YHWH Raphah: The LORD who heals

YHWH Raphah: The LORD who heals (Exodus 15:26)

He made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah and He tested them there. He said, “If you will carefully obey the Lord your God, do what is right in His eyes, pay attention to His commands, and keep all His statutes, I will not inflict any illnesses on you that I inflicted on the Egyptians. For I am Yahweh who heals you. Exodus 15:25b-26 HCSB

There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.” Exodus 15:25b-26 ESV


  • YHWH: from the Hebrew word “havah”, meaning “to be” or “being”. Closely associated with the Hebrew word “chavah”, meaning “to live” or “life”
  • Raphah (Rapha, Rophe, Rophi): from the Hebrew word rāpa’ to heal, make fresh. Describes the process of healing, being restored to health, made healthy, usable, fertile.

The LORD Who Heals

The Israelites were still trying to figure things out. They had gone through a series of emotional and spiritual peaks and valleys. Consider these events from their last few days, retold to us in Exodus 13 through 15 (note the Angel of God in the story):

  • They miraculously escaped from Pharaoh and Egypt(Exodus 13:20-22)       PEAK / valley
  • Pharaoh pursued them (Exodus 14:5-9)                                                                        PEAK / valley
  • Escaped miraculously through the Red Sea(Exodus 14:21-22)                            PEAK / valley
  • Pharaoh pursued them (Exodus 14:23)                                                                          PEAK / valley
  • Pharaoh and his armies perished in the Red Sea(Exodus 14:27-28)                  PEAK / valley
  • Sang a song of worship with Moses and Miriam (Exodus 15:1-21)                      PEAK / valley
  • Entered the wilderness only to find NO WATER (Exodus 15:22)                         PEAK / valley

In Need of Healing

  • The water wasn’t the only thing that was bitter at Marah (Exodus 15:23-24)
    • Forgot that the LORD had power over the water from their experience with the Red Sea
  • YHWH Raphah healed the water (compare 2 Kings 2:21-22)
    • He provided a tree
    • Water became sweet
  • YHWH Raphah healed their attitude (compare Psalm 41:4, 103:3, Psalm 147:3)
    • He made a statute, or ordinance, and He tested them (Exodus 15:26)
      • they were to listen to the voice of God
      • do that which was right in His eyes
      • hear His commandments
      • keep all His statutes
    • He would keep them healthy
    • He rewarded them (Exodus 15:27)

Pictures of Health

  • Compare the bitter water and their unbelief
  • Compare the tree and the cross
  • Compare the healed water of Marah with the Living Water

YHWH Raphah and the Great Physician

  • Heals our spiritual needs (Mark 2:5, 9:24)
  • Heals our emotional needs (Luke 4:18 KJV)
  • Heals our physical needs (Mark 5:22-34)
    • Healing requires obedience (Exodus 15:26, 2 Kings 5:1-14)
    • Healing requires faith (Mark 10:52, James 5:14-15)

The thing about physical healing

  • It is temporary (2 Kings 20:1-10, 20-21)
  • It is not automatic, or guaranteed (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, 1 Timothy 5:23, Philippians 2:25-30)
  • It is always for God’s glory (John 9:3-5, 25)

Random thoughts that raced through my head as I was reading and preparing

  • Conventional wisdom “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” will fail us
    • We must know and acknowledge that we need fixing (healing)
    • Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mark 2:17 HCSB)
  • We must do what is right in His eyes, not our eyes
    • His eyes: If you will carefully obey the Lord your God, do what is right in His eyes…”
    • Our eyes: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6 ESV) and “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25 ESV)

Praying to God by Name

From Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler

Yahweh Rophe

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.

Reflect On:    Isaiah 53

Praise God:        For his mercy, revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Offer Thanks:     That God did not leave us in our sins.
Confess:             Any pride that makes it difficult to admit your sin.
Ask God:           To give you a deeper appreciation for the grace of forgiveness.

Reflect On:    John 9:1-7

Praise God:        Because his Son Jesus is the light of the world.
Offer Thanks:     For the way God has brought you out of darkness and into the light of his presence.
Confess:             Any tendency to rely merely on your own judgment rather than asking God to help you see clearly  through the power of his Spirit.
Ask God:           To uncover areas of spiritual blindness in your life and in the life of the church.

A Hymn based on Jehovah Rophi


HEAL us, EMMANUEL, here we are,
Waiting to feel thy touch;
Deep wounded souls to thee repair,
And, Saviour, we are such.

Our faith is feeble we confess,
We faintly trust thy word;
But wilt thou pity us the less?
Be that far from thee, LORD!

Remember him who once apply’d
With trembling for relief;
“LORD, I believe, with tears he cry’d,
“O help my unbelief.”

She too, who touch’d thee in the press,
And healing virtue stole;
Was answer’d, “Daughter, go in peace,
“Thy faith hath made thee whole.”

Conceal’d amid the gath’ring throng,
She would have shunn’d thy view;
And if her faith was firm and strong,
Had strong misgivings too.

Like her, with hopes and fears, we come,
To touch thee if we may;
Oh! send us not despairing home,
Send none unheard away. 

William Cowper
Olney Hymns, 1779
taken from “William Cowper’s Olney Hymns”, p 29

Next: YHWH Nissi: The LORD is My Banner

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