Jehovah Jireh! ‘The Lord will provide’

On this long Thanksgiving weekend, I am thinking a lot about the old Hebrew proverb, “Jehovah Jireh,” — “The Lord will provide.”

In Genesis 22:14, following the aborted sacrifice of his son, Isaac, Abraham names the place this drama took place, “Jehovah Jireh.” It is the place the Lord provided for Abraham, Isaac, and gave the great lesson of faith and obedience.

I, for one, have to keep reminding myself that the Lord will indeed provide. I worry about a lot of things, and, frankly, it is a waste of time, and even sinful. I just have to let go and let God, knowing that the Lord will provide for our needs, and through us, provide for the needs of others.

There is an old story that comes out of the Great Depression. A farm family didn’t have much, but they had a garden and a few acres of crops to raise and sell, and some good luck hunting. Daily they shared their meager food with a hobo named Joe.

Every day, mom would put a plate out on the back porch for Joe. He would come along with a big smile on his face, visit with the kids and eat every morsel. The family noticed Joe’s old work boots had basically no tops left and cardboard for soles.

Quite cheerfully, the family scrimped and saved and sold off something or other. It was like a party each time they cobbled together a few more pennies, and counted out the money they saved. And, oh, the fun when they went to the General Store and bought Joe a good, used pair of work boots!

Ol’ Joe was overjoyed at the gift and wept with joy, overcome by their generosity. The family cried and embraced Joe and one another at his joy. Joe wore those boots with great pride.

Jehovah Jireh! “The Lord will provide.” In the family’s actions they happily lived out this great old Hebrew wisdom. They knew the Lord will provide for them and, secondly, they happily gave to God with their whole heart, soul, mind, strength and provisions — by caring for another.

A few days later when he came around for his meal, along with his usual smile, Joe was wearing the old cardboard soled boots again. The family was shocked and disappointed in Joe, thinking he sold their sacrifice for some homemade hooch.

Feeling aggrieved, the family confronted Joe. Surprisingly, Joe smiled even wider than usual and said, “Yep, them is some mighty fine boots. But you know, I runned into a feller who had nuttin’ but rags wrapped around his feet, and I figured, he could use them boots more than me.”

Jehovah Jireh! “The Lord will provide.” In Joe’s actions he happily lived out this great old Hebrew wisdom. He knew the Lord will provide for him, and, secondly, he happily gave to God his whole heart, soul, mind, strength and provisions — by caring for another.

“What does the Lord require of you but to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?” — Micah 6:9.

We do this by trusting God will indeed provide. We do this by caring for others. We do this by giving to God and others with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength.

This Thanksgiving weekend and heading into our Advent and Christmas seasons, let’s remember, we walk with the Lord and give thanks to him with grateful and bursting hearts, knowing God will provide for our needs — and give to the best of our ability because that is who we are called to be and who God made us.

The Rev. Steve Nofel is co-pastor of Montezuma Valley Presbyterian Church.

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