You know how when you’re thinking about buying a car, you see that car everywhere? I think that when God is in the process of speaking something to us, a similar thing occors. In Dark Night of the Soul I shared about being in seasons of waiting as believers. This morning I was reading Genesis 22:14 (NLT) which said this:
Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
This verse comes out of the context of a man who longed to have his own son. He went to great lengths to make it happen. The verse comes out of a promise; a God-given promise that his longings would be quenched.
Many of us feel as if we have been waiting 100 years for that answer to our prayers (That’s how old Abraham was at Isaac’s birth, in Genesis 21:5). We’ve searched our hearts for selfishness, growth areas, sin and any other hindrance to God moving. We may even come to a place that laughs in disbelief when the promise does finally come.
Abraham was given a promise, that he would have a son — and God gave him a son! I tend to either forget God’s promises or be too busy trying to solve the problem myself that I don’t hear them in the first place. But this is a reminder that God sees the longings of our hearts, cares about them, promises to us that He has plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and is faithful to follow through.
But sometimes God takes a longer path than we’d prefer. Sometimes He asks us to give up the very thing that we have longed for. In Abraham’s case, the Lord was probing this man’s heart to know which was stronger: Abraham’s love for his son or for his God.
This next question is one of the harder questions anyone can come face to face to. If this is an easy answer, it probably means you’re not being honest, or you’re in a season of plenty. When God holds out one hand with the thing you desire and the other hand inviting your embrace, and asks, “Which do you choose?”, it comes as a moment of truth.
What are you holding onto? What is it that you desire more than anything else? What tempts you to choose it over the Lord?
When I’m in a really healthy place, I can stare at something I enjoy and ask, “Do I love this more than my Christ? More than the presence of His Spirit? More than His Father?” My honest answer reveals my idols and my true allegiance.
One thing to cling to in the midst of navigating the seas of our heart, which has desires that are tossed to and fro like waves in the wind (Ephesians 4:14), is the Lord’s promises.*
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? ”
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
My final thought, and what prompted this post, is this: God gave Abraham a new name. When something changed in Abram, his previous name is no longer fitting (thanks to Jon Peacock for pointing this out). Likewise, when we observe God’s ever-present faithfulness, it is appropriate to call Him by a new name – for His glory and for our remembrance. Yahweh-Yireh. The LORD will provide. Cling to it.