Good morning and thank you so much for praying for my older brother Danny and whomever else God leads you to pray for in these days.
I want to explore in this blog what God has revealed in the Old Testament regarding His intentions and desires for the health and well being of His people. And I would like to start in Exodus 23:24-26, which reads: “You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces. But you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst. There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.” The context of this discussion is Moses is preparing the Hebrews/Israel to move into their promised land and conquer all the armies of all the peoples who were inhabiting these lands. These peoples such as the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, etc., (see vs. 23) were steeped in idolatry and evil practices. Moses wanted them to understand this and to have absolutely no toleration for any of it. And he is promising them that as they reject idolatry and worldliness and pursue hard after God – worshipping and serving Him alone – He will reward them with good health and fertility – two things which all peoples throughout human history have greatly valued.
One of the things God sought to communicate to His people through Moses is that good health and fertility is a promised part of His covenant with them. We see that for instance in Deuteronomy 7:11-15 “Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them. Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers. He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there will be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle. The Lord will remove from you all sickness; and He will not put on you any of the harmful diseases of Egypt which you have known, but He will lay them on all who hate you.” Yes these promises and this covenant was made specifically to the Hebrews or to Israel. But would God’s heart for us be any different? In fact isn’t one of the arguments of the book of Hebrews that the New Covenant is far superior than the old one? And that the promises and blessings of the New Covenant through Jesus Christ and His shed blood are far greater than that of the old? “But now He (Jesus Christ) has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6 Some might then say, “Yes I agree that the New Covenant is better than the Old, but good health and healing is not promised or a part of the New Covenant”. The answer to why that is not sound theology of course would require a good long thorough look at the New Testament, which ideally will happen some day in these blogs, but for now I would simply remind you that of all the apostles who walked with Jesus, John obtained or experienced the most intimacy with Him and thus is called “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, and John prayed this (among other things) for those he ministered to: “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” III John 2 How unrighteous and unwise it would be of John of all people to get the saints’ hopes up that God cares about and responds to prayers for their health, unless indeed He does!
And in that light, how unrighteous and unwise it would have been for King Solomon to pray in front of all of the people of Israel these words (unless it was in keeping with the heart and intention of God for His people): “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands towards this house; then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act…” I Kings 8:37-39 (cf. II Chronicles 6:28-31).
Now I should clarify at this point that the old covenant promises and intentions for the good health and/or healing of God’s people Israel mentioned above is promised for those who walk with Him in obedience, faith and righteousness. “Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes…., to do them. Then it shall come about,…..”
The general trend for long time care givers is their own health deteriorates over the stress and strain of caring for usually an older parent. Three passages that encouraged us a couple of mornings ago as we are in our 15th year of caring for my wife’s mother in our home are Psalm 41:1-3, Isaiah 58:6-12 and Ephesians 6:. The first of these passages are assurances from God that those who care for the sickly, needy, and oppressed will be rewarded with healing when they themselves are sick. David writes in Psalm 41:1-3, “How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble. The Lord will protect him and keep him alive, And he shall be called blessed upon the earth; And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies. The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health.”
In Isa. 58:6-11 God is speaking through the prophet re: what those who as a lifestyle seek to minister to the poor, needy and oppressed (from sin and Satan) can expect as reward from God. “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor in to the house; When you see the naked, to cover hi; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, And if you give yourself o the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
While the promise in Ephesians 6:3 does not specifically speak of good health, tis a bit challenging to “live long on the earth” without it, “HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.” Ephesians 6:2,3 These passages were an encouragement to us because the father of lies at high points of stress and exhaustion due to care giving strives to convince us that Anne especially is going to suffer irreparably from sleep deprivation, stress, etc. Sometimes believing God’s truth about His desires and intentions for our health and well-being can be an intense battle. When we find ourselves in those battles, every morsel of His truth is crucial to know and cling to.
Many believers over the centuries have found great encouragement from Proverbs 3:5,6 re: God’s commitment to guide and lead us as we trust in Him. But have you meditated on what follows? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.” God is very much into our physical health. And He has designed us so that the more we pursue spiritual health or godliness, the more we will experience physical health and well being (cf. III John 2).
Many believers, especially those of us who are called to be hands on with hurting people, have been greatly comforted and bolstered during these Covid years by Psalm 91. Soon after Covid invaded our nation and fear and panic began to spread, my wife laminated this Psalm and posted it in our garage on the wall just to the right of our door into our house so we could go where we needed to go and do what we needed to do without fear – standing on these promises. Especially the promises in vs. 5,6 & vs. 10 are germane to our discussion: “You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness or the destruction that lays waste at noon.” “No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.”
I should probably say at this point there are no formulas herein. And there are times in our lives where we might be pursuing godliness and holiness and be living a lifestyle of ministering to the poor and needy and those who are in slavery to sin, and still have significant health issues. Job is the obvious biblical example of that. Daniel in Daniel 8:27 is another one. But in general God has made it clear He cares about our physical health, and He has made the general path to experiencing that clear as well.
May the Lord continue to reveal Himself to you as your Healer and Protector; and may the Lord heal Danny’s brain as He continues to enlarge his soul! God bless you!