Names of God: Jehovah-Rapha (The Lord Who Heals)

, by Christopher D. Hudson


“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.’”

When we think of healings in the Bible, we tend to think of all those jaw-dropping physical restorations: lepers made whole, the blind healed, the lame suddenly leaping through the air. Without question, these are marvelous demonstrations of God’s power. Yet His power far transcends the physical realm.



God created us in His own image, which means that He gave each of us a mind, a will, and emotions, and He enabled us to have relationships. We are complex beings, and our brokenness due to sin is complex as well. Sometimes our deepest hurts cannot be seen on an X-ray or through the results of a blood test. If you’ve wallowed in guilt and shame, felt the heartbreak of a broken relationship, agonized over a wayward family member, felt grief over a lost loved one, or been disappointed by an unfulfilled dream, you know that spiritual, emotional, and relational hurts can sometimes be more painful than physical maladies.

The good news is that God is able to heal more than just the physical—much more. In fact, our greatest need, and the one emphasized the most by the Hebrew word rapha, is spiritual healing.

When Jesus was on earth, He healed many. But none of these healings was ever an end in itself. Each compassionate healing was a sign of things to come. These physical healings pointed people toward the kingdom of God that was coming, toward a new heaven and restored earth, where there will be no more pain, no more suffering, and no more tears (see Revelation 21:4).

Today, when God heals—a broken bone, a broken heart, a broken relationship—He is giving us a foretaste of what is to come. God is Jehovah-Rapha, our healer.

God alone saves from spiritual death. He only can give eternal life.

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for caring about every part of me. You desire that I find healing—physically, emotionally, and most of all, spiritually. Thank You for providing me with a way to be healed of my sin. Amen.

This blog post is adapted from my newly released book 100 Names of God Daily Devotional. You can learn more about it here

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Names of God: Geōrgos (The Gardener)

, by Christopher D. Hudson


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”




“Gardener” is not a title we typically use to refer to God (even though there is a lot of agricultural imagery in the Bible). But that’s how the Scriptures portray Him, and that’s what Jesus called Him. And with good reason.



Human history began in a garden (Genesis 13). It’s there in a lush place called Eden that God met with His human creatures and instructed them to cultivate and care for His creation.



When sin entered the world, God’s garden was ruined and access to Eden was lost. What did God do? He instituted an epic plan to restore His garden paradise. Throughout the events described in the rest of the Bible, God farmed. He carefully and patiently grew a nation, in much the same way one would grow crops. God, in a sense, sowed seed. He planted and watered. He mended and tended. He replanted and transplanted. He pruned and fertilized. He drove away “pests.” He uprooted and shored up.



When God sent



In the final three chapters of the Bible, we read about a new creation—new heavens and a new earth—that sounds very “garden-like.” The apostle John described a lush and green paradise where humans once again have access to “the tree of life.” 



Meanwhile, in a world still feeling the effects of sin, the divine Gardener works. By His grace, and through our faith, He grafts us into Christ, the true vine, the source of life. We’re just branches. But as we stay firmly attached to Him, we grow and bear life-giving fruit. At times God props us up or trims us back so that we’ll be even more fruitful.



Our job is not to worry about dirt or fertilizer, or where other plants are located, or what fruit they’re producing. Our job is simply to respond to the Gardener’s care—and grow!



PRAYER


Lord, I surrender my life to You. Plant me where You want. Make me beautiful and fruitful in Your garden. Amen.

This blog post is adapted from my book 100 Names of God Daily Devotional, which was released on October 20. You can learn more about it here.

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Names of God: El Kanna (Jealous God)

, by Christopher D. Hudson


You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”


Who wants to be thought of as jealous? This unflattering description brings to mind the petty schoolgirl who bitterly resents the spotlight that a peer is enjoying, or the fact that her rival’s boyfriend is cuter than hers. To be jealous is to be vain, selfish, suspicious. It is to move through life greedily desiring all the good things that others have, never fully acknowledging or appreciating the good things in one’s own life.

And yet, there is another kind of jealousy—a holy version. It’s this noble form of jealousy that God has for His people, according to the Bible. But why is this a fitting jealousy? Why is God right to want us exclusively for Himself? Because He made us, and in Christ He purchased us (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). 

Divine jealousy isn’t motivated by greed or selfishness. God’s holy jealousy is rooted in a desire to protect, provide, and bless. He always and only wants what is best for His chosen ones. And what can be better than His perfect love? 


Instead of imagining the negative and hurtful jealousy displayed by a petty schoolgirl, we need to imagine the protecting and providing jealousy of God. Picture God more as an adoring husband who catches his once-faithful wife turning to other lovers (who have evil motives), and who jealously seeks to rescue her—not to punish her for her betrayal, but to win back her heart.


When God freed the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt, He took them to Mount Sinai and, in essence, married them there, taking them as His bride. In that ceremony, they gladly pledged their loyalty and devotion to God alone. However, God told them they would soon be surrounded by neighbors who were devoted to other gods. He warned them they would be tempted to turn away and be unfaithful. Lastly, He assured them He would not stand idly by and allow that to happen. As a jealous God, He would fight fervently for their attention and affection. 
When God calls Himself jealous, it is a reminder to us that our worship cannot be divided. The Great Commandment is to love God with “all” (not part of) our hearts. He alone is worthy of our devotion. He alone is deserving of our hearts. 

Still, God’s demand for worship raises questions in the minds of many believers and nonbelievers. Is He needy? Is He being egotistical? No. Actually He’s being righteous and good. He knows that the ones He loves will find life, ultimate meaning, purpose, and joy nowhere else. He knows that He alone always seeks what’s best for us. He also knows that He alone is the one place where our hearts will find their true home. 

This is why when Jesus came, He reminded us that we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). He told us that whoever is not for God is against Him (Luke 11:23). We cannot be “sort of,” “sometimes,” or “mostly” devoted to God. We either give ourselves to Him or we give ourselves to other lovers. 

God is jealous for our love because He is zealous for us to know His.

PRAYER

God, drive from my heart anything that captures my attention and affection more than You. May I not make You jealous today by being unfaithful. Amen.



This blog post is adapted from my book 100 Names of God Daily Devotional, which is now available. You can learn more about it here.

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New Bible Study

, by Christopher D. Hudson




When I was working on the 100 Names of God Devotional, I was challenged to ensure that God is #1 in every area of life. He is my all-powerful God, creator, lover, and savior. As such, GOD IS MY LIFE.
That experience has inspired this month's Bible study. Topics we will look at will include:
  • * Putting God First
  • * Knowing God Is Near
  • * Experiencing God's Love
  • * Enjoying God's Peace
  • * Setting Aside Distractions
  • * Embracing God's Touch

To participate, join me twice a week on Facebook for a free Bible study. Sign up here and I'll send you a link to the Bible Study and  Join me twice a weekReadings will be posted Sundays and Thursdays. Be sure to join the discussion twice a week.


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Names of God: Elohim Ahavah (The God Who Loves)

, by Christopher D. Hudson


 “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Even people who know very little about the Bible can usually cite the famous phrase “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The idea that love is God’s essential nature is incredible. It frankly sounds too good to be true. Yet the Bible declares repeatedly that it 



On the one hand, divine affection means God is 



This is how we reconcile the love of God with all His other attributes that, on first glance, maybe don’t “seem” so loving (divine holiness, justice, and wrath against sin). God is all that He is, all the time.


In other words, God doesn’t

No matter what happens, and regardless of what we’re facing, we can know that we are kept, watched, listened to, and cared for by One who is wild about us. God is love.

And there is never a time or a situation where our loving God is not right there.

PRAYER

God, thank You that there is never a moment when You act in any way apart from Your love. Amen.

This blog post has been adapted from my book 100 Names of God Daily Devotional. You can learn more about it here.

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