Lately I have been struggling with the idea of blessings. Our society seems to throw the word blessed around a lot. We, including me, often say things like, “That person is so blessed to have a nice house” or “I have been blessed with good health.” In making these statements are we not implying that a person that has a financial struggles is not blessed or that someone diagnosed with a terrible illness is not blessed either? These thought have been the backdrop of this weeks meditation and what led me to include two names of our Great God this week.
The first is Jehovah-Jireh, “the LORD Will Provide.” We come across this name as Abraham has just been spared the duty of sacrificing his own son-the child of the promise-by God providing a ram in a thicket (Genesis 22). Abrahams act of obedience was not only an allusion of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, but an example for us to follow. When we are following God in obedience God will always provide, even if it comes at the last-minute.
The next name is Jehovah-Rapha, “The LORD who Heals.” We come across this name in Exodus chapter 15. Moses had just led the people of God through the red sea and into the desert. For three days there was no water and, as usual, the Israelites began to grumble. Moses cried out to God on their behalf and God provided sweet water for them to drink. God said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if yo 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 15:26). Here is another place when God himself speaks his name to the people. God wanted the Israelites dependant on Him for healing in the desert.
So what does Jehovah-Jireh and Jehovah-Rahpa have to do with my thoughts on blessings? Well I began to read through Strong’s and looked up many(not all) of the verses that have the word blessed or a variation of blessed in it and I discovered something very interesting. Time after time those who were regarded as “blessed” are the exact opposite of whom I, and many like me, would assume to be “blessed” ones. As a matter of fact in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus gives a small list of those who are blessed. Here they are:the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted.
So again what does Jehovah-Jireh and Jehovah-Rapha have to do with blessings? Well, everything. I am sure that each of us, if it is not us personally, knows someone going through financial struggle right now. If not, look to Africa, Haiti, India. Poverty is an awful condition. Why does Jehovah-Jireh not provide? What about illness? Almost every week I add another name to my prayer list of those struggling through cancer and other illness. My own mother is about to start another round of Chemo in her 4+ year struggle with lymphoma. Why does Jehovah-Rapha not heal? Perhaps it is because my view of provision and healing are not God’s. Financial provision and physical healings are not blessings-they are good gifts, but (according to Webster’s) to be blessed is to be made “holy or sacred.” And God does not want a people who live in ease He wants a people who are holy. And He is good and will not leave us alone, but walks with us as Jehovah-Jireh and Jehovah-Rapha through our trials so that we learn to trust in Him. Just like Abraham on Mount Moriah and the Israelites in the Desert of Shur, God will come through and provide and heal, even if it is at the last-minute on our way to our eternal glory, never giving up on the process of making us holy.
Until then, in the midst of our trials and questions, we can rely on these promises:
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” James 1:12
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3
And most importantly
“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Romans 4:7-8
On my knees for y’all, praying for blessings from our Provider and Healer.