We’ve been learning about the different names that God uses to reveal different elements of His nature and character and in this program we’re going to look at the name Yahweh (Yaho’vah) Rapha.
Exodus 15:22-26, ‘Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they couldn’t drink the water of Marah for they were bitter; therefore, it was named Marah. So the people grumbled at Moses saying, “What shall we drink?” Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation and there He tested them. And he said, “If you’ll give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what’s right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I’ll put none of the diseases on you which I’ve put on the Egyptians, for I, the Lord, am your healer.”’
We’ve already learned that Yahweh (Yeho’vah) means ‘The Existing One’ or ‘Lord”.
Rapha in Hebrew means to ‘restore,’ to ‘heal’, or to ‘make healthful’. Together, this names means Yahweh/God who heals.
As soon as you say the word ‘healer’ you immediately limit this to mean physical healing, and while it does of course include physical healing it’s so much more than that. Here are a few examples…
Jeremiah 3:22, ”Return O faithless sons, I will heal (restore) your faithlessness.” “Behold, we come to You; for You are the Lord our God.”
This is talking about restoring the faithlessness within the hearts of the national people of Israel. It’s not about physical healing.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14, “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by Me name, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal (restore) their land.”
This was a promise by God to restore the fruitfulness of the land if God’s people would be humble enough to confess their sins and turn from them. Again, this is not about the healing of the physical body.
Isaiah 30:26, ‘The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the Lord bind up the fracture of His people and heals (restores) the bruise He’s afflicted.’
In this verse we see that God Himself, as a means of cause and effect. His people had sinned and God did something to wound or bruise them as a national collective to turn their hearts back to Him. The blessing would be vastly more than they would have ordinarily experienced.
There are lots of verses that refer to physical, bodily healing, which is what we tend to focus on when we think of God as a healer, but the reality is far more holistic. In fact, the healing of a nation, the healing of a society, the healing from sin, rebellion, idolatry, unrighteous and things of that nature are far more important.
In fact, sometimes the things that affect us physically are often the things that God uses to get our attention so that we’ll turn away from the sin we’ve embraced and return to Him and when we do, He’ll heal us…maybe with physical healing but also our land, our society, our economies, our families.
Yahweh Rapha is about holistic healing of the whole, the physical needs of the individual and the mental and societal needs of entire communities and even nations.
If we go right back to the very first portion of Scripture we looked at, Exodus 15:22-26, where the Israelites in the wilderness came upon bitter water they couldn’t drink, they called the water Marah, meaning that it was bitter. God made the water sweet, He healed it for them so they’d live.
Remember the story of Ruth and Naomi, living in the land of Moab, and Naomi lost her husband and both her sons and she was devastated. Her daughter-in-law Ruth remained with her, they returned to Israel together. In Ruth 1:20, Naomi says something almost heart wrenching.
Ruth 1:20, ‘She (Naomi) said to them, “Don’t call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”’ The name Mara, spelt ever so slightly different to the word Marah in Exodus 15, means ‘Bitterness.’
But what did God do for Naomi? God provided the redemption and healing of the land that belonged to her family, God healed her family line and heritage when one of her own tribe and family line – Boaz – became the kinsmen-redeemer who redeemed or married Ruth and provided future generations for Naomi and her deceased husband and sons and from that union of Ruth and Boaz we get king David and eventually, Jesus the Messiah Himself.
That’s the kind of healing that comes from Yahweh Rapha.
Blue Letter Bible