Jehovah Jireh was translated as ‘The Lord WILL Provide.’ Jehovah Nissi was translated as ‘The Lord IS My Banner.’ We spoke of how through these names of God, we see aspects and perspectives of Christ and His finished work.
To be precise, Christ is our Provision, indeed, and He is the guarantee that God, as a faithful Father, will continue to provide, in what I see as a continuous fashion. I mean, it isn’t like He gives us a one-time big-time blessing and leaves us for the rest of our lives. Indeed, now that I think about it, the Father could have stopped the Prodigal Son far from their home; He then could have just told the Prodigal Son that another 1 Billion shekels was deposited to his account and left it up to him to do what he wanted with it.
No, the Father was gracious, full of wisdom and love, in that He not only covered His Son with a robe, but also restored his authority (ring) and guaranteed his protection (sandals), representations of the greater blessing, being that of reconciliation – for by the robe, the ring, and the sandals, He was welcoming His son back… And going even further by fully addressing any protest, by means of assuring his jealous elder brother that even he has everything the Father has. To both sons, the Father says, I have provided, I am providing, and I WILL provide.
For our day and age as believers, we have Christ as our guarantee of the same.
Last week, we heard from Pastor Poppo as he shared his own heart on how our God is Jehovah Nissi, or the Lord who IS our Banner. And to cut the long story short, while the victory of the nation of Israel was literally dependent on the strength of men – Moses, Aaron and Hur – Christ’s ultimate victory was accomplished at the cross. His beaten, bruised, and bloodied body raised, a literal banner of Christ’s death defeating sin and death. His hands raised and forever raised as they have been nailed to the cross, and in His final moments He said, ‘It is finished.’
Christ’s victory is final and absolute, just as something as infinite as perfect love has utterly engulfed and consumed the sum of all that is finite, in death and sin and fear.
Concerning ‘Jehovah Rapha’, or, ‘The Lord is my Healer’, would we say this is a perspective of God with continuity, or finality?
The first time we hear about Jehovah Rapha is in Exodus 15. In the first part of the chapter, Moses is rejoicing and proclaiming the Lord’s victory over the Egyptians. Later on, the chapter tells of when the Israelites come upon a stream which they call Marah, because the waters were too bitter to drink.
The Lord instructs Moses to take a tree and cast it into the stream, and as a result, the waters became ‘sweet’. After this the Lord speaks to the people through Moses, saying that they should obey, so that the afflictions of the Egyptians will not be placed upon them, for He is ‘The Lord Who Heals.’
Here is the exact transcript as described in Exodus 15:22-26 :
Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”
If you’ve noticed anything for the past messages, I hope it’s that you see how what we’ve been taking in as the ‘Names of God’ so far are from the Old Testament, from Exodus, to be precise.
Taking a page from Andy Stanley’s playbook, he has an interesting perspective on the grace of God, especially when it comes to the Old Testament. See, from his point of view, God’s grace was demonstrated to Israel when He gave them the Law to give them a clear picture of the God who was taking care of them – spending more than a century under a foreign power, their own outlooks and perspectives needed correction.
I find this to be a considerable possibility. Take a look at the 10 Commandments. We can surely look at them as things for us to do, but we can also take a look at them in the sense that this is the God who loves us. God is absolute and there are no Gods that match Him, for He is Creator, and therefore superior to creation. God respects people individually and therefore places value in His name, and ours as well. This goes on, up until the last Commandment.
I think that’s the approach we should keep in mind, especially when we talk about something as controversial as Jehovah Rapha.
The Lord who Heals… has been taken for granted, if not taken too lightly. We tell folks that the physical healing of our bodies is guaranteed. We tell folks about miracles, and while I don’t deny that our God can do miracles, we call them miracles because they are miraculous, and not because we’ve prayed a lot or believed a lot or gave a lot.
See, I’ve dived in to this fully aware of all the head scratching and all the smarmy looks I’m going to be getting. But we’re in the process of calibrating and clarifying what we stand for and what we believe as a church after all. In that regard I would be doing all of us a disservice if I did not share what was in my heart regarding this matter.
To clarify. When we say that God is our Jehovah Rapha, or the Lord who heals, we are not saying that we are guaranteed perfect physical health at the click of our fingers. No, we are saying that the greatest healing has already been accomplished, just as the greatest Provision has been provided, and just as the greatest victory has been won. At the cross, we have been healed, and not just healed but utterly purged of all that is killing us.
Christ became the cure for sin and death by becoming sin and taking our death. And the proof of us being fully healed of this great disease is seen in His resurrection, the only sure sign that the cup has been drained down to the dregs. By Christ’s life we truly understand that death has been defeated. We have been healed of sin and bitterness, and now we are righteous, and apparently, sweet.
To understand this allows us to be in awe of Christ’s finished work, no matter what pain and pleasure we experience in this world. By Christ’s finished work we are able to see for ourselves, how we have been fully and completely cleansed and cured, far beyond our own expectations. We bring ourselves to a healing state of eternal peace. No matter what the outcome of the matter is, even if it may end with our physical bodies perishing and decaying, we can truly say, it is well with my soul.
This is what it means to undergo healing as only God can orchestrate it. I salute our doctors and frontliners for what they do in the name of the preservation of our physical bodies. I salute our psychologists and counselors for their efforts in ensuring we are of a sound mind.
But more than them, I give thanks and praise to our Savior, Jesus Christ, for being the LORD who Heals – Body, Soul, and Spirit, by His death we have been fully restored and reconciled.
He is Jehovah Rapha.