Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 15: Jehovah Rapha, our Healer

And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 'Give us each day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:2-4 NASB)

Jehovah Rapha'

The purpose in studying the names of God is to learn more about who He is by learning what He says about Himself, as well as what people say about Him as they experience His grace. Today, we look at one of my favorite names of God, Healer. Rapha comes from root words that mean "to sew together, to mend" and is used in Scripture in several ways. It is used to indicated healing a wound or a wounded person (as in sewing up the wound) as well as to heal a sick person of illness. Rapha is also used to indicate "healing" of a group of people, a nation, or land and, in this use, it carries the idea of restoration and pardon. Rapha is also used to indicate the giving of comfort, with the idea of healing a sorrow. 

When God says He is our healer, our Rapha, He means that He can, and will, heal our hurts, our physical ailments, our sorrows, and the results of our sin. In fact, the first time the word is used in Scripture is when He heals the barrenness of Abimelech's household as a result of Abraham's prayer. (Genesis 20:17) In Exodus 15:26, God promises that He will protect those who obey Him from the diseases of the Egyptians, "for I am the Lord that healeth thee". The Hebrew words translated as "I am the Lord that healeth thee" are actually "Yehovah rapha'" (Jehovah Rapha). 

Rapha is the word used when Elijah restored the altar of God (1 Kings 18:30) and for healing the land (2 Kings 2:21). It is also the word used when Elisha healed the poisonous water in the spring (2 Kings 2:21). Two years ago, I sat with my picnic lunch beside the spring of Elisha and drank from the water. Thousands of years ago, that water was miraculously healed by God and it is still clear and fresh, still healed, today. Isn't that how it should be with us? Healing is one of the ways that God demonstrates His power, as well as His love, for His people. When we have a hurt, be it physical or spiritual, that is completely healed by God, we should not only stay healed, but be a monument to His power for centuries to come. 

We will look at Rapha in greater depth as we go along, but, for today, let's remember the ways in which God has brought healing to our lives. Has He healed us physically, healed us of the blight of sin and it's consequences, healed our land, restored us when we were brokenhearted? Let's be sure to thank Him for the gift of healing He has accomplished and live in such a way that all can see the remarkable difference He has made in our lives. Let's be sure our lives are a monument to His power and love.