Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Names of God - Jehovah-rapha

It's time for another post in the Names of God series. We have done a little study on the names Elohim, El Elyon, El Roi, El ShaddaiEl OlamAdoniaJehovah, and Jehovah-jireh. And now we move onto a new name... Jehovah-rapha.

We are introduced to this name of God and discover its meaning in the book Exodus. To set our context the children of Israel have just been set free from Pharoah's hold by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob... and the God of Moses. We are introduced to this name, this attribute of God right after they have crossed the Red Sea.

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea,
and they went out into the wilderness of Shur;
 and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 
When they came to Marah,
they could not drink the waters of Marah,
for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 
So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 
Then he cried out to the LORD,
and the LORD showed him a tree;
and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.
   There He made for them a statute and regulation,
and there He tested them. 
And He said,
If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God,
and do what is right in His sight,
and give ear to His commandments,
and keep all His statutes,
I will put none of the diseases on you
which I have put on the Egyptians;
for I, the LORD, am your healer.”
Exodus 15:22-26

Here God let the children of Israel know that "for I, the LORD, am your healer" or for I am Jehovah-rapha. He wanted them, and us, to know that He is the God who heals.

Now lets go back a little further and look at our context a little more.

The LORD was going before them
in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way,
and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light,
that they might travel by day and by night. 
He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day,
nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
Exodus 13:21-22

Here in this passage we discover that God himself was leading them. He led them in the day and He led them in the night. Never at any time did He remove the pillar of His leadership. If that is true then what also must be true?

Do you think that God just led the thirsty children of Israel to a spring that He thought would be good for drinking and then got there and was shocked that it was bitter and had to figure out what to do next to appease a bunch of grumbling and complaining kids?

Nope. God is God. Remember?
Therefore, He had to have led them to these bitter waters on purpose for a purpose.
He had a lesson to teach them. It was test time.

This is true with us as well. Sometimes God leads us to bitter waters. We may not like it, but it is true. But if we will submit to His will and trust Him in surrendered obedience, He will indeed make those bitter waters sweet.

Our God is Jehovah-rapha.
He is Healer.
Our God heals.

He heals our land.

and My people who are called by My name
humble themselves and pray and seek My face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven,
will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

He heals our sin.

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; f
or by His wounds you were healed. 
For you were continually straying like sheep,
but now you have returned to the Shepherd
and Guardian of your souls.
2 Peter 2:24-25

He heals our broken heart.

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

He heals our diseases.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Psalm 103:2-3

As we look at God's introduction to this name Jehovah-rapha we must take note of the instructions that came before He shared this name. We must remember the "if"

If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God,
and do what is right in His sight,
and give ear to His commandments,
and keep all His statutes,...

There was a prerequisite for experiencing God as Jehovah-rapha... and was obedience and submission to Him. That obedience includes confession of disobedience and repentance when God makes it known to us.

 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalm 139:23-24

Many times before God will heal us we need to first take care of our sin. Sometimes that sin is simply to obey Him in His simple request to trust Him. Jesus commanded us not to worry. He beckons us to cast our burdens on Him. When we choose not to... we have stress. It is a proven medical fact that stress kills. Stress leads to depression. It leads to obesity. It leads to blood-pressure issues. It leads to countless other ailments. God would heal us of all these if we would trust Him with our problems and our anxieties and our regrets and our fears and our failures. If we would simply obey Him and surrender our will to His will.

God commands us to share our problems, our sin, with others. Holding onto unconfessed sins and unforgiveness can make us sick. Holding onto our struggles because we fear the shame of them being exposed can easily lead to death. God tells us to find someone, a fellow believer, to share these things with. we must expose the things hiding in the dark so that the Light of Christ can shine on them. A germ likes to grow in the dark, so does mold, all things that kill, steal, and destroy like the darkness. They like to hide. Let us bring them to the Light.  

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray.
Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 
Is anyone among you sick?
Then he must call for the elders of the church
and they are to pray over him,
anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 
and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick,
and the Lord will raise him up,
and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 
Therefore, confess your sins to one another,
and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:13-16

However, not all sickness is due to a personal sin. Jesus makes that very clear in His Word.

As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 
And His disciples asked Him,
Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he would be born blind?” 
Jesus answered,
“It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents;
but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 9:1-3

I must share that the day that I shared about this beautiful name of God in our co-op chapel time I was sick. I mean flat-out could lose my pop-tart any minute sick. However the Lord sustained me through the chapel time and through my zoology class and through one daughter's piano lessons and another daughter's violin lessons and I didn't lose my pop-tart until safe at home in the sanctuary of my own bathroom. So I am thankful that as I studied this name of God I was able to rest in the truth that not all sickness is due to personal sin... but in all honesty Psalm 139:23-24  is where I began my evaluation when I realized sickness had hit me.

If it was an attempt to get my attention to fix a division between me and my God then I wanted to seek that out. I want to know every wicked way that there is within me so that I can confess it before my God and lay it at the foot of my Saviors cross. I want to live a life of repentance not a life of regrets.

When God brings me to bitter waters and I am thirsty... I pray that instead of grumbling and complaining I will look at those bitter waters and ask my God what He is wanting to teach me. What lesson do I need to learn? How, my God, will you make these bitter waters sweet? I pray that I will look for the tree...  and always remember that my God is Jehovah-rapha, my God is Healer.

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved,
For You are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:14

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