Jehovah Rapha – The LORD our Healer

“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 15:26)

This week we are looking at Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our healer. The Lord our healer is more than the mending of our flesh but also the healing of our spirit. The Hebrew word Rapha means to cure, to heal, to make repair, and to make whole. The first time in the Bible we see this name for God is in the book of Exodus after the Israelites had crossed over the Red Sea on dry land. “Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. Miriam answered them, “Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.” (Exodus 15:20-21)

Three days after this great joy and celebration the Israelite people found themselves in the desert with a pool of water in front of them. The water was bitter and they could not drink it and therefore called the place Marah, which means bitter. Keep in mind that the Lord had just delivered them from the bondage of the Egyptians, and the Lord had just parted the Red Sea and they crossed on dry land, and as the Egyptians had pursued them the Lord allowed the waters to come in upon them. Now that the water they had found to refresh them was bitter did they call upon the Lord to help them? Would healing the water and making it whole been a too difficult thing for the Lord to do? Was He not the Lord who provides? (Genesis 22:14)

No, we read further and see rather than trusting in God they complained to Moses. “So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” (Exodus 15:24) In just three days the Israelite people forgot the great things that the Lord had done for them. They had forgotten the awesome power of their God when He brought the ten plagues upon the Egyptians causing them to be freed. They forgot the parting of the Red Sea. And they laid their burdens upon a man instead of an Almighty God. Are we too sometimes like these Israelite people that when bitter times come we mumble and complain. Do we forget to praise God for what He has provided us, do we forget of His great mercy shown towards us, and do we flounder as we have a self-pity party? Of all things known of the great God that we serve would it not be better to praise Him for His abundant provision and trust Him by our faith in His word to provide for us through His enduring mercy.

Moses called upon the Lord, Moses knew that his help comes from God and the Lord showed Moses a tree and told him to throw it into the bitter water and it would become sweet. “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. (Exodus 15:25)

We see in this verse an obvious relation between the tree at Marah and the cross on Calvary. The tree at Marah when placed into the bitter water made it sweet. When we apply the truth of Christ dying upon the tree of Calvary to our lives it makes a bitter life sweet. “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24) Only through Christ dying on the cross of Calvary is there redemption for mankind.

Let us read further in Exodus chapter 15 at verses 25-36 and we will see a further revelation to the Lord our Healer. “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 15:25-26)

Was God referring to a physical healing? Although I am sure some were physically sick there is no mention of it in the scripture. They were complaining because they had no water to drink. So I wonder what does God giving them water have to do with healing? Why after providing them with water did God make a statute for them to obey?

The Israelites had been complaining because the water was bitter and they could not drink it. Is it because of their complaining that God could not show His power in their lives? God had led them out of Egypt and He had led them across the Red Sea and He had led them to Marah where the water was bitter. Was this a test to see if they would trust God? Would they follow Him in trust all the way to the Promised Land? If this was His purpose to test their faith and trust, they failed by complaining to Moses.

Let us look at what He told them. First it must be said that God is a healing God. God not only heals us physically but emotionally and spiritually too. But in this passage of scripture we see healing linked to conditions. If we only view God as a physical healer, then we have limited His power. Also the healing that we receive from God is given by His mercy and we must never forget that. His healing is for the whole creation of a man the spirit, mind and body. His healing is not anything that we deserve.

We are healed spiritually by the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins but there is a connection to our physical bodies as well. Let us look at these scriptures.

“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)

 

“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

In each of these scriptures there is a correlation between the healing of the spirit, mind and body. We are all born into this world spiritually impoverished. From the time of our birth we are faced with an appointed time to die and we will live with sickness and ill bodies. And we live in a world that is a poison to our minds. Our God does not just heal the one or the other but is our healer for the whole of us spirit, mind and body.

Looking at the statues in this passage of Scripture we see that God says “if you will, then I will.” We must not forget this truth for the follower of Jesus Christ that our healing has already been bought and paid for by His sacrifice. It is not a matter of what we can do to be healed but a matter of receiving His grace.

In Hebrews chapter 3 verse 16 through 19 we read the reasons that the Israelite people were not allowed to enter into the Promised Land with the exception of Joshua and Caleb. They sinned against the word of God and were a disobedient and stiff necked people and their hearts were filled with unbelief. We cannot experience spiritual rest if we are disobedient or have hearts of unbelief. The Apostle Paul teaches us in his letter to the Corinthians. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5) We must always be on guard to discipline ourselves in the way of the Lord. Our adversary prowls to destroy us and we must remain vigilant. “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1)

The statutes given to Moses from God were, give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord. We are to listen to what the Lord is telling us either by His Word, prayer or through the leading of the Holy Spirit. We not only hear Him but we trust Him and have faith in His word. The Prophet Samuel gave King Saul this advice when it comes to obedience to God’s Word. “Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

We are to do what is right in His sight. When we hear the Lord we must follow Him. I am a firm believer that where the Lord guides He provides. It is not always easy to step out on nothing but faith but if the Lord is our lead then we have nothing to fear. We may just find that life out of the comfort zone is truly where the excitement of abundant living is. If we follow His lead we give Him the opportunity to work His divine health in our lives. It is all for God’s glory and through us He can show that glory. We must be rightly able to discern the truth that He has put before us. We must test His Word against His Word, as God cannot lie. Paul gives us this warning. “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.” (1 Corinthians 11:28-29)

We must give ear to His commandments. We are not only to hear His voice but we are to listen to His commandment. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) We must meditate and understand that we do not transgress through ignorance. This is important that we study God’s Word, meditate and pray upon it that we place it in our hearts. No one can take the word out of our heart and it will feed us through eternity.

And we are to keep all His statutes. Who sits on the throne of your life? Have you summited to the lordship of Jesus or do bits and pieces still remain under your domain? We have asked Jesus to come in and take control of our life, not just a part of it, as our life is a whole. Were we doing so great that we didn’t need Him or were we broken and needed Him to heal us. We are His twice bought, by creation and by redemption. We will bow before Him one day and it is better now than them. It is better to sacrifice our self to Him now than to live in disobedience of His Word. “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)

We have not been promised a trouble free life here in this world. This world is a cursed realm from the days of the Garden of Eden when sin entered in and shall be till Jesus returns. From the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Paradise there is but one way, the narrow way that our Lord has set before us. He is our God Almighty and He is our helper through the wilderness to the Promised Land of our rest. We need not fear and we need not be anxious for He is the rock of our salvation. In times of plenty and in times of want, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, and in times of health and in times of sickness He is our healer. The faithful and true one who will be with us always. “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, February 2, 2016

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