Knowing God by His Names ~ Healer 6

Knowing God by His Names – 6
                                          Jehovah – Rapha (Raw-faw)
  So far, we have looked at, Yahweh, the Great I AM.   Elohim, containing the idea – God our Creator. Adonai, our Lord and Master.  El Shaddai, He is All-Sufficient.  And Jehovah-Jireh, the One who Provides all our needs. The order that God reveals His character in the compound names is significant.   He is… 

Jehovah-Jireh (our Provider)       Jehovah-Shalom (our Peace) 
Jehovah-Rapha (our Healer)        Jehovah-Tsidkenu (our Righteousness) 
Jehovah-Nissi (our Banner)          Jehovah- Rohi (our Shepherd) Jehovah-Mekadesh (our Sanctifier)    Jehovah-Shammah (His abiding presence with us)
*  Exodus 15:1-27  (please read this portion of scripture)
*  Key Verse:  He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention and keep His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD Who Heals you.’   (verse 26)
Today’s focus:  The first mention of God as our Healer ….Jehovah-Rapha, also known as Rophe, (meaning the LORD Who Heals), is found near the triumphal wrap up of the ‘horse and rider thrown into the sea’, chapters 14 & 15 of Exodus.  Let’s set the stage for today’s study. The LORD just delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, miraculously brought them through the sea on dry ground, (the Egyptians, not so lucky), now they celebrate in song and dance, declaring the great victory of God.  Yet, nearly in the same breath, just on the heels of a spiritual high (if you will) they begin to ..murmur, grumble, complain.  Isn’t that true of us… oh we of little memory!
 Exodus 15:22-26  (New International Version)
 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.  When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter.   So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water,
and the water became sweet. There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them.  He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

The Israelites found themselves again in great need, yet already forgetting all that Yahweh had done for them up to this point.  If you remember, when Moses first approached Pharaoh stating…let the Israelites go…and worship…’let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God’, (Ex. 5:3).  Three days in, they were complaining – not worshipping. They were not merely complaining, they were questioning God’s ability and His motives. This grumbling is directed at Moses,  but to question God’s servant is to question God.  Acts 5:4 shares a similar offense  “What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men, but to God.”  

This murmuring or grumbling is a very interesting word.  In the Hebrew it is ‘lun’ (loon), meaning to stop, stay, to complain, it holds the tense of time… indicates ‘all night – that night’, the word picture is the Israelites in a sense dug their heels in, I can in my great imagination see them crossing their arms, and saying ‘no more, we want water, and we want it now’… and stayed in that attitude for awhile.  Boy this scored points with the Lord.  And Moses…. poor guy!  Sadly to say this would not be the last time they held this stance.  This ‘lun’ – complaining, is used almost exclusively in the wilderness experience.  When reading the book of Numbers, the main theme is grumbling and discontent.

See Moses’ response… ‘he cried out to the LORD’, where the Israelites grumbled against Moses.  Moses took their need not their complaint to the Lord, (or could it have been ‘O God, YOUR people… 40 years of this?’  just kidding) and the Lord answered …a solution to their problem was offered, obedience required, Moses threw the tree branch into the bitter water and the water was then made sweet and drinkable. 

The Lord did not stop with fulfilling a need, and healing the bitter water, He laid before them the following conditions, verse 26…. notice the two if’s – ‘if you listen carefully and do…’ and ‘if you pay attention and keep’.  God knew He would lose their attention quickly and easily.  A pledge is made by God (conditional upon their obedience) to always be their .. Healer.  We see this too in 2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If My people would … humble, pray, seek, turn – then I will hear, forgive and heal’

‘I am the Lord, who heals you’, God is not only their Deliverer, but also their Healer.  As we learn of God, it is progressive in the sense that He becomes more and more to us.  Not that He has changed, He does not, but our understanding of Him, our experience of Him changes, grows. It is not only the physical healing that is ours in Christ but I would like us to look at also that of emotional and spiritual healing as well, healing of the soul.  Have you at times, felt sick in ‘soul’, needing a strong medicine, a touch of the Holy Spirit?

To heal, meaning ‘to restore, cure, make healthful.    One point I found interesting in the statement ‘to restore’, literally means… to restore to normal.  God defining what is to be normal, or of original design.   This is not only of the physical sense, but that of moral, and spiritual healing as well.  We see throughout the history of Israel  (even with us in today’s culture) they went in and out of God’s favor, needing that restoration/healing  of relationship.

Isaiah 61:1-2 says He is going to bind up the brokenhearted… the broken-hearted in the Hebrew denotes the breaking of strength or power of someone…(this in our emotions, thoughts and our will – the heart) that someone is… us.  Our strength is broken, the power of ‘self’ is broken, that is why it is so painful at times… we finally relinquish – we can not do this on our own…BUT –> He comes along side us and heals… (defined in the Strong’s as…to mend by stitching, repair thoroughly, to make us whole…)  Phil. 4:13 ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’, when our strength is broken, Jesus heals us with His strength.  Once we exchange ‘us’–>for Him… we are ‘ruled’ and govern by His strength. 

In the book of Luke, Jesus is found reading and quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, and applying it to Himself, ‘he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted’ (Luke 4:18,21).  The word translated in the Hebrew for  binding up, (into the Greek) can also be translated to ‘heal’, denoting the word picture of binding or wrapping of one object with another.  In this instance, Jesus is wrapping Himself around us, the broken or wounded vessel.  How comforting to know it is His presence that binds us up!  We see this too in Psalms 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.’ God is concerned with our bodies as well as our souls.

Jeremiah cries out to the Lord, (17:14)  ‘heal me O LORD, and I will be healed’, he is declaring… mend me, O God, for then and only then and only by You, will I be made whole.  In Psalms 139, David positions himself before the Lord, ‘search me, O God and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the ever lasting way’.  There is a crying of heart, to be in right relationship with God, Psalms 17:15 ‘but as for me, my contentment is not in wealth but in seeing You and knowing all is well between us.’

It is in these ‘honest’ moments with God, that He will show us, the reality of our heart, 1 Samuel 16:7 ‘man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’  David again goes to God in earnestness, ‘As for me, I said O Lord, be gracious to me, heal my soul for I have sinned against You’. (Ps. 41:4).  The Hebrew language is one of description, one word may paint a picture, that is extremely difficult to translate.  In researching this verse, it can be rendered from the original Hebrew, ‘I-I said, O Jehovah, favor me, heal my soul, for I did sin against Thee’ , there is an intenseness …  the word picture is the pounding of the chest…I-I  said… not in anger, but in anguish! David is broken,  favor me, and heal my soul, can you see him dropping to his knees, head bowed.  This healing… is the mending we spoke of earlier… it is a process.  As mentioned, the mending is by stitching, how painful is the repairing process at times.

The Lord’s love and favor is His response, Hosea 14:4 ‘I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger is turned away from him’ , I like how the New Living Translation words it… ‘and My love will know no bounds.’    Ez. 36:26  ‘A new heart, I will give them’.  There is a heavy sigh, a deep breath of …awe.  God is so gracious, He desires us whole, ‘healthful’, it is a right relationship with Him, that will obtain that.  Jehovah our Healer, in body, spirit and soul!

Study Questions:

1.  According to verse 26, of Exodus 15, what were the 4 requirements God placed before Israel, to withhold His hand of bringing on them what He brought on the Egyptians?

 2.  The phrase ‘if you listen carefully’ (verse 26) can literally be translated  ‘if you will diligently obey’ the voice of the Lord.  What does that say to you?

3.  Look up Psalms 139:23-24, read that aloud.  It is wise to have God search our hearts, can you pray as David did, search me O God…. listen as He speaks a heart of relationship to you.

4.  Is Jehovah-Rapha revealing to you an area He wants to heal in your life, whether that be physical, emotional or spiritual?  How will you respond?
In Him, DeDe 


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