As you read the Old Testament you will find that the names of people and places are quite significant. Two such places are Jehovah-Jireh or “The Lord will provide” and Ebenezer or “Til now the Lord has helped us.”
Genesis 22:14 (ESV) — 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Genesis 22:14 (KJV) — 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.
1 Samuel 7:12 (ESV) — 12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.”
We’ve all had similar circumstances and experiences in life in which God has shown Himself great in giving us faith to believe that He will provide – where He has taken us to a “Jehovah-Jireh” moment. Those times when things look impossible, but God comes through and we have to ask ourselves, why did we ever doubt?
Abraham might have had cause to doubt, but he believed God. God told him to take his son, Isaac, and offer him as a sacrifice to God. God allowed Abraham to go to demonstrate that his faith was strong enough to trust God to provide as Isaac asked his father as they started to the place where the sacrifice would be made, where the sacrifice was, to which Abraham responded, “God will provide Himself the lamb…”
Genesis 22:6–8 (ESV) — 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
Abraham believed God would provide and God did provide a ram to be sacrifice and, of course, God did provide a lamb to be offered in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
How about you? Have you seen God provide when it looked impossible? We all have been through those “Jehovah-Jireh” type of experiences in which we hold to God’s promise to provide for our needs and we’ve found Him to be faithful. Go back to those places in your experience and mark the place as Abraham did because as Abraham did through the means of God’s word, so we through communication to others share the experience that marked out a place in our lives in which God has provided.
In Samuel’s day, the Philistines were coming hard against the people of God and Samuel interceded to God in prayer. Just as the enemy was about to strike, God thundered with a mighty sound so as to confuse the enemy into panic and God’s people enjoyed a great victory. To mark out the spot, Samuel set up a stone and called it “Ebenezer,” or “till now the Lord has helped us.”
Have you experienced places of “Ebenezer” in your life in which God has helped you? Of course, you have. Mark the place, that moment in your life story, maybe even that physical place.
When you piece together your life story there are those moments when God has let you know that He will provide, and He has, and there are those moments when you mark it down that God has taken care of you. The two are similar but as one looks back the other looks forward – but either way they point to the mighty hand of God in taking care of you. Mark those places in your life, go back to them from time to time to be reminded, and use them as encouragement to yourself, your family, and others. No experience is ever given to us for that moment only. Instead, it’s given to us that we might be encouraged for the future as well to encourage others.
2 Corinthians 1:3–5 (ESV) — 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.