NCFI Cares: God’s Name in Nursing–Yahweh Rapha

As nurses one of our favorite names of God is Yahweh Rapha—the God who Heals. God used the name to describe himself to the Israelite’s in Exodus 15:26. As the Son of God, Jesus demonstrated the same healing characteristics through miraculous healings and resurrections. Many times Jesus emphasized the importance of faith for miraculous healings: “Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.’“ (Luke 18:42). Does this mean Yahweh Rapha heals when we have faith? Of course not, non-believers are healed all the time. Instead, the emphasis on faith, points out our belief in God as Yahweh Rapha. For example, do we have confidence in the Lord to heal every disease, every illness, every deformity, every trauma, and every ‘fill-in-the-blank’? Do we believe the same miracles that occurred in the Bible can happen today? Is our faith, which is probably smaller than a mustard seed, enough to confidently say, Jesus can raise the dead?

God's Name Wordcloud2

Other questions to reflect upon are: Are we content with the healing God does provide? Or do we get bitter when his sovereign wisdom chooses not to heal?  Or maybe, an even more profound question is: In this day of surgeries, treatments, and cutting-edge technology, do we even need Yahweh Rapha for healing? Or do we only run to him when the prognosis is bleak? One Bible scholar had a poignant reminder, “God answers every prayer. We just don’t like it when he says “no” or when he provides the answer we don’t want”. The same is true for healing. God does heal everyone, every time. We just may not see his miracle until we come to our eternal dwelling.

As we consider how healing interfaces with our faith, God’s Name–Yahweh Rapha includes the realization that God is sovereign in how his healing power is dispensed to our patients, our families, and to ourselves. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Exodus 33:19; Romans 9:15), while trusting in his everlasting lovingkindness (Psalm 136).

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NCFI Cares: God’s Name in Nursing–Yahweh Nissi

We may not think of God as our Banner. A Bible scholar guides our understanding of Nissi by stating: “Typically, when armies went to battle, the flag would go out in front of them, representing the power and spirit of the nation. Similarly, when Israel fought, God went before them. He led the way, he was their banner. However, this is not just true for Israel. It is true for us. Our God always goes before us. He makes our paths straight, and he fights our battles.” Moses communicated this dependence on the LORD as he held up his hands in prayer during the war with the Amalek. Remember, when Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur held up his arms (Exodus 17:8-15).

Names of God_word cloud

The Lords name Yahweh Nissi is an important reminder for us and for our patients, families, and staff. The strength of the LORD goes before us. When someone receives a terminal diagnosis, the surgery was unsuccessful, or a colleagues loses their job, Yahweh Nissi is ALREADY there in strength and victory. Victory may not be the miraculous cure or an immediate solution. Instead it may be the blessed presence of the Holy Spirit and the assurance of eternal life. Also, notice the strength and victory for the Israelites came through steadfast personal and intercessory prayer.

Like Moses we can lift our hands up high in confident prayer proclaiming Yahweh Nissi “The LORD is my Banner” – (Exodus 17:15).

NCFI Cares: God’s Name in Nursing: Yahweh

Recently I completed a study on the Names of God and explored the various compound names of Yahweh. According to Wayne Grudem a Bible scholar and author of Systematic Theology shared how “the many names of God in Scripture provide additional revelation of His character. The multiple names are not mere titles assigned by people but, for the most part, God’s own descriptions of Himself.” In other words, God reveals himself to us through his name and characteristics. For example, most Christians are familiar with Yahweh or Jehovah. This is how God revealed himself to Moses “I AM who I AM” (Exodus 3:14). God also said “I am the God of your fathers, and the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:15); revealing or reminding Moses of the covenant relationship found through his lineage.

The use of Yahweh, usually translated as all caps LORD in our English Bibles, speaks to an eternal, unchangeable intimate God.  Wow! The idea that God is eternal, unchangeable is beyond words. It means amidst our evolving health care systems with emerging technologies that God is the same. He is the same God when penicillin was discovered, is the same God today with cancer therapies and tomorrow with the threat of emerging infections. Not only is Yahweh unchanging and eternal, he is intimately acquainted with each one of us through our covenant relationship through Jesus Christ.

Imagine the hope and encouragement we can give our patients, families, and colleagues through sharing the meaning of God’s name—Yahweh. Look for a future NCFI Cares devotion on Yahweh Jireh.

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!” (John 8:58)

Share how you live out the hope and reality of Yahweh!