You can learn a lot from a name, and that’s especially true of God. Throughout the Bible, God presents himself with different names. Each name reveals something important about God. One of the names of God is Jehovah-Rapha, “the Lord who heals.”
Names are funny. We label people by their names. Our name somehow defines us even though most of us don’t get to choose it. A name is typically the first thing we’ll learn about a new person we meet. You can learn a lot about someone from their nickname. Such as, “Skinny,” “Professor,” “The Animal.”
What’s In a Name?
The Israelites had been living in slavery in Egypt for generations. They cried out to God, and he miraculously led them out of slavery. They were on their journey out of servitude in Egypt and into the Promised Land when they become thirsty. These people were restless and angry. Max Lucado said, “Their jubilation over liberation soon becomes frustration over dehydration.”
They arrived at a place called Marah and found water only to discover that it was bitter. They turned to God, complaining that He was not taking care of them. Moses turned to God and cried out for help. God intervened and instructed Moses to take a piece of wood and throw it into the water. Moses didn’t understand how a piece of wood could make a difference, but he obeyed and threw it anyway. Immediately, the water became clean, sweet and refreshing.
God then speaks to the Israelites, but he seems to change the subject. He talks about the diseases the Egyptians had suffered, and how the Israelites can avoid those conditions. God tells the people that he can heal them, but they need to obey. He will be their Jehovah Rapha.
Healing Is What I Am
In Exodus 15, God gives himself a new name: Jehovah Rapha. Jehovah wasn’t a new name. Jehovah means “the Existing One” or “Lord” and suggests “to become known.” Rapha was the new part. Rapha means “to heal.” God let the Israelites know that he is the God who heals. What he actually said is stronger than that. It’s not so much, “I am the God who heals” as it is, “HEALING IS WHAT I AM.”
God heals and, at that moment, was a good thing because the Israelites needed healing. I believe the bitter taste in the water symbolized what was polluting the Israelites hearts. They were harboring bitterness that needed healing. Fortunately, God, who IS HEALING, longed to heal them.
It was good news back then, and it’s good news today. We’re more like the Israelites than we’d like to admit. We all have bitterness over things that have happened to us, and we all need healing.
We need to know this God named Jehovah Rapha who can heal anything for which we need healing.
Maybe you’re struggling with physical pain. God can heal that.
Maybe you’re struggling with emotional pain. God can heal that.
Maybe you’re struggling with relational pain. God can heal that.
Maybe you’re struggling with mental pain. God can heal that.
God is the one who heals. He came to the earth and through Jesus, healed over seventy times throughout the Gospel. Jesus repeatedly said, “Be made whole.” Wholeness is God’s desire for us, and he can give it to us.
Sin is the most significant affliction known to man, but God can even heal sin. In Exodus 15 God provided healing by a tree thrown into the water. Thousands of years later God offered spiritual healing when his son hung on another tree. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross,“ (1 Peter 2:24).
What Jesus did on that cross, fashioned out of a tree, is described in Isaiah 53:4-5, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering … he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.”
God can heal our sins. He tells us that he can heal an entire nation, “I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
It can be challenging to know how to pray to God for help, but he is ready to listen to your prayers and heal you.
Your God Heals
Healing is what God is. And we need him.
Only God can heal:
A growing addiction rate.
A mother grieving the loss of a child.
Nations torn apart by divisive politics
A teenager who has been bullied.
A broken heart.
The person betrayed by a trusted friend.
The man who just discovered romantic texts from another person on his wife’s phone.
A family facing a terminal illness.
A dream that’s been lost.
A bride left at the altar by her groom.
An abused child.
The family that suddenly lost their Patriarch.
A child that feels invisible.
The elderly who feel forgotten.
We need God. He is our Jehovah Rapha.
If you need help understanding the word of God and want a daily guide to walk you through your faith, check out the I Can Only Imagine 40-Day Devotional here.
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