God delivers the Israelites from Egypt with an amazing display of His power, sovereignty and fierce love for His people. The Red Sea parts for safe passage on dry ground for millions of chosen ones and then swallows Egypt’s mighty army. Moses breaks into song; Miriam does too, and the newly freed nation celebrates and sings God’s praises. Then for three days they wander without water to drink. When water is finally found, it is too bitter to drink; and so they complain until the Lord purifies it. Subsequently, the Lord sets down laws and rules to live by, promises that if they obey then they will not suffer any of the diseases the Egyptians had suffered. God’s explanation? “Because I am YAHWEH ROPHEKA, the Lord who heals you.”
It is interesting to me that the next place they camped had 12 springs and 70 palm trees! God brought them to a place of testing and barrenness where He revealed something sustaining and gracious about His character. Then the next place He led them to had an abundance of the very thing they had lacked.
Rophe is a Hebrew word which means restore, cure or make whole. The verb root of rophe occurs 67 times in the Old Testament, but it refers to more than just physical healing. It refers to healing or wholeness of the entire person – body, mind, and soul. YAHWEH ROPHEKA is the healer of all, even nations, land, and water. He also heals sin and disease.
In the New Testament, Jesus shows himself as the Great Physician, doing countless miracles of healing and even raising people from the dead. We also must not forget the healing that Jesus did of individuals’ souls, minds, spirits and emotions…the woman at the well (John 4) certainly walked (or ran!) away healed and whole, although physically nothing had changed.
We live in a sinful, fallen world. Therefore, disease ravages our bodies and wounds scar our souls. Let’s remember to call on YAHWEH ROPHEKA. We have a God who heals!
Additional scripture for study: Psalm 147:2-3; 2 Kings 20:5; Luke 8:50