Have you heard one of the latest Elevation Worship songs on your Life 90.5? “Jireh” is a big hit for the Charlotte-based worship band and their friends Maverick City Music. But you might be like many Elevation fans and Life 90.5 listeners wondering, “What exactly does ‘Jireh’ mean?” It’s actually a special Hebrew name of our God found in the Old Testament. Together, let’s look at Jireh, plus a couple other names of God that will give you hope for today.
JEHOVAH JIREH: THE LORD WILL PROVIDE
We first see God presented as Jehovah Jireh in Genesis 22. At God’s direction, Abraham is taking his promised son Isaac up a mountain to sacrifice him. It seems like crazy faith in an unbelievable command to take every step up that mountainside with his beloved child. When Isaac asks why they weren’t bringing a lamb for the offering, Abraham simply responds in verse 8, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” Abraham’s faith in God’s promises and abilities means he knew the Lord would provide. And He did! At the last moment, the Lord halts Abraham’s painful sacrifice and reveals a nearby ram to use instead. Following that incredible substitutionary experience, Abraham dubbed the location the name “The Lord Will Provide [Jehovah Jireh].”
For you and I today, we can know God as Jehovah Jireh by seeing what He has provided for us as well. Certainly, He provides our daily needs. In Matthew 6, we see how He tells His followers not to worry about food and clothes, but that the God who cares for nature also cares for them. In addition to, and even more important than our basic necessities, He also provided a lamb in place of our own sacrifice. Scripture is clear that our sin deserves death. Yet Jesus became the Lamb of God and our atoning sacrifice, providing those who believe with everlasting life.
EL ROI: THE GOD WHO SEES ME
Have you ever felt invisible? Like no one cares about the pain you’re enduring? Well Hagar, Abraham and Sarai’s servant, feels the same way in Genesis 16. After being used and mistreated by her masters, she flees with her unborn son. Eventually the Lord comes to Hagar as she is alone in the desert. After instructing her to return to Sarai, He gives her a promise that her descendants would be numerous.
Hagar’s joy in response to the proclamation is quite evident in verse 13:
“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me [El Roi],’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”
Just as God saw Hagar alone, scared, and brokenhearted in the desert, He also sees you. In whatever desert you’re wandering through, He sees what you’re enduring. He sees your fear and your sadness. And He wants to offer you peace and comfort today too.
JEHOVAH SHALOM: THE LORD IS PEACE
If anyone in the Old Testament needed some peace, it was a guy named Gideon in Judges 6. As a wholly unqualified man, he has very valid misgivings when the Lord tells him to lead the army of Israel. He is a nobody, from a nobody family, in the weakest tribe of Israel. Who is he to lead God’s army?! So he asks for a sign that God was serious. After making a meal as an offering, he delivers it to the Lord. He immediately, miraculously causes flame to rise up from a rock and engulf the offering, just before He vanishes before Gideon’s eyes. Pretty convincing, right?
So convinced of the miracle, the confirmation of his calling, and the divine identity of his visitor, Gideon is filled with fear. The Lord instructs him then to have peace. Gideon then builds an altar to the Lord, calling it this special name of God, “The Lord is Peace [Jehovah Shalom].”
Do you need some peace today, too? Thankfully that peace isn’t just an Old Testament promise. Second Thessalonians 3:16 says, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”
WHY GOD’S NAMES ARE IMPORTANT
How did you get your name, friend? Surely it was given to you by a parent. Maybe it’s a recycled family name. Maybe they named you after a biblical standout like John or Deborah, hoping you’d exhibit the same characteristics. Or maybe they just thought it sounded strong or unique. You’ll find in Scripture, however, that names are important, and they always mean something special.
The names found in the Bible for God always tell us something about His character. Jehovah Jireh tells us He’s a provider. El Roi says He sees us. And Jehovah Shalom shows us that peace is found in Him. God wants you to know Him. So He uses even His names as a way to learn more about Him.
Dr. Tony Evans, a beloved preacher and teacher of God’s Word, has released a book reviewing even more names of God and power and character they reveal. To dive deeper and know God better, get his book now: The Power of God’s Names.