Apologetics, Biblical Doctrines, Christian Living, Church, Faith

Jehovah Rapha—The God Who Heals

“I am the LORD that healeth thee.” –Exodus 15:26

“Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”— Psalm 103:3

There are certain portions of Scripture which are challenging to understand. The latter part of Psalm 103:3 illustrates this truth.

The first part of the text holds no concern, for it is a statement of fact. The Lord does forgive all iniquities. The psalmist was speaking from personal experience, for his iniquities were numerous. David was a man of great passion, which led him into sexual immorality, and then murder. When exposed, David confessed all of his transgressions, humbled himself before the Lord, received appropriate discipline, and then was restored to fellowship with the Lord. David knew what it was to have all of his iniquities forgiven.

Like David, any person can have all of their iniquities forgiven. God is a great and merciful God. He is able and willing to forgive every transgression of those who will honestly confess their sin. No person should ever despair. God’s love, mercy, and grace cannot be exhausted. Though God must punish, He still loves His child.

J. Allan Peterson tells the story about a small boy who was consistently late coming home from school. His parents warned him one day that he must be home on time that afternoon, but nevertheless he arrived later than ever. His mother met him at the door and said nothing. At dinner that night, the boy looked at his plate. There was a slice of bread and a glass of water. He looked at his father’s full plate and then at his father, but his father remained silent. The boy was crushed.

The father waited for the full impact to sink in, then quietly took the boy’s plate and placed it in front of himself. He took his own plate of meat and potatoes, put it in front of the boy, and smiled at his son. When that boy grew to be a man, he said, “All my life I’ve known what God is like by what my father did that night.”

In a much greater way, the Lord takes the ultimate discipline for our transgressions upon Himself that every person deserves. The Lord does this so He can forgive all of our iniquities.

Now looking at the last part of Psalm 103:3, there is a challenge to faith. The text says the Lord “healeth all thy diseases.” The first response is to say, “Why, this cannot be true. I know people who are sick. I myself am not in perfect health.”

It is only upon more sober reflection the heart realizes four ways in which the Word of God remains true, and the statement is correct.

First, the statement of the Psalmist is true in the sense that all healing is divine healing. Whether God uses means or not, in the healing process, does not negate the fact that the Lord created the body with wonderful healing properties. Some people have recovered apart from any medical treatment, or seeing a physician, while others have responded to medical treatment, and been cured. While God does not heal all diseases all the time, it is sufficient to give the Lord honor and glory when health is restored. It is true to say, “He healeth all thy diseases.”

Second, the statement of the Psalmist is true, in the sense that the Lord heals all manners of sickness. During the earthly minister of Jesus we read that He “went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them” (Matt. 4:23-24). Mental illness, demons, possession, those who are paralyzed came under the power and authority of Christ, and he healed all diseases.

Third, the statement of the Psalmist is true in the sense that the Lord heals personal diseases. The text is personal. The Lord healeth all “thy” diseases. The greatest disease a person has is heart diseases. If not physical, certainly spiritually. Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19). The poet Alexander Pope wrote,

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
we first endure, then pity, then embrace”Every person has embraced vice, or sin, in their soul. Every person needs Jesus to come and heal their heart.

Fourth, the statement of the Psalmist is true, in that one day every Christian will receive a glorified resurrected body like that of Jesus. The resurrected body will be glorious, for it will not be subject to disease, decay, or death. It will be strong and vigorous for all eternity. “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:42-45).

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