[Click this link to Biblegateway.com for Bible in new window/tab]
In Part 2 we studied God’s words to the new nation of Israel through His servant Moses regarding how to stay in good health (obedience) and how to lose it (disobedience). Those key words are repeated and reinforced throughout the Old Testament (OT) in numerous and varied ways. The historical books contain multiple stories of God bringing judgment upon His people as a consequence of their sin, sometimes via disease, just as He brought the plagues upon the Egyptians in the book of Exodus. References to some of these amazing historical accounts are provided for individual study in Part VII. These Scriptures are best read in their entirety, for the Holy Spirit had these accounts recorded in great detail for good reason (the length precludes inclusion in this study format, though). The lyrical and poetical expressions of God’s word on health and disease are presented mainly in the beloved and diverse Book of Psalms, and the profoundly beautiful Book of Job (also in some of the Prophets, such as Isaiah). In these unique books the Lord also addresses how His people are to be healed of disease once we contract it. We will start with the Book of Psalms, for the message is simpler here than in the Book of Job.
Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3) is a word of sustenance echoed in many of the psalms. Psalm 91 – Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God, further reinforces His sufficiency in keeping us from disease, with two major causes of disease specifically addressed. It delivers this profound blessing: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. …You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. (vv. 1,5-6). Please meditate on this before proceeding, and let the Holy Spirit reveal how far-reaching it is.
When we dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in the shadow of the Almighty, our lives are clearly liberated compared to the lives of all who do not. Dwelling in the Most High, we do not turn to Prozac, Valium, liquor, or any other such drugs when we feel fear, anxiety, or stress, for we REST in the Sustainer of all things. It is then His responsibility to uphold the promise of keeping us from fear, not ours (as if we were even capable of not fearing on our own)! Talk about freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners (Isaiah 61:1)! Fear/ anxiety/ stress is known by medical science to be a causative and/or major risk factor of numerous physical diseases affecting most of the body’s organ systems, in addition to the more obvious behavioral and substance abuse disorders. As believers press in to truly dwell in the presence of God, we will receive healing from many diverse illnesses/disorders, including many cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases, to name just two major categories.
And there’s more! Let’s reread verses 5a, 6: You will not fear… the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Pestilence and plague are terms used in Scripture to denote infectious diseases; in this verse, they can be understood as infectious disease incurred unknowingly, and an obvious epidemic contracted in broad daylight, respectively. Putting this in practical terms, believers who KNOW this Scripture, BELIEVE God, and WALK IT OUT by faith in accordance with the Holy Spirit today do not need antibiotics, antiviral drugs or even vaccines, for that matter, regardless of how ludicrous this may seem from a worldly perspective! Afterall, …the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25a). This revolutionary word of God indeed means that when we dwell in His holy presence, we are protected from ALL infectious disease – from the subtle serpent-like ones we don’t see coming to the obvious lion-like roaring pandemics. This word is clearly not of this world – it is the word of the Most High, and just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). He destroys the wisdom of the wise, and frustrates the intelligence of the intelligent (1 Corinthians 1:19).
Pride is such an issue! The farther we walk with the Lord, the more He graciously humbles us, and the more foolish we appear to a worldly mindset. Recall how lowly the highly educated Pharisees and the aristocratic Sadducees regarded Jesus of Nazareth…. It has pleased God to design things such that when we realize we actually ARE feeble dependent children, we truly DWELL in His presence and find the Sabbath rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9). Utterly dependent on our Father as Jesus was, we know He alone is our peace and our protection in both the natural and supernatural realms, for both are His; He is God, Lord of all.
Yes, our familiar Psalm 91 has always assured true believers that dwelling in the Lord is the only action necessary on our part in order for fear (and its numerous antecedent physical and mental illnesses) and all infectious diseases to be kept at bay day and night by His design. This relinquishing of false mindsets brings to mind Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:3: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven e.g. come into the fullness of His incomprehensible provision. Oh, let us rejoice, give thanks, and worship the Light of the world who exposes all which lies in darkness (pardon the pun) before we continue….
Psalm 106 describes lyrically some of the historical instances in which Israel refused to humble themselves and submit to the Lord, but arrogantly went their own way and suffered disease as a consequence of their disobedience.
Psalm 106 – Joy in Forgiveness of Israel’s Sins (vv. 13-15, 28-29, 43)
13 But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test.
15 So He gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them.
… 28 They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
29 they provoked the Lord to anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them.
… 43 Many times He delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin.
These wasting diseases and plagues naturally followed disobedience to God’s laws, which are simply cause-and-effect relationships of His design. Something to ponder… reviewing Deuteronomy 7:12-13a,15 and Chapter 28 may be in order here (see Part II)…
The subsequent Psalm 107 not only shows this cause-and-effect relationship between sin and sickness, but addresses how God’s people were delivered from their sicknesses, and then rejoiced in His healing and deliverance.
Psalm 107 – Thanksgiving to the Lord for His Great Works of Deliverance (vv. 1-2, 17-22)
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say this – those He redeemed from the hand of the foe,
… 17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
18 They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.
20 He sent forth His word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.
The Lord is revealing to us that whether dis-ease be physical or mental, it is His design that it is to be completely overcome, eradicated, and prevented through spiritual means. Having chosen to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil instead of choosing to eat the fruit of the tree of life (Genesis 2:16-17, Ch. 3), mankind has come to rely on the wonders of medical science for our disease management and treatment instead of relying on the Lord who heals us (Exodus 15:26). Both ways of healing are quite costly. God’s way, however, (1) is actually priceless, and (2) has already been paid in full. Furthermore, it (3) can only be obtained by faith in that priceless broken physical body of Christ. Jesus Himself actually is the Way; He can become our Way and our Life even more fully from this moment forward as we know, believe, and take hold of this precious gift…. We come confidently to our Father’s throne of grace not by anything of our own, but through Christ Jesus, who IS Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness (Hebrews 4:16; Jeremiah 23:6b). Hallelujah!
Now, behold what is perhaps the key succinct verse in the Book of Psalms regarding the spiritual root of disease, Psalm 103 – Praise for the Lord’s Mercies, vv. 2-3 – Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases. Note the parallelism of verse 3 with Jesus’ forgiving the paralytic’s sins and healing his paralysis that the Holy Spirit led all three authors of the synoptic gospels to describe in detail (see Part I for discussion, and Part VII for chapters and verses). It is becoming increasingly apparent why the healing of the sick was the predominant physical result of Jesus’ supernatural ministry: sin causes sickness, so sinners suffer sickness; forgiven sin yields healing. By His blood our sins are forgiven; by his wounds you have been healed (Matthew 26:28; 1 Peter 2:24b).
The last two psalms we’ll read are both attributed to David, and both are almost completely about his dis-ease being a consequence of his sin. Let us read, receive, and apprehend God’s revelation for us in them both.
Psalm 38 appears to have been written during the anguish of David’s affliction. We will present it practically in its entirety, omitting only the five verses which refer to David’s enemies (vv. 11-12,16,19-20).
Psalm 38 – Prayer in Time of Chastening
1 O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger or discipline me in Your wrath.
2 For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me.
3 Because of Your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
4 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.
5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.
6 I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning.
7 My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.
9 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes.
… 13 I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth;
14 I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply.
15 I wait for You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God.
… 17 For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me.
18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.
… 21 O Lord, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God.
22 Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior.
There is no doubt David was convicted that he had sinned against his Lord (vv. 3-4, 18), and he knew that his absence of health was directly from the Lord’s hand (vv. 1-3). Praise God, David knew no condemnation, he confessed his sin, and He waited for his Savior, knowing that He would answer him (vv. 15, 18, 22). We are wise to do likewise.
The last psalm we’ll review illustrating the cause-and-effect relationship between disobedience and dis-ease is the incomparable Psalm 32. In combination with Psalm 38, this beautiful psalm describes the steps to receiving a supernatural healing: (1) recognizing God’s hand in bringing our illness (note verse 4, and the similarity to 38:2) (2) repenting instead of covering up the iniquity (3) receiving God’s forgiveness, and then (4) rejoicing knowing it is finished in the supernatural realm by faith, despite whatever remains apparent to the senses in the natural realm while waiting on the Lord. Healing assuredly follows these steps, for God has revealed it to be His design, His cause-and-effect relationship, His law. Let us receive and then apply the wisdom of this beautiful psalm with one another in Christ who IS our Righteousness.
Psalm 32 – The Joy of Forgiveness
1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” – and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Isn’t it amazing how we may have read these psalms many times without seeing God’s truth about disease within them? Deceit deceives. We do not know that we are deceived when we are, although we often see those around us being deceived. Let us spur one another on to run into the light, rejoicing as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds! Let us praise Jesus for setting us free of the constraints of the worldly mindset and its chains of condemnation!
It is fitting that we close this section with excerpts from Psalm 103 – Praise for the Lord’s Mercies: Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him (vv. 1-3, 11-13).
Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus! Amen.
link to Part IV