I hope you’re enjoying this series as much as I am. Digging into the character of the Lord we serve has been both exciting and eye-opening. So far, we’ve discussed the names of God:
Today we’re moving on to another of His names and another aspect of who He is.
Jehovah Rapha is the name God used for Himself in Exodus 15:26. In the last part of chapter 15, God had triumphantly led the Israelite nation away from Egypt. He’d had an even bigger victory at the Red Sea. Then the people left the Red Sea and traveled through a desert for 3 days without water. The text says, “They grumbled against Moses.”
It’s really easy to judge the people. I mean, they’d seen some amazing feats, yet a little discomfort and suddenly they’re whiny and griping and threatening and whiny. Yes, it was worth saying again.
Whoa, but they were in the desert for 3 days without water. I get whiny and griping when I go three minutes without internet! Or a day waiting for an email! Or a morning without caffeine! And guess what, I’ve seen some pretty amazing things, too. (Granted no walls of water, for which I’m grateful. And no bugs or blood, or frogs – again, very thankful for that!) But if I can get grumbly over a shoulder ache from sleeping on my pillowtop bed in the wrong position, I sure have no business thinking less of these people who were concerned for their own survival and the legacy of their thirsty children.
Stepping off the Soapbox.
They finally found water, but realized that it was undrinkable. Moses went to God with his request. (I would think, in their grumbling state, that’s probably a good thing that the people didn’t talk to God themselves.) God told Moses to throw a branch in the water and it became perfectly clean.
After God refreshed the water, the scripture says that God “put the people to the test.” It wasn’t like the test He took Abraham through. This was more like a loving parent giving the “if/then” talk.”
“If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” Exodus 15:26 NIV
What He said reminded me of the speech I’d always give to my students when I taught elementary school. I’d go explain in depth our short list of rules, then state, “If you follow these rules, you’ll have a great year. If you don’t follow them, you’ll have a rough year. The choice is yours.” I’d discuss this on the first day, and the second day, the kids would spend their time checking to see if I was serious. Day 2 was always the worst day of the entire year as they pushed the boundaries that I had laid the day before. I think that’s what the Father is doing here. I can’t help but wonder what the nation of Israel would be like today if the ancient people had passed this test.
But the cool thing is, the Lord is still the One who Heals. The verse doesn’t say “I will be the LORD who heals you if you do as I say.” He said, I am the LORD who heals you. Period” Currently and constantly. His great love for the people of Israel didn’t end with their disobedience or their failure of faith. It continues today. And I do believe that the promises God made to the Israelites are good for His adopted children, Christians, as well. He is our Jehovah Rapha, too.
Your turn: We’re going to talk more about Jehovah Rapha, but what impresses you about the character of God in this story?