This week we are going to study the name of God, "Yahweh Rophe," literally "The LORD who heals you." Please review the following definitions and commentaries regarding Exodus 15:20-27 where God reveals Himself as the covenant God of divine healing.
Yahweh or Jehovah is the same word we covered a few weeks ago that identifies God as the covenant making and keeping God of Israel – He was the personal God of Israel who identified Himself to them by name. Please refresh yourself by revisiting the following Strong's Definition for Jehovah:
Hebrew Strong's Number: 3068
Root: from <H1961>
Part of Speech: n pr dei
English Words used in KJV: LORD 6510, GOD 4, JEHOVAH 4, variant 1 [Total Count: 6519]
from <H1961> (hayah); (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God :- Jehovah, the Lord. Compare <H3050> (Yahh), <H3069> (Yehovih).
Now for the name, Rophe or rāphā'.
Hebrew Strong's 7495
Hebrew Word: רָפָא
Root: a primitive root
English Words used in KJV: heal 57, physician 5, cure 1, repaired 1, misc 3 [Total Count: 67]
or raphah, raw-faw'; a primitive root; properly to mend (by stitching), i.e. (figurative) to cure :- cure, (cause to) heal, physician, repair, × thoroughly, make whole. See <H7503> (raphah).
The Lexical Aids from the Complete Word Study Old Testament have this definition for the derivative of rāphā' (7495) – which is rāphā' ref # 7496.
This masculine plural noun originates from rapha (7495). It describes those flaccid, feeble, weak persons who are living in Hades. The term is a synonym for "the dead" or "the place of the dead." (See Psalm 88:10, Proverbs 2:18, 9:18, 21:16; Isaiah 14:9, 26:14, 19.)
Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words by W. E. Vine included the following definition of rāpā' (Strong's Reference 7495)
"to heal." This word is common to both ancient and modern Hebrew. It occurs approximately 65 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, appearing first in Genesis 20:17 [where God healed Abimelech].
"To heal" may be described as "restoring to normal," an act which god typically performs. Thus, appeals to God for healing are common: Psalm 6:2, Jeremiah 7:14. Not only are human diseases "healed," but bad water is restored to normal or "healed" (2 Kings 2:22); salt water is "healed" or made fresh (Ezekiel 47:8); even pottery is "healed" or restored (Jeremiah 19:11).
A large number o fuses of rāpā' express the "healing" of the nation – such "healing" not only involves God's grace and forgiveness, but also the nation's repentance. Divine discipline leads to repentance and "healing": Hosea 6:1, and God's promises found in Jeremiah 30:17. Even foreign cities and powers can know God's "healing if they repent. (Jeremiah 51:8-9).
False prophets are condemned because they deal with the symptoms and not with the deep spiritual hurts of the people: Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11.
In Exodus 15:20-27 we read the account of the Israelites in the desert when God "healed" the bitter waters of Marah making them sweet. The Baker Commentary on the Whole Bible (Walter A. Elwell, Ed., Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1989) includes this commentary on the Exodus 15 account where God reveals Himself as Jehovah (Yahweh) Rophe. "The result of this event is God's introduction of an ordinance for Israel (vv. 25b-26). The purpose of this event is to "prove" or "test" Israel. After witnessing God's saving act at the sea, how would they respond to the dilemma of the bitter water? Would they look to God? No, they complain, or break faith with God. This is merely the first of many instances where this happens."
This passage in Exodus 15 is also called "The Old Testament Healing Covenant" by Jack Hayford in The Hayford Bible Handbook. "(Exodus 15:26). This verse is widely referred to as the OT Divine Healing Covenant. It is called a "covenant," because in it God promises He will keep His people free from diseases and conditions the promise upon their diligent obedience." He goes on to say that the terms used for diseases and healing in the Hebrew indicate ailments of the body and their healing. "This is not only a spiritual concept, but an intensely physical one."
As I evaluated all the definitions from the Hebrew for Rophe, I was also given to look up the grammatical notations. The word Rapha or Rophe is a Qal Particple Active. This means it is a "verbal adjective in the active voice, indicating continued simple action." (Lexical Aids of the OT, Complete Word Study Old Testament)
Think of that, this is an active description of God doing a continued simple action in the lives of those who are in covenant and obedient to Him. If you knew that your physical, emotional and spiritual healing depended on God perpetuating a continued simple action – would you believe Him for it! The promise is for us to enter into a covenant of obedience and He will bring about the healing in our lives as it is needed. It is when we get out of line with His will and His Word that we suffer the greatest afflictions. The enemy has an open door.
As I read through the various commentaries and the definitions preparing for this devotion yesterday, I was struck by one phrase: "To mend (by stitching)…" from the Strong's definition. To Mend By Stitching – what does that mean to you? It brought three things to my mind: 1.) Healing is a process ordained by God, 2.) That it does not just come in the form of miraculous instantaneous healings, but may involve a painful process that delivers us into a place of healing and rest, 3.) That it may leave scars. Have you ever had a scar or stitches? The area that was stitched is often tender, vulnerable to infection and if the stitches are torn out prematurely through activity they can make the wound worse. When the stitches are removed after a set period of time, there is a scar. Visible evidence of the wound that often times is very sensitive even after the stitches are removed because the tissue has not fully healed. You can run your hand over it and feel the bumpy growth of new skin, a new scar is typically sensitive to touch and to movement. It is a constant, present reminder of not only the wound and how it got there, but what it took for the wound to be healed. The truth of the matter is that once torn, the stitched area does not ever really look or feel the same as it did before – the evidence of the wound is always there. So what does that mean?
In my own life I have scars from accidental cuts doing dishes where I had to have stitches, and I have had several surgeries that resulted in stitches being applied. Over time the areas where the stitches were applied have faded and the skin become more pliable until you may notice the discoloration or the different texture of the skin mildly, but the scar is not as prominent as it once was. Healing, both physically and spiritually, can be just this kind of process that comes in measures of time, or as the definition says, it can be a situation where God brings instant and thorough restoration to the person who requires healing. Healing, and its measure and its administration is determined by God – not by man. He may bring healing through natural means, human means, miraculous means or over a period of time – however God chooses to heal it should be recognized and embraced as the work of God and not just a coincidence.
When I injured my knee last summer, I was prayed over at church and saw immediate results within 24 hours of the prayer being offered on my behalf. Where I was heavily medicated and on crutches when I went down for prayer, the next morning I was able to walk and move without crutches and virtually operated throughout the day medication free. (At night I took a muscle relaxer to ensure I did not unconsciously undo the "healing" I had received. I know, but this was my first experience and I truthfully feel God uses doctors and medicine as agents of healing… so there it is.) When I returned to the doctor for my MRI results a few weeks later I was sure he would report a miraculous reversal of the injury I had sustained. When he didn't, he actually said, "I don't see how you are still walking on that knee." I told him about the prayer for healing and my belief that I had already received full grace for my injury – he replied, "Protection from pain is a form of healing, and God does use doctors to bring healing at times." Which I knew to be true, I later had surgery and recovered quickly. I have been to other services where prayer for healing was offered and I received the prayers and each time a new level of healing was manifested in my life. I receive it and walk in it and believe God for it each time I receive it. I could not do that if I did not believe He was the Great Physician as the New Testament calls Him or the Divine Healer that the Old Testament reveals Him to be.
Most curious to me was the "healing of waters," indicating God's healing is more than a healing of our body, souls and spirits – He can also heal or restore our circumstances, our relationships and our destinies. God is a healing God and not limited by what we view as healing. Not only that, but when God works healing and restoration in our lives it is never incomplete or lacking in any way – it is always intended to make us whole by His standard.
We must recognize that if we are not receiving full healing in any area of our lives that our affliction may be serving a shaping or molding process that will ultimately humble us before God, bring us to repentance and then God can work the full restoration in our lives. I am not at all saying that all affliction is the result of sin in our lives, but if we fail to believe God fully for healing, we may not fully realize it. It is the faith of those who encountered Jesus that points me to this end. When one was healed by the ministry of Jesus, He told them one of two things: "Your faith has healed you." Or "Your sins are forgiven." It is not up to us to decide what kind of healing we need, it is up to us to believe God for the healing and do what He tells us to do to receive it.
As we look at the following verses of Scripture let's see what we can learn from each about how and why God is bringing healing. Note anything you discover about healing as we read:
5 "Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. 6 And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David." ~ 2 Kings 20:5-6 (NKJV)
Why did God restore Hezekiah's health? In 2 Kings 20:3 we hear Hezekiah's prayer. He was calling on God to be as good as His Word in Exodus 15:26 – Hezekiah cried out to God for mercy because Hezekiah had lived his life pursuing what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Consider this – God was as good as His Word, but would Hezekiah have died had he not cried out to God? I believe God restored Hezekiah because his prayer and heart cry indicated his deep faith and belief in God as the only source of his healing.
[A Psalm] of David.
BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits— 3 Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases, 4 Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy; 5 Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]! ~ Psalms 103:1-5 (AMP)
18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him And to his mourners. 19 "I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near," Says the Lord, "And I will heal him." ~ Isaiah 57:18-19 (NKJV)
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions. ~ Psalms 107:20 (NKJV)
As I read the commentaries on this verse, I found that the common thought is that this verse indicates the healing God brings to situations we create ourselves through gluttony, intended disobedience and abuse of our own bodies and lives. The key is His Word, the Word of God brings healing as God sends it forth into our lives and it becomes a salve on our minds, souls, hearts and bodies. It brings change and restoration (transformation) from the inside out. When we begin to see God's Word at work in our lives – we will no be able to miss His healing work as well it comes by faith and faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. ~ Psalms 147:3 (NKJV)
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." ~ Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)
God promises in Psalm 147 to bring healing to the brokenhearted – yes, wounds that come to us at the hands or actions of others also are healed. They are healed by the precious life and blood of Christ. This promise was fulfilled when Jesus read it in the synagogue centuries later and said, "These words have been fulfilled in your hearing." Jesus came not only to heal those He encountered each day of His earthly life, He is here to heal us now – we must believe we do not have to be walking wounded – but the victory has been won and we are free to walk in it by the power and name of Jesus Christ.
For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,' says the Lord, 'Because they called you an outcast saying: "This is Zion; No one seeks her." ' ~ Jeremiah 30:17 (NKJV)
When no one else can see our potential – God does. Cry out to Him, tell Him where it hurts and let Him do the healing work. Do not listen to those who would say Healing is impossible, that nothing will ever change. Believe God and seize every moment of victory you discover in your journey of faith! He is a God who Heals, claim it today!
As we weigh the Word today, I am going to include two chapters of Scripture for your reflection. I am praying God will reveal Himself as Healer to you in new and meaningful ways. Take your time as you consider God and His Word today – let Him apply the healing treatments to every area of your life where you are afflicted and cry out to Him in your need. He is faithful, He is listening and He desires to bring you healing in every way! (Both Passages are NKJV)
1 A Psalm of David. To bring to remembrance.
O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure!
2 For Your arrows pierce me deeply,
And Your hand presses me down.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh Because of Your anger,
Nor any health in my bones Because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;
Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds are foul and festering
Because of my foolishness.
6 I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly;
I go mourning all the day long.
7 For my loins are full of inflammation,
And there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am feeble and severely broken;
I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.
9 Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You.
10 My heart pants, my strength fails me;
As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.
11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague,
And my relatives stand afar off.
12 Those also who seek my life lay snares for me;
Those who seek my hurt speak of destruction,
And plan deception all the day long.
13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear;
And I am like a mute who does not open his mouth.
14 Thus I am like a man who does not hear,
And in whose mouth is no response.
15 For in You, O Lord, I hope;
You will hear, O Lord my God.
16 For I said, "Hear me, lest they rejoice over me,
Lest, when my foot slips, they exalt themselves against me."
17 For I am ready to fall,
And my sorrow is continually before me.
18 For I will declare my iniquity;
I will be in anguish over my sin.
19 But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong;
And those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied.
20 Those also who render evil for good,
They are my adversaries, because I follow what is good.
21 Do not forsake me, O Lord;
O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!
And to whom has the arm of
the Lord been revealed?
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
By His knowledge
My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,