Names of God: YHWH Rapha

Musings, Names of God

The Lord who heals.  Our world is in such desperate need of healing today. There is so much sickness of body, mind, and spirit all around us.  I had planned to start this series on the Old Testament Names of God with a different Name but felt the Holy Spirit leading me, as HE often does, away from my plan and encouraging me to follow His instead!

YHWH Rapha is a compound name for God. 

YHWH is the English transliteration of the four Hebrew consonants which were revealed to Moses by God at Mt Sinai. This name first occurs in Genesis 2:4 but the story of how Moses, traditional author of the Torah, came to know it is found in Exodus 3:13-15. It is often called the Tetragrammaton and is related the Hebrew verb hayah, “to be”. The Bible Project has a terrific video explaining how this personal name for the God of the Israelites has been represented throughout history. The English word “Jehovah” is often substituted or “LORD” in all capital letters.  More on this later.

Rapha is a name based on the Hebrew verb “to heal”.   

This name is first introduced in Exodus 15:26 when the LORD is teaching the Israelites not only about His Character but important aspects of their own character as well.  He reveals Himself as their Healer.  Their need for Him is revealed in what they lacked.

There are foreshadows of Christ throughout the Old Testament and especially in the wilderness story.  In the next three chapters, God made the water sweet, provided bread from heaven and water from a rock. Provision is made in the face of need.  In Numbers 21:4-9 the story of the Bronze Serpent is another example of the foreshadowing of Christ and divine healing of the people in the wilderness.

The prophet Malachi speaks of healing in chapter 4, verse 2 as taking place on the great day of the Lord.

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

The connection of this healing with the Messiah, Jesus Christ, seems most evident, for me personally, in the miracle of the woman with the bleeding disorder.  Recorded in three of the four gospels, Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48, it is a powerful story of a desperate desire to be made well.  The woman believed that she needed only touch the hem of Jesus’ garment to be healed. 

Have you ever wondered why she thought this? 

Matthew 14 speaks of others healed simply by touching His clothing but look back into Malachi 4:2.  The Hebrew word translated as “wing” is kanaph which can be like the wing of a bird but can also mean the extremity of a garment.  The edge of the Jewish prayer garment worn by most observant Jewish men was referred to as the wing. It is not a great stretch to believe that this woman believed Jesus to be the promised Messiah and hoped for healing from touching the hem of his robe.  She would receive the healing she desired that day but the healing she truly needed would not come until Jesus stretched out his arms on the cross and died for her sin. 

Like the Israelites in the desert, she had endured her wilderness and realized her need for healing.  How often sickness brings us to the end of ourselves and turns our gaze heavenward.  We desire a respite from our suffering but the LORD our Healer, YHWH Rapha, desires so much more.  He desires to heal not only our body but our mind and soul as well. He desires for us to be reconciled to Him and each other in righteousness.

It is possible for Him to bring healing in the short term but we have to trust that even if He does not it is because He has a greater plan for His Glory and our good.  This is a hard truth which resides in the necessary tension which exists in the realm between the finite and the Infinite. Learning to live with this tension protects us from oversimplifying what is and must remain beyond our ability to understand.  If it “all makes sense” to us then we probably have it wrong. 

I do not know what ailment you face but I know that YHWH Rapha loves you and desires that you come to know Him for who He really is and accept Jesus as Savior. Click this link you would like more information on how that is possible.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FATHER,

YOU ARE Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, and we call on YOUR NAME for the physical healing of those suffering around us here at years’ end. So much of YOUR Character is revealed to us, like the name Jehovah Rapha, while in times of wilderness wandering. So often we cannot understand why YOU allow the trials and struggles in our lives but YOU never fail to be near to us when we call upon YOU!

I pray for the physical healings that are necessary but also for the healing of hearts and minds that may only be achieved in times of forced rest and weary calm. I pray for each of us to know YOU better but realize that may only be possible as we weather the storms that we are facing. I pray for families struggling with the loss of loved ones and even for relationships lost when the people are still very much alive but in conflict. We seek YOUR LIGHT in our darkness and reach out to touch YOU knowing that healing comes to those who revere YOUR NAME!

In JESUS’ HOLY NAME, ~ Amen