Friday, August 17, 2007

God WILL Provide!

I have always been fascinated by religious art. When I was a child I usually sat with my mother in church. My dad hung out with the ushers (I thought they were “hushers” for a long time because that’s what he was always saying to me!). As I sat beside my mother I would I would thumb through her Bible because there were reproductions of famous religious art in various sections. This was before I could read, so I was fascinated with the pictures. I learned the heart of several Bible stories from the pictures.
In more recent years, I took a study leave and traveled to Europe to view many of the best examples of Renaissance Art in the world. I wrote an essay on the impact of religious art during the Renaissance Period.

If you have trouble sleeping, you can read the full study leave report at this link:

One of my favorite Renaissance artists was the Italian painter, Caravaggio. His ingenious use of color and light make his paintings realistic. One of my favorites is the painting above called “The Sacrifice of Isaac.” It hangs in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Caravaggio painted it in 1603 for Cardinal Maffeo Barberini who later became Pope Urban VIII.
Caravaggio freezes the action of Abraham as he is preparing to slit Isaac’s throat. The angel can be seen grabbing Abraham’s arm and preventing the sacrifice. With his left hand, the angel points to the substitute ram just to the right of Isaac’s head. Light directs the viewer to scan the scene from left to right as you see the angel’s shoulder and then the questioning face of Abraham and then the terrified face of Isaac, and finally the submissive ram.
You probably know the story. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son (from Sarah). As they approached Mt. Moriah, Isaac asked, “Father, where is the ram for the sacrifice?” Abraham said, “God will provide a ram.” Abraham was such a man of faith that, according to Hebrews 11, he believed that even if he killed Isaac, God would raise him from the dead. At just the right time, God intervened and provided a substitute for Isaac. Abraham called God, “Jehovahjireh” which means, “God will provide.”
What a glorious picture of what God has done for us. We deserve to die for our sins, but at just the right time, God provided a sacrifice for us – His only Son. He went to a hill near Mt. Moriah, and took my place
As the words from my favorite hymn say:

Guily vile and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atonement, can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

Look at the picture above again, and rejoice that God is Jehovahjireh! He will provide!