Week 30: November 20-26
“If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”
You may have heard a sermon or a mention of the “Names of God.” If not, people are referring to the study of the names that God refers to Himself in scripture. These descriptions usually follow a story or event and highlight an aspect of God’s character. God is putting on display His character and revealing himself to us. The knowledge of God is the most important thing we can learn. John 17:3 says, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Studying the names of God is a valuable and helpful way to learn more about Him.
In Exodus 15 God uses one of these names and refers to himself as Jehova Rapha (also translated Rophe). It comes at the end of an event with the Israelite people. When we pick up in Exodus 15, God has just freed the Israelite people from the Egyptians, opened the Red Sea, and destroyed the Egyptian army. The Jewish people have seen God act in a very awesome and terrifying manner. If a current 2016 preacher had addressed this group and talked about God being Love and loving all people, He would have been thrown off the stage! These people saw destruction, wrath, fire, brimstone, plagues, and death --- lots of death.
After they see God’s awesome power, three days later they start to doubt His provision for them. They are now marching through the wilderness and have had no water for 3 days. They come up to a place where there is water, but it is bitter and undrinkable! The only thing worse than want is the let down when you think you have found something that will satisfy but cannot. The Israelites are angry. This is the first of many times that they will “grumble” against God. Moses prays and God answers by telling Moses to throw a piece of wood into the water. The waters become sweet and drinkable.
The focus is not really the wood or the water, but these events are loaded with symbolism, pictures, and lessons. God then instructs the people that if they listen to Him and obey Him, he will not treat them like the Egyptians. He will be their Jehovah Rapha, or their healer. The conditions and order is very important here. God is first judge and dispenser of wrath on unrighteousness. But if they followed God He would allow them to interact with another part of His Character.
This word healer can refer to physical healing, and God does heal physical needs. God heals in all parts of the Bible, but His physical healing is usually tied to the ultimate focus, spiritual healing. Man’s ultimate problem is the sickness of our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” If we see God as only a healer of physical infirmities, we miss the point in this aspect of his character. God will heal our sinful hearts, so we will be accepted when we see Him after death. Ezekiel 36:26 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” He will save us but He will also heal our sick hearts so we can live a different life after salvation.
You will meet God. You will give an account of your sin and answer for it. You can meet God as your judge and receive the punishment for sin as he poured out on the Egyptians. You can misread His words and see Him as physical healer and ignore His words and his healing of your real sin problem. Or, you can meet God as the true spiritual healer, and be saved from your sins and be covered in Christ’s righteousness. If you listen to God’s word and obey it. God’s word says in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
- Pray that God will help to learn more about Him through diligent study of His word.
- Pray that God will create an opportunity for a Gospel conversation this week.
- Pray that God will develop in you a heart of prayer and dependence on Him.
These are two great books that cover the names of God. I used both of them in my study for this devotion. Each has a short 2-5 page chapter on each name of God.
Stone, Nathan J. Names of God. Chicago: Moody, 1996. Print.
Hemphill, Ken. The Names of God. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001. Print.