Jehovah Rapha: The Lord Who Heals
We currently studying a few of the Names of God in the Create Truth Art Challenge. This week is all about Jehovah Rapha, The Lord Who Heals. Below is the devotional part the Challenge (the Truth Prompt). You can find the entire lesson as well as all of the other weekly lessons in the Grace in Color Classroom. It’s FREE to sign up, so head on over so you don’t miss a thing.
This name for God is one I almost skipped studying because it's not an easy one for me to wrap my brain around. This is probably because the first thing that comes to mind in my contemplation of Jehovah-Rapha is physical healing. And although I know that we serve a God is able to heal our bodies, and indeed often does, there is so much more to this name and characteristic of God than that. As some of you know, I am a physician and I see children with very serious illnesses every day, some that get better and some that do not. I attended a funeral this weekend and although this sweet lady's life was well lived and I know she is currently with God, it was a reminder of the fragility and vulnerability of our bodies. It was a reminder that sometimes God chooses not to heal. And that is when an understanding of the whole truth of this name, of the Gospel and of His sovereignty is critical. So here we are, diving into the deep end of the difficult idea of Jehovah-Rapha.
This word rapha comes up many times in scripture and it means to heal (both figurative and literal healing), to make whole, to restore to normal (restore health), to cure, to repair. The name Jehovah-Rapha is seen in Exodus 15:22-27. These few verses are very rich in truth and provide yet another example of the grace of God towards His people.
To put it in perspective, this account takes place almost immediately after the Lord saved the Israelites from their enemy at the Red Sea. Yeah, remember that little miracle? The Red Sea parted, God's people walked across on dry land and the horse and rider chasing them were destroyed. Pretty big thing to witness. After the amazing act of salvation at the Red Sea, the people of God roamed the wilderness for three days without finding any water. When they finally did come upon a body water, it was too bitter to drink. Cue the whining from the Israelites.
This is not really part of the discussion but my first inclination is to roll my eyes and say “Geez, guys… a little trust here”. I am immediately convicted because of how often I see the hand of God working in my life, and then forget that He is in control of all things just as quickly. I'm giving the Israelites grace because I'd probably be the loudest complainer of them all.
OK, back to the water. Moses cried out to the Lord when they came upon this bitter, useless water and was shown a tree by the water's edge. Moses was directed by God to throw the tree into the water and when he did, the bitter water became sweet, saving them from death.
God patiently reminded His people that if they follow Him and keep His commandments, He will care for them as their Healer. He reminded them of how he had protected them already from the diseases He put on the Egyptians. His grace towards them was patient. And His grace towards us continues to abound. That is a humbling a realization.
God showed himself as their Healer. He was most definitely their physical healer from disease and from dehydration. He was also the restorer of their freedom from Egypt. He saved them from bondage and from death. However, this amazing passage of scripture was not put in the Bible as just another cool story of yet another miracle. We should always look beyond the “story” to what God want us to hear from Him. And we should always look for Christ. This account is a beautiful foreshadowing of a healing that is much more consequential. A healing that can also be obtained because of a tree.
The cross of Calvary is the only means by which we can drink of the waters and be saved. Christ was cut down as a remedy for our sin and without him, it's not just a matter of discomfort, but of certain and eternal death.
When their physical pain was real, the Israelites forgot the miraculous power of God. What did this cause them to do? Well, they grumbled and complained against Moses. Contrast that with what Moses did? He prayed. He was in the same circumstance, but his reaction was one of turning to God for the answer instead of looking within himself at his plight. And he didn't stop there. After he heard from God, he obeyed. Can you just imagine this scene? Moses gathering some strong men and telling them they were going to cut down this tree and throw it in the water. What, dude? That can't be right? What good would that do? It's simply folly! And yet with the sacrifice of this tree, came their salvation.
When faced with the bitter waters in life, what is your response?
Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on these verses in 1871 and his words are powerful. One of his points is a reminder that God was the one who allowed the waters to be bitter to begin with, then used the tree to make them sweet. “For suppose Marah had been sweet, then, Moses had not prayed to God, and then the tree had not been cut down, and they had never known the power of God to sweeten bitter waters. Our trials are not sent to us alone and by themselves; there is a sufficient grace sent with them, by which they are made available as means to sanctify us, and make us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
How does this help you keep perspective in the middle of suffering? And how can you look beyond the current bitter water you may be staring at to the tree that will one day make it sweet?
God is in control. He is Jehovah Rapha, the Healer of our bodies, but much more importantly, he is the restorer of our souls.
REMEMBER: An organized list of all of the devotions and creative prompts for the Create Truth Art Challenge can be found in the Grace in Color Classroom. Feel free to sign up for the FREE challenge at any time. Create Truth Art is designed so that you can jump in at any time. Each devotion and art prompt can stand alone. Of course, the goal is to be in God’s Word more and more, so I’d love it you followed along with us each week! There is, however, no pressure and no stress involved in this fun way to grow closer to God.