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Jehovah-jireh means “the Lord will see.” Jehovah-jireh tells us that the Lord will see our great need. God constantly sees the needs of his children and provides for them. The provision of the ram to die in the stead of Isaac was the significant type that was before Abraham’s eye when he called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh.
Our Lord Jesus tells us that “Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). Surely, if ever Abraham saw Christ’s day and was made to rejoice for it, it was at that moment when the Lord God provided a substitute for Isaac. Whether he understood the full meaning of what he said is not important. He spoke by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not for himself, but for us. Every word he uttered was for our instruction (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11).
The teaching of the type is this: God, in the gift of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, made full provision for all the needs of his people. He sees us in our need, because of our own sin, and provides for all our needs in his Son. The Lord graciously beheld the needs of his sinful people long before we were even aware that we had any needs before him. The law of God demanded our punishment (Galatians 3:10). The gates of hell were opened wide, ready to swallow us up into perdition. We were perishing, dead spiritually and condemned to die eternally. But our great, good and merciful God beheld our need and intervened to save us by his free grace (Ephesians 2:5-9; Ezekiel 16:6-8). Just when Isaac was in imminent danger of death, the Lord stepped in to deliver him. The knife was lifted up by the resolute hand. Isaac was but a second from death when the angelic voice was heard, saying, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad” (Genesis 22:12). God provided when the need pressed urgently.
So it was with us. When God saw that the world had come into a state of great danger and misery, he sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. God sent his Son into the world that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17). “In due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son” (Galatians 4:4).
The same thing is true in the experience of grace in conversion. It is not until men and women know themselves as sinners, lying at hell’s door, with the anguish of their guilt and sin crushing them down into eternal ruin, that God the Holy Ghost reveals Christ, the sinner’s Substitute. No man will ever be saved until he is lost. No one will ever be clothed until he is stripped. No one will ever be filled until he is emptied. Christ comes only to those who need him. But, blessed be his name forever, he always comes to those who need him!