Ok, I have to tell you before we get started that this is probably one of the names of God that confuses me the most. I am very nervous about writing on this subject because I know that we don’t always get the healing we desire. I know there are people who have lost children who prayed fervent prayers for God to heal them. I know that people have lost spouses and parents and loved ones that they prayed so hard for healing and for some reason God chose to take them home. I don’t know why God chooses to heal some on earth and some He chooses to heal in heaven. And I truly want to be sensitive to that. I am not proposing that we will get all the answers this week on this subject, but I hope we get some. But just know my prayer is to handle the word of God rightly and correct and I pray that He speaks to you if you are choosing to study Jehovah Rapha with me. We will start with this prayer that Wendy Blight gives at the beginning of her chapter:
“Heavenly Father, God Our Healer, unveil in fresh new ways the truth of this facet of who You are. I have experienced unanswered healing prayers. Because of that, I have questions, I have doubts. Teach me. Challenge my simple faith to go deeper and ask hard questions. Reveal new truths to me and grant me the wisdom and knowledge to understand them. Thank You that You are forever with me…that even when I feel confused, alone, and forgotten, You promise to go before me, walk alongside me, and be my rear guard. There is nowhere I can go that You are not. Help me to experience Your amazing healing power. Teach me how to cast my burden on You and allow You to sustain me as I wait on You. Help me to quiet my heart and still my mind. Enable me to rest in You. Help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. I ask all this in Jesus’ powerful and effective name. Amen”
Let’s look at the first place this name of God appears in scripture. In Exodus the Israelites had just crossed the Red Sea on dry ground and had seen the waters return and swallow up the entire Egyptian army. Upon experiencing this they had celebrated with praise for what God had done for them.
“Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah.” Exodus 15:22-23
The Israelites had just seen this great miracle of God where He had held back the waters for them to cross on dry ground. But after traveling in the wilderness for three days they were thirsty. They came upon a place named Marah where the water was bitter and what do you think the Israelites did. Well they did what I do so many times. I will have just seen God do something for me, maybe not as big as parting a sea and I’ve walked across on dry ground, but big to me just the same, and life throws me a monkey wrench and next thing I know I am fretting and complaining, and worrying and grumbling. Yep, that is just what they did.
“And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’” Exodus 15:24
But look at Moses:
“And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.” Exodus 15:25
Oh how I wish I were more like Moses than those grumbling, complaining, worrisome Israelites. I wish that every time I came upon something that I would first pray before grumbling. I tend to worry and fret and then eventually I go to the Lord in prayer. After God gave them this sweet water to drink he gave them a statute and a rule.
“saying ‘If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.” Exodus 15:26
God was requiring from the Israelites complete obedience in order to fulfill this promise. God promised that obedience would bring blessings in this case in the way of protection from and healing of diseases. I know that still is a bitter pill to swallow because some of the best people I know have gone home to be with the Lord long before what we think is their time. But what we can grasp and hold on to here is that His blessing always follows obedience. God is our healer and we are going to keep digging this week to see the ways He does heal us. But today what we will grasp and hold onto is the blessing that God gives us when we follow Him. To conclude this lesson on the bitter waters of Marah, let’s look at the next stop for the Israelites.
“Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.” Exodus 15:27
Just like the abundant waters of Elim after the bitter waters of Marah, the blessings of God after a bitter season will be sweeter than if we encountered them first. Sometimes I think this is why we encounter hard times and things that hurt our hearts just so we will be more grateful when the blessings come. I don’t know for sure that that is the reason, but I do know that in my life that is my experience. The older I get and the more living I’ve done the more grateful I am when life is just easy and steady for me.