Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Healer

I was recently asked a question that I found to be very interesting:  “What does the Bible say about Doctors?” which really was directed to a more pointed question, “Is it okay to use doctors, or should God alone be trusted to fix us when our physical bodies fail?” This is a fair question that deserves an honest answer.

MEDICAL CARE IN THE BIBLE

The Bible never offers any specific remarks condemning or condoning medical doctors, but it definitely does address doctors.  For example, Paul endearingly refers to his friend “Luke the beloved  physician” in Colossians 4:14.  Jesus also references medical doctors in Matthew 9:12. He says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” He certainly was not condemning the use of physicians – he compares himself to a physician! Like the physically ill need doctors, the dying sinful world needs Jesus. Seeking natural remedies to physical illness is never condemned in the Bible.  Sometimes, its encouraged.  For example, in 1 Timothy 5:23 Paul tells Timothy, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” Seeking natural interventions is perfectly appropriate and expected.

Another significant mention of physicians in the Bible is recorded in 2 Chronicles 16:12-13:

“And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign.”

For King Asa, the physicians failed, and the Bible explains why – Asa consulted the physicians instead of God.

Although using available medical care is never discouraged in the Bible, seeking natural interventions instead of seeking of God’s supernatural interventions is condemned.  When a Christian puts their faith first in human medicine, they are destined to be disappointed.  Medical care is not an alternative to God’s healing power. God is the Healer.

GOD IS THE HEALER

Seeking God first for all of our needs, especially physical illness, is well addressed in the Bible.  Physicians will fail.  Medicine will fail.  But God, who does not fail, promises to be our healer.

In Exodus 15:26, God says, “I am the Lord who heals you.” David said of the Lord in Psalm 103:3, “He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.” In Psalm 41:3, God promises blessings of health and healings to the benevolent: “The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.” Under all circumstances, God is the greatest physician, and we must consult him and petition him first.

God wants to be our healer and provider.  He cares for us, and he directs us to give all of our concerns to him.  The Scriptures speak to this point.  Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Again in 1 Peter 5:6-7: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” God’s desire is that we trust him with all of our cares, physical frailties included. This is confirmed in James 5:14 when the Spirit says: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

FAITH AND PRAYER

So what does it take to receive healing from God?  The first thing is faith. Acts 14:9-10: “This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand up straight on your feet!’ And he leaped and walked.” Jesus said to the woman in Luke 8:48, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”  Matthew 15:28: “Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” Additional scriptures pointing to the role of faith in the healing process are abundant.

While God no longer heals through supernatural powers placed in human hands, he absolutely still heals.  We offer him our faith and we approach him in prayer: James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Faithful prayer is a powerful tool.  God wants to answer our prayers.  He wants to heal us.  To suggest that God no longer has an interest in healing our physical bodies is not an honest representation of the New Testament Scripture.

UNANSWERED PRAYER

Given all the evidence concerning God’s intention to hear and answer prayer, one major question still remains – why doesn’t God always answer prayer?  The Bible explains. Doubt (James 1:5-7), sin (Proverbs 15:29), and evil intentions (James 4:3) all present obstacles to our prayers. If we will despise God’s law, he will reject our prayers: Proverbs 28:9, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Of course, these obstacles may not be the issue at all. What about when we have petitioned God in faith and still our prayers remain unanswered? Remember, God knows best. Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

He knows when healing is good and when sickness is better.

So what does the Bible say about doctors? Use them, but remember God is the true healer. Seek his healing first and seek it always.

Tad Morris
~ 610 E. Current Circle, Ozark, MO  65721

Between the Cherubim

Then Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said: “O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth” (2 Kings 19:15).

God revealed His will for the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. Through Moses, a law was given and a means of worship was established. A covenant enjoined the people to God through the sprinkling of blood. God commanded and inspired a chest to be built, “two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height” (Exodus 25:10).  It had a lid fitted to the top with the likeness of two heavenly creatures called cherubim. God’s presence there was specific.

And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel (Exodus 25:22).

Here was an express point of meeting for the children of Israel and God. It was for the sake of directing their lives. It was above the mercy seat.

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs15:3). Also, “For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). God is everywhere. Yet, He said He would be between the cherubim. Therefore, this place which God arranged for His people was for them and for them alone – a special place of meeting, a node far removed from the Gentile world with its gods and goddesses of wood and stone. God’s presence was invisible – Spirit, clearly demonstrated by His place between the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant. Hezekiah said in his prayer, “the One who dwells between the cherubim” (2 Kings 19:15). God arranged an intimate place among the Jews, as in “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm133:1). His dwelling in their midst was a demonstration of His love.

This arrangement gave His people an immediate emphasis of something they already knew; the spiritual world is superior to the creation. Bezaleel gave form to the cherubim (cf. Exodus 27:1-9). A statuary shadow was arranged, showing beings of spirit in the presence of the LORD. The Hebrew brethren could not look upon this arrangement. They were told about it and could read the divine instructions concerning its concealment and the handling of the Ark during its transportation (cf. Num.4:5-6, 15, 20).  This further emphasized the exclusiveness and holiness of God in contrast to the world of flesh. Once a year, the Ark was glimpsed by the high priest. His eyes took in the Ark by the dim glow of burning incense on the Day of Atonement. Latent light from the menorah may have briefly suffused this shadowy realm when he entered the most holy place with blood. Here was a symbol, elements of creation in heaven (the likeness of Cherubim) and earth (the high priest) made holy through giving honor to the Creator. Atonement for sins was the pattern. It spoke of hope – man’s reconciliation to God.

“He who dwells between the cherubim” makes us wonder: What is the fulfillment of this through Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah? We know what was given on Mt. Sinai was given to prepare the people for the Messiah (see Galatians 3:24, “the Law was our tutor to bring us to Christ”). At the very least, the scene above the Ark shows the Invisible God providing a means for man to be close to Him – yes, even more than close, a means for loving fellowship with Him. This shows something far superior to enjoying the “presence of God in nature.” (As if nature alone is sufficient to reveal His will.)

Another part of God dwelling between the cherubim is made clear through the scriptures.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-22).

We have assurance that through Jesus we can “boldly” enter into the presence of God.

What a contrast with the vain religious world with its statues, portraits and religious regalia. In our flesh, we love to have it so. However, religious artifacts are a disguise. In the name of devotion to God, we look to the creation and things made by human hands to venerate Him, when, in fact, we are only worshiping our imagination. That kind of thing is done because of how it makes us feel. Sensuality is not to be confused with spirituality. We are warned about those who would do such things;God calls us to higher ground.

But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”  These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit (Jude 1:17-19).

Through faith we approach One whose face we cannot see, and whose form we do not know. We approach God in the knowledge of what He has done.

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

The Father dwells in Jesus to such a greater extent than when His presence was among Israel “between the cherubim.”  It doesn’t stop there. If we draw near in the full assurance of faith, there is a fulfillment which none can give other than Jesus. Jesus made supplication to the Father for His apostles, whose prayer extends to us:

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (John 17:20-21).

How does that translate? I think this passage Ephesians shows us something of what Jesus meant:

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:17-21).

Louis Garbi
~ 124 Locust Street, Barnett, MO 65011-1004