Exodus 15:26 …for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
Jehovah-rophe can be translated two ways – “I am the Lord thy Physician,” or “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” The setting in which the name Jehovah-rophe first appears is the wilderness. The Lord had been leading Israel in the wilderness for three days without water. Since the Lord God was not lost, He must deliberately have been keeping them from water. He will use this occasion to prove Himself in a new way. He had appeared to Abraham as the Provider; now He is ready to show Himself as the Healer. Phil. 4:19 says, “And my God shall supply all yourneed according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Any sick person will quickly acknowledge that he needs his body to be healed.
The people must have been excited when they came to the river, Marah. What disappointment when they found the waters were bitter! They might have wondered why God would trifle with them in their time of need. They knew they were in desperate need of water; God knew they were in desperate need of a new revelation of Himself! He had revealed himself as Jehovah-jireh (the Provider); now it is time to reveal Himself as Jehovah-rophe (the Healer).God would show the people that he had a provision for them that they had not previously known. There God “proved them” and made a “statute and ordinance” – a promise for health to those who were obedient. He told Moses to cut down a tree and cast it into the water. When it fell into the waters, they became sweet. Ex. 15:25, 26 tells the incident in this way:
…He cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently harken 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.
Although this is the occasion on which the name Jehovah-rophe was first used, God had healed previously; he had removed barrenness in Rachel (Gen. 30:11) and also in Abimelech’s household (Gen. 20:17). This incident, however, was the one by which God showed himself in covenant to heal. The word rophe appears numerous times in the Old Testament. It was used to mean to restore, heal, cure or as a noun meaning physician in both a physical and spiritual sense.
There is no record of God healing Moses, but it seems that Moses lived in health. Deut. 34:7 records, “And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” Moses was used by God to perform a healing miracle for his sister, Miriam (Deut. 24:8,9). Another Old Testament miracle of healing was performed by Elisha in the healing of Naaman (2 Ki. 5:1-19). The nature of Jehovah-rophe is also shown by His adding fifteen years to the life of Hezekiah (2 Ki. 15:1-8), and by Elijah raising the widow’s son (1 Ki. 17:17-24). David recognized God as Jehovah-rophe when he wrote in Ps. 103:1-3, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases. Although it is not stated explicitly, healing would seem to be a function of the Shepherd in Ps. 23. A shepherd is certainly interested in keeping his sheep healthy and in curing wounds
Definitely Jesus, the Good Shepherd, often performed physical healings as well as emotional healings. He said that was one of the reasons he came. He quoted Isaiah 61:1,2: The 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 broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised . . .
Matt. 4:23 says of Jesus, “(he went about) . . . and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” Jesus sent John’s disciples with a message to John, “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 . . .” (Matt. 11:4).
Jesus showed the Jehovah-rophe role of the Father in his ministry. In fact, he bore witness that he was doing what the Father had done. “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19).
When Jesus was crucified, the atonement was made; God provided the Lamb. In that act, Jesus was Jehovah-jireh. And by the stripes that He suffered, He was Jehovah-rophe. As was prophesied in Is. 53:5, “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Peter confirms both Christ’s atonement and his healing, “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” (1 Pe. 2:24).
God says in Ex. 15:26 “I am the God that healeth thee.” Jesus suffered the stripes that we might be healed. John tells us “Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (3 John 2). James gives the “formula” and promise for healing, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up . . .” (Ja. 5:14, 15).
It is the opinion of this writer, that it must hurt the loving heart of God to have his children so ready to seek other remedies for their healing rather than trust in Him for the remedy He has provided. In our culture where medical help is generally readily available, it is easy to turn to “man” rather than to turn to God. Science has made great strides in perfecting methods from both natural sources (herbs, for example), drugs, vaccinations, even surgery to help the body heal itself. Although it is not a focus of this paper to discuss the role of physicians for Christians, this writer is often asked about that issue. This writer chooses to look to Ps. 118:8, 9, “Ít is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man; It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” for her own healing. And for many years, I walked in the healing power of Jesus; however, in the last three years, I have been under the doctor’s care for serious issues. Jesus made no judgement against the woman with an issue of blood even though the scriptures note that she had spent all on physicians. Jesus healed her without rebuke, when she came to him (Lu. 8:43-48). There are two scriptures which are an encouragement as prayers are made for those who are under the care of the medical community. They are Ps. 54:4,”Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul,” and Ps. 118:7, “The Lord taketh my part with them that help me…”. Also there is an incident in the Old Testament in which one might interpret that the use of medicine was signified. It is in this scripture, “And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs . . . and they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered” (2 Ki. 20:7). This incident is also related in Isaiah 38:12.
God said, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physicain there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered” (Jer. 8.22). It is a delight to trust in the Lord, live in accordance with His will, and lean on Him for the benefits He wants to give to His people.
Prov. 3:5-10 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase; So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.