Let’s take a look at the book of Numbers: “And the people spake against God and said unto Moses…there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread [manna]” (Numbers 21:5). What were they doing? “Murmuring and complaining.” Obviously, God didn’t like that, because He sent fiery serpents that bit the people and many died. “Therefore the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned for we have spoken against the Lord…” (Numbers 21:7). It’s amazing what God has to do to get us out of our own conditions.
“…we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that He take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Numbers 22:7-9). God provided. He had them make a serpent of bronze and put it upon a pole. In the New Testament, who was put upon a pole (or cross) so that anyone could look up and see so that he might live? Jesus! See the connection here?
When God works on us, He tries us like gold in the fire. He removes all the impurities out of us. He squeezes, molds and pushes on us and torques us down tight, and we say, “God, I can’t take this!” The Lord brought Abraham to the breaking point through his only true son from God—not through the works of the flesh.
“And it came to pass…that God did tempt [test] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham… Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him…And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering…”Genesis 22:1-3,8
A little further on it says, “…Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham…” (Genesis 22:10-11). Notice that He calls Abraham’s name twice. When the Bible mentions something twice, it’s urgent; pay attention to it. “…and he said, Here am I. And then he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him…” (Genesis 22:11-12). Abraham didn’t just pause and say, “What’s that? Hmm, let me go and sacrifice Isaac here, and then I’ll see what that sound is.” No—he was ready. He didn’t want to sacrifice his son.
“…Neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God: seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns…” (Genesis 22:12-13). Whoa! Stop for a second—it says, He provided “…behind him a ram.” Isn’t that interesting? He didn’t say a lamb. Where is the lamb going to come from? We read that “…John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God…” (John 1:29 emphasis added).
But God didn’t provide the lamb here; He provided a ram. It was only temporary. “…Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, Jehovahjireh” (Genesis 22:13-14). We’ve heard that Jehovah-Jireh means “God my provider,” or “God provides,” but the actual meaning of Jireh here is “sees.” “God sees” or, in this case, “God is seeing.” God sees your needs. God sees what’s going on, then He provides. We’re talking about vision and…