Jehovah-rawfaw - The Lord That Makes Whole
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Exodus, chapter 15, as we continue our thinking of the Compound Names of God. We told you that there were three basic names of God. One of them is Jehovah; one of them is Elohim; one of them is Adonai. You are familiar with the word Jehovah in your Bible. You see the word Elohim occasionally. Most of the time you do not see those words in your English translation. You see the English counterpart. For example, the word God is a translation of the Hebrew word Elohim . The word Lord is the translation of the Hebrew word Jehovah and also of the Hebrew word Adonai . The distinction is made in your English translation by the way the word Lord is spelled. If it is the translation of the word Jehovah , then every letter in the word is capitalized. You may notice from time to time in your Bibles that such is the case, and if the word is the translation of the Hebrew word Adonai , only the first letter of the word is capitalized. The word Jehovah , which is translated by the word LORD , with every letter capitalized, has fixed to it throughout the Word of God a number of other Hebrew words which illustrate and emphasize the definite characteristics of God in that respect.

We looked at one of them last week, and we want to look at another today. By way of review, look at chapter 22 of the book of Genesis, where we have presented to us the first compound name of God which we considered and which was related to the sacrifice of Isaac upon the altar by his father, Abraham. You will remember that Abraham started out for Mount Moriah for the purpose of sacrifice. He carried the wood with him; he took the servants with him; he took Isaac with him, but there was no sacrifice. Isaac said, “Father, I see the wood. I see everything but the sacrifice. Where is the sacrifice?” Abraham said, “The Lord will provide it, Son.” And there on the mountaintop, as he was ready to slay Isaac, a voice stopped him, and he turned and found a ram caught in the bushes by thorns, and he realized that what he had told his son was true—the Lord did provide.

If you will notice in verse 14:

Genesis 22

14And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Literally, as we suggested to you in our last lesson, “…in the mount of the LORD, he shall see to it,” for that is the meaning of the word jireh –“the LORD will provide,” or “the LORD will see to it.” All of us, I think, can give testimony in our lives as to how there have been times when the LORD has seen to it.

God's Provision In Healing

Exodus, chapter 15, gives us the story of the song of Moses, the song which was sung when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea and victoriously escaped the pursuing enemy. They celebrated God's great provision for them. They went three days' journey in the wilderness and apparently forgot what God was able to do. It doesn't seem possible that only three days after a great victory people's faith would fail, but it did. I think, if we are honest today, most of us will admit that it does with us, too, after a great victory, sometimes a great test. After three days' journey in the wilderness, when they were without water, instead of saying, “Why, God can take care of that. Look what He did three days ago.”, they became very unhappy and bitter at God, the provision out of which comes the name that we want to look at today. Notice in verse 23:

Exodus 15

23And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
24And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
25And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
26And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Notice the last statement of verse 26: “I am the LORD that healeth thee”, particularly the last part of the verse, “the LORD that healeth thee.” Notice that the word LORD is a translation of the Hebrew word Jehovah , and the words healeth me are a translation of the Hebrew word rapha , which is spelling it the way it sounds in English letters. It gives us our compound name of God, Jehovah-Rapha , the LORD that healeth thee.

You see in the background of the setting of this particular name in which God reveals a special characteristic of Himself. Here were waters that were bitter. They could not drink them. Without water, there could be no life. They were utterly helpless. Moses cried unto the LORD, and the LORD told Moses what to do for the healing of the waters. He told him to cast a tree into the water, and the waters were healed. It is quite beside the point as far as I am concerned as to whether or not the branch of that tree had some particular characteristic that could clean water. That is what some so-called higher critics say. They say, “Why, there wasn't any miracle there. Moses just looked around and saw this tree and said, ‘When I put that tree into the water, it will dispell the bitterness of the water, and then it will be all right to drink'.” Well, maybe this tree did have some particular medicinal value that could clean the water. That doesn't trouble me at all. It was still God who healed the water.

I see no reason why we cannot thank God for the healing of the body if He uses medicine in the process. I see no reason why we can't thank God for the healing of the body if He directs us to a physician who is able to do work that is necessary to bring about the healing of the body. The Lord is able to heal whether it is by means or without means, for it has nothing to do with the miracle of the healing of the water. It has nothing to do with the mighty God of whom we speak today: “I am the LORD thy God that healeth thee; my name is Jehovah-rapha.”

This word rapha is a very interesting word. It has several connotations as far as meaning is concerned, as is true of many Hebrew or Greek words, perhaps all of them. This word, for example, is sometimes translated by the word mend . It is the idea of mending by stitching. Here is a rip in a garment. It is not usable as long as it is that way, but God is able to mend it. We do no violence today to the dignity and majesty of God to say that God is a good mender. He is able to mend. He is able to stitch up the hole. He is able to make possible usable things again once we have torn them and perhaps made them where they cannot be used.

This word not only conveys the idea of mending by stitching, but the word has also the idea of curing, and of course, as we already noticed, healing; and it has the idea of repairing, of building something back that was broken down. All of those things, it seems to me, are very interesting in relation to the truth: “I am the LORD that healeth thee.” For example, I believe that God is able to stitch together a wound. It wouldn't strain my faith at all to believe that God could do that without the help of a physician because I believe God can do anything. But if God is pleased to use a physician to stitch together a wound, it's a miraculous thing. “I am the LORD thy God that healeth thee.”

I believe that God is able to make whole, for that is the meaning of this word. “I am the LORD that maketh whole.” I believe that God is able to take a body with a wasted limb and restore that limb perfectly whole again. It doesn't strain my faith to believe that. It is beside the point today that people say, “Well, I don't think He can.” He can. He is able to do anything. I believe that God is able to repair bodies that have been broken down by all manner of strain. Just as certainly as a physician is able to put the pieces together and they fit properly, God is able to repair with or without help. I don't see why we need to have the struggle today about whether healing is miraculous when you have a doctor. If God is in it, then the whole thing is a miracle. “I am the LORD thy God that healeth thee.”

I would like for us to look at some passages of Scripture in which this word is used so that we might be able to see everything that is involved in this special characteristic of God, “I am the LORD thy god that healeth thee.” So turn with me, please, to the book of Jeremiah, chapter 33, where the sad state of the city of Jerusalem is presented because of the inroads made by the enemy, that God in His mercy and grace was ready to undertake, and so He said in verse 6:

Jeremiah 33

6Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.

You will notice in verse 6 the word cure . It is our word rapha , and it speaks of prosperity. When we say that God is the God who is able to heal, we are not limiting our thinking only to the healing of the sick body, but we are thinking also that our God is the One who is able to bring prosperity into a life that has known only poverty and distress. We believe God is able to prosper us. We have every right in the world to look to God on the basis of this passage of Scripture and ask Him to prosper us in the thing in which we are doing if that thing is of the Lord.

God Repairs the Broken Things

Turn, please, to I Kings, chapter 18, as we suggest another place in which this word is used. Elijah was concerned about the condition of the nation of Israel, for a major portion of Israel was bowing down at the altar of Baal, so he gathered together the people on Mount Carmel, you will remember, and said, “Let's put God to the test. If God be God, we'll serve Him. If Baal be God, then we will serve him.” In preparation for that test, they began to build altars—the altar of Baal and the altar of God. Notice chapter 18, verse 30:

I Kings 18

30And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.

Notice that word repaired . It is our same word, rapha . When we say that God is the God who is able to heal, we mean He is the God who is able to bring prosperity into lives. It means also that He is able to repair things that have been broken down. There's all the range of thought that is available to our thinking today on the basis of this one word. How many lives have been broken down? God is able to repair those lives. How many testimonies have been ruined by one false step because someone was careless with his living? God is able to repair those testimonies and restore them to usefulness again and restore them to harmony. I suggest these verses to you merely for your meditation. You take time to think about them, and you will be amazed at how wonderful God appears to you in respect to this one name alone.

Turn, please, to the book of Job, chapter 5. Job is speaking here out of the depths of his own experience, the depths of his heart. This is not a secondhand testimony he gives. He says in verse 17:

Job 5

17Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
18For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.
19He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.

Notice verse 18 particularly:

Job 5

18For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.

Notice the last two words, make whole . Those words are the translation of the word we are thinking about, rapha Jehovah-Rapha , “the LORD is able to make whole.”

God's Provision In Correction

Here is the interesting thing about these verses of Scripture, and they may seem rather startling if you haven't thought about it before: God is able to bind up the wounds that He himself makes. He is able to make whole the body that He himself has made ill. Someone may say today, “I don't want to think about that. I don't want to believe that God would wound a person; I don't want to believe that God would make a person sick; I don't want to believe that God would hurt a person. I just don't want to believe that. I don't believe that God does things like that.” Well, He does, and this passage of Scripture bears it out; but there is one good thing about God. He never wounds without a purpose; He never hurts without a purpose; and He is always able to make whole.

I don't want to think this about myself, but let's say that I am capable of hurting people on purpose. The reason I say I am capable of it is because I am human. I hope I never hurt anyone, but I say I am very capable of it, and so are you. The sad thing about it is that sometimes we do. Sometimes we wound; sometimes we hurt. The thing that is worse about it is we can't make whole again. That's a fact. We may try. We may go to the person in question and say, “I'm awfully sorry I hurt you. Let me do something to help you.” The best we can do is smooth things over. We can never make whole again. That is why it is such a serious thing to hurt people.

If you will look at this passage, God is able to do something about it. Notice it again, verse 17, “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth…” That is, blessed is the man whom God corrects. You're a blessed person if God corrects you. That's what Job is saying. The most fortunate children in the world are children whose parents love them enough to correct them. That's the thought.

I was talking to a young person some time ago who had a great many problems, and we were dealing with these problems from a number of different standpoints. The idea of strictness came up, and just to be helpful, I brought up the idea that maybe his folks were too strict on him. I didn't actually believe that, and I didn't leave it that way. Sometimes you have to say things to people to get the response that you need. I remember so well this young person, tears filled his eyes, and he said, “I wish I thought they loved me enough to be strict on me. What I do, where I go, they don't care. They've never told me what to do. They don't care.” I'm sure those parents thought that they were on the right track, but here was their child saying, “I don't think they love me; they don't care what I do.” That is the thought of this verse of Scripture here: “Blessed is the man whom God correcteth.”

God's Provision In Restoration

I say this and I mean it from the very bottom of my heart. I thank God for this verse. I'm glad that God hasn't let me get too far afield. I'm glad that He has used the rod before things got too bad. “Therefore despise not the chastening of the Lord.” Don't despise it because, in verse 18, “he maketh whole.” If He uses the rod, He maketh whole. God can bring things into our lives that wound us and that hurt us, but after we have been wounded and hurt, He is able to bind up again; He is able to make whole. I am sure that some of you can agree with this today—perhaps all of you. There is no experience quite so blessed as the experience of God making us whole after the chastening.

I don't mean to suggest to you today that you ought to go out and do something bad so the Lord can chasten you just so you can know the experience of restoration. I don't mean that because all chastening is not related to doing something bad. For example, you may not be out of fellowship; you may not have sinned; you may not have done anything bad, and God still may chasten you because chastening is child training. Sometimes the only way the Lord can train you is to wound you and then bind you up again.

God's Sustaining Grace

Turn, please, to Psalm 103, which does not need a great deal of comment in itself because we have already touched upon this in our introductory remarks:

Psalm 103

1Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

You'll notice the word healeth there in verse 3. That is the translation of the word at which we are looking, the Hebrew word rapha . We have thought about this from a number of different angles, but very simply and very literally it means that God is able to heal all of our wounds. He is able.

Someone might say, “If He is able to, why doesn't He?” That is a good question. There is a good answer for it in the Word of God. Everything that happens to us happens to us for God's glory, not for ours. Sometimes God declines to exercise His healing power in order that His strength might be made perfect in weakness and glory might be for God. You remember there was an incident when the Lord Jesus Christ was on the earth. There was this individual who was ill. People were speculating as to why the illness. Was it sin? Was it this? What it that? Was it something else? He said, “This is for the glory of God.”

There was a man by the name of Paul in the Word of God who was just as sick, and he prayed very much about it. The Bible says he prayed three times, but that was an idiom of speech. It means he prayed unceasingly. He didn't just pray one, two, three times and then quit. He kept on keeping on, and finally God said to Paul, “Paul, I don't want you to talk to me any more about this. I am not going to heal you.” Paul said, “I knew God couldn't heal. The Bible says He can. Preachers say He can, but I knew God couldn't heal.” God said, “No, Paul, that's not it. My strength is made perfect in your weakness, and I am going to give you grace to bear this affliction that you have, and when all the records are in, you will find that I received far more glory out of the grace that sustained you in your illness than I would have if I had laid My hand upon you and healed you.”

I believe that the saints of God who are called upon to suffer are God's choice. I don't believe He trusts us all with suffering. I'm quite sure He couldn't trust me, but God's trusted saints are entrusted with suffering, not because God cannot heal, but because He is able to bring glory to His name by it and through it. Remember the sustaining grace of God is always available when the need arises.

Binding of the Wounds

One last thought before our time is gone. Turn to Psalm 147 for one last suggestion about this word and how it is used in a way that I trust will bring God in a fresh way to our hearts and to our lives:

Psalm 147

1Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
2The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
3He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Will you notice the phrase in the last part of that third verse, bindeth up their wounds . Isn't it amazing how much comfort there is in binding up a wound. Every one of you who has had any experience with children will know that a little band-aid and a kind word can do far more for a child than the most powerful medicine in the world. Here's a little child. He scrapes his knee. The tears flow, and oh, how they flow! If you say, “Just run on along. I know that didn't hurt you. Don't bother.”, that doesn't stop the tears; but if you pick that little one up, put on a bandage, plant a kiss on his brow, the tears stop immediately. What did it? The binding up of the wound.

I was talking to a man on the street, who happened to recognize me from the television ministry, who wept like a little baby as he told me how hurt he had been by his parents. Now you might think a grown man had no business doing that, but he did. I say it reverently; I tried to bind the wound. I didn't say, “If you are a mature Christian, you wouldn't be hurt by that.” I did what I believe God would have done. I tried to bind up the wound. That's what God does; He binds up the wounds.

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