In this post we continue with the series on the compound names of Jehovah. Please see the previous post for the introduction, important notes, and the comment on the first name in this series, “Jehovah-Jireh”. (Ed.)]
Jehovah-Rapha: “The-Lord-Who-Heals-You” (Exodus 15:26)
After travelling for three days in the desert without finding water, the Lord allowed the children of Israel to taste the bitter waters of Marah. The waters were miraculously sweetened when Moses cast in a tree according to the instruction of the Lord, reminding us of the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). He then promised to protect the Israelites from all the diseases that He had brought on the Egyptians if they would be obedient to Him. Some Bible scholars think that the high mineral content of the bitter water may have itself helped to cleanse their bodies of any common Egyptian ailments they were carrying or deathly microbes they were exposed to during the 10 plagues. In any case, the Lord revealed Himself there as Jehovah-Rapha: The-Lord-Who-Heals-You. He has the power to heal us from all our physical, emotional and spiritual sicknesses. Sometimes, as in the story of Lazarus, He allows us to experience tragedy in our lives. During those times, the Lord Jesus weeps with us. His grace ministers to us in our deepest needs, and He gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isa. 61:3). “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps. 147:3). He has a purpose for the bitter experiences He allows us to go through. And as He did for Israel, the Lord can make the bitter waters of our lives sweet through His love, healing and blessing.
Jehovah-Nissi: “The-Lord-Is-My-Banner” (Exodus 17:15)
A little further into the wilderness, the Israelites faced their first battle when they were attacked by the Amalekites. Deuteronomy 25:17-19 mentions Amalek’s strategy: they attacked the rear ranks and stragglers when Israel was tired and hungry. What a fitting type of the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:17; 1 Pet. 2:11)! In our Christian warfare, the enemy targets our weaknesses. Actually, as believers we have three main enemies: the devil (without us), the world (all around us) and the flesh (within us). Israel won the fight through Moses’ intersession and Joshua’s sword. We can also experience victory and live as overcomers through prayer and the word of God (not forgetting, of course, to wear the whole armor of God — Eph. 6:10-18). Afterwards, Moses built an altar which he named “The-Lord-Is-My-Banner” to commemorate the struggle and credit God with the victory. We fight under His banner; His name is the motto on our standards.
Jehovah-M’kaddesh: “The-Lord-Who-Sanctifies-You” (Exodus 31:13; Leviticus 20:8)
The nation of Israel was set apart to be a holy people to the Lord. Quoting from Leviticus, the Apostle Peter exhorts that “as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pet. 1:15-16). We have been sanctified positionally through the new birth (sanctification of the Spirit), but need to be sanctified practically on an ongoing basis as believers. “He who is holy, let him be holy still” (Rev. 22:11). The will of God is our sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3), and it is only by cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit that we can be vessels of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master (2 Cor. 7:1; 2 Tim. 2:21). Filthiness of the flesh includes all forms of physical impurity. Pornography is more accessible than ever in our age of electronic devices. But we must be equally aware of filthiness of the spirit: our thoughts, motives, pride and unbelief. Impurity and idolatry; outward and inward — the prodigal son and his older brother are good examples of each category of sin. The Holy Spirit is the source of both our positional and practical sanctification: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).
[The following post will complete the series of seven compound names of Jehovah. (Ed.)]