Recently, while writing a prayer, I thanked God for His provision. I suddenly noticed that the word is comprised of two words: “pro” and “vision.” You probably already knew that but it was a new thought for me.
Provision means to provide or supply something for someone’s use such as food, drink or equipment. Add an “s” and you’re suddenly looking to the future. Provisions means to make “financial or other arrangements for future eventualities or requirements.” For example, saving for retirement…you don’t need it yet, however, if you live long enough, you will.
What struck me is that the word “pro” can mean “to be for something”. For example, you might be pro-life which simply means that you would choose life over death when possible. And sometimes “pro” is used as slang to describe someone that has achieved the highest skill level such as someone that excels in their career like a speech writer or athlete. But the whole idea of being pro-vision struck me because it might mean that you would choose vision over illusion any day.
You probably remember the story of Abraham going through the motions to sacrifice his dearly loved son, Isaac, when suddenly, just in the nick of time, God provided a ram to use as a sacrifice in the place of Isaac. Obviously the story offers us a picture of Jesus being offered as a substitutionary sacrifice for us. Look closely because there is an emotionally charged moment in the story when both Abraham and Isaac are trying to understand how this was going to play out. This is how it is written:
“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.” (Gn 22:7-8)
Abraham’s response is simply that God would make pro-vision…God would provide. Maybe you have been in a place when you are walking forward in obedience and not totally certain how everything will turn out. But you keep walking! Each day, you get out of bed and remind yourself to breath. You really only know the next thing to do and so you do whatever that thing is. For Abraham and Isaac it meant building an altar, placing the wood.
At some point they had to do the hard thing…they had to go through the process of binding Isaac’s feet and hands, and laying him on the altar. Seeing no way out of this hard obedience, Abraham finally raised the knife to kill his son. Freeze!
Which do you think required more faith: Being bound and laid on the altar or raising the knife? I’ll let you think about that one.
So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” (Gn 22:14)
In this true story the Lord’s Hebrew name is Jehovah-Jireh which means ‘The LORD will provide’ or ‘The LORD will see.’ It means to give a means of deliverance; the root means “to see.” In other words, and this is the interesting piece of pro-vision, the LORD will see and provide.
The good news is this: when the Lord requires hard things from you, he also sees what is needed and provides. Not ahead of time but always in time. He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and just in time provided a ram. Whatever He has asked of you, he will also make pro-vison. Just keep walking.
Vision definitely makes the hard things easier. On the other hand “Where there is no vision, the people perish (cast off restraint)” Proverbs 29:18.
And that, my friend, is no illusion.