Question: "What does it mean that God is Jehovah-Jireh?"
Answer: “Jehovah-Jireh” is one of the many different names of God found in the Old Testament. “Jehovah-Jireh” (or YHWH-Yireh) means "The LORD Will Provide" (Genesis 22:14). It is the name memorialized by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.
The story begins with a strange command from God to Abraham, instructing him to offer his “son of promise,” Isaac, as a burnt offering. Early the next morning, Abraham packs wood and a knife, and he and Isaac travel to Moriah, the place God had specified. As they near the site, Isaac questions Abraham concerning the intended offering: “Where is the lamb?” With great faith and foresight, Abraham responds, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:1-8). The New Testament tells us that Abraham believed God would raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19).
Upon reaching the place God had chosen, Abraham demonstrates his faith and obedience by building an altar, binding Isaac, and placing him on the wood. Before Abraham can finish the offering, the Angel of the Lord calls to him from heaven, and Isaac’s life is spared. Then, “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son” (Genesis 22:13). Abraham names the place “Jehovah-Jireh” because of God’s gracious provision of a substitute for Isaac. Immediately afterwards, God reconfirms His covenant with Abraham (v 17-18). Centuries later, King Solomon would build the temple in the same location (2 Chronicles 3:1).
The account of Abraham on Mt. Moriah thus becomes more than a dramatic illustration of faith and obedience. It is a presentation of the Lord’s eternal grace, continual provision, and all-encompassing wisdom. Jehovah-Jireh is not “The LORD Did Provide,” but “The LORD Will Provide.” In other words, the name does not simply memorialize a past event; it anticipates a future action.
Likewise, the statement “on the mountain of the LORD it will be provided” (verse 14) refers to more than Mt. Moriah—it also refers to a hill called Calvary, where God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). Abraham’s faith-filled statement that “God himself will provide the lamb” is a companion to John the Baptist’s exclamation, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
Jehovah-Jireh provided a sacrifice to save Isaac, and that action was a foreshadowing of the provision of His Son for the salvation of the world.