Read Exodus 15:25-26
25Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.
There the LORD issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”
The children of Israel had just come through some scary and incredibly wondeful times. After 400 years they were free from the bondage of Egypt. The process had been turbulent. They watched plague after plague hit the Egyptians until the final one killing the firstborn male of every household and even striking the livestock. Then they were finally allowed to go by the Pharaoh.
Even after that Pharaoh changed his mind and followed them out to the Red Sea to try to force them to return. But God instructed Moses to extend his hand over the waters and they parted so that the Israelites crossed over on dry land. From the other side of the sea they saw with their own eyes what happened when the Egyptians tried to cross behind them. When they got to the middle, God had Moses stretch out his hand again and release the waters. The Egyptians drowned and were utterly destroyed.
What a party ensued. They sang a great song of joy to the Lord. They danced with timbrels in triumph because they had been saved from their enemies. Now they were ready to move forward free from enslavement. Free at last. But three days later they still had not found water and they cried out and complained. God was testing them. When Moses prayed, God provided the water and he also revealed something new to the people about himself.
“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)
There it is; God reveals himself as Jehovah-Rophe for the first time to his people. Do you wonder why he chose that particular time to reveal this part of his character? He didn’t do it after a big healing service although he had just healed the bitter waters of Marah where they were camping. I think he did it in this timing to comfort his people and to give them hope for their future.
They must have been wondering; what kind of God are we serving? Notice how God says “I will put none of the disease on you which I have brought on the Egyptians.” The Israelites must have been thinking in their hearts; look what Jehovah did to them, is he going to bring plagues on us too? They had seen the mighty power of God as he controlled the weather and the natural force of the sea. They saw that his judgments could be terrible; they believed in his awesomeness greatness, yes, but was there any other side to him?
The Lord wanted them to know that he wanted to be known as their healer. In fact, he was making a solemn pact with them so that they would always live in healing. All they had to do was remain faithful to him and his commands and they would remain free from diseases. As time went along, they of course did not keep their end of the bargain. But that did not stop God from continuing to reveal himself as healer. Ultimately, God poured out his desire to be healer through Jesus Christ. Listen to what the prophet Isaiah says would be the destiny of the Messiah:
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Please note the present tense, “we ARE healed.” His work on the cross paid the totally price for our healing once and for all. Do you need Jehovah-Rophe today? For your body? For you soul? For your mind? He is still in the healing business today and he is only a prayer away. Call upon him!
God, you are my healer. You are kind and merciful to the weary and the suffering. You are always with me and love me. I NEED YOU! Heal me. Heal my relationships, my mind, my spirit, and my body!