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Old and New Testament
showed (Moses) a
- 1Pe 2:24-note) and he threw it into the (bitter)
waters and the waters became
RUN TO THE STRONG
THE LORD YOUR HEALER
What is the Progressive
Revelation of God's Names?
Genesis 1 -
- Creator - He created
you for His glory & you are His workmanship created for good works in
Genesis 2 -
- I Am that I Am -
see Exodus 3:1-14
Genesis 14 -
El Elyon - God Most High
- Sovereign & In Control of every event in your life, all filtered through
His fingers of love & designed to conform you to the image of His Son
Genesis 15 - Adonai - Lord, Master,
Owner for you are not your own but bought with a price
Genesis 16 -
- God Who Sees All
your trials & afflictions. Angel of Jehovah appears
Genesis 17 -
EL Shaddai - God
Almighty - All Sufficient & able to complete His good work in you
Genesis 22 -
Jireh - God Will
See & Provide the sacrificial offering
Exodus 3:14 -
Jehovah the great I Am Who
is anything & everything I will ever need
Exodus 12 - Passover Lamb - Redeemed
by the blood of the lamb
Exodus 15 - Jehovah
Rapha- God your
healer of all your diseases
Exodus 17 - Jehovah Nissi - Lord Your
Banner Who wins the victory
31:13, Lv 20:8, 21:8,15,23, 22:9,16,32 -
Jehovah Mekeddeshem - Lord Who Sanctifies You & makes you holy unto Himself
Judges 6 -
Jehovah Shalom - LORD is
your peace even in the midst of tumult & distress
The longer Israel journeyed
with God, the more He revealed to them His character & His ways - a
progressive revelation. When He delivered them from Egypt, Israel came to
know God as Jehovah Who heard & responded to their cry for deliverance
because of His covenant with Abraham (Ge 15:13-21; Ex 2:24; 3:7, 8; 6:5)
What is the
context for the revelation of Jehovah Rapha? What had just
'Moreover, they shall take some of the blood & put it on the two
doorposts & on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it....Now
you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your
sandals on your feet, & your staff in your hand; & you shall eat it
in haste --it is the Jehovah's Passover. (Jehovah Pesach)..."For
Jehovah will pass through to smite the Egyptians & when He sees (cf
Jireh) the blood on the lintel & on the two
doorposts, Jehovah will pass over the door & will not allow the
destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you....'It is a
Passover sacrifice to Jehovah Who passed over the houses of the sons
of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our
homes.' " & the people bowed low and worshiped.
So Israel learned as Abraham
had in Genesis 22 that God was Jehovah Jireh, the LORD Who provided the
sacrifice they needed to be redeemed from slavery - the Passover Lamb.
How do John,
Paul & Peter explain the OT Passover lamb?
he saw Jesus coming to him & said, "Behold, the Lamb of God Who
takes away the sin of the world"
1Co 5:7b "Christ our
Passover also has been sacrificed"
1Pe 1:18, 19-note
...you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold
from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but
with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished & spotless, the blood
Paschal Lamb as type of Christ
Jehovah Jireh's next provision in Exodus 14?
Ex 14:10, 13, 14, 31 As
Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked & behold, the Egyptians were
marching after them & they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel
cried out to Jehovah... But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand
by & see the salvation of Jehovah which He will accomplish for you today
for the Egyptians whom you have seen today you will never see them again
forever Jehovah will fight for you while you keep silent... When Israel
saw the great power which Jehovah had used against the Egyptians, the
people feared Jehovah, & they believed in Jehovah & in His servant Moses
How did Israel
respond to Jehovah giving them victory over Pharaoh?
Ex 15:1, 2,
3, 11, 17, 21: Then Moses & the sons of Israel sang this song to Jehovah &
said, "I will sing to Jehovah for He is highly exalted. The horse & its
rider He has hurled into the sea. Jehovah is my strength & song & He has
become my salvation; This is my Elohim & I will praise Him, My father's
Elohim & I will extol Him. Jehovah is a warrior; Jehovah is His name...
"Who is like Thee among the gods, O Jehovah? Who is like Thee, majestic in
holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders... "You will bring them &
plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, the place, O Jehovah which
You have made for Your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Adonai, which Your hands
have established... Miriam answered them, Sing to Jehovah for He is highly
exalted. The horse & his rider He has hurled into the sea."
incredible praise chorus. Imagine you were there & had just seen the
entire Egyptian army destroyed... as Israel reached the other side of the
shore they began to sing this song extolling Jehovah's for His great &
still the same Deliverer? How does my life show I truly believe that? What
thought do I need to take captive & replace with the truth that He is able
to deliver me either in the trial or through the trial?
(cf Da 3:17,18)
faith relate to worship?
See column on context
for additional truths about God
click map to
How does Israel arrive
at bitter waters in Ex 15:22ff?
Was it by "chance"?
Ex 13:18, 21, 22: Hence Elohim led
the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea & the
sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt....
Jehovah was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead
them on the way, & in a pillar of fire by night to give them light,
that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the
pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before
So clearly Israel is not at
Marah by "chance" but by providence, being led by El Roi Who sees all
things, even before they happen & Who as El Elyon is in total control of
every detail even whether the water tastes bitter or sweet.
the question is "Why did God allow this situation?"
The key is in Ex 15:25: "there
How? With bitter water to see if they would trust Him as Jehovah
Jireh their provider or whether in unbelief they would
These same tests are allowed
into our lives as believers. Will we trust Him? We must remember that the
disappoints are also God's appointments & every extremity is an
opportunity to see God's great & mighty deeds & to learn something about
As Max Lucado put it...
"Their jubilation over liberation soon becomes frustration over
does God test His children?
The refining pot is for silver & the furnace for gold but Jehovah
For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is
Spurgeon) (cf Isa 48:10
Spurgeon) (Job 23:10)
For additional insight
on the "thorny" topic of tests, see Torrey's Topic "Afflictions
Can Be Beneficial"
Other times of testing:
Ge 22:1, Ex 16:4, 20:20, Dt 8:2,16, 13:3 // Jdg 2:22,3:1,4, Ps 81:7-note,
God had one Son without sin,
but He never had sons without trials. It is not known what quality grapes
yield until they come to the wine press. When we are squeezed what comes
out indicates what's on the inside! When you came to "Marah" this week,
what came out? Grumbling like Israel or crying out like Moses?
What was Jehovah Jireh's
provision for bitter water?
What greater provision did it foreshadow?
Ex 15:25 Jehovah showed
tree & he threw it into the
waters & the waters became
There is little doubt that the
"healing" of the bitter waters by a tree foreshadowed another "healing"
tree, the "tree" of Calvary. The Greek Septuagint translates the Hebrew
for "tree" with xulon,
which is used in...
bore our sins in His body on the cross ("tree"
xulon), so that we might die to sin
and live to righteousness;
of explanation) by His
(Jehovah Rapha's) wounds you were
And not coincidentally the
same Greek word (xulon)
is used for the "tree of life" in Gen 2:9 and Rev
22:2,14 which also was for healing!
"the leaves of the
tree were for the healing of the nations"
Not everyone agrees with
this explanation of the tree -- in the "Shabbat Shalom" column in the
Jerusalem Post (2/7/02) Rabbi Riskin writes "Clearly the tree... is a
symbolic reference to Torah [The Law] as well as to perfection"
To which Paul would
"The sting of death is
sin, and the power of sin is the law [Torah] but thanks be to God,
Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Co
"Christ redeemed us
of the Law, having become a
for (Gk = huper = on
our behalf = substitutionary atonement) us--for it is
written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A
What other truth is revealed about God in Ex 15:26?
And He said "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of Jehovah
your Elohim & do what is right in His sight & give ear to His
commandments & keep (guard as a watchman, protect, treasure) all His
statutes I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on
the Egyptians (cf Dt 28:60, 61, 62, 7:15); for I,
Jehovah Rapha (Rophe) (yhwh ropecha)
See Spurgeon's sermon - Jehovah Rophi
Under what conditions would Jehovah Heal Israel or exempt them from
the plagues of Egypt?
(1) Listen (give earnest
(2) Obey (do what is right)
(3) Seek truth (give ear to His commandments)
(4) Watch over His word, treasuring it, preserving it (Keep all His
Health, illness & Obedience go together & give us the principle:
Obedience brings Blessing & Disobedience brings judgment even as
Pharaoh's rebellion against God brought 10 plagues.
John MacArthur ...
"Since this is what He is, Jehovah-Rapha, obedience to divine
instruction and guidance will obviously bring healing, not the
consequence of plagues like those visited upon Egypt. This
promise is limited in context to Israel, most likely for the
duration of the Exodus only. The MacArthur Study Bible
Although I agree with
the above comment, an application of this truth is that God will be
as "Jehovah Rapha", the LORD Who heals, to everyone who trusts
in Him as their "Healer" for Isaiah prophecies that "by His
scourging we are
(Isa 53:5) for "all of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of
us has turned to his own way; But Jehovah has caused the iniquity of
us all To fall on Him." (Isa 53:6) & so He is the "Healer" to all who take refuge in
Him. (Note "rapha"
can be translated "Physician" so this passage gives
support to the phrase "The Great Physician"
The test Israel faced in
the wilderness is the same one believers face today: They & we have to
listen to the voice of God, do what is right & obey His commandments. This
is the pattern for victory when we face bitter circumstances which might
otherwise bring discouragement & disillusionment. Listen to God & obey His
From Ex 15:26 Who will
put the diseases on whom?
Clearly in context
Jehovah Rapha, the same God who gives healing.
How does the above truth
parallel the scriptures below?
Dt 32:39 'See
now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put
to death & give life. I have wounded & it is I who
heal (rapha), & there is no one
who can deliver from My hand.
Isa 45:6, 7 That men may know from
the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides
Me. I am Jehovah & there is no other, The One forming light &
creating darkness, causing
= health, peace) & creating calamity. I am Jehovah Who does all
These verses show
that as El Elyon, the sovereign Most High God holds the power to "put
plagues" on anyone He chooses but it is always in the light of His perfect
justice. He also has the mercy to heal whoever He chooses (Ps 103:3-note,
What can we learn
from the next place God led them?
Ex 15:27 Then they came to Elim
(Palm) where there were twelve springs of water & seventy date
palms, & they camped there beside the waters.
God tested Israel who
responded by testing God & yet God still in His kindness led them to a
"rest stop" of water & palm trees. God's "Elim's" are not far from the
"Marah's" -- there will times of trial, but there will also be seasons of
restoration. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the
Warren Wiersbe adds
"Life is not always battles and bitter waters. God brings us to the
refreshing oases from time to time, and for this we should praise Him.
However, we can never claim our inheritance if we linger at Elim. We are
pilgrims, not residents. Life is a combination of the bitter and the
sweet, triumphs and trials. If we are following God, however, we never
need fear what comes our way. And after the trial there is often a
spiritual “Elim” where God refreshes us. We must accept the bitter waters
with the sweet, knowing that God knows what is best for us."
How does Israel respond
to the first trial?
14:10, 11: As Pharaoh drew near,
the sons of Israel looked *, and behold, the Egyptians were marching
after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel
cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, "Is it because *
there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in
the wilderness ? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us
out of Egypt ?
So we see that from the
outset many in the camp had a grumbling, murmuring spirit, reflecting the
fact that they really did not trust Jehovah to deliver them out of this
How often we too are like
Israel, having experienced Jehovah's redemption & deliverance from bondage
& yet quickly shrinking back into unbelief thinking that the next trial is
too big for Him to handle &/or why did He even allow it in the first
As the last notes of the
glorious song of victory fade away...we come to the next scene...
does Israel respond to the next "wilderness test"?
Ex 15:22, 23, 24
Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea & they went out into the
wilderness of Shur ("wall") & they went 3 days in the wilderness &
found no water. When they came to
"bitter" Ru1:20) they could not drink the waters of
therefore it was named
Marah. So the
at Moses, saying, "What shall we drink ?" (cf other grumbling (cf.
Ex. 14:10, 11,
12; 16:2; 17:3; Nu 14:2; 16:11, 41).
Are you surprised that when
after great victory, you experience defeat, discouragement, dissension or
depression? Have you noticed how the spiritual "attacks" of the enemy
(which are allowed by God) are intensified immediately after we experience
spiritual victory? Be alert.
So here we find Israel, 3
days after victory and in a "no water" situation with parched &
burning. Their physical plight made it easy to forget the past mercy &
provision of Jehovah which are "new every morning." When the pain comes it
is easy to let your mind slip from the truth of past provisions isn't it?
Israel's physical condition began to impact their spiritual joy. Nothing
is more paralyzing than thirst. Place yourself in their sandals: dust &
rocks everywhere, children crying, nothing but sand & more sand in your
path & then on the horizon the hope of water as someone sees a palm grove.
Your expectations are high. Your anticipation almost uncontrollable. You
bring the cool water to your lips & spit it our because it is so bitter.
All hope destroyed, what else is left but to grumble at Moses.
But Who were they really
Obviously Jehovah Who had led them by
the "pillar of cloud by day & the pillar of fire by night".
Shekinah glory of the LORD) It's
God's fault we're in this fine mess!
How would you characterize
Israel's spiritual walk at this time?
Israel was walking by sight (& sense) & not by faith. They
were aggravated & probably felt a bit mocked by God. They were free
from slavery to Egypt but not to the lusts of their flesh & they
looked at their circumstances rather than to the God of all
circumstances. An easy trap for us all to fall into. How ironic that
Israel fail to believe that He who could hold back the walls of water
in the Red Sea could also provide a cup of water to drink. Who do I
look to when the "bitter" trial comes? To God or to myself or anything
but God? An "uplook" can make all the difference in the world on your
"outlook". How easy it is for us all to forget that God is "with us"
and "for us" when difficulties arise.
"Life is a great
laboratory, and each experience x-rays our hearts to reveal what we really
are. The waters of Marah revealed that the Jews were worldly, thinking
only of bodily satisfaction; they were walking by sight, expecting to be
satisfied by the world; they were ungrateful, complaining to God when
trials came their way."
outlines on the Old Testament
When life gives you lemons make lemonade God's way -
Cry out to Jehovah Rapha
How did Moses react to the
"bitter" water trial Ex15:25?
Then he cried out to the Jehovah, and Jehovah
showed him a
tree & he
threw it into the waters & the waters became
sweet. There He
made for them a statute & regulation & there He
When we experience difficult circumstances & come to a place where
or bitterness fill the "wells"
of our life, we need to remember that God has the power to make the bitter
into sweet. And remember that our bitter circumstances are there to test
us & to teach us to trust the Almighty God to meet every need (cf Php
but not every "want".
circumstances drove Israel to grumbling & Moses to prayer.
Where do they
Moses Cried to LORD (He
He threw tree in water (he Obeyed what he heard)
Note progression of water:
Too much water
> No water
> Bitter Water
Warren Wiersbe writes
The people went from rejoicing
to complaining! It is easy to sing when the circumstances are comfortable,
but it takes faith to sing when you are suffering. God tests us in the
everyday experiences of life to see whether we will obey Him. He is able
to change our circumstances, but He would rather change us (Php 4:10-note,
J. Vernon McGee in his unique
"Friend, there are many frustrations, disappointments, and
sorrows in life. Your plans can be torn up like a jigsaw puzzle. You may
have a little grave on a hillside somewhere. I have. May I say that we all
have our Marahs. You will not bypass them. You cannot detour around them,
skip over them, or tunnel under them.
God uses a branding iron. I remember West Texas, in the spring of the year
when the calves were branded. As a boy I would see the branding iron put
down on a little fellow. Oh, how he bellowed! It made me feel sort of sad
to hear him cry. But from then on everyone knew to whom he belonged. After
a calf was branded, it would not get lost. God does that for us today"
Every complaint against our circumstances, every grumble about the
weather, our job, our parents, our health, our foes, ultimately is
directed against the El Elyon, God Most High Who “works all things
after the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:11,
This is the mistake Israel made
at Marah. Because their eyes were not on Jehovah (and they literally
should have been since He was there in a pillar of fire by night & smoke
by day), they grumbled and blamed God's appointed leader Moses for the
Doesn’t that sound familiar?
When God surely and wisely
leads us to a “Marah experience” our response is a telltale indication
of where our eyes are.
When they are not on the Lord, we grumble loudly and blame our wife,
our employer, our friend, or our government.
Who have you blamed this week?
Cry out to Jehovah Rapha & then cling to the Tree He made available at
RELATIONSHIP OF THE HEBREW
WORD RAPHA TO THE GREEK WORD IAOMAI
In Exodus 15:26 the
context clearly emphasizes Jehovah's provision, His healing touch and thus
His Name, the LORD our Healer. While this healing
can be physical, our greater need and the one most emphasized in the OT uses of
the root word
is for spiritual
healing. And so for example in Hos 6:1 the prophet writes
Come, let us return to the
LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal (rapha;
us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
As noted in Hosea 6:1, the
rapha/rophe with the verb
which means to heal
physically, but more importantly in many contexts refers to "healing" from the "wounds" we have all
suffered from sin. And so in the NT, 1Peter 2:24-note
uses the same verb
explaining that "by His (Jehovah Rapha's) wounds (stripes) you were healed
quoting Isa 53:5b which uses
for "healed")." In context Peter is clearly speaking not of physical, but
of spiritual healing. Because of Adam's sin, we have all been "infected"
with the deadly "sin virus" (Ro 5:12-note),
which is "eternally terminal" unless cured by the Great Physician, Jehovah
Rapha, Jesus our Messiah! We all have "hardening" of the arteries (Gk =
sklerokardia, Mt 19:8; sklerotes = stubbornness in Ro 2:5-note)
of our spiritual hearts. Jehovah Rapha "cuts us open' (so to speak),
circumcising our heart
giving us a "heart transplant," a new heart heart of flesh in place of our
old sin-sick heart of stone. (cf Ezekiel 36:26-note).
May God's Spirit
grant that every reader of these truths about Jehovah Rapha, receive
Him as their Savior or if already saved, be continually enabled to walk in
His sin healing (sanctifying) power (cf Col 2:6-note,
for the glory of the Name of Yeshua our Messiah. Amen
What kind of disease does Jehovah
What is the meaning of the Hebrew word "RAPHA?"
answer to this question can be discerned from a survey of the 60+
uses (and additional discussion) of "rapha"
the Hebrew word for "heal". The 1st use (Ge 20:17) refers to
healing (of barrenness) by Elohim in answer to Abraham's prayer (The
effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Jas 5:16b,
The next use is translated "physicians" in (Ge
50:2). In 1Ki 18:30 we get a picture of what
rapha means when Elijah "repaired
the altar of the Jehovah which had been torn down".
In a scene similar to
that at Marah's bitter waters Elisha "went out to the spring of
water & threw salt in it & said, "Thus says the Jehovah, 'I have
these waters; there shall not be from there death or unfruitfulness
any longer." (2Ki 2:21)
conveys the idea of restoring something to its "normal" or
useful state. In (2Chr 7:14) we see the famous statement "I will hear from
heaven, will forgive their sin & will
heal (rapha) their
land" So the land
polluted by the sin of idolatry could be "healed" & made useful &
fruitful by Jehovah Rapha (in answer to repentant prayer). In (2Chr
after Hezekiah prayed "Jehovah heard Hezekiah &
healed the people." In
context this clearly refers to
"spiritual" healing as they had been remiss in celebrating the
LORD's Passover (cf 2Chr 30:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,
16, 17, 18, 19, 20)
Eliphaz trying to
"comfort" Job reminds him of the Almighty (Shaddai) saying "He
inflicts pain & gives relief. He wounds & His hands also
heal (rapha)." (Job 5:18, cf Dt
32:39; Isa 30:26; Hos 6:1)
God alone is the Source of all healing (even if He chooses to use
human vessels or other means). Echoing a similar usage of
in the Psalms, David cries out to Jehovah Rapha "O
Jehovah, be gracious to me.
Heal (rapha) my
soul, for I have
sinned against You." (Ps 41:4-note),
here referring to
And in (Ps
we see Jehovah answer sinful Israel's cry of distress -- "He sent
His word &
healed them &
delivered them from their
destructions" In (Ps 147:3-note)
we see the tenderness & compassion of Jehovah Rapha Who "heals
the brokenhearted & binds up their wounds." referring to
(spiritual) healing. (Je 6:14)
speaks of false healing "They have
healed (rapha) the brokenness of My people
superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' but there is no peace." (Click
Jer for all 11 uses). The 5 uses of
in Hosea refer primarily to spiritual healing of apostate
In sum Jehovah Rapha, the
Great Physician heals physical, spiritual & emotional ills. Although
physical healing is important, man's greater need is for healing of
relationships & our spiritual disease called sin. All around us we see the
ravages of sin & the need for healing. The need today is not much
different from Isaiah's time as described in (Is 1:5, 6-note)
where Isaiah describes Israel as a physical body sick from head to heart
to toe. How wonderful in that same chapter (Isa 1:16, 17, 18, 19, 20-note)
Isaiah gives preview of a clear prophecy that
healed (rapha)" (Isa 53:5)
note on preceding column) reaffirms this great truth in (1Pe 2:24-note)
- "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the
so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds
healed." It follows then that...
should we respond when we find ourselves drinking from the waters of
Ken Hemphill in his excellent book [which I highly recommend]
The Names of God answers with the following practical
listen earnestly to the voice of God. What is God trying to say to
you in your present circumstances? Sometimes we tend to hear God
clearly when we are on the mountaintop of spiritual victory. When we
get to Marah, we must tune our ears attentively to the voice of the
Lord. Ask yourself what God is saying through your circumstances.
What does God want to do in your life? What have you learned about
God from these events?
do what is right. In other words, behave righteously. Instead of
responding by grumbling & complaining when you find yourself at
Marah, do what is right. You can overcome your circumstances by
focusing on the reliability of the nature of God. Because He never
changes, you can know that He is loving & trustworthy & will meet
your every need.
obey God's commands. When you find yourself with bitter waters, look
to see if there are areas of disobedience in your life. Our desire
to obey Him emerges from the fact that we know His character. Thus
our obedience is the response of joyous confidence."
Truth to Remember About
Illness & Healing
(1). Sickness can be
related to personal sin.
There is no soundness in my flesh because of
Thine indignation. There is no
) in my bones because of my sin. (read
context of Ps 38:3-11-note
Ps 38:18-note For
I confess my iniquity. I am full of anxiety because of my sin.
There is a direct
correlation between sin & sickness, sickness not just of the body but of
the soul (see
Spurgeon's sermon below).
Don't misunderstand - as shown by the Scriptures below not every physical
a reflection of personal sin. In fact personal sin may not even be a
contributing factor. Nevertheless, because unconfessed sin is at
least a possible contributor in some instances of physical illness we
should be willing to ask God to search our hearts as in Psalm 139 below...
Ps 139:23, 24-note
Search me O God, & know my heart. Try me & know my anxious thoughts
& see if there be any hurtful way in me & lead me in the everlasting way (Spurgeon
sin is discovered or uncovered we should deal with
To not do so can have consequences as shown by Solomon's counsel in
conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses
forsakes (leaves behind, departs from) them will find compassion
(mercy, pity, tender affection). How blessed is the man who fears
always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
(adversity, affliction, distress)
Unforgiveness is an example of a
sin that can lead to one being given over to the "torturers" (Mt
18:34,35). John MacArthur comments that...
When believers forget their own divine
forgiveness by God and refuse to extend human forgiveness to fellow
believers, the Lord puts them under such torturers (the word can
refer to inquisitors) as stress, hardship, pressure, or other difficulties
until the sin is confessed and forgiveness is granted. As James tells us,
“Judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy” (Jas 2:13).
Wiersbe says that...
The world’s worst prison is the prison
of an unforgiving heart. If we refuse to forgive others, then we are only
imprisoning ourselves and causing our own torment.
Craig Blomberg adds...
Counselors often discover that a
client’s unwillingness to forgive someone lies deep at the heart of all
kinds of personal problems. (The New American Commentary)
Links related to
Although in one sense all illness is the consequence of the fall of
man & sin entering the world, not all disease is directly related to
Jn 9:1, 2, 3 "As
He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. & His disciples asked
Him "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be
born blind ? Jesus answered "It was neither that this man sinned,
nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be
displayed in him."
Jn 11:4b referring to
Lazarus' illness Jesus said "This
sickness is not to end
in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be
glorified by it."
Christians can be weak, sick or sleep if they are careless taking
1Cor 11:23-34, 29, 30 "For he who
eats and drinks, eats & drinks judgment to himself if he does not
judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak &
sick, and a number sleep. (metaphor for death)"
Rapha Who heals is also the One Who must judge sin, even in the life of a
child of God who will not judge it himself. (see Dt 32:39, Isa
The Cross (tree) is source of healing for sins
The chastening for our
well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are
and He Himself bore our
sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live
to righteousness; for by His wounds you were
Christ redeemed us from
the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is
written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"
On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve
kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every * month; and the leaves of
the tree were for the healing of the nations.
bitterness caused by sin can be healed by the Cross of Christ Who
became a curse for us on the Tree & made available the Tree of Life
(5). Confession & prayer
for one another can bring healing
Jas 5:16 Therefore,
confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that
you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can
The Word of God is the source of healing
Ps 107:20-note "Then they cried
out to Jehovah in their trouble. He saved them out of their
distresses. He sent His
delivered them from their
Pr 4:20, 21, 22
My son, give attention to my WORDS. Incline
your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight. Keep
them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find
to all their
body. (Health is Hebrew "marpe" derivative of "rapha")
(7) Fear of the
LORD is associated with healing
Mal 4:2 But for
you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with
wings; & you will go forth and skip about like calves from the
Pr 3:7, 8
Do not be wise in your own
eyes. Fear Jehovah & turn away from evil. It will be
body & refreshment to your bones.
Jehovah Rapha heals the
brokenhearted & the souls of men
binds up their
As for me I said "O
Jehovah, be gracious to me.
soul, for I have sinned against Thee." (Spurgeon)
There is healing for your deepest pains &
disappointments. There is victory over addictions, past hurts as well as
past failures. There is physical but even better spiritual healing
available by running to the strong tower of Jesus your Jehovah rapha.
If you have become sidetracked at Marah, bitter in soul & spirit,
feeling that life is unfair or God is unfair, the only way to go from
Marah to Elim & find sweet water is to run to Jehovah rapha, the God Who
Spurgeon's sermon - Jehovah Rophi
Jehovah Rophe - by Nathan Stone
Commentary on Exodus 15 by Bob
Deffinbaugh (click here for his thought provoking applications)
J.C. Ryle-Sickness (including "general benefits
which sickness confers on mankind" - Michael Brown in
Israel's Divine Healer however says
Ryle "overly extols the positive benefits of sickness" so read with
Israel's Divine Healer
by Michael Brown and Walter Kaiser
STUDY THE FOLLOWING
FOR INSIGHTS ON JEHOVAH RAPHA
means to heal (both figurative and
literal healing), to make whole, to restore to normal (restore health),
to cure, to repair. In 1Ki. 18:30 it refers to “repairing”
the altar of the Jerusalem temple. Rapha in its participial form,
rophe (meaning “one who heals”) is the Hebrew word used of
physicians in Jer. 8:22; Gen. 50:2; 2Chr 16:12; Job 13:4.
Rapha is usually translated in the Septuagint with the Greek verb
iaomai (see discussion below).
"Hebrew Honey" = Hebrew Word Studies - a work in
Kaiser remark that the root Hebrew rp' "fundamentally means
"to heal"....The Lord as rope' (rapha) could be supplicated
to make infertile wombs fruitful, mend earthquake-torn lands, make
poisonous waters wholesome or restore an apostate people....the Hebrew
usage of rp' (includes ideas) such as "heal, fix, mend,
restore, repair, remit, make wholesome/fresh,", etc....Thus in Ex
15:26..."I am the LORD your Healer"...fits quite
naturally in a
context that recounts (a) the Lord's making undrinkable waters wholesome
(Ex 15:22, 23, 24), and (b) His promise to keep obedient Israel free of
all the "sickness" (mahala) he inflicted on Egypt (including, presumably,
making the Nile waters undrinkable, along with smiting Egypt's land,
people, cattle). Clearly, He was more than Israel's "Great Physician," in
twentieth-century, Western terms. Rather, He was the Restorer, the One Who
made them whole. Thus one of the reasons why I translate yhwh rope 'eka
as "the LORD your Healer" is that "Healer" conveys a wider ranger of
meanings than do the terms physician, doctor, Arzt (German), or medecin
Miraculous healing by the hand of God
is found in Gen. 20:17; Ex 15:26;Dt 32:39; 2Ch. 30:20. In Nu 12:13,
Moses successfully pleads with Yahweh to cleanse Miriam from her
leprosy. A promise of healing is given in 2Ki. 20:5, 8; and in Ps 6:2
the psalmist begs for healing. Divine refusal to heal, as part of the
covenant curse, is noted in Dt 28:27, 35. Physical healing of an
indeterminate or general nature, without the mention of any agency, is
recorded in Ex 21:19; Lev. 13:18, 37; 2Ki. 8:29; Job 5:18....The metaphorical use of rapha is
found in a variety of contexts — for example, in 1Ki. 2:21, 22 the water
is “healed” in the sense of making it potable. The healing, or
restoration and renewal, of the land of Canaan occurs in a number of
places (cf. 2Ch 7:14; Ps 60:2; Isa 19:22). In Ezek 47:8 ff. a
spectacular vision of renewal describes the divine promise to bring
about a transformation of Canaan through the “healing” effect of the
river flowing out from under the sanctuary of the visionary temple.Rapha also indicates healing in
the sense of personal renewal (cf.Ps 41:4; 147:3; Eccl 3:3). Isa. 6:10;
30:26 both speak of heart renewal, or conversion. Especially significant
is the use of this term to indicate the forgiveness of sin through the
vicarious suffering of the Messiah in Isa. 53:5. Similar references to
such divine healing are found in Jer 3:22; 8:11; 30:17; 33:6; Hos. 6: 1;
7:1; 11:3; 14:4. A plea for healing in the sense of renewal, possibly
forgiveness, is found in Jer. 17:14. See also Lam. 2:13. Ezek 34: 4;
Zec. 11:16 refer to healing in the sense of being cared for from a
negative perspective — Israel’s leaders have sorely neglected the people
and failed to “heal” and nurture them. (Stephen Renn - Expository
W E Vine - “To heal” may be described as
“restoring to normal,” an act which God typically performs. Thus,
appeals to God for healing are common (Ps. 6:2 Jer. 17:14). Not only are
human diseases “healed,” but bad water is restored to normal or “healed”
(2Ki 2:22); salt water is “healed” or made fresh (Ezek 47:8); even pottery
is “healed” or restored (Je 19:11). A large number of the uses of
express the “healing” of the
nation—such “healing” not only involves God’s grace and forgiveness, but
also the nation’s repentance. Divine discipline leads to repentance and
“healing”: (Hos 6:1). God promises: (Je 30:17). Even foreign cities and
powers can know God’s “healing” if they repent (Je 51:8, 9). False prophets are condemned because
they deal only with the symptoms and not with the deep spiritual hurts of
the people: “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people
slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Je 6:14; Je
W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.
The meaning is straightforward in
virtually all passages. In the initial occurrence (Gen 20:17) in which God
heals Abimelech, the Qal stem is employed. The root is also used of human
healing, as a substantive, “physician” (Ge 50:2).
is also used of the
healing and forgiveness of Gentile nations (Isa 19:22; 57:18). In the Piel
and Hithpael stems the causative aspect is foremost (1Kgs 18:30), “He
healed (repaired) the altar.” However, a human subject is generally the
object of the healing (Ex 21:19), “He shall cause him to be thoroughly
healed.” The Hithpael has the passive mood characteristic of the stem
(2Kgs 8:29; 9:15), “In order that he could be healed.” The other
occurrence of the Hithpael is 2Chr 22:6. Possibly the most significant
usage is in the Niphal stem (1Sa 6:3), “Then you shall be healed”; (Dt
28:27), “of which you cannot be healed.” The stem is also used for the
restoration of objects (Je 19:11); the turning of salt water into fresh
(2Kgs 2:22). The themes of healing and restoration as connotations of
are combined in the usage
of Isa 53:5, “With his stripes we are healed.” In many of the occurrences,
it is God who causes healing or afflicts with disease or catastrophes
which cannot be healed but by divine intervention.
R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
- A verb meaning to heal, to make fresh.
It describes the process of healing, being restored to health, made
healthy, usable, fertile (Baker, W.. The Complete Word Study Dictionary :
Old Testament. Page 1070. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers)
The Open Bible -
Rapha is a verb, which means quite
literally “to heal of hurts.” Sometimes God is the Healer as He
is in Gen. 20:17 and Ps. 107:20. At other times humans are the healers
or physicians (2 Chr. 16:12; Eccl. 3:3). In the figurative sense, God
heals the hurts of the nation, which indicates restored favor and
forgiveness. There are many uses of the word in this context. The other
figurative use of the word comes in the context of individual distress,
which can be healed as in Job 5:18 and Ps. 41:5. (The Open Bible : New
King James Version)
translates rapha as -- become fresh(3), completely healed(1),
heal(24), healed(22), healer(1), healing(2), heals(3), physician(1),
physicians(4), purified(2), reappeared(1), repaired(2), take care(1).
translates rapha as - heal 57, physician 5, cure 1, repaired 1,
misc 3; 67
Below are all 62 verses in the NAS that use rapha - Take some time
and study these passages to increase your understanding of this beautiful
Hebrew word. Note that you can click on each link to read the verse in
context and some of these passages are associated with sermons (see right
hand side of page). You may have to click the "back arrow" twice to return
to this page.
Ge 20:17; 50:2; Ex
15:26; 21:19; Lev 13:18, 37; 14:3, 48; Num 12:13; Deut 28:27, 35; 32:39; 1Sa 6:3; 1Kgs 18:30; 2Kgs 2:21, 22; 8:29; 9:15; 20:5, 8; 2Chr 7:14;
16:12; 22:6; 30:20; Job 5:18; 13:4; Ps 6:2; 30:2; 41:4; 60:2; 103:3;
107:20; 147:3; Eccl 3:3; Isa 6:10; 19:22; 30:26; 53:5; 57:18, 19; Jer
3:22; 6:14; 8:11, 22; 15:18; 17:14; 19:11; 30:17; 33:6; 51:8, 9; Lam 2:13;
Ezek 34:4; 47:8, 9, 11; Hos 5:13; 6:1; 7:1; 11:3; 14:4; Zech 11:16
Note that many (if not most) of the uses of rapha refer to spiritual healing.
specifically to spiritual healing of the nation of Israel (eg,
a national healing which
Jehovah Rapha will bring about at the
when "all Israel" (all who believe in Messiah) will be saved.
(See Ro 11:25, 26, 27-notes)
Genesis 20:17 Abraham prayed to God,
and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they
Genesis 50:2 Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm
his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel.
Exodus 15:26 And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of
the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His
commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases
on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your
Exodus 21:19 if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he
who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his loss of
time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed.
Leviticus 13:18 "When the body has a boil on its skin and it is healed,
Leviticus 13:37 "If in his sight the scale has remained, however, and
black hair has grown in it, the scale has healed, he is clean; and
the priest shall pronounce him clean.
Leviticus 14:3 and the priest shall go out to the outside of the camp.
Thus the priest shall look, and if the infection of leprosy has been
healed in the leper,
Leviticus 14:48 "If, on the other hand, the priest comes in and makes an
inspection and the mark has not indeed spread in the house after the house
has been replastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean
because the mark has not reappeared.
Numbers 12:13 Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, "O God, heal
her, I pray!"
Deuteronomy 28:27 "The LORD will smite you with the boils of Egypt and
with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be
Deuteronomy 28:35 "The LORD will strike you on the knees and legs with
sore boils, from which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your
foot to the crown of your head.
Deuteronomy 32:39 'See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides
Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who
heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
1 Samuel 6:3 They said, "If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do
not send it empty; but you shall surely return to Him a guilt offering.
Then you will be healed and it will be known to you why His hand is
not removed from you."
1 Kings 18:30 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So
all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the
LORD which had been torn down.
2 Kings 2:21 He went out to the spring of water and threw salt in it and
said, "Thus says the LORD, 'I have purified these waters; there
shall not be from there death or unfruitfulness any longer.'" 22 So
the waters have been purified to this day, according to the word of
Elisha which he spoke.
2 Kings 8:29 So King Joram returned to be healed in Jezreel of the
wounds which the Arameans had inflicted on him at Ramah when he fought
against Hazael king of Aram. Then Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah
went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel because he was sick.
2 Kings 9:15 but King Joram had returned to Jezreel to be healed of
the wounds which the Arameans had inflicted on him when he fought with
Hazael king of Aram. So Jehu said, "If this is your mind, then let no one
escape or leave the city to go tell it in Jezreel."
2 Kings 20:5 "Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, 'Thus
says the LORD, the God of your father David, "I have heard your prayer, I
have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you
shall go up to the house of the LORD.
2 Kings 20:8 Now Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What will be the sign that the
LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD
the third day?"
2 Chronicles 7:14 and My people who are called by My 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 their
2 Chronicles 16:12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became
diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he
did not seek the LORD, but the physicians.
2 Chronicles 22:6 So he returned to be healed in Jezreel of the
wounds which they had inflicted on him at Ramah, when he fought against
Hazael king of Aram. And Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram king of Judah, went
down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.
2 Chronicles 30:20 So the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the
Job 5:18 "For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands
Job 13:4 "But you smear with lies; You are all worthless physicians.
Psalm 6:2-note Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am pining away; Heal me,
O LORD, for my bones are dismayed.
Psalm 30:2-note O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed
Spurgeon: David sent up
prayers for himself and for his people when visited with the pestilence.
He went at once to head quarters, and not roundabout to fallible means.
God is the best physician, even for our bodily infirmities. We do very
wickedly and foolishly when we forget God. It was a sin in Asa that he
trusted to physicians and not to God.
If we must have a physician, let
it be so, but still let us go to our God first of all; and, above all,
remember that there can be no power to heal in medicine of itself; the
healing energy must flow from the divine hand.
If our watch is out of
order, we take it to the watchmaker; if our body or soul be in an evil
plight, let us resort to him who created them, and has unfailing skill
to put them in right condition. As for our spiritual diseases, nothing
can heal these evils but the touch of the Lord Christ: if we do but
touch the hem of his garment, we shall be made whole, while if we
embrace all other physicians in our arms, they can do us no service. "O
Lord my God." Observe the covenant name which faith uses -- "my God."
Thrice happy is he who can claim the Lord himself to be his portion.
Note how David's faith ascends the scale; he sang "O Lord" in the first
verse, but it is "O Lord my God," in the second. Heavenly heart music is
an ascending thing, like the pillars of smoke which rose from the altar
of incense. I cried unto thee. I could hardly pray, but I cried; I
poured out my soul as a little child pours out its desires. I cried to
my God: I knew to whom to cry; I did not cry to my friends, or to any
arm of flesh. Hence the sure and satisfactory result -- Thou hast healed
me. I know it. I am sure of it. I have the evidence of spiritual health
within me now: glory be to thy name! Every humble suppliant with God who
seeks release from the disease of sin, shall speed as well as the
Psalmists did, but those who will not so much as seek a cure, need not
wonder if their wounds putrefy and their soul dies.
Psalm 41:4-note As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; Heal my
soul, for I have sinned against You."
Spurgeon: Heal my soul.
My time of languishing is come, now do as thou hast said, and strengthen
me, especially in my soul. We ought to be far more earnest for the
soul's healing than for the body's ease. We hear much of the cure
of souls, but we often forget to care about it. For I have sinned
against thee. (Ed Comment: Note that "for" is a
term of explanation
- David explains why he needs soul healing - sin wounds the soul [cf Ps
32:3-4] - do we understand that truth? Then why do we so often commit
sins with nary a second thought or a somber concern?
May God's Spirit remind us all that sin injures our innermost being and
may the Spirit use this truth to enable us to turn to God so that we
turn from sin. Amen) Here
was the root of sorrow. Sin and suffering are inevitable companions.
Observe that by the psalmist sin was felt to be mainly evil because
directed against God. This is of the essence of true repentance.
The immaculate Saviour could never have used such language as this
unless there be here a reference to the sin which He took upon Himself
by imputation; and for our part we tremble to apply words so manifestly
indicating personal rather than imputed sin. Applying the petition to
David and other sinful believers, how strangely evangelical is the
argument: heal me, not for I am innocent, but I have sinned. How
contrary is this to all self righteous pleading! How consonant with
grace! How inconsistent with merit! Even the fact that the
confessing penitent had remembered the poor, is but obliquely urged, but
a direct appeal is made to mercy on the ground of great sin.
O trembling reader,
here is a divinely revealed precedent for thee,
be not slow to follow it.
Psalm 60:2-note You have made the land quake, You have split it open; Heal
its breaches, for it totters.
Spurgeon: As a house in time
of earthquake is shaken, and the walls begin to crack, and gape with
threatening fissures, so was it with the kingdom. (Ed:
United States of America -
Are you listening? May God revive us that once again we would truly be
one nation UNDER [submitted to, yielded to] God! Amen)
Psalm 103:3-note Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your
Spurgeon: When the cause is
gone, namely, iniquity, the effect ceases. Sicknesses of body and soul
came into the world by sin, and as sin is eradicated, diseases bodily,
mental, and spiritual will vanish, till "the inhabitant shall no more
say, I am sick." Many-sided is the character of our heavenly Father,
for, having forgiven as a judge, he then cures as a physician. He is all
things to us, as our needs call for him, and our infirmities do but
reveal him in new characters.
In him is only good,
In me is only ill,
My ill but draws his goodness forth,
And me he loveth still."
God gives efficacy to medicine for the body, and his grace sanctifies
the soul. Spiritually we are daily under his care, and he visits us, as
the surgeon does his patient; healing still (for that is the exact word)
each malady as it arises. No disease of our soul baffles his skill, he
goes on healing all, and he will do so till the last trace of taint has
gone from our nature. The two alls of this verse are further reasons for
all that is within us praising the Lord.
Psalm 107:20-note He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them
from their destructions.
Comment: Beloved, do not miss
this truth! The Word of God is not only for our spiritual nourishment
and growth in godliness but is the divine balm for the healing of
our sin sick souls! Run to the Great Physician's book, taking in His
prescription for spiritual health.
Spurgeon: Man is not healed
by medicine alone, but by the word which proceedeth out of the mouth of
God is man restored from going down to the grave. A word will do it, a
word has done it thousands of times.
Psalm 147:3-note He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
This the Holy Spirit mentions as a part of the glory of God, and a
reason for our declaring his praise: the Lord is not only a Builder, but
a Healer; he restores broken hearts as well as broken walls. The kings
of the earth think to be great through their loftiness; but Jehovah
becomes really so by his condescension. Behold, the Most High has to do
with the sick and the sorry, with the wretched and the wounded! He walks
the hospitals as the good Physician! His deep sympathy with mourners is
a special mark of his goodness. Few will associate with the despondent,
but Jehovah chooses their company, and abides with them till he has
healed them by his comforts. He deigns to handle and heal broken hearts:
he himself lays on the ointment of grace, and the soft bandages of love,
and thus binds up the bleeding wounds of those convinced of sin. This is
compassion like a God. Well may those praise him to whom he has acted o
gracious a part. The Lord is always healing and binding: this is no new
work to him, he has done it of old; and it is not a thing of the past of
which he is now weary, for he is still healing and still binding, as the
original hath it. Come, broken hearts, come to the Physician who never
fails to heal: uncover your wounds to him who so tenderly binds them up!
Ecclesiastes 3:3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear
down and a time to build up.
Isaiah 6:10 "Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears
dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear
with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed."
Comment: Spiritual healing for
Isaiah 19:22 The LORD will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they
will return to the LORD, and He will respond to them and will heal
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 binds up the fracture of His people and heals
the bruise He has inflicted.
Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was
crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon
Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
See his devotional
Comment: Spiritual not
physical healing is the primary sense. Sin is a "disease" which the
"stripes" of the Messiah can heal
Isaiah 57:18 "I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will
lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, 19 Creating the
praise of the lips. Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is
near," Says the LORD, "and I will heal him."
Jeremiah 3:22 "Return, O faithless sons, I will heal your
faithlessness." "Behold, we come to You; For You are the LORD our God.
Comment: Again see the
incredible love and lovingkindness of God to stoop and heal the
Jeremiah 6:14 "They have healed the brokenness of My people
superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace.
Comment: False teachers offer
what they cannot give, for true spiritual healing and healing for broken
hearts comes only from God!
Jeremiah 8:11 "They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My
people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace.
Jeremiah 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician
there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been
Jeremiah 15:18 Why has my pain been perpetual And my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed? Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive
stream With water that is unreliable?
Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save
me and I will be saved, For You are my praise.
Jeremiah 19:11 and say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Just so
will I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter's
vessel, which cannot again be repaired; and they will bury in
Topheth because there is no other place for burial.
Jeremiah 30:17 'For I will restore you to health And I will heal
you of your wounds,' declares the LORD, 'Because they have called you an
outcast, saying: "It is Zion; no one cares for her."'
Jeremiah 33:6 'Behold, I will bring to it health and healing (marpe), and
I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace
Jeremiah 51:8 Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; Wail over her!
Bring balm for her pain; Perhaps she may be healed. 9 We applied
healing to Babylon, but she was not healed; Forsake her and let
us each go to his own country, For her judgment has reached to heaven And
towers up to the very skies.
Lamentations 2:13 How shall I admonish you? To what shall I compare you, O
daughter of Jerusalem? To what shall I liken you as I comfort you, O
virgin daughter of Zion? For your ruin is as vast as the sea; Who can
Ezekiel 34:4 "Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased
you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the
scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but
with force and with severity you have dominated them.
Ezekiel 47:8 Then he said to me, "These waters go out toward the eastern
region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being
made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh.
Ezekiel 47:9 "It will come about that
every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes,
will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and
the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river
Ezekiel 47:11 "But its swamps and
marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt.
Hosea 5:13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, And Judah his wound, Then
Ephraim went to Assyria And sent to King Jareb. But he is unable to
heal you, Or to cure you of your wound.
Hosea 6:1 "Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He
will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
Comment: Note the repetition of
repentance and healing. Amazing grace indeed!
Hosea 7:1 When I would heal Israel, The iniquity of Ephraim is
uncovered, And the evil deeds of Samaria, For they deal falsely; The thief
enters in, Bandits raid outside,
Hosea 11:3 Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
Hosea 14:4 I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For
My anger has turned away from them.
Zechariah 11:16 "For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd (the
Antichrist) in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the
scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will
devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs.
GREEK = IAOMAI
means to cure, to heal, to restore. Iaomai is used literally of
deliverance from physical diseases and afflictions and so to make whole,
restore to bodily health or heal. To cause someone to achieve health after
having been sick. In the passive it means to be healed or cured.
Figuratively, iaomai speaks of deliverance from sin and its evil
consequences and thus to restore (to spiritual good health), make whole,
renew (Mt 13.15). In the passive, iaomai figuratively means to be
restored, to recover or to be healed as in 1Pe 2.24.
Iaomai refers primarily to physical healing in the NT
(although clearly there is overlap because some of these instances
involved demonic oppression - Lk 9:42), and much less commonly to
healing or healing (saving) from "moral illnesses" and the consequences of
sin. When used in this sense iaomai has much the same meaning as
save, make whole, restore to spiritual health. Here are the uses of
iaomai used with a spiritual meaning = Mt 13:15, John 12:40, Acts 28:27 - preceding quotes from Isa 6:10, 1Pe 2:24
= quote from Isa 53:5.
It is interesting that most of the NT uses in the
Gospels refer to physical healing by Jesus (excepting the physical healing
that resulted by release from demonic oppression). However in the OT (Lxx)
uses iaomai refers primarily to spiritual healing by the Messiah
(Isa 53:5, Isa 61:1, et al).
Presumably the fact that Luke was a
physician explains why he made frequent use of iaomai (14/26x). The
related word iatros (Mt 9:12 Mk 2:17 5:26 Lk 4:23, 5:31, 8:43, Col
4:14) is derived from iaomai and is actually the word used for
"medical doctor" in modern Greece (cf English "iatrogenic" illness or
malady caused by or secondary to medical treatment)! In ancient Greece
this word group was extended from it's medical use to convey a sense of
restoration or to making good. The word iatros is also ascribed to
several Grecian deities (Here is an interesting background article =
Healing deities, healing cults).
in Ex 15:26 with the verb iaomai. It is interesting that the first use of
iaomai in the Lxx is in answer to Abraham's prayer for Abimelech's
wife, and both were "healed...so that they bore children." (Ge 20:17). In
Lev 14:3 iaomai refers to healing "in the leper." In Nu 12:13 Moses
interceded for Miriam when she sinned asking "O God, heal her, I pray!"
but He did not immediately heal her but had her shut up 7 days to bear her
shame (Nu 12:14-15). In the cursings to Israel for their breaking the
Mosaic covenant God promised boils that "cannot be healed." (Dt 28:27,
35). In Dt 30:3 Moses wrote that Jehovah would "restore you
(Israel) from captivity," where restore (Heb = shub) is translated
"heal" (iaomai) in the Lxx. Clearly this has to do primarily with
"spiritual" healing, resulting in restoration. In 2Ki 2:21 after salt was
thrown in the spring, Jehovah said "I have purified (rapha; iaomai
- also in 2Ki 2:22) these waters." While a number of OT uses of iaomai
signify physical healing, the majority use iaomai primarily of spiritual
healing (although some uses are difficult to classify and/or overlap with
physical healing, eg, Nu 12:13, Dt 28:27, 35) - Dt 30:3, 2Chr 7:14, Ps
6:2, Ps 30:2, Ps 41:4, Ps 147:3, Pr 12:18, Isa 6:10, Isa 19:22, Isa
30:26, Isa 53:5, Isa 57:18, 19, 61:1, Jer 3:22, 6:14, Jer 15:18, Jer
17:14, Jer 51:8-9, Lam 2:13, Hos 5:13, 6:1, 7:1, 11:3, 14:4, Zech 11:16.
One of the most familiar OT verses uses
and My people who are called by My 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 (rapha; iaomai) their land. (2Chronicles 7:14)
In one of the most important OT
passages Isaiah writes of Messiah...
But He was pierced through for our
transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our
well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed
(rapha, iaomai). (Isaiah 53:5)
Comment: Healing here refers to
forgiveness of sins and that is how 1Peter 2:24 interprets iaomai.
God emphasizes His sovereignty
'See now that I, I am He, And there is
no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded
(Heb = machats = smite, wound severely) and it is I who heal (Heb =
rapha, Lxx = iaomai), And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
(Deut 32:39, Job 5:18)
Iaomai - uses in the
non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ge 20:17; Ex 15:26; Lev 14:3, 48; Nu 12:13; Dt
28:27, 35; 30:3; 32:39; 1Sa 6:3; 1Kgs 18:30; 2Kgs 2:21f; 20:5, 8; 2Chr
7:14; 30:20; Job 5:18; 12:21; Ps 6:2; 30:2; 41:4; 60:2; 103:3; 107:20;
147:3; Pr 12:18; 18:9; 26:18; Eccl 3:3; Isa 6:10; 7:4; 19:22; 30:26; 53:5;
57:18f; 61:1; Jer 3:22; 6:14; 15:18; 17:14; 19:11; 51:8, 9; Lam 2:13; Hos
5:13; 6:1; 7:1; 11:3; 14:4; Zech 11:16.
Septuagint Lexicon - to heal Ge
20:17; to repair, to restore Hos 14:5; to quench 4Macc 3:10; to soothe (of
pain) Isa 30:26; to purify 2Ki 2:21; to deliver 2Chr 7:14; to forgive 2Chr
30:20. Passive - to be removed from (of a disease) Lev 14:3; to be healed,
to recover 1Sa 6:3, those who need correction Pr 26:18; your healer Ex
15:26; Is 7:4 I will heal
Iaomai - 26x in 26v in the NT -
NAS Usage: curing(1), heal(4), healed(16), healing(2), heals(1), perform
(P) representing physical healing
and (S) representing spiritual
healing precede each of the NT verses below that use iaomai -
(P) Matthew 8:8 But the
centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but
just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
(P) 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, "Go; it shall be done for
you as you have believed." And the servant was healed that very
(S) Matthew 13:15 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES,
OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND
UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.'
(P) Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, your faith is
great; it shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was
healed at once.
(P) Mark 5:29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and
she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
(P) Luke 5:17 One day He was teaching; and there were some
Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every
village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord
was present for Him to perform hea (P)ling.
(P) Luke 6:18 who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their
diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being
cured. 19 And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was
coming from Him and healing them all.
(P) Luke 7:7 for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy
to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
(P) Luke 8:47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice,
she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence
of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been
(P) Luke 9:2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God
and to perform healing.
11 But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them,
He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who
had need of healing.
42 While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and
threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and
healed the boy and gave him back to his father.
(P) Luke 14:4 But they kept
silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away.
(P) Luke 17:15 Now one of them,
when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God
with a loud voice,
(P) Luke 22:51 But Jesus
answered and said, "Stop! No more of this." And He touched his ear and
(P) John 4:47 When he heard that
Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring
Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of
(P) John 5:13 But the man who
was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away
while there was a crowd in that place.
(S) John 12:40 "HE HAS BLINDED
THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH
THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL
(P) Acts 9:34 Peter said to him,
"Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed."
Immediately he got up.
(P) Acts 10:38 "You know of
Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with
power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were
oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
(P) Acts 28:8 And it happened
that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever
and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he
laid his hands on him and healed him.
(S) Acts 28:27 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES;
OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND
UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM."'
(S) Hebrews 12:13-note
and (continues from the exhortation in Heb 12:12-note) make
straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be
put out of joint, but rather be healed.
Wuest - The exhortation is to
the born-again Jews who had left the temple, to live such consistent
saintly lives, and to cling so tenaciously to their new-found faith, that
the unsaved Jews who had also left the temple and had outwardly embraced
the NT truth, would be encouraged to go on to faith in Messiah as High
Priest, instead of returning to the abrogated sacrifices of the Levitical
system (Ed: Those who returned to the Law were never truly born
again. And to do so would make them "spiritually sick" and would result in
eternal death if they were never healed by the wounds of Messiah - 1Pe
2:24). These truly born-again Jews are warned that a limping Christian
life would cause these unsaved Jews to be turned out of the way. These
latter had made a start towards salvation by leaving the Temple and making
a profession of Messiah (Ed: Without possession of the life giving,
indwelling Spirit of Christ). But they needed the encouraging example and
testimony of the saved Jews. The words “turned out of the way” are the
translation of another medical term, ektrepo “to turn or twist out. (Ed:
So clearly "be healed" in this context speaks of "being healed" of the
tendency to go back to the ritual of the Temple sacrifices and the keeping
of the Law of Moses as supposed means of meriting salvation or of growing
in grace and the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.)
MacArthur says "The writer of
Hebrews also used it (iaomai) metaphorically to speak of spiritual
(P/S)? James 5:16 Therefore,
confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may
be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish
Comment: Here while the healing
may be physical, it is associated with spiritual intervention
(prayer) and with the implication that the healed party is restored to
MacArthur says "James uses it to
refer to God's forgiveness, making the repentant believer spiritually
(S) 1 Peter 2:24-note and He Himself
bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and
live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
Comment: By simple observation
of the context one can discern that Peter is not referring to
physical healing in this verse as some interpreters claim. Peter explains
("for") in the next verse that the healing was "for" or "because"
term of explanation) his
readers were continually straying like sheep, clearly a picture of "sin
sickness" not physical sickness. In fairness, there is a sense in which
Christ's substitutionary death did bring about the potential for
"physical" healing -- in the sense that it guaranteed our future
glorification when we receive our new resurrection bodies and when all
sickness will be forever eradicated and believers will experience no
sickness, pain, suffering, or death (Rev 21:1-4-note, Rev
Some falsely teach that physical healing is present in the atonement
making reference to Isaiah 53:5 passage and the passage from Matthew
8 where we read...
And when evening had come, they brought
to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a
word, and healed all who were ill 17 in order that what was spoken through
Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, "HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR
INFIRMITIES, AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES." (Mt 8:16-17)
Observe that the context of Mt 8:17 is
clearly Jesus' healing activity during His earthly ministry so that the
prophecy in Isaiah 53:4 was fulfilled (note that verse 17 begins "in order
that" indicating the healing just mentioned was in order to fulfill
Isaiah's prophecy). When did Jesus perform this healing which fulfilled
Isaiah's prophecy? It was clearly
the atoning work of Christ on the cross. The point is that physical
healing in this life is not inherent or promised in the atoning work of
Christ. There is a false doctrine that teaches one should expect to be
physically healed because of Christ's work on the Cross. If physical
healing does not occur, the problem is that the ill or sick individual
lacks the faith necessary to invoke God's healing power. The upshot of
this false teaching is that the faith they teach about is faith in "faith"
not in Christ. As already alluded to, clearly when believers die our
physical bodies are delivered from the presence of disease in the future
resurrection life. Furthermore God can and still does
heal physical illnesses because He is a God of
lovingkindness and mercy and it is His sovereign pleasure to chose to heal
or not to heal. He alone is God, even if He chooses to not heal in answer
to our fervent prayers for healing (and we all understand this statement,
because we have all prayed passionately for healing of some loved one, and
healing did not come about. We must NOT allow anyone to say the reason it
did not come about is because we did not have enough faith or the right
kind of faith, but because it was the good, acceptable and perfect will of
the All Wise, In Control God of life and death, the God of Dt 32:39!).
I Am the Lord That Healeth Thee
by William Cowper
Heal us, Emmanuel! here we are,
Waiting to feel Thy touch:
Deep-wounded souls to Thee repair
And, Saviour, we are such.
Our faith is feeble, we confess,
We faintly trust Thy word;
But wilt Thou pity us the less?
Be that far from Thee, Lord!
Remember him who once applied,
With trembling, for relief;
"Lord, I believe," with tears he cried,
"Oh, help my unbelief!"
She too, who touch'd Thee in the press,
And healing virtue stole,
Was answer'd, "Daughter, go in peace,
Thy faith hath made thee whole."
Conceal'd amid the gathering throng,
She would have shunn'd Thy view;
And if her faith was firm and strong,
Had strong misgivings too.
Like her, with hopes and fears we come,
To touch Thee, if we may;
Oh! send us not despairing home,
Send none unheal'd away!
What do you learn from Miriam's being
smitten with leprosy? for context read entire chapter
the anger of the LORD burned against them and He departed. 10 But when the
cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as
white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was leprous. 11
Then Aaron said to Moses "Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account this sin
to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned. 12
"Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when
he comes from his mother's womb!" 13 Moses cried out to Jehovah, saying,
(rapha) her, I
King Hezekiah's Illness:
2 Kings 20:1-6:
"In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the
son of Amoz came to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD, 'Set your
house in order, for you shall die and not live.' (2) Then he turned his
face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying, (3) "Remember now, O
LORD, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a
whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept
bitterly (4) Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of
the LORD came to him, saying, (5) "Return and say to Hezekiah the leader
of My people, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David, "I have
heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will
On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. (6) "I will add
fifteen years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the
hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake
and for My servant David's sake".
God's Appearance to Solomon after the
dedication of the Temple of God: 2Chronicles 7:12, 1314:
"Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and
said to him, "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for
Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 "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, 14 and My people who are called by My 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 (rapha) their
A "Negative" Example on the occasion of
the Word of God coming to King Asa through the prophet Hanani on the
occasion of King Asa's failure to rely on Jehovah to fight the Arameans
(contrast King David's example below)
2 Chronicles 16:9, 10, 11, 12:
"For the eyes of the LORD move to
and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose
heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from
now on you will surely have wars." 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer and
put him in prison, for he was enraged at him for this. And Asa oppressed
some of the people at the same time. 11 Now, the acts of Asa from first to
last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and
Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in
his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek
Jehovah Rapha) but the
Contrast King David with King Asa above
"O Jehovah my Elohim, I cried to Thee for
help, and Thou didst
"David sent up prayers for himself
and for his people when visited with the pestilence. He went at once to
head quarters, and not roundabout to fallible means. God is the best
physician, even for our bodily infirmities. We do very wickedly and
foolishly when we forget God. It was a sin in Asa that he trusted to
physicians and not to God. If we must have a physician, let it be so, but
still let us go to our God first of all; and, above all, remember that
there can be no power to heal in medicine of itself; the healing energy
must flow from the divine hand. If our watch is out of order, we take it
to the watchmaker; if our body or soul be in an evil plight, let us resort
to him who created them, and has unfailing skill to put them in right
condition. As for our spiritual diseases, nothing can heal these evils but
the touch of the Lord Christ: if we do but touch the hem of his garment,
we shall be made whole, while if we embrace all other physicians in our
arms, they can do us no service. "O Lord my God." Observe the covenant
name which faith uses -- "my God." Thrice happy is he who can claim the
Lord himself to be his portion. Note how David's faith ascends the scale;
he sang "O Lord" in the first verse, but it is "O Lord my God," in the
second. Heavenly heart music is an ascending thing, like the pillars of
smoke which rose from the altar of incense. I cried unto thee. I could
hardly pray, but I cried; I poured out my soul as a little child pours out
its desires. I cried to my God: I knew to whom to cry; I did not cry to my
friends, or to any arm of flesh. Hence the sure and satisfactory result --
Thou hast healed me. I know it. I am sure of it. I have the evidence of
spiritual health within me now: glory be to thy name! Every humble
suppliant with God who seeks release from the disease of sin, shall speed
as well as the Psalmists did, but those who will not so much as seek a
cure, need not wonder if their wounds putrefy and their soul dies.
How is Israel's sin described by Isaiah?
Is 1:5, 6-note
"Alas, sinful nation,
weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act
corruptly! They have abandoned the Jehovah. They have despised the Holy
One of Israel. They have turned away from Him. 5 Where will you be
stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick
And the whole heart is faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head
there is nothing sound in it, only bruises, welts and raw wounds, not
pressed out or bandaged, nor softened with oil.
God's Words to Jeremiah regarding His
promises to Israel for future restoration (physical & spiritual healing):
Jeremiah 30:13, 14, 15, 16, 17 (Read entire chapter of Jeremiah 30:1-24 for proper context):
'There is no one to plead your cause.
your sore, no recovery for you. 14 'All your lovers have forgotten you,
They do not seek you; for I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy
(cf Dt 32:39) , With the punishment of a cruel one, because your iniquity
is great & your sins are numerous. 15 'Why do you cry out over your injury
? Your pain is incurable. Because your iniquity is great & your sins are
numerous, I have done these things to you. 16 'Therefore all who devour
you will be devoured & all your adversaries, every one of them, will go
into captivity & those who plunder you will be for plunder, And all who
prey upon you I will give for prey. 17 'For I will
restore you to
health & I
you of your
wounds,' declares the Jehovah,
(Jehovah Rapha) 'because they have called you an outcast, saying: "It is
Zion; no one cares for her."
The prophet is reminding Israel of her sin and its consequences comparing
it to the metaphor of an incurable wound & yet promising future
restoration to the land of Israel and spiritual healing by Jehovah
Notice the order in Ps 103:3 - pardoning
pardons all your iniquities, Who [Jehovah] heals (rapha)
all your diseases."
C H Spurgeon commenting on this
verse notes that...
When the cause is gone, namely,
iniquity, the effect ceases. Sicknesses of body and soul came into the
world by sin, and as sin is eradicated, diseases bodily, mental, and
spiritual will vanish, till "the inhabitant shall no more say, I am sick."
Many-sided is the character of our heavenly Father, for, having forgiven
as a judge, he then cures as a physician. He is all things to us, as our
needs call for him, and our infirmities do but reveal him in new
"In him is only good,
In me is only ill,
My ill but draws his goodness forth,
And me he loveth still."
God gives efficacy to medicine for
the body, and his grace sanctifies the soul. Spiritually we are daily
under his care, and he visits us, as the surgeon does his patient; healing
still (for that is the exact word) each malady as it arises. No disease of
our soul baffles his skill, he goes on healing all, and he will do so till
the last trace of taint has gone from our nature. The two alls of this
verse are further reasons for all that is within us praising the Lord.
"The Lord will provide,"—
The Tower of Healing
by John MacDuff
From his book -
and the chapter entitled
The Great Resolve
Among those who
partook of the Holy Sacrament, doubtless there were not a few members of
the ever wide family of affliction. Some, experiencing
soul-sorrows—hidden, unspoken griefs, too deep for utterance or for tears.
In the case of others, trials, the nature of which is only too patent to
fellow-worshipers and fellow-communicants, from the sable attire and
symbols of mourning. It is blessed for you to think of Him whose love you
commemorated, as Himself the King of sorrows—the Prince of sufferers—who,
just because He was thus "acquainted with grief," is pre-eminently able to
heal the broken in heart, and to bind up their wounds. He proclaims as His
Name (and He suffered, and wept, and bled, and died, that He might have a
right to say it) JEHOVAH-ROPHI," I am the Lord that heals you." He is the
true "Healing-tree," which, cast into your bitterest Marah-pool, will make
its waters sweet.
Brethren, if other earthly portions have perished, cleave to Him Who is
unfailing and imperishable (Joshua 1:5)—Whose Name survives, when prized
earthly names have either faded in oblivion, or are whispered through
tears. When, let me ask, is the name of God most comforting? "I have
remembered," says the Psalmist, "Your name, O Lord, in the night"
(Ps.119:55). It was at Jacob's fierce struggle-hour, as at many of our
own, he was led to prompt the earnest question to Him who was wrestling
with him, "What is your name?" And, as with the Patriarch, He blesses us
there. That Name of God is like a lighthouse, with its six-sided revolving
lamps, it shines brightest in the gloom of trial. If some of the loopholes
of your Tower be darkened—if the sun has set; and the midnight sky be over
and around you; be it yours to sing—"You will light my candle, the Lord my
God will enlighten my darkness," "God our Maker gives songs in the night."
My closing communion wish and prayer is, that that Name, which is above
every name, may be to all of you as "Ointment poured forth." "The name of
the Lord!" it is spoken of as the badge at a more enduring Feast in the
Church of the glorified. "His name," we read, "shall be upon their
foreheads." No more; that Name is to form the theme of the saints'
everlasting song. For what is the ascription of the Church triumphant—the
ransomed conquerors beheld by John in vision, standing on the sea of
glass, having the harps of God? "Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and
glorify YOUR NAME?"
O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Three in One in covenant for our
salvation—Send us help from the Sanctuary, and strengthen us out of Zion!
that the resolve following a transient season of Communion on earth, may
form at once the vow and the joy of Eternity—
walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever." (Micah 4:5)
From Henry Law (1877)...
A Shepherd heals the ailments of the
sheep. His heart is tender love. It is, moreover, skillful care. The flock
is subject to variety of ills. Inclement seasons bring disease: contagion
may be contracted; injuries from accidents occur, and sickness from many
causes weakens. The well-trained Shepherd knows how to use the suitable
relief. He watches anxiously, he diligently tends, he wisely nurses, he
administers right remedies, and so effects a cure. It is his pride to have
a healthy flock.
Here the Good Shepherd cannot be hidden. Jehovah-Rophi—"I am the
Lord who heals you"—is His chosen name. (Ex 15:26) Is it not written,
"Who heals all your diseases." (Ps
"He heals the broken in heart, and
binds up their wounds." (Ps 147:3-note)
In the kingdom of
grace the lament is never heard,
"Is there no balm in Gilead? is there
no physician there? why then is there no healing for the wound of my
people?" (Je 8:22)
Over His flock the
Sun of Righteousness ever
"shines with healing in His wings."
When He came to
procure for His people everlasting health, miracles of bodily healing were
foremost in His credentials. His reply to the disciples of John is,
"Go your way, and tell John what things
you have seen and heard; how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are
cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised." (Lk 7:22)
At His word all
maladies took flight. No case was too inveterate or too severe. As many as
touched the very hem of His garment were made perfectly whole. So, also,
He heals the sickness of the soul. His present kingdom is a spiritual
"From the sole of the foot even to the
head there is no soundness in it: but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying
sores." (Isa. 1:6)
Each believer is in
himself loathsome, as the man "full of leprosy." (Lk 5:12) But let the cry
"Lord, if You will, You can make me
"Heal me, and I shall be healed; save
me, and I shall be saved for You are my praise." (Je 17:14)
The Good Shepherd
will put forth His power, and spiritual health shall be restored. (Gleanings
from the Book of Life -see chapter on God as our
The first time we see Jehovah
rapha mentioned it is in connection with BITTERNESS in Exodus 15. This is a bitter
situation -- do you see how this is so applicable to real life
situations? It doesn't matter whether it is physical, emotional or
spiritual. Bitter is still bitter. And then the tree in the water makes
the water sweet. How does this relate to (Ga 3:13)?
As discussed above the Greek word xulon
(word study) used to translate the Hebrew
word for "tree"
in Ex 15:25 is also used for the Cross of Christ n the NT(1Pe2:24-note). So the picture in the bitter situation in Exodus 15
certainly seems to foreshadow the healing power of the Cross in the NT. It
seems fair to suggest that when we encounter a bitter situation and flee
to the cross of Jesus Christ, then the bitter can be made "sweet" by
Jehovah Rapha. The circumstances may still be present but remember what
Paul said in
Ro 8 that "IN all these
things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." Jehovah Rapha desires
for us all to be "super conquerors" even IN THE MIDST of those
situations that can otherwise potentially produce bitterness in our soul
spirit (see Ro 8:35)
So anytime I have "sickness" of spirit, soul, mind or body, I should to
run into is the strong tower of Jehovah Rapha. Run to the Great Physician
and to the "tree", the Cross, where He Who knew no sin was made
sin for us. This does not mean to suggest that we should never go to human
physicians. In fact we should always seek wise counsel from trained
medical practitioners in these situations. The point is don't
bypass the Great Physician on your way to the doctor's office. And
remember you can get an appointment with the Great Physician Jehovah Rapha
anytime day or night and He always makes "house calls"!
All through Jeremiah we find
the phrase "you did not listen"
(click link for
examples) (compare "if
you give earnest heed" in Ex15:26?).
How often we too are like Judah, unable to hear the voice of the Lord.
Instead they listened to false prophets who had
the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, 'Peace, peace,' but
there is no peace." (Jer
balm of Gilead is needed.
"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no
physician there? Why then has not
health of the daughter of my people been
God was not the problem. Judah
was. They refused to listen to God or His prophet. Gilead was a city of refuge, where fugitives could go to find refuge. Balm was used for medicinal purposes
and cosmetic purposes. Take the balm of Gilead and you not only heal a sin
sick soul but you have a beauty which shows forth on that person's
countenance. Is there a balm in Gilead? Yes, there is. The "balm" that is
always available to the humble heart, the one who has ears to hear His
Word and the truth about Jehovah Rapha Who healed Israel when they cried
out by sending "balm" in the form of His word (Ps107:19, 20).
So what do we do when we need healing? If we are hurting…bitterness,
trauma, even from the sins we have committed. Run to Jehovah Rapha,
to Calvary and find the "balm in Gilead". And lay hold of the "balm" -- lay
hold of truth in His Word (the "balm of Gilead"), truth like "God causes all things to work together for good"
(Ro 8:28) and then hold fast the Word of life for it is your balm that
brings healing to your soul and spirit. When you need healing from
bitterness -- Run to Jehovah Rapha. Go to Him first. Cry out to Him "God
what shall I do? Is there sin I am unaware of" (Ps 139:23, 24, 1Cor4:4).
If so, confess and forsake the sin (Pr 28:13, 1Jn1:9). Go to His Word of
promise (Ro 9:9) and saturate yourself with the "balm" of His Word, laying
hold of His "precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may
become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that
is in the world by lust." (2Peter 1:4)
Effects of Sin
from Names of God by Nathan Stone - see below
moral & spiritual sickness of mankind is an open, running sore. The heart
of man is desperately sick, says Jeremiah ("The heart is more
deceitful than all else & is desperately sick; who can understand it?
Herein its fundamental disease ‑ the sin which alienates it from God‑the
sin which manifests itself in open and secret evil of every sort, in high
places and in low, which brought the judgment of Jehovah in times of old,
and ever since, and must yet. How sorely mankind is in need of a healer, a
physician! The world lies in the bitterness and bond of iniquity. It is
like the waters of Marah to which the children of Israel came in the
wilderness. It is not sweetness and life but bitterness and death. Yet the
antidote to its poison, the remedy for its sickness, is ever near‑even at
hand, as it was near the waters of Marah. For there God performed His
miracle of healing by means of a tree growing nearby. It was the tree of
God cast into the waters there that healed and sweetened them....Now
Marah may stand for disappointment and bitter experiences in the life of
God's children, who have been redeemed, as was Israel in Egypt through the
Passover Lamb, and snatched by divine power from the terrible pursuing
enemy; who meet, like Israel at Marah, with severe testing and trial, and
in their disappointment and discouragement sometimes murmur with a bitter
and faithless complaint, forgetting the great salvation and power of God.
Certainly Marah stands for the sweetening of those bitternesses, the
curing of the ills to which both flesh and spirit are heir. True, God has
implanted healing properties in waters and drugs even to the present day
for the healing of bodily ills. He has made man capable of wresting
secrets from nature which have marvelously advanced the art of healing. It
is true that His is the healing hand behind it all. But this incident is
intended chiefly as a lesson and warning against that sin and disobedience
which lie at the root of all sorrow, suffering, and sickness in the world.
The tree there cast into the waters is obviously a figure of the tree on
which hung the Jehovah of the New Testament‑even Jesus, the only remedy
for the cure of mankind's ills‑and which alone can sweeten the bitterness
of human experience through that forgiveness of sin and sanctifying of
life which it accomplished. -
of God (online)
by Nathan Stone
Names of God
THE NAME Jehovah-rophe (rapha, rophi)
heals. It is the second of the compound names of Jehovah. The name
Jehovah-jireh arose out of the incident of Jehovah's provision of a
substitute in place of Isaac whom He had commanded Abraham to sacrifice
upon the altar. We learned that it stands for Jehovah's great provision
for man's redemption in the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, our Lord
Jesus Christ, who was the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the
world, and who was offered up on the very spot where Abraham had
predicted--"In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen" --that is, Mount
Moriah in Jerusalem, the scene of Calvary.
There is a wonderful and significant order in these compound names of
Jehovah as they appear in the Scriptures (in contrast to the waste and
desolation which certain critics have wrought upon the Scriptures; whose
"assured results" have only obscured the light for those who accept them).
In these names there is a progressive revelation of Jehovah meeting every
need as it arises in the experience of His redeemed people--saving,
sustaining, strengthening, sanctifying, and so on; and not only for the
redeemed of that day but for God's saints in all ages. The things that
happened to Israel, the apostle Paul tells us, were our examples (1Cor 10:6)
"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples:
and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world
are come," he again remarks in 1Cor 10:11.
For this name of God, Jehovah-rophe, arises out of one of Israel's
earliest experiences in the wilderness as told in Exodus 15:22, 23, 24,25, 26. Indeed
it was their first experience after the crossing of the Red Sea and the
singing of the great song of triumph. But the same chapter which records
Israel's triumphant song also records the first murmurings of discontent
and bitterness. In Exodus 15:22 we read:
"So Moses brought 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."
In the first flush of
victory they went along joyfully the first day, and perhaps even the
second day. But the way was hot and weary, and their water was giving out.
The third day was well along and still there was no water. Their throats
were parched. They felt their plight becoming desperate. They forgot the
might and mercy of the God who had so marvelously delivered them. In their
anxiety and anger they murmured against Moses in bitter complaint. Then in
"And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters
of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah"
(which means bitter).
We can imagine their feelings of relief and joy as
they first came in sight of this well, but what angry disillusionment when
they find the waters bitter--an aggravation and a mockery of their thirst.
They were maddened by this setback to their hope and expectation. What
were they to do? Were they and their children to die there of thirst? Then
God showed Moses a certain tree, which, when cast into the waters, turned
them from bitterness to sweetness so that the people drank. They were
refreshed and strengthened and heartened for the journey ahead. Their
murmuring was turned to praise as their confidence in Jehovah and His
servant Moses was renewed.
But it was not God who was there on trial. It was the people. He was
proving them, and saying to them (Ex 15:26) :
"If thou wilt diligently hearken to the
voice of Jehovah thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight . .
I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the
Egyptians: for I am Jehovah that healeth thee" (i.e.,
The word rophe/rapha (see
word study) appears some sixty or seventy times in
the Old Testament, always meaning to restore, to heal, to cure, or a
physician, not only in the physical sense but in the moral and spiritual
sense also. As out of Abraham's trying experience in the mount there came
a new and comforting name of God,
Jehovah Jireh, so out of Israel's bitter
experience in the wilderness there comes another new and comforting name
of God, Jehovah-rophe, Jehovah heals. And Jehovah here pledged Himself on
condition of their obedience to be always their Healer.
Perhaps the first lesson we may draw
from this story, since these events are all examples to us, is humanity's
need of healing, of a physician--even in a physical sense. The Old
Testament reveals a number of instances in which God's power is
manifested, even though sometimes by natural means, to heal the bodies of
men. A notable instance is that of King Hezekiah who was not only healed
but granted a definite additional span of years to live.
Nothing is more obvious and tragic and costly than the toll which sickness
has exacted from human life and happiness. Disease is rife and often
rampant the world over and has wrought untold havoc. It is no respecter of
persons and stretches out its tentacles into all classes and communities
and climes. It is a grim fact of human existence with which mankind has
always had to cope and which has called for the exercise of its best
brains, and effort, and resourcefulness. Terrible plagues and scourges
have at times threatened the existence of an entire continent and have
actually destroyed large portions of populations. Yes, mankind is
physically sick and is in constant need of a physician, of healing.
According to the Old Testament, God, Himself the one who heals, has used
sickness and disease present in the earth as an instrument of judgment
upon sin. For David's sin against Him, God otters him the choice of one of
three punishments. The responsibility of the terrible choice involved is
so great that David simply places it in the hands of God who chooses to
bring pestilence (1Chr 21:12, 13, 14). The many hospitals and asylums
and institutions everywhere, built and maintained at great cost, bear
witness to the prevalence and tragedy of sickness in the world. What a
mass of disease and sickness upon the earth when the Great Physician
walked upon it in the flesh. Healing is certainly a great and noble and
effective part of the missionary enterprise of the Church. How appropriate
to the physical need of men is the name Jehovah-rophe!
But man's need of healing is even greater in the moral and spiritual
realm. For here the ravages of sin are even more grim and obvious. The
tragedy and sorrow and pain and woe are even greater. In a figure of the
physical the prophet Isaiah describes the moral and spiritual condition of
his own people:
"The whole head is sick, and the whole
heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no
soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have
not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment"
(Isaiah 1:5, 6).
moral and spiritual sickness of mankind is an open, running sore. The
heart of man is desperately sick, says Jeremiah 17:9. Herein is its
fundamental disease--the sin which alienates it from God--the sin which
manifests itself in open and secret evil of every sort, in high places and
in low, which brought the judgment of Jehovah in times of old, and ever
since, and must yet. How sorely mankind is in need of a healer, a
physician! The world lies in the bitterness and bond of iniquity.
It is like the waters of Marah to which the children of Israel came in the
wilderness. It is not sweetness and life but bitterness and death. Yet the
antidote to its poison, the remedy for its sickness, is ever near-even at
hand, as it was near the waters of Marah. For there God performed His
miracle of healing by means of a tree growing nearby. It was the tree of
God cast into the waters there that healed and sweetened them.
JEHOVAH THE HEALER
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
This brings us to the second point,
that Jehovah is the great Healer of men. He alone has the remedy that can
heal the spirits of men. He is the remedy for the healing of man. And the
Gospel is concerned primarily and chiefly with the moral and spiritual
sickness and healing of mankind, for behind all the evils and physical
sickness is sin. The importance of Marah in Israel's and human experience
is attested by the fact that God gave Himself this new name here--Jehovah,
who heals. The significance of the name Jehovah must be recalled here as
"used in connection with beings who can apprehend and appreciate the
Infinite." Therefore this name first appears in connection with His
dealings with men. We learned that the title Jehovah and its use suggest
moral and spiritual attributes in God--righteousness, holiness, love; that
He holds man, created in the image of God, responsible for such moral and
spiritual qualities. Man's sin and fall therefore called forth the
judgment of Jehovah. But the love of Jehovah triumphs over judgment in
providing a redemption, as we saw in the name
Jehovah Jireh. So, too, the
One who heals from the sin which mars and corrupts mankind is again
Jehovah, as distinguished from His other names.
Now Marah may stand for disappointment and bitter experiences in the life
of God's children, who have been redeemed, as was Israel in! Egypt through
the Passover Lamb, and snatched by divine power from the terrible pursuing
enemy; who meet, like Israel at Marah, with severe testing and trial, and
in their disappointment and discouragement sometimes murmur with a bitter
and faithless complaint, forgetting the great salvation and power of God.
Certainly Marah stands for the sweetening of those bitternesses, the
curing of the ills to which both flesh and spirit are heir. True, God has
implanted healing properties in waters and drugs even to the present day
for the healing of bodily ills. He has made man capable of wresting
secrets from nature which have marvelously advanced the art of healing. It
is true that His is the healing hand behind it all. But this incident is
intended chiefly as a lesson and warning against that sin and disobedience
which lie at the root of all sorrow, suffering, and sickness in the world.
The tree there east into the waters is obviously a figure of the tree on
which hung the Jehovah of the New Testament--even Jesus, the only remedy
for the cure of mankind's ills--and which alone can sweeten the bitterness
of human experience through that forgiveness of sin and sanctifying of
life which it accomplished.
Certainly God could and did heal physical maladies in the Old Testament
whenever it pleased Him. Moses cried out to Jehovah in behalf of Miriam
smitten with leprosy:
"Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee" (Nu
The Old Testament clearly reveals God's
anxious desire and purpose to heal the hurt of His people, and the wounds
and sorrows of all mankind. Certainly God removed plagues and pestilences.
But the fact that He visited such plagues and pestilences as punishment is
evidence of the underlying root of it all sin. The psalmist acknowledges
this when he says:
"Bless the Lord, O my soul ... who [first] forgiveth all thine
iniquities and [then] healeth all thy diseases" (Ps 103:2, 3).
Other Scriptures state this even more strongly.
"Why criest thou for thine
affliction? Thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity:
because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee" (Jer
"Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? Hath thy soul loathed Zion? Why
hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? We looked for peace,
and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble! We
acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for
we have sinned against thee" (Jer 14:19, 20).
Then many references to sickness and wounds are simply figurative
expressions of moral and spiritual ills, so that it is rather in this
sense that God is known as Jehovah-rophe--Jehovah who heals. This is what
Jeremiah means when he says:
"For I will restore health unto thee, and I
will heal thee of thy wounds, saith Jehovah" (Je 30:17)
ye backsliding children and I will heal your backslidings" (Je 3:22).
So Isaiah speaks of the day in which
"Jehovah bindeth up the breach of his
people, and healeth the stroke of their wound" (Is 30:26).
He predicts the
coming of One upon whom the Spirit of Jehovah God will rest in order,
among other things, to bind up the brokenhearted (Is 61:1).
The will, and the power, and the longing are present in Jehovah to heal.
The only obstacle in the way is man himself. The remedy is there--near at
hand--as near as the tree at Marah's waters.
"The word is very nigh unto
thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart," says Moses (Deut 30:14),
There is salvation for every sin, healing for every evil. The remedy only
awaits acknowledgment or application. This, man has often been unwilling
to do. A king of Judah smitten with a disease, evidently and appropriately
because of a certain evil act, sought not to the Lord, but to the
physicians (2Chr 16:12). It was because of sin that the remedy
lay for him in Jehovah's hand alone, even though physicians may have been
sufficient for the cure otherwise. For the hurt of his people, brought
about by sin, Jeremiah asks:
"Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no
physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people
recovered?" (Jer 8:21, 22).
The remedy was there--in Jehovah
Himself--but they went on and on refusing it "till there was no remedy"
(or healing) (2Chr 36:16). And centuries later the word of the
Lord Jesus to His people was,
"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have
life" (Jn 5:40).
JESUS THE HEALER
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The Jehovah who heals in the Old Testament is the Jesus who heals in the
The ministry of the Lord Jesus began with healing, In the synagogue at
Nazareth, having returned in the power of the Spirit from His great
temptation, He opened His public ministry by quoting Isaiah 61:1:
Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the
gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach
deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind; to set
at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18).
In Luke 4:23 we find Him
saying to them:
"Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal
thyself: Whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy
The reference was to acts of healing which the Lord Jesus had
performed there. In the same chapter various acts of healing are
recorded--the healing of fevers, the cleansing of leprosy, the casting out
of demons, So He continued all through His ministry. They brought to Him
all that were diseased. And He went about
"teaching in their synagogues,
and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of
sickness and all manner of disease among the people" (Matthew 4:23).
miracles of healing constantly amazed the people and He cited them as
proofs of His identity and mission. When John in prison doubts His
identity, He sends back word:
"Go and show John again those things which
ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the
lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the
poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matthew 11:4, 5).
"The same works
that I do bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me," He said (John
But as with Jehovah of the Old, so with Jesus of the New Testament,
physical healing was only incidental to His chief object, which was the
healing of the souls of men. His opening words in the synagogue at
Nazareth declared His mission to be to preach the Gospel, to preach
deliverance, to set at liberty (Ed: Cf Jn 8:31, 32, 36 - see
related word studies on
eleutheroo = set free, emancipate, set at liberty
eleutheria - freedom, liberty). His miracles of healing were proof of His
identity and mission--His credentials. Healing men's bodies was a great
and blessed work, indeed. Yet many of the sicknesses He healed were
striking symptoms of that dark, dread disease which has its roots in the
soul of men and not in the body-the disease of sin. How often He cast out
demons! And what does demon-possession stand for but sin-possession? How
often He healed the leper! And what is leprosy but a type of sin in its
foulness and vileness. The Old Testament is clearest in its teaching of
this truth. How often He said to those He healed, "Sin no more!" or "Thy
sins he forgiven thee!" And He silences His carping critics and accusers
with the words:
"They that be whole need not a physician, but they that
are sick" (Mt 9:12);
and connecting the idea of sickness and
healing with sin, He continues:
"for I am not come to call the righteous, but
sinners to repentance" (Mt 9:13).
True, He went about healing bodies
and doing good, but His invitation ever was:
"Come unto me and I will give
you rest"--"rest [or cure] unto your souls." (Mt 11:28, 29,
Then the Lord Jesus consummated His ministry by becoming that tree which
made the bitter pools of human existence waters of life and healing and
sweetness. The teaching of Marah is wonderfully fulfilled in Him. There
they were taught the corruption and the bitterness of the purely natural
waters which are only an aggravation of the soul's sickness and need. Only
the tree of God's provision and choice could purify and sweeten and
satisfy. To the woman at the well the Lord Jesus said:
of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that
I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him
shall he in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (Jn
On a great feast day in the Temple at Jerusalem He cried:
any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me,
as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living
water" (Jn 7:37, 38, ASV).
The Lord Jesus is both the tree and the
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that
we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes
ye were healed."
He is the Well of salvation (Isa 12:3), the Water of
life, sweet, saving and satisfying.
In Him the tree of life and the river of life in Eden's garden are free
and accessible once more to Adam's sons. This is the picture presented to
us in the closing scene of the Book of Revelation:
"And he showed me a
pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the
throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on
either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve
manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the
tree were for the healing of the nations" (Rev 22:1, 2).
The Word of Jehovah which He spoke by His messenger, the prophet Malachi,
has found glorious fulfillment and awaits a yet more glorious fulfillment.
"But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with
healing in his wings" (Mal 4:2).
What Jehovah was to Israel at Marah, so
the Lord Jesus is to all who will receive and obey Him, the Great
Physician. How sad, that, like Israel of old who refused Jehovah till
there was no remedy, multitudes today have refused the healing sacrifice
and ministry of Jehovah-Jesus! And along with many who call themselves by
His name, they prefer other physicians and remedies to Him--culture,
science, philosophy, social improvement--forgers of lies and physicians of
no value, as Job calls them (Job 13:4). But praise God for the multitudes who
have received Him, and applied His remedy, and have been made whole, and
"take the water of life freely" (Rev 22:17). (from Nathan
Stone's recommended book on the
Names of God)
DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, JUNE 11TH, 1882,
BY C. H. SPURGEON
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“I am the Lord that healeth
WE shall consider this passage in its connection, for I have no doubt that
the miracle at Marah was intended to be a very instructive illustration of
the glorious title which is here claimed by the covenant God of Israel,-
“I am Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee.” The illustration
introduces the sermon of which this verse is the text. The healing of the
bitter waters is the parable of which the line before us is the lesson.
How different is the Lord to his foes and to his friends. His presence is
light to Israel and darkness to Egypt. Egypt only knew Jehovah as the Lord
that plagueth and destroyeth those who refuse to obey him. Is not this the
Lord’s memorial in Egypt that he cut Rahab and wounded the dragon? He
overthrew their armies at the Red Sea, and drowned their hosts beneath the
waves; but to his own people, in themselves but very little superior to
the Egyptians, God is not the terrible avenger consuming his adversaries,
but “Jehovah that healeth thee.” Their mental and moral diseases were
almost as great as those of the Egyptians whom the Lord cut off from
before him, but he spared his chosen for his covenant sake. He bared the
sword of justice against rebellious Pharaoh, and then he turned his
tender, healing hand upon his own people, to exercise towards them the
heavenly surgery of his grace. Israel knew him as the Lord that heals, and
Egypt knew him as the Lord that smites. Let us adore the grace which makes
so wide a difference, the sovereign grace which brings salvation unto
Israel, and let us confess our own personal obligations to the mercy which
has not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our
Again, how differently does God deal with his own people from what we
should have expected. He is a God of surprises, he does things which we
looked not for. God deals with us not according to our conception of his
ways, but according to his own wisdom and prudence: for as the heavens are
high above the earth so high are his thoughts above our thoughts. You
would not have supposed that a people for whom God had given Egypt as a
ransom would have been led into the wilderness of Shur; neither would you
have guessed that a people so near to him that he cleft the sea and made
them walk between two glassy walls dry shod, would have been left for
three days without water. You naturally expect to see the chosen tribes
brought right speedily into a condition of comfort; or, if there must be a
journey ere they reach the hind that floweth with milk and honey, you look
at once for the smitten rock and the flowing stream, the manna and the
quails, and all things else which they can desire. How singular it seems
that after having done such a great marvel for them the Lord should cause
them to thirst beneath a burning sky, and that too when they were quite
unprepared for it, being quite new to desert privations, having lived so
long by the river of Egypt, where they drank of sweet water without stint.
We read at other times, “Thou, Lord, didst send a plenteous rain, whereby
thou didst refresh thine inheritance when it was weary “; but here we
meet with no showers: no brooks gushed forth below, and no rain dropped
from above. Three days without water is a severe trial when the burning
sand is below and the blazing sky is above. Yet the Lord’s people in some
way or other are sure to be tried; theirs is no holiday parade, but a
stern march by a way which flesh and blood would never have chosen.
The Egyptians found enough water, and even too much of it, for they were
drowned in the sea, but the well-beloved Israelites had no water at all.
So is it with the wicked man; he often has enough of wealth, and too much
of it, till he is drowned in sensual delights and perishes in floods of
prosperity. He has his portion in this life, and in that portion he is
lost, like Pharaoh in the proud waters. Full often the Lord’s people are
made to know the pinch of poverty; their lives are made wretched by sore
bondage, and they faint for a morsel of bread: they drink from a bitter
fountain, which fills their inward parts with gall and wormwood. They are
afflicted very much, almost to the breaking of their hearts. One of them
said, “All the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every
morning.” They lie at the rich man’s gate full of sores, while the
ungodly man is clothed in scarlet, and fares sumptuously every day. This
is God’s strange way of dealing with his own people. He himself hath said,
“As many as I love I rebuke and chasten.” “He scourgeth every son whom
he receiveth.” Thus he made his people know that the wilderness was not
their rest, nor their home: for they could not even find such a common
necessary as water wherewith to quench their thirst. He made them
understand that the promised brooks that flowed with milk and honey were
not in the wilderness, but must be found on the other side of Jordan, in
the land which God had given to their fathers, and they must journey
thither with weary feet. “This is not your rest,” was the lesson of
their parched lips in the three days’ march. You know what teaching there
is in all this, for your experience answers to it. Do not marvel, beloved,
if with all your joy over your vanquished sin, which shall be seen by you
no more for ever, you yet have to lament your present grievous want. The
children of Israel cried, “What shall we drink?” This was a wretched
sequel to “Sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously.” Have
you never made the same descent? If you are in poverty you are, no doubt,
tempted to put that trinity of questions, “What shall we eat? What shall
we drink? and wherewithal shall we be clothed?” You are not the first to
whom this temptation has happened. Do not marvel at all if up from the
triumph of the Red Sea, with a song in your mouth and a timbrel in your
hand, you ascend into the great and terrible wilderness, and enter upon
the land of drought. This way lies Canaan, and this way you must go.
Through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom, and therefore let us
set our minds to it.
By this grievous test the Lord was proving his people, and causing them to
see what was in their hearts. They would have known no wilderness without
if there had not been a wilderness within, neither had there been a
drought of water for their mouths if the Lord had not seen a drought of
grace in their souls. We are fine birds till our feathers are ruffled, and
then what a poor figure we cut! We are just a mass of diseases and a
bundle of disorders, and unless grace prevents we are the sure prey of
death. O Lord, we pray to be proved, but we little know what it means!
Let this suffice for an introduction, and then let our text come in with
comfort to our hearts, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” It was to
illustrate this great name of God that the tribes were brought into so
painful a condition; and indeed all the experience of a believer is meant
to glorify God, that the believer himself may see more of God, and that
the world outside may also behold the glory of the Lord. Therefore the
Lord leadeth his people up and down in the wilderness, and therefore he
makes them cry out because there is no water; all to make them behold his
power, and his goodness, and his wisdom. Our lives are the canvas upon
which the Lord paints his own character.
We shall try this morning to set forth before you, by the help of the
divine Spirit, this grand character of God, that he is the God that
healeth us. First, we shall notice the healing of our circumstances,
dwelling upon that in order the better to set forth the greater fact, “I
am the Lord that healeth thee.” Secondly, we shall remember the healing
of our bodies which is here promised to obedient Israel, and we shall set
forth that truth, in order to bring out our third point, which is the
healing of our souls: “I am the Lord that healeth thee,”-not thy
circumstances only, nor thy bodily diseases only, but thyself, thy soul,
thy truest self; for there is the worst bitterness, there is the sorest
disease, and there shall the grandest power of God be shown to thee, and
to all who know thee.
I. The Glorious Jehovah Shows His Healing Power Upon Our Circumstances.
The fainting Israelites thought that
when they came to Marah they should slake their thirst. Often enough the
mirage had mocked them as it does all thirsty travelers: they thought that
they saw before them flowing rivers and palm trees, but as they rushed
forward they found nothing but sand, for the mirage was deluding them. At
last, however, the waters of Marah were fairly within sight, and they were
not a delusion: here was real water, and they were sure of it. No doubt
they rushed forward helter-skelter, each man eager to drink, and what must
have been their disappointment when they found that they could not endure
it. A thirsty man will drink almost anything, but this water was so bitter
that it was impossible for them to receive it. I do not read that they had
murmured all the three days of their thirsty march, but this
disappointment was too much for them. The relief which seemed so near was
snatched away: the cup was dashed from their lips, and they began to
murmur against Moses, and so in truth against God. Here was the proof of
their imperfection: they were impatient and unbelieving. Have we not too
often fallen into the same sin? Brethren, let your conscience answer! When
you have felt a sharp affliction, and it has continued long, and you have
been wearied out with it, you have at length seen a prospect of escape,
but that prospect has completely failed you. What woe is this! When the
friend you so surely relied upon tells you that he can do nothing; when
the physician upon whom you put such reliance informs you that his
medicine has not touched the malady, when the last expedient that you
could adopt to save yourself from bankruptcy, the last arrow in your
quiver has missed the mark-how your spirit has sunk within you in dire
despair! Then your heart has begun to wound itself, like the scorpion,
with its own sting. You have felt as if you were utterly spent and ready
for the grave. The last trial was too much for you, you could bear up no
longer. Happy have you been if under such conditions you have not been
left to give way to murmuring against God. These poor Israelites were in a
very pitiable condition. There was the water before them, but its horrible
flavour made them shrink from a second taste. Have you not experienced the
same? You have obtained that which you thought would deliver you, but it
has not availed you. You looked for light, and beheld darkness; for
refreshment, and beheld an aggravated grief. The springs of earth are
brackish until Jehovah heals them; they increase the thirst of the man who
too eagerly drinks of them. “Cursed is he that trusteth in man, and
maketh flesh his arm.”
Now, dear friends, in answer to prayer God has often healed your bitter
waters and made them sweet. I am about to appeal to your personal
experience, you that are truly pilgrims under the guidance of your
heavenly Lord. Has it not been so with you? I should have no difficulty in
refreshing your memories about Marah, for very likely its bitterness is in
your mouth even now, and you cannot forget your sorrow. But just now I
wish to refresh your memories about what came of that sorrow. Did not God
deliver you? Did he not, when you cried to him, come to your rescue? I
appeal to facts, which may be stubborn things, but they are also rich
Has not the Lord ofttimes made our bitter waters sweet by changing our
circumstances altogether? When the poor in heart have been oppressed, God
has taken away the oppressor, or else taken the heart away from the
oppression. When you have been in great straits and could not see which
way to steer, has not the Lord Jesus seemed to open before you a wider
channel, or himself to steer your vessel through all the intricacies of
the narrow river, and bring you where you would come? Have you not noticed
in your lives that most remarkable changes have taken place at times when
anguish took hold upon you? I can bear my witness, if you cannot, that the
Lord has great healing power in the matter of our trials and griefs. He
has changed my circumstances in providence, and in many ways altered the
whole aspect of affairs.
On other occasions the Lord has not removed the circumstances, and yet he
has turned sorrow into joy, for he has put into them a new ingredient,
which has acted as an antidote to the acrid flavour of your affliction.
You were not allowed to leave the shop, but there came a fresh manager,
who shielded you from persecution: you were not permitted to quit your
business, but there came a wonderful improvement in your trade, and this
reconciled you to the long hours. You were not made to he perfectly
healthy, but you were helped to a medicine which much assuaged the
sharpness of the pain; thus has your Marah been sweetened. Have you not
found it so? The weight of your affliction was exceeding great, but the
Lord found a counterpoise, and by placing a weight of holy joy in the
other scale he lifted up your load, and its weight was virtually taken
away. You have been at Marah, but even there you have been able to drink,
for a something has been put into the waters of afflictive providence
which has made them endurable.
And where this has not been done the Lord has by a heavenly art made your
bitter waters sweet by giving you more satisfaction with the divine will,
more submission, more acquiescence in what the Lord has ordained. After
all, this is the most effectual remedy. If I cannot bring my circumstances
to my mind, yet if God helps me to bring my mind to my circumstances the
matter is made right. There is a degree of sweetness about pain, and
poverty, and shame when once you feel, “The loving Lord ordained all this
for me: my tribulation is of his appointing.” Then the soul, feeling that
the affliction comes from a Father’s hand, accepts it, and kicks against
the pricks no longer. Surely, then, the bitterness of life or of death
will be past when the mind is subdued to the Eternal will. These people
said, “What shall we drink?” and they would have concluded that Moses
was mocking them if he had answered, “You shall drink the bitter water.”
They would have said, “We cannot bear it; we remember the sweet water of
the Nile; and we cannot endure this nauseous stuff.” But Moses would have
said, “Yes, you will drink that, and nothing else but that, and it will
become to you all that you want.” Even so, beloved, you may have
quarreled with your circumstances, and said, “I must have a change; I
cannot longer bear this trial.” Has not the Lord of his grace changed
your mind, and so influenced your will that you. have really found comfort
in that which was uncomfortable, and content in that which made you
discontented? Have you never said when under tribulation, “I could not
have believed it: I am perfectly happy under my trial, and yet when I
looked forward to it I dreaded it beyond measure. I said it would be the
death of me, but now I find that by these things men live, and in all this
is the life of my spirit.” We exclaim with Jacob, “All these things are
against me,” but the Lord gives us more grace, and we see that all things
work together for good, and we bless the Lord for his afflicting hand. So
you see the Lord Jehovah heals our bitter waters, and makes our
circumstances endurable to our sanctified minds.
Brethren, all this which you have experienced should be to you a proof of
God’s power to make everything that is bitter sweet. The depravity of your
nature will yet yield to the operations of his grace: the corruptions that
are within you will yet be subdued, and you shall enter into the fullest
communion with God in Christ Jesus. I know you shall, because the Lord is
unchangeable in power, and what he has done in one direction he can and
will do in another. Your circumstances were so terrible, and yet God
helped you; and now your sins, your inbred sins, which are so dreadful, he
will help you against them, and give you power over them. You shall
overcome the power of evil: by his grace you shall be sanctified, and you
shall manifest the sweetness of holiness instead of the bitterness of
self. Cannot you believe it? Does not God’s power exhibited in providence
around you prove that he has power enough to do great things within you by
his grace? Moreover, should not this healing of your circumstances be to
you a pledge that God will heal you as to your inner spirit? He that
brought you through the sea and drowned your enemies will also drown your
sins, till you shall sing, “The depths have covered them: there is not
one of them left.” He that turned your Marah into sweetness will yet turn
all your sense of sin into a sense of pardon: all the bitterness of your
regret and the sharpness of your repentance shall yet be turned into the
joy of faith, and you shall be full of delight in the perfect
reconciliation which comes by the precious blood of Christ. Sustaining
providences are to the saints sure pledges of grace. The sweetened water
is a picture of a sweetened nature: I had almost said it is a type of it.
God binds himself by the gracious deliverances of his providence to give
you equal deliverances of grace. It is joyous to say, “He is the Lord
that healed my circumstances,” but how much better to sing of his name as
“The Lord that healeth thee.” Do not be contented till you reach to
that; but do be confident that he who healed Marah will heal you; he that
has helped you to rejoice in him in all your times of trouble will sustain
you in all your struggles with sin, till you shall more sweetly and more
loudly praise his blessed name.
II. Let us now proceed a step further. As we have spoken of God’s
healing our circumstances, so now we have to think of The Lord’s Healing
Why are diseases and pains left in the bodies of God’s people? Our bodies
are redeemed, for Christ has redeemed our entire manhood, but if Christ be
in us the body is still dead because of sin, even though the spirit is
alive because of righteousness. It is not till the resurrection that we
shall enjoy the full result of the redemption of the body. Resurrection
will accomplish for our bodies what regeneration has done for our souls.
We were born again. Ay, but that divine work was exercised only upon our
spiritual nature; our bodies were not born again: hence they still abide
under the liability of disease, decay, and death, though even these evils
have been turned into blessings. This frail, sensitive, and earthly frame,
which Paul calls “this vile body,” grows weary and worn, and by-and-by
it will fade away and die, unless the Lord shall come; and even if he
should come this feeble fabric must be totally changed, for flesh and
blood as they now are cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither can
corruption dwell with incorruption. Even unto this day the body is under
death because of sin, and is left so on purpose to remind us of the
effects of sin, that we may feel within ourselves what sin has done, and
may the better guess at what sin would have done if we had remained under
it, for the pains of hell would have been ours for ever. These griefs of
body are meant, I say, to make us recollect what we owe to the redemption
of our Lord Jesus, and so to keep us humble and grateful. Aches and pains
are also sent to keep us on the wing for heaven, even as thorns in the
nest drive the bird from its sloth. They make us long for the land where
the inhabitant shall no more say, I am sick.
Yet the Lord does heal our bodies. First he heals them by preventing
sickness. A prevention is better than cure. The text says, “If thou wilt
diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that
which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and
keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which
I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
It is concerning this selfsame healing Lord that we read, “Thou shalt not
be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction
that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten
thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with
thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because
thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy
habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come
nigh thy dwelling.” Do we sufficiently praise God for guarding us from
disease? I am afraid that his preserving care is often forgotten. Men will
go thirty or forty years almost without an illness, and forget the Lord in
consequence. That which should secure gratitude creates indifference. When
we have been ill we come up to the house of the Lord and desire to return
thanks because of our recovery; ought we not to give thanks when we are
not ill, and do not need to be recovered? Should it not be to you healthy
folk a daily cause of gratitude to God that he keeps away those pains
which would keep you awake all night, and wards off those sicknesses which
would cause your beauty to consume away like the moth?
But we see this healing hand of the Lord more conspicuously when, like
Hezekiah we have been sick, and have been restored. Sometimes we lie
helpless and hopeless like dust ready to return to its fellow dust; we are
incapable of exertion, and ready to be dissolved. Then if the Lord renews
our youth and takes away our sickness, we do praise his name; and so we
ought, for it is not the doctor, it is not the medicine,-these are but the
outward means; it is the Lord who is the true Physician, and unto
Jehovah-Rophi be the praise. “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Let
those of us that have been laid aside, and have been again allowed to walk
abroad, lift up our hearts and our voices in thanksgiving to the Lord who
forgiveth all our iniquities, who healeth all our diseases.
According to the analogy of the healing of Marah, the Lord does this by
means: for he cast a tree into the water. Those who will use no medicine
whatever certainly have no Scriptural warrant for their conduct. Even
where cures are given to faith, yet the Apostle says, “Is any sick? Let
him send for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him,
anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” The anointing with oil
was the proper medicine of the day, and possibly a great deal better
medicine than some of the drugs which are used nowadays. To the use of
this anointing the promise is given, “and the prayer of faith shall raise
the sick.” Hezekiah was miraculously healed, but the Lord said, “ take a
lump of figs, and lay it upon the sore.” God could have spoken a word and
turned Marah sweet, but he did not choose to do so: he would exercise the
faith and obedience of his people by bidding them cast a tree into the
waters. The use of means is not to hinder faith, but to try it. Still, it
is the Lord who works the cure, and this is the point which is so often
forgotten. Oh, come let us sing unto Jehovah who hath said,- “I am the
Lord that healeth thee.” Do not attribute to secondary means that which
ought to be ascribed to God alone. His fresh air, and warm sun, or bracing
wind and refreshing showers do more for our healing than we dream of, or
if medicine be used, it is he who gives virtue to the drugs, and so by his
own Almighty hand works out our cure. As one who has felt his restoring
hand, I will personally sing unto him who is the health of my countenance
and my God.
Note this, that in every healing of which we are the subjects we have a
pledge of the resurrection. Every time a man who is near the gates of
death rises up again he enjoys a kind of rehearsal of that grand rising
when from beds of dust and silent clay the perfect saints shall rise at
the trump of the archangel and the voice of God. We ought to gather from
our restorations from serious and perilous sickness a proof that the God
who brings us back from the gates of the grave can also bring us back from
the grave itself whenever it shall be his time to do so.
This should also be a yet further proof to us that if he can heal our
bodies the Lord can heal our souls. If this poor worm’s meat, which so
readily decays, can be revived, so can the soul which is united to Christ
and quickened with his life; and if the Almighty Lord can cast out evils
from this poor dust and ashes, which must ultimately be dissolved, much
more can he cast out all manner of evils from that immaterial spirit which
is yet to shine in the brightness of the glory of God. Wherefore both from
his healing your woes and from his healing your bodies, gather power to
believe in the fact that he will heal your mental, moral, and spiritual
diseases, and already lift up your hearts with joy as you sing of
Jehovah-Rophi, “The Lord that healeth THEE.”
“Sinners of old thou didst receive,
With comfortable words and kind,
Their sorrows cheer, their wants
Heal the diseased, and cure the blind,
And art thou not the Savior still,
In every place and age the same?
Hast thou forgot thy gracious skill,
Or lost the virtue of thy name?
Faith in thy changeless name I have;
The good, the kind Physician, thou
Art able now our souls to save,
Art willing to restore them now.
Though eighteen hundred years are past
Since thou didst in the flesh appear,
Thy tender mercies ever last;
And still thy healing power is here!
Wouldst thou the body’s health restore,
And not regard the sin-sick soul?
The sin-sick soul thou lov’st much
And surely thou shalt make it whole.”
The healing of Marah and the healing of the body are placed before the
text, and they shed a light upon it. They place this name of the Lord in a
golden frame, and cause us to look upon it with the greater interest.
III. Now we come to The Healing Of Our Souls.
The Lord our God will heal our spirits, and he will do it in somewhat the
same manner as that in which he healed Marah. How was that? First, he made
the people know how bitter Marah was. There was no healing for that water
till they had tasted it, and discovered that it was too brackish to be
endured; but after they knew its bitterness then the Lord made it sweet to
them. So is it with your sin, my brother. It must become more and more
bitter to you. You will have to cry out, “O wretched man that I am, who
shall deliver me?” You will have to feel that you cannot live upon
anything that is within yourself. The creature must be made distasteful to
you, and all trusts that come of it; for God’s way is first to kill, and
then to make alive; first to wound, and then to heal. He begins by making
Marah to be Marah, and afterwards he makes it sweet.
What next? The next thing was there was prayer offered. I do not know
whether any of the people possessed faith in God, but if so they had a
prayerless faith, and God does not work in answer to prayerless faith.
“Oh,” says one, “I am perfectly sanctified.” How do you know?
“Because I believe I am.” That will never do. Is a man rich because he
believes he is? Will sickness vanish if I believe myself to be well? Some
even think it useless to pray because they feel sure of having the
blessing. That putting aside of prayer is a dangerous piece of business
altogether. If there is not the cry to God for the blessing, ay, and the
daily cry for keeping and for sanctification, the mercy will not come.
Again, I say, healing comes not to a prayerless faith. You may believe
what you like, but God will only hear you when you pray. Faith must pour
itself out in prayer before the blessing will be poured into the soul.
Moses cried, and he obtained the blessing: the people did not cry, and
they would have been in an evil case had it not been for Moses. We must
come to crying and praying before we shall receive sanctification, which
is the making whole of our spirits.
Marah became sweet through the introduction of something outside of
itself-a tree, I know not of what kind. The rabbis say that it was a
bitter tree, and naturally tended to make the water more bitter still.
However that may be, I cannot imagine any tree in all the world, bitter or
sweet, which could have power to sweeten such a quantity of water as must
have been at Marah. The transaction was miraculous, and the tree was used
merely as the instrument, and no further. But I do know a tree which, if
put into the soul, will sweeten all its thoughts and desires: and Jesus
knew that tree, that tree whereon he died and shed his blood as a victim
for our sin. If the merit of the cross be imputed to us, and the spirit of
the cross be introduced into our nature; if we trust the Lord Jesus, and
rest upon him; ay, if we become cross-bearers, and our soul is crucified
to the world, then we shall find a marvellous change of our entire nature.
Whereas we were full of vice, the Crucified One will make us full of
virtue; and whereas we were bitter towards God, we shall be sweet to him,
and even Christ will be refreshed as he drinks of our love, as he drinks
of our trust, as he drinks of our joy in him. Where all was acrid, sharp,
and poisonous, everything shall become pure, delicious, and refreshing. We
must first experience a sense of bitterness, then cry out to the Lord in
prayer, and then yield an obedient faith which puts the unlikely tree into
the stream, and then the divine power shall be put forth upon us by him
who saith, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
The inner healing is set forth as in a picture in the sweetening of the
bitter pools of Marah. I know I am right in saying so, because we are told
of Moses, “There he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there
he proved them.”
Again the task of turning Marah sweet was a very difficult one. No human
power could have achieved it: and even so the task of changing our nature
is not only difficult, but impossible to us. We must be born again, not of
the will of man, nor of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.
There was no turning Marah sweet by any means within the reach of Moses or
the myriads that came up with him out of Egypt. This wonder must come from
Jehovah’s hand. So is the change of our nature a thing beyond all human
might. Who can make his own heart clean? God must work this marvel. We
must be born again from above, or else we shall remain in the gall of
bitterness even unto the end.
But yet the work was very easy to God. How simple a thing it was just to
take a tree and cast it into the bitter water and find it sweet at once.
Even so it is an easy thing to God to make us a new heart and a right
spirit, and so to incline us to everything that is right and good. What a
blessing is this! If I had to make myself holy I must despair; and if I
had to make myself perfect and keep myself so it would never be done; but
the Lord Jehovah can do it, and has already begun to do it. Things which I
once hated I now love: all things have become new. Simple faith in Jesus
Christ, the putting of the cross into the stream, does it all, and does it
at once, too, and does it so effectually that there is no return of the
bitterness, but the heart remains sweet and pure before the living God.
The task was completely accomplished. The people came and drank of Marah
just as freely as they afterwards drank of Elim or of the water that
leaped from the smitten rock. So God can and will complete in us the
change of our nature. Paul saith, “I am persuaded that he that hath begun
a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ.” The Lord has
not begun to sweeten us a little with the intent of leaving us in a half
healed condition, but he will continue the process till we are without
trace of defilement, made pure and right in his sight.
This work is one which greatly glorifies God. If the change of Marah’s
water made the people praise God, much more will the change of nature make
us adore him for ever and ever. We are going to be exalted, brethren,
by-and-by, to the highest place in the universe next to God. Man, poor,
sinful man, is to be so changed as to be able to stand side by side with
Christ, who has for that very purpose taken upon himself human nature. We
are to be above the angels. The highest seraphim shall be less privileged
than the heirs of salvation. Now, the tendency to pride would be very
strong upon us, only that we shall always recollect what we used to be,
and what power it was that has made us what we are. This will make it safe
for God to glorify his people. There will be no fear of our sullying God’s
honor, or setting ourselves up in opposition to him, as did Lucifer of
old. It shall never be said of any spirit washed in the precious blood of
Jesus, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O son of the morning!” for the
process through which we shall pass in turning our bitterness to sweetness
will fill us with perpetual adoration, and with constant reverence of the
unspeakably mighty grace of God. Will it not be so, brethren? Do not your
impulses even now lead you to feel that, when you gain your promised
crowns, the first thing you will joyfully do will be to cast them at the
feet of Jesus, and say, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be
glory for ever and ever.” That sweetened Marah was all of God; our
renewed nature shall be all of God. We shall not be able to take the
slightest particle of credit to ourselves, nor shall we wish to do so.
Brethren, the Lord will do it; he will be sure to do it because it will
glorify his name. Let us draw comfort from this fact: there will be no
interfering with the Lord by a rival claimant to honor, no idolatry in us
taking away part of his praises; therefore he will do it, and change our
bitterness into perfect sweetness. Blessed be his name, he can do it:
nothing will baffle the skill of “the Lord that healeth thee.” Whenever
I am cast down under a sense of corruption, I always like to get a hold of
this divine name, “The Lord that healeth thee.” “Thanks be to God who
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Faithful is he
that hath called you, who also will do it,” says the Apostle. He has not
undertaken what he will fail to perform. Jehovah that made heaven and
earth has undertaken to make us perfect, and effectually to heal us:
therefore let us be confident that it will assuredly be accomplished, and
we shall be presented without spot before God.
He who healeth us is a God so glorious that he will certainly perform the
work. There is none like unto the Omnipotent One! He is able to subdue all
things unto himself. His wisdom, power, and grace can so work upon us that
where sin abounded grace shall much more abound.
“Thou canst o’ercome this heart of mine;
Thou wilt victorious prove;
For everlasting strength is thine,
And everlasting love.
Thy powerful Spirit shall subdue
Cleanse this foul heart, and make it
And write thy law within.”
He is a God who loves us so, and makes us so precious in his sight, that
he gave Egypt for our ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for us. A God so loving
will surely perfect that which concerneth us. Moreover, a God so fond of
purity, a God who hates sin so intensely, and who loves righteousness so
fervently will surely cleanse the blood of his own children. He must and
will make his own family pure. “This people have I formed for myself:
they shall show forth my praise.” The devil cannot hinder that decree.
“They shall,” says God, and they shall, too, whatever shall stand in
their way. They must and they shall show forth God’s praise.
Now, as you have believed in God for your justification and found it in
Christ, so believe in God for your sanctification, that he will work in
you to will and to do according to his good pleasure; that he will
exterminate in you the very roots of sin; that he will make you like
himself, without taint or speck, and that, as surely as you are trusting
in Christ, you shall be whiter than snow, pure as the infinite Jehovah,
and you shall stand with his Firstborn, accepted in the Beloved. My soul
seems to grasp this, and to hold it all the more firmly because the Lord
has turned my bitter circumstances into sweetness, and he has healed the
sickness of my body. Because of these former mercies I know that he will
heal the sickness of my spirit, and I shall be whole, that is to say holy,
without spot or trace of sin, and so shall I be for ever with the Lord.
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Brethren, if the Lord has taken you into his hospital and healed you, do
not forget other sick folk. Freely ye have received, freely give. Give
to-day to the hospitals in which so many of the poor are cared for and
succored. Do it for Jesus’ sake, and may the Lord accept your offerings.
Notes on Application
truth in Exodus 15
by Bob Deffinbaugh
Exodus: The Birth of a Nation: Lesson 8: The Song of
"While this chapter appears
to have two very distinct accounts, there is good reason for the fact that
Moses has placed them side by side. The “Song of the Sea” and the “bitter
waters of Marah” are contrasting accounts, but accounts which have a
direct relationship to each other. Two observations are crucial to our
understanding the relationship between the praises of Israel in the “Song
of the Sea” (Ex 15:1-21)
and the protests of Israel at Marah (Ex 15:22, 23, 24, 25, 26).
(1) The Israelites
failed to see the relationship
between the affirmation of their faith in their worship (Ex
and the application of their faith in their daily walk (Ex 15:22-26).
Israel had just proclaimed her faith in God as her warrior (Ex15:3), but
she was unable to trust in God as her "Waterer" (Ex 15:22, 23, 24, 25,
26). That God could handle a problem with the water at Marah should not
come as any surprise. After all, God had delivered Israel and destroyed
the Egyptians by means of His control of the water in the Red Sea. The
winds (which the song describes as coming from the breath of God, v8,10)
caused the waters to part. God was able to make the waters congeal, so
that there were walls of water on both sides of the Israelites (cf. Ex
15:8). God caused the waters to close in upon the Egyptian army, drowning them
all. If God could deal with the waters of the Red Sea, surely He could be
trusted to deal with the waters of Marah. Israel should have been able to
apply the faith she affirmed in the “Song of the Sea” to her dilemma at
the waters of Marah, but she did not.
Lest we become
unnecessarily perturbed at the Israelites for their lack of faith, and
become a little proud of ourselves, let me suggest that the problem which
Israel illustrates is also one of the greatest problems of Christians in
every age, including our own. We often fail to apply our faith in God,
resulting from one event, to another event which is virtually identical.
For example, the feeding of the 5,000 (Mk 6:30-44) should have taught the
disciples to trust in the Lord Jesus to feed the multitudes, and yet
shortly after this great miracle, the disciples failed to apply their
faith to the matter of feeding the 4,000 (Mk 8:1-10).
When we gather to worship
God, we do not sing the “Song of the Sea” but we do sing many hymns and
choruses which express our faith in God. We sing, “Great Is Thy
Faithfulness,” and then go our ways fretting and worrying about the petty
details of our lives, as though God was not faithful at all. We sing, “It
Is Well With My Soul,” but when some little irritation comes along, our
faith flounders. We sing, “O, for a Thousand Tongues,” and then, when
someone makes fun of our faith, we are tongue-tied and cannot find any
words to say concerning our faith.
The point is simply
this. It is a great deal easier to affirm our faith in public worship than
it is to apply our faith in our daily walk.* Here is the real crunch.
Here is where the rubber meets the road. It is not that we need to worship
less, it is that we must apply in our daily walk those truths which we
affirm in our worship. Just as God led the Israelites to the waters of
Marah, so He leads us in such a way as to give us ample opportunity to
apply our faith, or at least to reveal our lack of faith.
One of the contributing
factors to our failure to apply our faith in our daily walk is that we
tend to create false distinctions between those areas which are sacred
(church, public worship) and those which are secular (work, daily living).
The result is that we think of our faith as relevant to our “devotional”
activities, but not to our daily activities. It is my contention that God
distinguishes between those matters which are holy and those which are
profane, but not between those matters which are sacred and those which
are secular. A more careful look at the Law of Moses will reveal that
Israel’s faith was to govern and guide them in the minute details of their
(2) Not only did Israel
fail to apply their faith to their situation at Marah, they failed to even
see the problem as being spiritual. In the text we read that the
Israelites protested against Moses, not against God (v24).
They demanded that Moses produce water for them, they did not cry to God
for water. It is my contention that they did not see their circumstances
as demanding a “spiritual” solution, but only as demanding a “secular”
solution. At least when the Israelites were trapped between the Egyptian
army and the Red Sea they cried out to God for help (before they began to
grumble against Moses, cf. Ex 14:10, 11, 12).
Here, at Marah, they immediately confronted Moses, and ignored God
Ironically, the Israelites
forgot that the pillar of cloud was still guiding them (cf. Ex 13:21, 22),
and that God Himself was present with them in the cloud. If they were
wrongly led, God led them wrongly by the cloud.* Imagine the protests
of the Israelites, while the cloud hovered over the waters of Marah. The
Israelites failed to understand that if God promised to bring them safely
out of Egypt and into the land of Canaan, any obstacle which would hinder
or prevent them was one with which God was concerned, and which He could
overcome. They failed to see bitter water as a matter about which God
would be concerned, but He was concerned because water was necessary to
preserve His people.
At the Red Sea, Israel
should have learned that God was able to overcome any obstacle*
(such as the Red Sea, which He parted) or any opponent*
(such as the Egyptians, which He drowned in the Red Sea—the obstacle).
Thus, while the Israelites sang that God was going to overcome their
opponents (the Canaanites), they did not grasp the fact that He would also
overcome all the obstacles to their entrance into Canaan (such as the
bitter waters of Marah).
How often we fall into
the very same trap.* We view God as being concerned only with the big
problems of life, those which appear to be spiritual. But anything which
hinders our growth, our sanctification, or our ability to do what He has
purposed is a matter about which He is concerned, and which He is able to
overcome. Frequently, when we encounter a problem in our lives, we do not
even consider that it is something about which God is intimately
concerned. We immediately begin to turn to secular solutions, without
seeking God’s solution.
One reason why we fail to
view our problems as an occasion for faith is that we have become
accustomed to living by scientific principles rather than spiritual
principles. The scientific method is a good method—for matters of science.
But it is incompatible when it comes to matters of faith. Here, the
scientific method must be set aside (not scrapped, but set aside).
Scientific principles are essential for scientific purposes. One does not,
for example, design an airplane, load it full of people, and hope that it
flies. It must pass a rigorous series of tests and be proven functional
The scientific method
requires that every scientific fact be proven, being performed under
controlled conditions, having hard empirical evidence, and being
repeatable, time after time. In order for one to accept the account of the
Red Sea on scientific grounds, the depth of the sea would have had to have
been measured, the velocity of the winds calculated, and all other
variables considered. In order to prove that this was something
scientifically verifiable, the parting of the sea would have to be
repeated time after time. And after being scientifically proven, one could
only predict that the event would happen again if it were repeated under
identical conditions. Any change in any variable would cause the scientist
to question the possibility of repeating the phenomenon under different
The spiritual method is
different.* The spiritual method observes what God has done, accepting
the event on face value, governed and qualified by the divine revelation
which accompanies the phenomenon. The spiritual method then views the
event as a manifestation of the character of God.* On the basis of
God’s character (as consistent with biblical descriptions of His character
elsewhere), the Christian then looks at any future circumstance as an
opportunity* for God to act in such a way as to achieve His purposes
by overcoming both obstacles (like the Red Sea, or the hardness of men’s
hearts) and opponents (like Satan, the antichrist, or the armies of men
who have been deceived and used by Satan) [Ed note: or even our
indwelling sin nature, the old man or old Adam, the flesh].
Variations in conditions do not change the character of God, nor do they
pose a problem to the God who is all-powerful.
The reason why we fail to
see many circumstances as occasions that require a spiritual solution (and
therefore require faith as well) is because we are using the scientific
method of reasoning*, rather than the spiritual method of
reasoning*, which reasons according to God’s revealed will and in
accordance with the character of God, as demonstrated in history.
As we come to the
conclusion of the message, let me attempt to apply this text to a current
problem, which I shall call the “charismatic problem.” Many contemporary
charismatics are inclined to think and to teach that life can and will be
lived on the spiritual mountain tops. Thus, we should expect the
Israelites to continually experience the euphoria and optimism of the
“Song of the Sea.” Such is not the case, however. God did not allow the
Israelites to stay by the sea, singing their glorious song. He did not
keep them on the mountain. Instead, God led the Israelites into the
desert, allowed them to be thirsty, and gave them bitter water. This
adverse situation tested the faith and endurance of the Israelites, and
provided the occasion for God to teach His people an important lesson.
Expecting to live the Christian life on a continuous high is not only
unrealistic, it is unbiblical. Thank God for the times of victory and
elation, but do not expect things to stay this way forever.
Now a word to my
non-charismatic reader. While we often accuse our charismatic brethren of
expecting the miraculous and the ecstatic to be the norm, we often have
become content to expect that things will always happen according to
natural laws and practices, so that we expect miracles not to happen. God
is not obliged to work a miracle for our benefit, but He is able to do so,
and He sometimes does do so. The Israelites saw the miraculous hand of God
at work in their passing through the Red Sea, and they expected His hand
to work mightily and miraculously as they entered into the land of Canaan
to possess it. We, on the other hand, have convinced ourselves that we
ought not expect the miraculous.
The conversion of souls is
a miracle. If we do not look for God to work in miraculous ways, we may as
well stop witnessing and trying to evangelize the lost. The process of
sanctification as well as the manifestation of the Spirit in the lives of
the saints for ministry is a miracle, and we dare not seek to serve the
Lord without asking for His miraculous power to do so.
Frankly, I do not know
which is worse—thinking miracles should be the rule, or thinking that
miracles have been ruled out—but there must be a balance [Ed note: "Amen"!].
The exodus event is a manifestation of God’s miraculous might, employed to
achieve His purposes and to fulfill His promises. The Israelites saw the
miracle of God accomplished in the past as a guarantee of His intervention
in the future. May God give us the faith to look for (but not demand)
the miraculous in our lives, when it is required to accomplish the
purposes and promises of God.*
If you have not personally
come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you have not experienced the
miracle of being born again, of having your sins forgiven, your guilt
removed, and of the joy of fellowship with God and the hope of heaven. It
is only when you experience this miracle of conversion that you will look
for the miraculous hand of God to work in your life in the future."
* (Bolding added by me)