May I please delve a little deeper into healing? The Lord promised His people Israel in Exodus 15:26 and 23:25, 26 that they would not have any diseases like the ones Egypt had. He also promised to take away sickness from among them, if they listened to the Lord and worshipped Him. We know that they did not stick to that condition at all times. They were under law and we are under grace. Are we poorer than Israel was concerning healing promises for the body? On the other hand, must we draw the conclusion that we also miss His physical healing because of lacking some conditions? Then the healthy ones could boast and believe that they are perfect. Praise the Lord for our future with Him without suffering!
The promises for healing to which you have referred to are as follows:
And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.” (NASB) Ex. 15:26
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. (NASB) Ex. 23:25-26
None of These Diseases
In the first passage, God promised the nation of Israel that He would not bring any of the plagues on them that He brought upon the Egyptians. The Greek historian Herodotus says that the Egyptians were considered the healthiest nation of their time. That is an important statement because it means that God really humbled them. That probably explains why God used plagues upon the Egyptians. It humbled and humiliated them. It also helps us understand God’s promise. God used a significant historical event in giving Israel a promise of health if they would desire to obey.
The last passage is more fully explained in Deuteronomy 7.
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 . . . 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. (NASB) Deut. 7:12-15
Both of these passages encouraged the Israelites to be obedient also. Exodus 23:25-26 does not say anything about the nature of the diseases; but in Deut. 7:12-15 we discover that the diseases God referred to were the ones He brought upon the Egyptians. We also discover that He promised healing for disease but not freedom from disease. This discovery is a very important fact. God can allow and has allowed a person to become sick because of disobedience.
In Deuteronomy 25:58-61 God said that He would bring disease upon Israel if they disobeyed.
If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses. He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they will cling to you. Also every sickness and every plague which, not written in the book of this law, the LORD will bring on you . . . (NASB) Deut. 28:58-61
God is not talking about a single sin but a pattern of sin. Why do we see disease everywhere around us today? New strains of disease that do not respond to antibiotics are occurring while we are finding new cures. Nowhere in scripture does God promise that we will be free from all disease. However, God did promise to heal Israel and to not bring the diseases upon the nation of Israel that He brought the Egyptians, if they would be faithful to Him. These are promises to the people who were going to enter the Promised Land. These are not promises for non-Israelites. These passages are not promises for Gentile Christians.
Cause of Disease
God has never promised to keep Gentiles free from disease, nor has He promised to heal every person. In fact, God said the following to Moses as proof that He was God.
The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (NASB) Ex. 4:11
God is taking credit for making people mute, deaf, and blind. Why? Sometimes disease is not due to sin. Listen to Jesus in the next passage.
As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (NASB) John 9:1-3
The man was born blind so that Jesus could be glorified, and not because someone had sinned. The Greek word for sinned is the normal Greek word for sin. Therefore, Jesus made it perfectly clear that no one had sinned. Disease is not always due to sin. This is an important fact.
When it is time for each one of us to die and go to be with God something must happen to our body to cause it to stop functioning correctly. This is the result of Adam’s sin. Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 describes what happens as we grow older. Death comes as the body wears down. Disease includes all of the symptoms of old age. Ultimately, these cannot be avoided. This is God’s design. It is the result of Adam’s sin.
God never promised to keep anyone free from disease, except for the Israelites who were entering the Promised Land. But that promise had conditions. God’s statement in Psalm 103 is precious.
Who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases . . . (NASB) Ps. 103:3
God makes a simple statement. He is the one Who heals our diseases. He can use doctors to heal us, and He responds to prayer. But He decides when and how to heal, if He does at all.
I have known many a person who has been healed. But eventually God will allow disease to take us to heaven or to hell. Moses said this,
All our days pass away . . . we finish our years with a moan. (NIV) Ps. 90:9
The Hebrew word for “moan” does not imply joy. It has a negative sense. This is the result of sin, and the curse God placed on creation in Genesis 3. I have seen my father die and go to be with God. His body “moaned” before he went to be with his God. Now he has a new body. I do not think he cares about his body any more. Why? Because seeing God and being with Him is so much greater than anything we can imagine. Some day I will be with Jesus! I look forward to being with my God – the One who loves me.
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