From Praying the Names of God Week Eight, Day Two
The Hebrew word rophe means "heal, "cure," "restore," or "make whole." Shortly after his people left Egypt for the Promised Land, God revealed himself as Yahweh Rophe, "the LORD who heals." The Hebrew Scriptures indicate that God is the source of all healing. As you pray to Yahweh Rophe, ask him to search your heart. Take time to let him show you what it contains. If he uncovers any sin, ask for his forgiveness and then pray for healing. The New Testament reveals Jesus as the Great Physician, the healer of body and soul, whose miracles point to the kingdom of God.
If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statues, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you. (Exodus 15:26 NKJV)
PRAYING THE NAME
If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you. (Exodus 15:26 NKJV)
Anyone the man with a discharge touches without rinsing his hands with water must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. (Leviticus 15:11)
Reflect On: Exodus 15:22-26
Praise God: For his great wisdom.
Offer Thanks: That his laws are designed not to harm us but to protect us.
Confess: Any sin that has entered your life through breaking God's commandments.
Ask God: To help you see the link between obedience and health, physical and spiritual.
Ancient medical knowledge was limited not only by the lack of scientific method but also by the widespread worship of idols and the belief in magic. Disease was often blamed on the presence of evil spirits, who could only be vanquished by magical potions and powerful incantations. Egyptian papyri dating to 1552 B.C. list medical remedies containing a strange array of ingredients, including "lizards' blood, swine's teeth, putrid meat, stinking fat, moisture from pigs' ears, milk, goose grease, asses' hoofs, animal fats from various sources, excreta from animals, including human beings, donkeys, antelopes, dogs, cats, and even flies."1 Clearly this was a case of the cure being worse than the cold.
Rather than relying on a witches' brew of potions to heal them, the Israelites were to obey God's commandments and statutes, some of which contained instructions that foreshadow modern medical discoveries. For instance, people were to wash their bodies and their clothes if they came into contact with a disease, a bodily discharge, or a corpse. This hardly sounds like rocket science unless you realize that as recently as 150 years ago, it was considered ridiculous for a surgeon to have to wash his hands prior to operating on a patient.
The Israelites also practiced isolation and quarantine and followed dietary laws that prevented the spread of disease. One of the ways God lived up to the self-disclosed name Yahweh Rophe was in providing his people with instructions that prevented them from becoming ill in the first place. Some scholars suggest that it was their obedience to dietary and sanitary laws that enabled the Jews to survive the various diseases that wiped out many other ancient peoples.2
Likewise the moral law, as embodied in the Ten Commandments, offered similar protection. Those who disregarded it would suffer from spiritual diseases that could in turn result in physical illnesses.
Despite the sophistication of modern medical knowledge, many cures still elude us. If you or someone you love is suffering from a spiritual or physical malady, seek the Lord today for grace and wisdom, remembering always that he is "the LORD who heals you."
Meet your spiritual ancestors as they really were: Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them.