Keeping His Name Holy – Yahweh-rophe

Keeping His Name Holy – Yahweh-rophe

Keeping His Name Holy – Yahweh-rophe.

“If you will listen carefully to the voice of Yahweh your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am Yahweh who heals you, Yahweh-rophe.”  (Exodus 15:26).

After walking through the divided Red Sea, the escaping Hebrews were led by God into an Egyptian desert. They walked for three full days without water, which is close to the maximum a body can survive without water. The Hebrews were desperately thirsty, and they complained instead of prayed. Here they are, they  just experienced an amazing miracle at the Red Sea, but they began to complain to Moses instead of pray to God. Isn’t that just like us humans, when the flesh is weak and we complain right after a blessing from God? We have such a short memory. So as he often did during the wandering years, Moses went straight to God and asked for His help. Moses took the mantle of leadership and represented them in their concerns. God answered Moses’ cry for help, His mercy was demonstrated once again. God asked Moses to pick up a stick and throw it into the bitter stream of undrinkable water in a nearby oasis. Immediately the water became drinkable and all the people drank to their heart’s content. This is when God revealed Himself as Yahweh-rophe… the LORD who heals. In the restoration of the oasis stream, God wanted to provide a visual aid, an object lesson, to teach the Hebrews about His desire to heal. The thirsty Hebrews had a teachable moment, and God provided the lesson. Yahweh can heal the stream, He can heal their thirst, He can heal their murmuring spirit.

Yahweh-rophe is a compound name, and it occurs only this once in Scripture. Rophe means to heal, restore, return to health, and that word occurs more than 60 times when referring to God’s ability and desire to heal. The LORD is a healer, and He is not limited to physical healing. In Isaiah 61:1, God talked about “binding up the broken hearted.” In Jeremiah 3:22, God desires to heal their wayward hearts, their backsliding, which seems more of a spiritual healing. In Jeremiah 30:17, God refers to all kinds of healing, “I will restore (rophe) you to health, and heal (rophe) your words, declares Yahweh.”

One important sign of the Messiah’s arrival was that of healing. Isaiah 35:5-7 spells it out clearly, “And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind, and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!” And Isaiah continues with how God will heal nature as well, “Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.” We have to wait for the full healing of nature till heaven, of course, but Jesus certainly brought to earth God’s healing power regarding the people.

When John the Baptist asked Jesus for proof that He was the Messiah, Jesus offered His healing ministry as proof, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard – the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” (Luke 7:22). Christ is a healer. It’s in His Spiritual DNA, it’s a part of who He is, a part of His character, an instinct. Like Father like Son.

And God is still a healer. Jesus reminded us in His Word that we need to humbly be aware of our need for inner healing because of sin, for the Spirit of God to mend us and restore us to health. Be aware of your brokenness, He says, for when you know you are sick, you’ll seek out the doctor. Without this awareness, we would unfortunately live under the delusion that we don’t need His attention. The  Spirit of Jesus will continue His ministry of healing as we open ourselves to Him. Any healing we experience now is a gracious and wonderful foretaste of what all believers will experience in the New Jerusalem. In heaven, we will all be healed, inside and out. In the Kingdom, we will all be restored to wholeness, which will gladden God’s heart, and ours. And then we can say in full voice, “Let all that I am praise Yahweh; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise Yahweh; may I never forget all his benefits. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.” (Psalm 103:1-4).

A Prayer to Yahweh-rophe (ya’-way ro’phay)

We gratefully offer ourselves to you, Yahweh-rophe, LORD-healer, the Great Physician. For only you can make the bitter sweet, and bring the dead back to life. Your Spirit of love yearns to open the eyes of the blind, and strengthen the legs of the weak. You are poised to bind up the broken hearted, release the oppressed, and proclaim freedom for the captives living in darkness. You are the sun of righteousness who will rise with healing in your wings.  You alone, Almighty Yahweh, are the balm for the sorrows and suffering of your people. Thank you for sending your Son to heal and restore so many. And we thank you that He continues His ministry of healing to this day. We bow before you, Yahweh-rophe, and exalt your holy Name. Amen.