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Session 2: Our Healer

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Last Week: Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
This Week: Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
Let’s look at
Exodus 14:29–31 ESV
But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.
In verse 30, it is the first time in Scripture where the phrase “the LORD saved Israel..” Further, the death of Egyptians prefigures that final destruction of all God’s enemies (; ).
Revelation 20:15 ESV
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8 ESV
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Notice the great faith displayed in verse 31. Let’s look back to :
Exodus 14:10–12 ESV
When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
Israel was an eyewitness to the miracles of God, yet still strayed. Compare to time of Jesus. In the two instances where Jesus acknowledged great faith in people, they were both Gentiles: The Centurion in and the Canaanite woman in . He further lauded the Centurion by saying nobody in Israel had such great faith ().
Matthew 8:6 ESV
“Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.”
Matthew 15:22–28 ESV
And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Matthew 8:10 ESV
When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.
How often we too are like Israel, having experienced God's redemption & deliverance from bondage & yet quickly shrink back into unbelief thinking that the next trial is too big for Him to handle &/or why did He even allow it in the first place?
Can you tie the actions of the Israelite nation in the Wilderness to the Doctrine of predestination ()? Who, from the original generation, survived the 40 years in the wilderness?
Matthew 8:24–26 ESV
And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
Matthew 8:24–26 ESV
And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
Matthew 14:31 ESV
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:31 ESV
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Romans 8:29–30 ESV
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The important thing to remember is that no one deserves to be saved. We have all sinned (), and are all worthy of eternal punishment (). As a result, God would be perfectly just in allowing all of us to spend eternity in hell. However, God chooses to save some of us. He is not being unfair to those who are not chosen, because they are receiving what they deserve.
Somehow, in the mystery of God, predestination works hand-in-hand with a person being drawn by God () and believing unto salvation (). God predestines who will be saved, and we must choose Christ in order to be saved. Both facts are equally true.
John 6:44 ESV
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Romans 1:16 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Go to
Exodus 15:22–24 ESV
Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
22 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
Interesting side note: look at . Can we see the meaning of the word use here?
Ruth 1:20 ESV
She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
Do you think it was by chance that Israel arrives at the bitter waters? What evidence do we have that it was God’s design? Look at
Exodus 13:21–22 ESV
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.
When we complain, what characteristics of God are calling into question?
Israel's physical condition began to impact their spiritual joy. Nothing is more paralyzing than thirst. Place yourself in their sandals: dust & rocks everywhere, children crying, nothing but sand & more sand in your path & then on the horizon the hope of water as someone sees a palm grove. Your expectations are high. Your anticipation almost uncontrollable. You bring the cool water to your lips & spit it our because it is so bitter. All hope destroyed, what else is left but to grumble at Moses.
How would you characterize Israel's spiritual walk at this time?
Most of Israel was walking by sight (& sense) & not by faith. They were aggravated & probably felt a bit mocked by God. They were free from slavery to Egypt but not to the lusts of their flesh & they looked at their circumstances rather than to the God of all circumstances. An easy trap for us all to fall into. How ironic that Israel fail to believe that He who could hold back the walls of water in the Red Sea could also provide a cup of water to drink.
Who do we look to when the "bitter" trial comes? To God or to myself or anything but God? An "uplook" can make all the difference in the world on your "outlook". How easy it is for us all to forget that God is "with us" and "for us" when difficulties arise.
The people went from rejoicing to complaining! It is easy to sing when the circumstances are comfortable, but it takes faith to sing when you are suffering. God tests us in the everyday experiences of life to see whether we will obey Him.
Doesn’t that sound familiar?
When God surely and wisely leads us to a “Marah experience” our response is a telltale indication of where our eyes are.
When they are not on the Lord, we grumble loudly and blame our wife, our employer, our friend, or our government.
Who have you blamed this week?
Let’s go to
Exodus 15:25–27 ESV
25 And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26 saying, “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.” 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.
25 And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26 saying, “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.”
Moses did what the people had neglected to do; he cried unto the Lord. And God provided graciously for them.
Remember last week how Abraham got an opportunity to express his faith? Well, so did Israel here.
The word for “test” here has the idea of “to prove the worth” of something, “to verify the quality” of something. The Lord was not trying to cause them to fail Rather, as an exercise in training and testing, the need for provisions gave the people an opportunity to verify their faith.
In effect, this was to remind them that, after delivering them from the plagues and dividing the sea, God would be the One to provide for their everyday needs.
The Lord’s reference to himself as your healer indicates that Israel has already been graciously spared from what happened to the Egyptians and that faithfulness is the means by which they will continue to appropriate the blessings of the covenant relationship with the Lord (see ; ).
Exodus 23:25 ESV
You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you.
Deuteronomy 7:15 ESV
And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you.

Mini word Study: Heal (Rapha)

What kind of disease does Jehovah Rapha heal? look at ; (physical); ; ; ; (healed from sin - spiritual healing)
What kind of disease does Jehovah Rapha heal? look at (physical); (repairs); (healed from sin); (spiritual healing)
Genesis 20:17 ESV
Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children.
Psalm 103:3 ESV
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
1 Kings 18:30 ESV
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down.
The answer to this question can be discerned from a survey of the 60+ uses (and additional discussion) of "rapha" the Hebrew word for "heal". The 1st use () refers to PHYSICALhealing (of barrenness) by Elohim in answer to Abraham's prayer (The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. , Spurgeon)
2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 30:20 ESV
And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
The next use is translated "physicians" in (). In we get a picture of what rapha means when Elijah "repaired (rapha) the altar of the Jehovah which had been torn down".
Isaiah 53:5 ESV
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 peter 2:24
Coming full circle: What was used to eliminate the bitterness and heal the water in ? Look at
Exodus 15:25 ESV
And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them,
Galatians 3:13 ESV
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

Takeaways

So the land polluted by the sin of idolatry could be "healed" & made useful & fruitful by Jehovah Rapha (in answer to repentant prayer). In () after Hezekiah prayed "Jehovah heard Hezekiah & healed the people."
In a scene similar to that at Marah's bitter waters Elisha "went out to the spring of water & threw salt in it & said, "Thus says the Jehovah, 'I have purified (rapha) these waters; there shall not be from there death or unfruitfulness any longer." ()
So clearly rapha conveys the idea of restoring something to its "normal" or useful state. In () we see the famous statement "I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin & will heal (rapha) their land" So the land polluted by the sin of idolatry could be "healed" & made useful & fruitful by Jehovah Rapha (in answer to repentant prayer). In () after Hezekiah prayed "Jehovah heard Hezekiah & healed the people." In context this clearly refers to "spiritual" healing as they had been remiss in celebrating the LORD's Passover (cf , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )
Eliphaz trying to "comfort" Job reminds him of the Almighty (Shaddai) saying "He inflicts pain & gives relief. He wounds & His hands also heal (rapha)." (, cf ; ; )
Clearly God alone is the Source of all healing (even if He chooses to use human vessels or other means). Jehovah Rapha, the Great Physician heals physical, spiritual & emotional ills.
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In sum Jehovah Rapha, the Great Physician heals physical, spiritual & emotional ills.
Isaiah gives preview of a clear prophecy that by Messiah's "scourging we are healed (rapha)" ()
The bitterness caused by sin can be healed by the Cross of Christ Who became a curse for us on the Tree and made available the Tree of Life forever ()
Jehovah
Rapha
is our
Lord
Jesus
Christ
How should we respond when we find ourselves drinking from the waters of Marah?
Ken Hemphill in his excellent book [which I highly recommend] The Names of God answers with the following practical suggestions:
"First, listen earnestly to the voice of God. What is God trying to say to you in your present circumstances? Sometimes we tend to hear God clearly when we are on the mountaintop of spiritual victory. When we get to Marah, we must tune our ears attentively to the voice of the Lord. Ask yourself what God is saying through your circumstances. What does God want to do in your life? What have you learned about God from these events?
Second, do what is right. In other words, behave righteously. Instead of responding by grumbling & complaining when you find yourself at Marah, do what is right. You can overcome your circumstances by focusing on the reliability of the nature of God. Because He never changes, you can know that He is loving & trustworthy & will meet your every need.
Third, obey God's commands. When you find yourself with bitter waters, look to see if there are areas of disobedience in your life. Our desire to obey Him emerges from the fact that we know His character. Thus our obedience is the response of joyous confidence."
Truth to Remember About Illness & Healing
(1). Sickness can be related to personal sin.
-note There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine indignation. There is no health (shalom ) in my bones because of my sin. (read context of -note Spurgeon's note)
-note For I confess my iniquity. I am full of anxiety because of my sin.
There is a direct correlation between sin & sickness, sickness not just of the body but of the soul (see Spurgeon's sermon below). Don't misunderstand - as shown by the Scriptures below not every physical illness is a reflection of personal sin. In fact personal sin may not even be a contributing factor. Nevertheless, because unconfessed sin is at least a possible contributor in some instances of physical illness we should be willing to ask God to search our hearts as in Psalm 139below...
, -noteSearch me O God, & know my heart. Try me & know my anxious thoughts & see if there be any hurtful way in me & lead me in the everlasting way (Spurgeon #1; #2)
If sin is discovered or uncovered we should deal with it immediately. To not do so can have consequences as shown by Solomon's counsel in Proverb 28...
, (note) He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes (leaves behind, departs from) them will find compassion (mercy, pity, tender affection). How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. (adversity, affliction, distress)
Unforgiveness is an example of a sin that can lead to one being given over to the "torturers" (,). John MacArthurcomments that...
When believers forget their own divine forgiveness by God and refuse to extend human forgiveness to fellow believers, the Lord puts them under such torturers (the word can refer to inquisitors) as stress, hardship, pressure, or other difficulties until the sin is confessed and forgiveness is granted. As James tells us, “Judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy” (). ()
Wiersbe says that...
The world’s worst prison is the prison of an unforgiving heart. If we refuse to forgive others, then we are only imprisoning ourselves and causing our own torment. (Bible Exposition Commentary)
Craig Blomberg adds...
Counselors often discover that a client’s unwillingness to forgive someone lies deep at the heart of all kinds of personal problems. (The New American Commentary)
Related Resource: Links related to forgiveness/unforgiveness
(2). Although in one sense all illness is the consequence of the fall of man & sin entering the world, not all disease is directly related to personal sin.
, , "As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. & His disciples asked Him "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind ? Jesus answered "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him."
referring to Lazarus' illness Jesus said "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it."
(3) Christians can be weak, sick or sleep if they are careless taking communion
, , "For he who eats and drinks, eats & drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak & sick, and a number sleep. (metaphor for death)"
Jehovah Rapha Who heals is also the One Who must judge sin, even in the life of a child of God who will not judge it himself. (see , , )
(4) The Cross (tree) is source of healing for sins
The bitterness caused by sin can be healed by the Cross of Christ Who became a curse for us on the Tree & made available the Tree of Life forever ()
-note 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.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"
Revelation 22:2 ESV
through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
-note On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every * month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
The bitterness caused by sin can be healed by the Cross of Christ Who became a curse for us on the Tree & made available the Tree of Life forever.
Confession & prayer for one another can bring healing ()
James 5:16 ESV
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
The Word of God is the source of healing (; )
Psalm 107:19 ESV
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
(6) The Word of God is the source of healing
Proverbs 4:20–22 ESV
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
Fear of the LORD is associated with healing (; )
Malachi 4:2 ESV
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
, , 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 & HEALTH to all their body. (Health is Hebrew "marpe" derivative of "rapha")
Proverbs 3:7–8 ESV
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
(7) Fear of the LORD is associated with healing
, Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear Jehovah & turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body & refreshment to your bones.
(8) Jehovah Rapha heals the brokenhearted & the souls of men
-note "He healsthe brokenhearted & binds up their wounds."
-note As for me I said "O Jehovah, be gracious to me. Heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee." (Spurgeon)
There is healing for your deepest pains & disappointments. There is victory over addictions, past hurts as well as past failures. There is physical but even better spiritual healing available by running to the strong tower of Jesus your Jehovah rapha. If you have become sidetracked at Marah, bitter in soul & spirit, feeling that life is unfair or God is unfair, the only way to go from Marah to Elim & find sweet water is to run to Jehovah rapha, the God Who heals.
OTHER RESOURCES
How does the above truth parallel the scriptures below?
'See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death & give life. I have wounded & it is I who heal (rapha), & there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
, That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am Jehovah & there is no other, The One forming light & creating darkness, causing well-being (shalom = health, peace) & creating calamity. I am Jehovah Who does all these.
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