09-17-06-The Names of God-Jehovah Rophe

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In our study of the names of God, thus far we have seen Him revealed to us as Elohim—Sovereign Ruler and Creator, Jehovah/Yahweh—the great “I AM Who I AM—the ever present One,” El Shaddai—the All Sufficient and Bountiful One who blesses, Lord or Adonai—the One who is in control that we surrender to, and Jehovah Jireh—the One who see and provides.   Each name that we have looked at has given us a different revelation about God and His character.  Remember our purpose is not just to know who God is, but to experience who He is in our lives.

It is important that we note these revelations were given progressively as a need arose in the lives of God’s people.  It is also true today that we only learn different parts of God’s character as we go through various trials and experiences of life.  Although it is true that God is our comforter we will never truly know God as our personal comforter, until we find ourselves in a situation where we need His comfort.   Although God is the God of Peace, until we need His peace, we will never experience the fullness of the Prince of Peace in our lives.  The same is true with His righteousness, joy, hope, etc.

When we looked at Jehovah Jireh a few weeks ago, we began to examine the compound names of God associated with the name Jehovah.  Today we are going to look at the next compound name of Jehovah that is found in scripture.  It is the name Jehovah Rophe (Rapha, Rofi).  Go with me to Exodus 15:22-27

¨     22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” 25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of 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 (Jehovah Rophe).” 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

 

To understand the significance of this revelation, we must examine the situation they were in.  If you look back to Ex 15:1-21 you will see Israel praising God for His great deliverance over the Egyptians when He parted the Red Sea and they crossed over on dry ground.  Then the Egyptians followed and the Lord brought the waves crashing down on them destroying the Egyptian army that had sought to destroy Israel.  I’m sure there was wild dancing and partying (vs. 21), since remember they had been spared from going back to the bondage of Egypt or death at the hand of the Egyptians.

Now 3 days later they are in the wilderness and have no water.  The water that is in front of them is bitter (Marah=bitter).  I can imagine some running up to taste it when they saw it and spitting it out quickly.  So what did they do, call out to Jehovah who delivered them from the bondage of Egypt with a mighty hand?  Would it have been too difficult for their great God (Elohim who created everything from nothing) to have provided water for them?  Was He not Jehovah Jireh the God who sees and provides?

Sadly the scriptures record that they did not trust God to provide for their needs.  In vs. 24 we see the people grumbling and complaining to Moses because they don’t have water to drink.  How quickly they forgot God’s awesome power that had been displayed only 3 days before.  Oh my friends, let us not forget this important truth when we have bitter experiences in life—do not mumble or complain because of what you don’t have but learn to praise Him and trust Him in all things for what He has provided for us though His great mercy.  AMEN!

So Moses cries out to the Lord God Jehovah—the One that told Moses that He would deliver the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt and take them to a land flowing with milk and honey.  The Lord shows Moses a tree (or piece of wood—NIV) and when it is thrown into the waters it make the bitter water sweet or pleasant to drink. 

Now the obvious parallel between Christ dying on a tree to make our bitter lives sweet cannot be missed. 

¨     Gal 3:13-14 (NIV) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree (Deut 21:23).” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

¨     1 Pet 2:24 (NIV) He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.

It is only because of Christ dying on the tree (cross) that there is redemption for mankind.  It is only because He was willing to become the curse that resulted from sin that you and I can have newness of life.  It is only because of Jehovah Rophe in the form of Jesus being willing to take our curse upon Himself that you and I can have salvation today.  In fact, it is because of the Lord taking the curse upon Himself that there can be a sweetness to our life.  This should be a characteristic of the Christian, that we would be sweet, pleasant water to those around us who are thirsty. 

 

Let’s return to our text in Ex 15 because it is in the revelation of Jehovah Rophe that there is significant truth for us.  Notice again the end of vs. 25-26

¨     . . . There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of 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 (Jehovah Rophe).

 

What kind of healing was God referring to?  Physical healing only?  Were they sick—maybe some were from the ravages of the desert—but there is no mention of them needing physical healing for a disease or plague.  So what did they need—water to drink.  So what does God giving them water to drink have to do with Him being their healer?  I believe the answer is found in examining what God told them.  They had been mumbling and complaining because the water was bitter and this denied the power of God in their lives.  By God providing the water that was needed for life, He was showing them that He was their personal God and was with them on the journey.  He was leading them every step of the way (even to the bitter water of Marah) and all they had to do was trust Him.  The scripture says that He tested them—sadly they failed this test and many more tests until the whole generation that left Egypt—except Joshua and Caleb—died in the wilderness.

Let me be clear when I say that our God is a healing God, however, this revelation is clearly linked to conditions.  Not only that, but He is The Healer—not just in the physical area, but in all areas—emotional, physical, spiritual.  For us to see God as only a healer in the physical realm is to limit His power.  It is only by His mercy that we have been given healing—we must never forget that.  He has given us healing for all of man—spirit, soul, and body.  As we saw before healing has been provided for our spirit through the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin.  There is no doubt that the scriptures say that we can be physically healed.  Here are just a few scriptures:

¨     Psalm 103:2-3 (NIV) 2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits— 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

¨     Prov 4:20-22 (NIV) My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

¨     Isaiah 53:4-5 (NIV) 4 Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

¨     1 Pet 2:24 (NIV) He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.

If you look carefully at these scriptures you will see that the healing of our bodies is connected to the healing of our spirits and souls.  We are all born into this world with sick souls and it takes Jehovah Rophe to heal them. God does not want to just be the healer of our bodies, but our total healer—body, soul, spirit.

 

Getting back to the conditions, we will see that God said “if” you will, then “I will.”  I know that there are many questions concerning healing and I will not attempt to answer them in this message.  Healing was bought and paid for us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, so it is not a matter of us being able to do good works to receive our healing.  However, I believe that if we want God to be the total healer of our lives—spirit, soul, and body we must agree with the Word of God.  Hebrews 3:18 tells us that just as the Hebrews of old were unable to enter the rest of God (i.e. the Promised Land), we too cannot experience spiritual rest if we are unfaithful to God.

¨     Hebrews 3:16-4:1 (NIV) 16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter His rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. 1 Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.

 

So here are the 4 conditions God said:

  1. “Listen carefully to the voice of the Lord”—this means to listen intently with the idea of obedience.   Many years later, Samuel will tell King Saul “to obey is better than sacrifice.” 

¨     1 Sam 15:22 (NIV) 22 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

2.     “Do what is right in His eyes”—once we have heard the voice of the Lord then we must do what He said.  This can be hard at times, when God asks us to get out of our comfort zone, but it is necessary for us to do what He says if we want to walk in His divine health in our lives.  For example, Paul said that many had died and were sick because they did not rightly discern the body of Christ at the communion table (1 Cor 11:30), this is why we always examine our hearts before taking communion.

3.     “Pay attention to His commands”—not only were they to listen to God’s voice, but also to pay attention to what He had commanded them to do so they would not transgress His law through ignorance.  We must learn, memorize, and study the Word of God to make it our daily food so we can be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

4.     “Keep all His decrees”—who is in charge, us or God?  If He is truly the Lord, then He must be the one who is in control and we must recognize and submit to His Lordship over us.

 

God had to teach the people that His presence among them did not mean they would be free of the problems of daily living. Nevertheless, if they lived each day in obedience to Him, He would help them survive in the desert amid hardship and disease.[1]   Since this is what He is, Jehovah-Rapha (Rophe), obedience to divine instruction and guidance will obviously bring healing, not the consequence of plagues like those visited upon Egypt.[2]   Let us examine our hearts today and see if we are guilty of murmuring and complaining like the children of Israel.  Also let us learn to live our lives according to the instructions He gave when He revealed that He is Jehovah Rophe—the God who heals us.  To listen to His voice and obey, to do what He wants us to do, to learn His Word and to submit to Him as our Lord and Savior.   If we see areas where we are missing the mark, then this is a great time to confess and repent before our God so that we can walk in His blessings of health and life.

 


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[1]Fleming, D. C. (1994, c1988). Concise Bible commentary. Also published under title: The AMG concise Bible commentary. (37). Chattanooga, Tenn.: AMG Publishers.

[2]MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Ex 15:26). Nashville: Word Pub.

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