God Who Heals/Jehovah-rapha
Acts 3 tells an amazing story. Apostles Peter and John are used by God to heal a beggar who has been crippled in his legs from birth! His legs are immediately strengthened, and, additionally, he immediately knows how to walk and does, leaping and praising God, too! Why this beggar among those nearby, I do not know. To me, the important lesson is that God WANTED the beggar healed! This is His nature as we will see from the following study. How can this apply to you?
The Condition of Mankind
- Habakkuk 2.4 states the contrast that prevents or produces the result of healing from God. How does Hebrews 11.6 explain this?
- God discusses this issue with Jeremiah in 7.23-24. Pride will cause you to walk ‘backward and not forward’ in knowing Him and experiencing His benefits. God always wants you at the next level with Him!
- In preparing the Jews going from Egypt to the Promised Land, Moses stated, in Deuteronomy 7.12-15, the blessings they will experience by listening to and obeying God’s commandments for not becoming like the nations He will drive out before them. Note His promise in verse 15: God will take away the diseases they ‘have known’ in Egypt! They must have gotten sick in Egypt.
- Exodus 23.20-25 records God’s assurance of His and their victory over the aberrant nations and His warning to not be deceived by the people’s gods. Verse 25 states that God will ‘take sickness away from the midst of you.’ Contemplate this promise. How can this include you?
- If only mankind would listen to and obey God! But, Isaiah 59.1-2 presents mankind’s plight (separation) and the cause. What is the cure?
The Love of God
- While other of God’s names were given by people to note their encounter with Him, God gave Himself the name Jehovah-rapha in Exodus 15.26 (Masoretic Text; manuscripts maintained by the Levite priests since the original manuscript was written). The context was a test of their dependence. Who were the last to drink?
- Isaiah 45.22 is the inclusive call of God to look to Him for ‘rescue, deliverance, healing, prosperity, and completeness’. Sozo is the Greek word for this total salvation – temporal and eternal.
- Ideally, God keeps sickness from us because we obey Him. When we disobey, satan rushes in to attack our weakness and destroy us. But God is ready to restore us. Consider King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20.1-11.
- Sometimes, the love of God includes an ‘Isaiah’ to act as intermediary. Elisha was such to the Syrian General Naaman in 2 Kings 5.1-27. What almost kept him from being healed? What were Elisha’s servant Gehazi’s sin and its result? Why did Elisha not accept payment? (Consider whose the gifts were, in verse 6.)
- Apostle Paul was another intermediary, for a crippled man in Lystra. See Acts 14.8-10. What does verse 9 say was God’s reason for healing him?
Why does God want us to know that He heals?
Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter.
God the provider/Jehovah-jireh
What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘Gettysburg’, ‘Big Apple’, ‘Omaha Beach’, ‘Pearl Harbor’, ‘Beersheba’ (Genesis 21.32), ‘Esek or Sitnah or Rehoboth’ (Genesis 26.22), and ‘Bethel’ (Genesis 28.19)? These are names of places that are immediately identified to the hearer. But, more than places, these names remind of important historical activities or cultures. This is why Abraham named a special place on a particular mountain Jehovah-jireh; Genesis 22.14. Why did Abraham do this? Psalm 77.10-15 and Micah 6.5 call the reader to remember the past by name or event. You, too, should remember, by whatever marker, the places unique to your understanding with God. Remember!
A Burnt Offering
- In Genesis 22.2, God commands Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering at a certain location. Leviticus 1.1-17 says that a burnt offering was for the atoning of sin and must be an unblemished male from the herd of cattle or flock of sheep or goats or a turtledove or young pigeon. See Genesis 8.20, Exodus 12.3-5, and Luke 2.22-24.
- Isaac is a young man, scholars say about 30 years old. This is reasonable because Sarah was 90 when he was born and died at age 127; see Genesis 23. 1-2 and Genesis 17.17. Isaac at age 30 would have been like Jesus Who began His ministry at age 30; so, age 30 is an interesting supposition.
- In Genesis 22.7-8, Isaac notes the absence of the sacrificial lamb, and Abraham satisfies his curiosity with, ‘God will provide the lamb.’ What could Abraham have possibly said, at this time and throughout Isaac’s life, that would cause Isaac to submit to being tied and placed on the altar, knowing what would come next? I think Abraham had often talked about God’s walk with him and Sarah; consider, Genesis 12.1-3; 15.1-21; 17.1-8, 15-19, 21; 21.12.
- ‘So, Isaac, you are the important link,’ Abraham might have said, referring to Genesis 21.12. Apostle Paul comments about this in Hebrews 11.17-19, noting that God would see to it, regardless of His methodology. Observe that God uses ‘your only son’ when referring to Isaac in verses 2, 12, and 16. Without Isaac, the promise was only a dream.
- Stop and think about Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.20-21. Abraham envisioned God accomplishing this by combining ashes to form Isaac, with the capabilities to sire Jacob and Esau and the promised Seed. But God (don’t you just love those words?) had a different idea, an ‘exceedingly abundantly above all’ idea! He had never before required nor would ever require a human sacrifice to please Himself! Jesus was the only One to die as a ‘burnt (or atonement) offering’!
The Importance of Faith
- In Romans 9.6-13, Paul draws the conclusion that God was looking at Abraham’s and Isaac’s faith, not the future, biological children. He notes Abraham’s, Sarah’s, and Rebekah’s faith in God’s promises about their progeny.
- So, back in Genesis 22.13-14, Abraham finds the ram that God had set aside for the burnt offering – male from the flock, unblemished. God gives us the best to give back to Him! Then he calls this place by the only and most-fitting name possible, The-Lord-Will-Provide/Jehovah-jireh!
- Abraham and, I believe Isaac, left the mountain convinced that God would do whatever it took to fulfill His promises! God had done what Abraham had said to the servants at the base of the mountain, in Genesis 22.5, and more! God could cause a ram to suddenly appear, caught in a thicket so slaughter would not be difficult! Later, God would provide food for the Hebrews’ journey to the Land of Promise, for Elijah and through Elisha, and for hungry people listening to Jesus tell of God’s love and abilities as Jehovah-jireh.
- Are you equally convinced? Remember when He provided in the past. What did you name this place or event? Can He do this again?
Contemplate Mark 9.23 and 10.27.
Adding Promise to Promise
- What new promise did God add in Genesis 22.17? It is interesting that Rebekah’s family includes this in their blessing as she goes to marry Isaac, in Genesis 24.60.
- What God is saying to Abraham and Isaac is that the faith in God by their descendants will, even, overcome their enemies! How similar is this to what Jesus said in Matthew 16.18? In Mark 16.15-20? In John 14.12-14? To what Paul wrote in Ephesians 3.8-12? To what John wrote Revelation 12.11?
- Just as God provided the sacrifice for the burnt offering for Abraham and Isaac, God has/will provide the victory for believers’ fights against satan’s stealing, killing, and destroying!
- ‘Abraham’, God said in Genesis 22.18, ‘all believers for all time will be blessed because you have obeyed My voice!’ See Jeremiah 7.23 and Revelation 12.11, too.
Then, Abraham returned to Beersheba.
- Genesis 22.19 tells us that Abraham, Isaac, and the two servants (verse 3) returned home to Beersheba.
- They sat in the shade (Genesis 21.33) and talked about Jehovah-jireh. Oh, how their faith was strengthened!
- How about your Jehovah-jireh? Romans 1.16-17
Copyright © July 10, 2011, Maurice L. Painter.
Praise God !!!