Today’s lesson finishes something we started before our break – chapter 9. The The name we are studying is Jehovah-rapha, The Lord Who Heals. In the first part of the chapter Kay Arthur (KA) showed us how God is the Lord Who Heals. We are introduced to Jehovah-rapha in the book of Exodus. God was already providing for the Israelites through the wilderness as Jehovah-jireh, The Lord Will Provide. He had provided protection from the Egyptians, nourishment in the form of quail and manna to eat and water to drink, and direction as to where they should travel. As a further extension of provision, God promised to provide protection from the diseases which He had inflicted upon the Egyptians, provided the Israelites would obey Him, introducing the name “I am the LORD who heals you” (Ex 15:26). Next KA reveals that God heals us from both spiritual and physical pain and that Christ’s death on the Cross was the natural extension of Jehovah-rapha that brings absolute healing from the real problem: sin.
Today’s lesson explains how sin is the root of all of our problems. On Day 23 KA shares her personal story of salvation, saying that she had lived a depraved and wicked life and was sick at heart until she saw her complete and utter need for salvation by Jesus and turned to Him. On Day 24 she delves in the problems of sin and sickness more specifically, saying sickness is a direct result of sin. “If man had not sinned, there would be no sickness” (p.81). She explains that this statement can be understood in two ways: (1) if Adam had not sinned, sickness would not have been brought into the world – so all sickness is a result of that first sin; and (2) that sickness is the consequence of sin in our lives. Now here is where it gets tricky. The sin in our lives may not be our own. It may be in our lives in the sense that we are receiving the consequences of someone else’s individual sin (“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments Ex. 20:4-6; David sinned and numbered the children of Israel…so the LORD sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead 1 Chron 21:14), or of corporate sin (as prophesied in Ezekiel, “In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations. Everyone will see the punishment I have inflicted on them and the power of my fist when I strike. And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. The nations will then know why Israel was sent away to exile it was punishment for sin, for they were unfaithful to their God. Therefore, I turned away from them and let their enemies destroy them. I turned my face away and punished them because of their defilement and their sins EZ 39:21-24); and yes, sometimes the sin is our own and the sickness is a consequence of our choices (like when Miriam was struck with leprosy for criticizing Moses, and therefore criticizing God, in Numbers 12).
In addition, God uses sickness to discipline us when we are not living in obedience. I prefer to think of discipline as training rather than punishment because training is intended for improvement. So KA does emphasize that, if we encounter difficulties and/or sickness, we must first ask ourselves: Am I living outside of God’s will and purpose for me? If the answer is “yes”, repentance is required. If the answer is “no” then we should ask Jehovah-rapha for our healing and patiently wait – maybe God is dealing with someone else through our trial. Lastly, sometimes God uses sickness to reveal Himself to us: “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him” John 9:2-3. Again, if sin had not entered the world we would not need to learn about God in these ways because we would walk with Him as Adam and Eve did in the garden.
Either way God is God and has authority over us, “in sickness and in health”. Here is another tricky part: KA reminds us that God is all powerful and He is a God who accomplishes what He sets out to do…nothing that happens to us or in our world happens outside of His will. But His character is good so we can trust that, in the end, God’s will for us is our good. He is Jehovah-rapha: the LORD Who Heals. There is no one else so powerful. He is our place of refuge and the One we must to go to when we need healing.
JustaGirl…just like you!