What does it mean that God is Jehovah-Rapha?Question: "What does it mean that God is Jehovah-Rapha?"
Answer: Jehovah-Rapha (more properly Yahweh-Rapha) means “The Lord Who Heals” in Hebrew. Jehovah-Rapha is one of the many different names of God found in the Old Testament.
The name Jehovah-Rapha appears in Exodus 15:26. God says to the people of Israel, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
The context of God’s revelation of His name Jehovah-Rapha is an incident that took place early on in the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites. They had just left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. Moses took them into the Desert of Shur, where “for three days they traveled in the desert without finding water” (Exodus 15:22). The Lord was testing them and their faith.
The Israelites’ test in the desert was soon amplified. They came across a body of water, but, to their great consternation, they could not drink from it. They called the water Marah, which means “bitter.” Their souls began to turn bitter, as well, and they “grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What are we to drink?’” (Exodus 15:24). Moses did exactly what he should have done: he prayed to the Lord, and “the Lord showed him a piece of wood” (verse 25). Following God’s instructions, Moses threw the wood into the water, and the water miraculously became fit to drink.
Immediately after the Lord “healed” the waters of Marah, He identified Himself to them as Jehovah-Rapha: “I am the Lord, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). He doesn’t just heal water; He heals people. The healing of the waters was a demonstration of God’s power to overcome any impurity, contamination, or corruption. This power was going to work on behalf of the Israelites, God’s chosen people, as the Lord brought them to the Promised Land.
Along with giving His name Jehovah-Rapha, God gives the Israelites a promise: “I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians” (Exodus 15:26). This is a reference to the ten plagues that God had recently sent upon the Egyptians—plagues including boils, the death of livestock, devastating hail, etc. Like many Old Testament promises to Israel, this one was conditional; God’s people were required to “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” (verse 26, ESV; cf. Deuteronomy 30).
Jehovah-Rapha has the power to heal physically (2 Kings 5:10), emotionally (Psalm 34:18), mentally (Daniel 4:34), and spiritually (Psalm 103:2–3). Neither impurity of body nor impurity of soul can withstand the purifying, healing power of Jehovah-Rapha.
Jesus Christ showed that He was the Great Physician who heals the sick. In Galilee, Jesus went from town to town, “healing every disease and sickness among the people” (Matthew 4:23). In Judea “large crowds followed him, and he healed them there” (Matthew 19:2). In fact, “wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed” (Mark 6:56). Not only did Jesus heal people physically, He also healed them spiritually by forgiving their sins (Luke 5:20). Every day, in every way, Jesus proved Himself to be Jehovah-Rapha in the flesh.
Recommended Resources: The Names of God by Ken Hemphill
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