Healing and Divine Health: Part 2
Many years ago I heard a speaker at one of our church conferences give a testimony of something God had done in his life that I will never forget. This man was a pastor who truly loved God with all his heart. He decided to stay up with God all night one night just to worship and adore Him without interruption. I have heard testimonies of others who stayed up all night with God because they were wrestling with a problem, but this man did so because he longed to be in uninterrupted fellowship with his Lord.
It was a glorious night of intimacy between this man and God. As the dawn approached and their special time was drawing to a close, God spoke something totally unexpected. He said, “Tell Me three things I can do for you and I will do them.”
The pastor did not have to think long in deciding what these three things would be. He asked something be done for a family in his church, there was another request I don’t remember, but lastly he asked for his wife to be able to have babies. They had been childless for many years and both longed for children. The Lord assured him He would grant him these requests.
The man ran home to his wife yelling, “We’re going to have babies! We’re going to have babies!” And sure enough, his wife conceived and bore a child the following year. Other children were born in subsequent years.
This healing came about because this man loved God and enjoyed being in His presence. I believe that sometimes we don’t get healed because we are seeking healing more than we are seeking a relationship with God. This can amount to idolatry. The Father-heart of God longs for His children to love Him and desire to be in His presence. Then He can freely give to them knowing that they will not worship the gifts but will keep their hearts focused on Him.
In our previous article we were examining a wonderful passage about God’s promise for healing to His people found in Exodus 15:22-26. They had wandered in the wilderness for three days looking for water. Finally when they did find water it was too bitter to drink. They murmured against Moses and against God. The Lord showed Moses a tree that he was to cast into the water to make it sweet.
“So Moses brought 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 of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”
We established the fact that there are several keys to understand and fulfill in order to be healed and walk in divine health. The first of these keys was to embrace the cross of Christ (See Article One). This is the principle seen in Moses’ casting the tree into the bitter waters.
A deeper revelation of this principle is revealed in the words, “…there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.”
In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament a “statute” is defined as a “commandment” but also as “an enactment, hence an appointment,” “portion,” “task” or “set time.” When we are trying our best to live a good Christian life and “marah” (bitter) experiences come along, we need to realize God is in control. God will “appoint” certain “tasks” for us to walk through in order to come into maturity in our relationship with Him. These become our “portion” in life. No matter how hard we try to quickly get through these trying experiences, God has a “set time,” for us. This is not to say our cooperation cannot help us through more expeditiously, but it is to say God won’t bring us out of the situation until He has accomplished His purpose, and this always takes more time than we would suppose.
In these times of testing we may cry out, “Lord, I can’t take any more,” and our loving Father often answers, “Yes, you can, because my grace is sufficient for you.” At these times God grants us more grace but our circumstances don’t change. This is not because God does not want to ease our suffering but because He sees a higher thing for us through it.
As the Bible explains in Acts 14:22, “…we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Our loving heavenly Father sees a higher goal for us and knows the only way we will enter in is through suffering. When life goes well for us, we are content to settle down and enjoy life in a shallow relationship with God. When hardships come our way, we start asking questions and seeking God with new fervor.
Six years ago I found myself in a “marah” experience concerning my own health. I had always suffered from colds but suddenly it seemed these colds were more frequent, more severe and debilitating than any I had previously endured. This forced me to search the Scriptures for the healing passages that I began memorizing and focusing on. I made scripture signs and placed them all over my house. They were on my bathroom mirror, in front of my kitchen sink, on the bookcases and attached to pictures on my walls. I made a cassette tape of myself reading the healing scriptures. I placed the tape in my “Walkman” and listened to it as I worked in the house and yard.
In addition to focusing on God’s Word by reading and memorizing these important passages, I began to focus on them in a new dimension. This new dimension involved meditation. In addition to memorizing the scriptures, I meditated on them.
Meditation involves studying the passages by researching the words in the original languages using a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Anyone who knows how to read can look up the English word from any Bible passage in the concordance and find, via the Strong’s numbering system, the exact meaning of the word in the original language. This opens to us a whole new dimension of understanding.
In addition to studying, meditation for me includes making up “parables” or “word pictures” about the Scriptures and my relationship with Jesus. I began to picture Jesus in my mind as the Holy Spirit helped me form a mental concept of what He looks like and how He desires to interact with me. The Old Testament definition for the word “parable” means “a superiority of mental action, a proverb.” The Book of Proverbs could also be called the Book of Parables because the Hebrew word for proverb, mashal, also means parable. Jesus did most of his teaching using parables: “Mat 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them.” I’ve noticed he still speaks in parables when he gives me a dream. There is always some story in the dream and within the story is the message he has for me.
My favorite “parable” comes from the healing river of Ezekiel 47. I like to picture myself in that healing river with Jesus because everything the river touches is healed. These waters are the living waters spoken of by Jesus in John 4 and 7. I don’t know how to picture the living water but I know how to picture a beautiful river and myself in it with Jesus. Every time sickness tries to come upon me, I get alone with the Lord and let the healing waters flow over my body in my mind as I talk over the healing scriptures with Him, and I am either healed or the symptoms are milder and shorter in duration.
But to get back to my testimony…as I memorized and meditated on the Scriptures, I found myself enjoying a deeper sense of God’s presence and vastly improved health. If sickness does come on me, I can always find a reason why. For me, sin opens the door to sickness. It usually comes because of pride or disobedience.
In January of this year it seemed that several people around me were getting hit with chest colds. I was doing quite well until I had the following experience. I had been talking to someone over Skype and as soon as we hung up, I felt a bad feeling in my chest as though I were coming down with the chest cold. I immediately asked God why this was coming on me. As soon as I asked I remembered saying something prideful to my friend. I immediately repented to God for what I said. I also wrote my friend an email apologizing for my pride. The feeling went away and I did not get the cold.
If my health had not gone downhill with frequent, debilitating colds, I would have been content to allow myself to put up with the three colds a year I was used to. (Oh! How I hated those miserable colds!) It had not occurred to me that I could rise above them. Things had to get worse in order for me to take action.
It is now part of my daily routine to spend about a half hour every afternoon visualizing being with Jesus. As soon as I picture him in my mind, I feel his presence in a more powerful way. Sometimes I feel tired and I visualize him giving me strength. Sometimes we are at the healing river. Other times we are together in a beautiful garden talking. No matter where we are I spend that time with him developing our relationship and learning to use my spiritual eyes, the eyes of my heart.
To review our passage in Exodus, “there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.” “Statute,” choq in the Hebrew is defined as “…an appointment, task, portion, and set time.” We have seen a deeper understanding of a statute showing us that God will “appoint” certain “tasks” for us to walk through in order to come into maturity in our relationship with Him. These become our “portion” in life. No matter how hard we try to quickly get through these trying experiences, God has a “set time,” for us (subject, of course, to our obedience).
The next word we will examine is “ordinance.” The Hebrew definition for “ordinance,” states it is “a verdict, favorable or unfavorable pronounced judicially.” It can be a “penalty,” or a “privilege.” As we walk through our “marah” life experiences, our response to the circumstances will determine whether or not we will incur penalties or privileges. If we do not make godly responses during our trials, our own decisions will leave us feeling penalized and suffering more deeply. When we make godly responses, God is able to bless us and give us “privileges” that come with maturity. The greatest privilege is just having more of Jesus in our life and that is what we receive when we respond as He would.
Finally, God “proves” us, meaning, in the Hebrew definition, that He “tests” us in order to “assay” us. In Scripture our works are likened to earthly substances such as “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;” (1 Cor. 3:12). Precious metals are tried in the fire so as to remove the dross from the pure ore. The term “assay” means, “the analysis of an ore or alloy to determine the nature, proportion, or purity of the ingredients. When we are tried in the fires of bitter experiences, our true nature is revealed. When we make the right responses according to Scripture, the dross of our sin nature is removed and we are purified as “gold and silver” (Mal. 3:1-3).
Our final verse in this passage states, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”
What a glorious promise! But notice we have our part to do. God requests four things of us. (1) We are to hearken to His voice. (2) Do what is right in His sight. (3) Give ear to His commandments and (4) keep His statutes.
The only way to hearken to His voice is to spend time alone with Him learning how to hear His voice. The Holy Spirit’s voice is so unlike the obtrusive voice of the enemy who veritably shouts in our ear. We must get quiet by shutting out the thoughts demanding our attention and the urgency of waiting tasks screaming for our action. The best way to do this is to rise early in the morning before the day really begins to spend some precious time with Jesus. It is in these times that we learn to recognize His still, small voice.
It is helpful to recognize the fact that we are surrounded by many false gods—gods of entertainment, fashion, money, prestige, etc. It is difficult to live in our idolatrous society and still be able to shut out the confusing voices of these other gods. This is especially difficult when we see others around us bowing to them and we long to be accepted and belong. It is that special time alone with Jesus before the day begins that will help us stand against this idolatry.
Next we are enjoined to do what is right in His sight. The Bible tells us that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9). If we think we know what is right in His sight without reading and studying His Word, we are in deception. As Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 state, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (This verse is so important it is recorded two times in the Proverbs!) When we make decisions based on our natural understanding, we usually make the wrong decision. If we are wise, we will ask God and find His answers in the Word before making important decisions. The smaller decisions will be more in line with God’s will when we commit them into His hands even before facing them in the course of our day.
In addition to this, we are told to give ear to His commandments. In the Hebrew, to “give ear” means to “expand or broaden the ear.” No matter how much we have “given ear” to God’s commandments, He always has ways for us to “expand our ear.” In other words, God is ever calling us to a deeper commitment and a closer walk. This is not to say that God is never satisfied with us. It only means His love for us is so great He wants more and more of our time and love because of His yearning to be with us. He never wants us to reach a plateau where we stop advancing towards Him. There is always more we can do to enhance our relationship with Him.
The New Testament teaches that all the commandments are summed up in the fact that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is a lifelong process. We are never to cease letting go of the world and reaching for more of Christ. In so doing, we will be expanding and broadening our ears.
And lastly we are to keep all his statutes (commandments). None of us are perfect nor can any of us completely obey all of God’s commandments. However, we have Jesus in us to live through us. The more we yield to Him, the more perfectly we will live before God. As long as we accept our life situations as being those “tasks” He has “assigned” to us whereby we may be completed in Him through our godly responses, we will do well.
God desires for us to live in health and safety even as the Israelites in Goshen when the plagues came upon Egypt. The word “Goshen” means in Hebrew, “approaching” or “drawing near.” As long as we are approaching God and doing our best to draw near unto Him, He will be able to bless us considerably in the area of health according to our above studies. It is wise to remember that our idea of approaching and drawing near may not coincide with God’s perception of the matter.
It is God’s desire to heal our bodies, but even more importantly, He desires our total love and devotion to Him. Without that, He is not able to give us the health He and we desire.