In the order in which the names of God appear in the Bible, the second personal name of Jehovah is “The One Who Heals.” In the story of the Canaanite woman seeking healing for her daughter, Derek teaches us that “healing is the children’s bread.” And all she needed was “just one crumb.”
It’s good to be with you again as we draw near to the close of another week. Today I’m going to continue with my theme, God Revealed in His Names, what we can know about God from the various names given Him in Scripture.
In my last two talks I’ve been dealing with the second of the two main Hebrew names for God. I’ve explained that it was two main aspects. The name we usually translate Jehovah or Yahweh or simply the Lord in capitals.
The two main aspects are, first, it’s primarily a personal name. It’s God relating to man as a person, person-to-person. Second, its derivation from the verb “to be” indicates the eternal, unchanging nature of the one who bears that name. Bear in mind, first, it’s personal; second, it’s eternal and unchanging. For these reasons, this name Jehovah or Yahweh is particular associated with God’s covenants with men. Because covenant is a person-to-person relationship and covenant, too, is unchanging and permanent. So there is that in covenant which corresponds to the two main aspects of that name of God Jehovah. It brings out that Jehovah is a covenant keeping God.
In particular, Jehovah is directly linked with seven specific names or titles representing seven aspects of God’s covenant-keeping faithfulness in His dealings with man. In the order of their occurrence in the Bible they reveal Jehovah or Yahweh in the following aspects. First, the one who provides. Second, the one who heals. Third, the one who is our banner. Fourth, the one who is our peace. Fifth, the one who is our shepherd. Sixth, the one who is our righteousness. Seventh, the one who is there, or permanently present.
In my talk yesterday I dealt with the first of these covenant names, the one who provides. I pointed out that God’s first commitment to His people is to provide. Today I’m going to deal with the second covenant name, the one who heals. This name is found first in Exodus 15:22-26. This is an experience of Israel just after they had crossed the Red Sea in their deliverance from Egypt and set out on their journey through the wilderness.
“Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah [which means bitter]. So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ Then he cried out to the Lord [Jehovah], and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulations, and there He tested them. And He said, ‘If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.’”
There’s that second covenant name right at the end, “the Lord, your healer.” The Lord, Jehovah or Yahweh, directly connected with the word for the one who heals. Alternatively, we can say “The Lord who heals.”
Now I want to bring out certain points out of that account that I just read. First of all, it always strikes me that in that crisis about three million people grumbled, and one man, Moses, prayed. And Moses got the solution. That always shows me that it is wiser to pray than to grumble.
Secondly, the initiative in this revelation came from God. There is so much skepticism today in the church about God’s power and willingness to heal. I think we need to see this. God set up a situation. He brought His people to the point of desperation and then out of His own will and counsel He specifically revealed Himself as the healer of His people. It was not something that people asked, it was something that came from God’s own decision. God Himself decided to be the healer of His people.
The word that’s used there for “heal” is the basic Hebrew word of “physical healing.” It gives us the modern Hebrew word for a doctor. In fact, it would be perfectly correct to translate that, “I am Jehovah [Yahweh], your doctor.” That’s exactly what it would be in modern Hebrew.
Then we need to see that it took an act of faith to release God’s miracle-working power, as it usually does. God showed Moses a certain tree. Moses had to pick the tree up or the piece of wood up and cast it into the water. And that act of faith of casting the tree into the water released God’s miracle-working power in that water. Moses could have stood on the brink of that water and just believed without doing anything and nothing would ever have happened. This brings out the principle that faith without works is dead. If we believe, God always gives us an appointed act to demonstrate our faith.
Then we need to see that the means of healing was a tree. Now in Hebrew the word “tree” is used both for a tree that’s growing and a tree that’s been cut down. So this is exactly the word that’s used in the New Testament for the cross. And so once again this points us forward to the cross of Jesus as the place where this healing covenant found its ultimate fulfillment. It was a tree that brought healing to those bitter waters.
Another thing that always impresses me is that we are never told why the waters were bitter. But Moses was shown how to make them sweet. Sometimes we waste our energy in life by asking a lot of unfruitful questions. “Why did this happen? Why did that happen?” I think sometimes we have to bypass those questions and go to God and say, “God, show me what to do.” And God will do it. I think sometimes to understand why things have happened would burden our minds but God always gives us the practical answers when we want to know what to do.
The basic requirement for healing is stated so clearly there, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God...” In Hebrew it says, “if listening you will listen to the voice of the Lord.” The word “listen” is repeated twice.
I remember as I lay sick in hospital, desperately needing healing, seeking God for it in the Scripture, this verse came to me and I said, “What does it mean to listen, listening?” And it seemed God gave me this answer. “I gave you two ears. A right ear and a left ear. To listen listening is to listen to Me with both ears. But if you listen to Me with one ear and to somebody else with the other ear, all you get is confusion and not faith.” So I stopped my ear to the sinister whisper of the devil, listened to God with both ears, and sure enough, I received my healing.
Yesterday we saw that God’s commitment to provide found its fulfillment in Jesus, the Lamb of God. The same is true of God’s commitment to heal. It too, found it’s final fulfillment in Jesus. This is the record of the New Testament in Matthew 8:16-17:
“And when evening had come, they brought to Him [Jesus] many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill; in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.’”
So, Jesus was the final fulfillment of that healing covenant of God for His people. He came and on the cross He not only bore our sin but He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases. He not only provided forgiveness but He provided healing. His provision was not only in the spiritual but also in the physical realm. That was a covenant commitment that God had made with Israel. For this reason we do not read in the New Testament at any time that any Israelite ever came to Jesus for healing and was refused. There is no record of any Israelite being refused healing.
For instance, this is what it says in Matthew 14:35-36:
“And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent into all the surrounding district and brought to Him all who were ill; and they began to entreat Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.”
They just had to touch and they were healed.
However, His attitude towards Gentiles, towards those who were not Jewish, was different. In Matthew 15:22-28 we read about a Canaanite woman, not Jewish, who began to cry out for Him to have mercy on her daughter. She said:
“‘Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon possessed.’ (And the record says:) But [Jesus] did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she is shouting after us.’ But He answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”
In other words, My covenant obligation is not to those who are not of the house of Israel.
“But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’ And He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’”
Unless we understand the nature of covenant commitment it’s hard to understand that. Jesus had a covenant with Israel by which He was committed to be their healer. Therefore, healing was the children’s bread. This woman had no covenant. She had no claim. But, oh, she had faith! His answer is one of the most beautiful in Scripture.
“But she said, ‘Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.’”
Think of the significance of that. She said, “Lord, I don’t need a slice. All I need is a crumb. One little crumb will do all that’s needed for my daughter.”
“Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed at once.”
The woman’s faith called forth His compassion. But, you see, He had no covenant obligation. Let me remind you in closing God is still the healer of His people. Malachi 3:6:
“I am the Lord, I do not change.”
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, yes and forever.”
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time, Monday through Friday. Next week I’ll continue with this theme of “God Revealed in His Names.” I still have five more covenant names of the Lord to cover.
If you would like to study this theme more fully in a time and place of your own choosing with opportunity to play back passages of special interest to you, all my five messages this week on “God Revealed in His Names” are available in a single, carefully-edited 60-minute cassette. Also, I’m making a special offer this week of another unique help to personal Bible study, my Self Study Bible Course, a complete course of basic Bible study in 14 lessons with explanatory notes, correct answers and coordinated memory work. The only additional equipment you’ll need is a Bible and a pen. The announcement that follows will tell you how to obtain both the cassette and the Bible course.