November 9, 2020

JEHOVAH RAPHA: God Our Healer

Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  Acts 3:6

You may have seen one of them yourself. A number of independent studies are showing a definite relationship between prayer and–are you ready for this?  Physical healing.  In some cases, individuals pray for themselves. In others elders in a local church lay hands on someone and the person is healed. But in some situations, reports a physician in San Francisco General Hospital, the individuals themselves who recovered didn’t even know anyone was praying.

Surprised? You should not be if you believe the record of Scripture.  Neither would Moses have been surprised, either. Take time to read Exodus 15 from your Old Testament. There you will read the story of Moses’ encounter with the bitter waters of Marah. Here’s the background.

After crossing the Red Sea, the people were without fresh water for three days–a pretty long time to be thirsty – and then they came to a spring.  “Wonderful!” the people thought, but their elation soon turned to sorrow.  They discovered the water wasn’t fit to drink, so they gave the spring the name Marah, meaning “bitter” in Hebrew.  Then Moses did what you would have done.  He prayed, and God told him to cast a piece of wood into the water. “He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet” reads Exodus 15:25.  Then God spoke.  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” (Exodus 15:26).

Did you notice that phrase, “I am the Lord who heals you!”  It says literally, I am Jehovah Rapha, meaning “God, the one who heals you!”  But that was a long time ago, cries the skeptic, suggesting that God no longer does things such as this.

Jesus, of course, did not believe that. He healed the sick, the broken hearted, the spiritual wrecks. He just spoke the word and it happened.  “Yes,” you say, “but He was God.”  The disciples also believed that God answers prayer and heals the sick.  Peter and John confronted a cripple at the Gate Beautiful in the temple area.  Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6).

Simple, often very poor believers in China also believe that Jehovah Rapha or “The God who heals” is still in business.  Time doesn’t allow my telling of first-hand reports how in response to simple, fervent prayers, cancers have dried up and dropped off the shining faces of joyful Christians, or God gave deliverance from enemies destined to put them in prison.

“OK, then,” why don’t we see more of this today?”  The following story may answer that question.  A small boat was cast adrift near the mouth of the giant Amazon River, and their supply of fresh water became exhausted. Seeing a ship nearby they posted a distress signal, and the ship drew nearby to determine what was the problem.  Hearing their desperate plea for water, the captain responded, “Just put your bucket over the side and you have your answer!”  The thirsty, deprived sailors didn’t know that fresh water–not saltwater–flowed in the banks of one of the greatest rivers in the world.

Today’s commentary is a reminder that God is still Jehovah Rapha, and whether you are in a hospital, an African hut, a Russian village, or the heart of a great city, God is still in the business of bringing healing and health to our lives and souls.  Thank God some things never change.

Resource reading: Exodus 16:22-27