As we continue to work our way through the Amidah, today’s section is a prayer for healing:
Heal us, O Lord, and we will be healed;
save us and we will be saved, for you are our praise.
O grant a perfect healing to all our ailments,
for you, almighty King, are a faithful and merciful healer.
Blessed are you, O Lord, the healer of the sick of his people Israel.
Yesterday, we looked at section seven, which was a prayer for deliverance from affliction. As part of the study, we looked at Exodus 15, when God delivered the Israelites from the hand of the Egyptians. Remembering our Bible history, the Egyptians caused much pain and suffering on the Israelites during their four hundred years of enslavement.
As we read on in Exodus 15, we hear the nation of Israel doing their happy dance and seeing God intervene on their behalf. Moses leads them away from the Red Sea, toward the desert. Just three days into their journey, after being in bondage to the Egyptians for four hundred years, the Israelites complained to Moses that they had no water to drink. Moses inquired of the Lord; God showed him what to do, Moses obeyed, God healed the water, and the people were able to drink. Just like this passage in Exodus, the Amidah prayer for healing comes after the prayer for deliverance from affliction.
God used this lack of water as an object lesson for the nation of Israel. Let’s pick up the story in verse 25b:
“There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them [the nation of Israel] 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.” ” (Exodus 15:25b-26)
The phrase “for I am the Lord, who heals you” is really just two Hebrew words: “Adonai Roph’ekha”, sometimes written as “Jehovah Rapha”.
God uses this name for Himself only once in all of Scriptures, in the passage above.
As I read this passage over several times, the Lord brought to remembrance a boss I once had, who understood the power of the handwritten note. Even in the days of emails, texts, and instant messaging, he knew how to motivate people in a positive and encouraging way. Yes, he asked a lot of his staff and teams, but he also provided lots of kudos and words of affirmation that made you want to go the extra mile, take pride in what you did, and feel like you made a difference. His handwritten cards and notes would thank you for a job well done, or encourage you to stay the course and finish well; to close, he would simply sign his name. No closing or final remark – just his name. We knew exactly what that meant.
And so this note from the Lord to the Israelites essentially ends in the same way. God signs His name, “Adonai Roph’ekha”. Enough said.