:56). In some supernatural way, Abraham was brought into the awareness of the divine incarnation. He saw God "Himself" being made flesh. And, in the light he had, he caught a glimpse of Bethlehem and said to Isaac, "God will see to it!"

In a hopeful sense, the prophecy also points us to:

B. The Story Of Christ's Crucifixion

Abraham's statement suggests that He also envisioned Calvary! The patriarch appeared to stand at the foot of the cross, for, he didn't say, "God Himself will provide a lamb," but "God will provide Himself a lamb." In other words, God "Himself" would be the Provision! God "Himself" would be the Lamb! God "Himself" would be the Sacrifice! And, Jesus, Who was God in the flesh, was that Lamb, "the Lamb of God Which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

From a reconciliation perspective, the prophecy ultimately points us to:

C. The Story Of Christ's Connections

It is evident that Isaac was worried about acceptance with God when he asked, "Where is the lamb?" However, his father seemed to clearly understand this matter. When he said, "Son, God will see to it!", he saw that God's holy requirements could only be fulfilled in Himself. He realized that God must become the substitute, Himself, to provide acceptance. And, that's the good news, isn't it? Thank God, we can be "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24).

Many years ago, Newman Hall wrote of a young boy in Europe, who, having heard a sermon on the divine title, Jehovah-jireh, took the message to heart. Often, in the face of hard times for the family, he would say to his parents, "Jehovah-jireh!" Once, when they were out of food, he found a piece of money on the street. Holding it in his hand as he bounced into the house, he exclaimed, "Here's Jehovah-jireh, mother; I was sure He would provide."

May God help us to take this truth to heart! In spite of whatever we may be facing, or what those around us may be going through, may we encourage ourselves in the Lord, with a "Jehovah-jireh" from time to time. May we encourage others by reminding them of His faithfulness. Let's also point the seeking sinner to Christ's substitutionary death on the cross. Without question, now or then, here or there, in one way or another, He is "The God Who Will See To It!" Amen.