God is Jehovah Rapha – LORD Who Heals

“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)

The Lord is our healer. He is the Great Physician who will heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds that someday we will be fully restored. “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3) The Lord God sent His Son to bring the Good News of His Gospel that we might find salvation from this dying cursed world. We are all tempted each day by the evil adversary to fall into the bondage of sin, we have been blinded to the truth of God’s Word, and have a loss of liberty by the sinful flesh we are held within. The Lord sent His Son to free us with His truth. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18)

When we think of healing we often think in terms of the physical body that is sick. God does heal us miraculously through His Divine nature as He is the one who has knitted us together in the sanctuary of the womb. “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) Who better than the Creator to mend us? God can outright bring healing to our bodies by His Divine power, He heals us through the knowledge given to doctors and modern medicine. God may heal us through the gifts given to faith healers. God may heal us in an instant or over a frame of time but it is always in His time and always serves His purpose and is for His glory.

The Lord God can also heal our troubles that come into our lives. He wants us to bring our troubles, our burdens to Him and He will help us carry the load. They may be financial burdens or emotional, we may be having troubles within our relationships, but He is ready, willing and able to lift them from us. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Foremost, but often neglected in our lives is the spirit, that part of us that will live on after the physical has passed away. We are spiritually broken people more than too many of us even know. “The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, But as for a broken spirit who can bear it?” (Proverbs 18:14) It is that part of us that God most desires to restore unto Him. Yet we seek cures through prescribed pills like tranquilizers, the use of alcohol or mind altering drugs off the street. We may go through many counseling sessions seeking the wisdom of men. We know there is some unseen thing wrong and we seek relief from many places when the answer for spiritual illness can be found with the Lord who heals. As David learned, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

We are composed of mind, body, and spirit that were created to work in unison in the bond of God’s love together. When one part becomes ill the whole of the body becomes sick. The Lord God wants a person to be complete and whole. He wants us to be properly aligned or we cannot function properly. The Lord is our healer and wants us to have health, joy, and peace. When we become out of alignment we should seek the Lord in prayer for His healing.

We read this event in the Gospel of Matthew. “When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.” (Matthew 8:14-17) Jesus came into His Disciples home and saw that Peter’s mother was ill. In His compassion Jesus touched her and she was healed, she was made whole, she was physically healed. Immediately Peter’s mothers got up and served her Lord. Then that night people who had been possessed with evil demons came and Jesus spoke to the demons and they came out of the people. They were made whole, Jesus healed their captive spirits from the evil adversary. Even the demons obey the Word of God should not man also obey His Lord?

In our text we see that the Israelite people have come to Marah. They have been delivered from the bondage of the Egyptians and crossed the Red Sea on dry ground by the hand of God. Now they are in the wilderness and have come to a place and find the water there is bitter and unfit to drink. As what had become customary for them they murmured about this problem. They went to their leader Moses and complained that the water was unfit to drink. Moses called upon the Lord and He intervened and by Moses using a piece of word the water was made sweet.

At this point God changes the narrative and talks about the plaques that the Egyptians had suffered at the hand of God causing the Israelites to be released. God lays down conditions for His providence in keeping the Israelite people from having the same diseases that the Egyptians had suffered. I look at these measures as preventative measures for the welfare of the people. The provisions for their welfare are that the people are to “do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes” and God will not put any of these diseases on them. If the Israelite people will be obedient unto God He will heal them of their disease and be their “Jehovah Rapha” the Lord their healer.

I believe that it is symbolic that the Israelites found the water bitter at Marah because it is a reflection of the hearts of the Israelite people. They had just been freed from the bondage of the Egyptian Pharaoh by the grace of God. It was a time of great punishment at the hand of the Egyptians. They had been slaves and forced to work with little reward and provision. They had their society slaughtered by the killing of the young males to control their population. They had long prayed that their God would deliver them and the Lord sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go. After punishing time towards the Egyptian people Pharaoh finally let the Israelites leave the land of Egypt.

Freedom from Egypt was not what they had thought it would be. They now were in the wilderness preparing to travel to the Promised Land but did not have the support of civilization and its amenities. They no longer lived in buildings, no longer had a food source, they didn’t have the protection of a mighty army, and their independence was labor intensive. They found themselves in complete dependence of their God. They were under the guidance of an eighty year old man with a rod. Their hearts had begun to be filled with resentfulness and bitterness. God who judges the hearts of men knew of the bitterness in their hearts, the lack of thankfulness for the great things that He had done, and the murmuring that they so easily fell into. God knew that for His people to follow Him He would have to heal the bitterness in their hearts.

I wonder how many of us are like the Israelite people as they murmured in the wilderness? I know at times I find myself in the disease of discontent. The Apostle Paul teaches that we are to examine our hearts to see if we are in the faith with our God. “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) That we are to wait upon the Lord for His lead that we follow His plan and purpose for our lives. Or do we try to make things happen our way using our own finite minds. Then when things do not happen as we imagined we throw our hands to God and wonder why He is mad at us.

Let us question ourselves, are we doing what is right in His sight? Do we open our ear and hear His commandments? Do we trust and obey His Word? Or do we as the Israelites murmur and complain. Do we not have faith that with God all things work for our own good? “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

God is our Jehovah Rapha who heals the broken hearted, sets the captives free, opens our eyes and ears to His truths, and leads us on a sure path as we walk with Him. Let us let the Lord examine our heart and heal us of the ravages that sin has inflicted upon us. Therefore we will not have to drink the bitter water as the Lord is our healer.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 13, 2016

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