Listen today and discover that healing begins with a decision—it’s the same decision Derek had to make. He said, “I could go on being wise in the eyes of the world and stay sick, or I could do something that was foolish in the eyes of the world and get healed. And I actually have to say, it was much wiser to be foolish and get healed than it would have been to be clever and stay sick.”
It’s good to be with you again. Our theme for this week is God’s Medicine Bottle and by that, I refer to a passage in Proverbs which got me out of hospital, after one year and end in hospital when normal medical means were of no avail to me. So here’s God’s medicine bottle. I’ve quoted it each time and I’m going to quote it again today. Proverbs 4, 20 through 22, and let me repeat my suggestion, that you memorize these three verses.
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (KJV)
I’ve already pointed out the alternative reading for health is medicine, medicine to all our flesh—medicine to our total body, God offers us through His Words and His sayings but the directions are on the bottle. If We don’t take the medicine according to the directions, we can’t expect the promised result, and the directions, as I’ve said, are fourfold: “attend to My Words, incline thine ear unto my sayings, let them not depart from thine eyes, keep them in the midst of thine heart.”
In my previous talks I’ve dealt with the first two directions on the bottle; attend and incline thine ear. So logically today, I’m moving on to the third direction: let them not depart from thine eyes. “Them”—God’s Words and God’s sayings.
I think the key thought here in this direction could be summed up in the word, “focus.” See, one of the marvelous things about human eyes, and it’s not true of all other animals or creatures, is that we have two eyes, but by focusing we can form one image. That’s when our eye sight is healthy and operating the way God intended it to. Now, in the natural, with natural eye sight, incorrect focus produces blurred vision and I believe that’s the problem with many people in the spiritual realm. They haven’t learned to focus their spiritual eye sight and so their vision of spiritual things is blurred. I think most people have got the impression that the spiritual world is kind of misty, half real, vague, unformed. I know that was my impression of religion before I came to know the Lord in a personal way. I thought that of religion as a kind of mist that hung around in old church buildings and if I was very good, maybe the mist would settle on my head. But it never did. So after a while I just decided that I wasn’t interested in that, and I turned elsewhere to philosophy. But the fact remains that unless we can focus our spiritual eyes, we will always have a blurred vision of spiritual reality. I’d like to look at the words with which Jesus deals with this. In Luke, chapter 11, verse 34:
“The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.” (KJV)
Now here Jesus is speaking about something that affects our whole body. So instantly it reminds me of the statement in Proverbs, chapter 4, about God’s words being health to our whole body. But here Jesus is dealing with the way we use our eyes. “When thine eye is single”—I think that means first and foremost that we form a single image. We’re not looking in different directions with our two eyes, but they’re focused, when they’re correctly focused. Then He says the result will be manifested in our whole body,—“Thy whole body is full of light.”
I believe a body that’s full of light doesn’t have room for sickness. I believe light and darkness are mutually exclusive. Sickness is from darkness. Health is from light. In Malachi 4 it says:
“Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.” (KJV)
The sun in the natural is the source of light. The two products of light, when the sun arises, are righteousness and healing. They are the works of light. The opposite are the works of darkness. The opposite of righteousness is sin; the opposite of healing is sickness. So they are works of darkness. But righteousness and healing are works of light. And Jesus says, “If thy eye is single, thy whole body will be filled with light, with righteousness, with health,” so it all depends on having a single eye.
Now that word that’s translated “single” in Greek is a word that has various meanings and I rather carefully checked on them in two Greek lexicons before I finished preparing this message. But one of the main meanings is “simple” or “sincere,” and I think this probably brings out the point. If your eye is simple or sincere, if you in other words just see things the way they’re written, you’re not too clever, you’re not too philosophical. You don’t know too much theology. You don’t know too many different ways of explaining the text away; you just take it as meaning what it says.
You see, I pointed out that the second direction says, “Incline your ear,”—bow down your stiff neck; be willing to hear and that there are certain normal barriers and described two of them as prejudice and preconception. We think we already know what God ought to have said so we’re not willing to listen.
Now this third direction speaks about simplicity or sincerity and I would suggest that the barriers to simplicity and sincerity are rationalization and sophistication. I begin to fear when I hear preachers quoting too many worldly experts, especially if they’re trying to authenticate the Bible because I don’t believe that the Bible needs to be authenticated by worldly experts. And I don’t believe that in the end that builds people’s faith. Sooner or later, as I’ve said earlier in this series, faith comes by hearing the Word of God and anything that distracts our attention too long from the Word of God is not ultimately going to build our faith. We have to read the Bible with that single eye of simplicity and sincerity which says, “This is what God says; this is what He means, and I believe it the way it’s written.” I always think back to my own experience in hospital. There I was, a professor of philosophy with a knowledge of Latin and Greek, and able to quote many long and learned books, but I was sick and I was offered, through God’s Word, a very simple, unsophisticated way of getting healed, which was taking God’s Word as my medicine. Now, to a philosophic mind, that’s pure nonsense. It’s just ridiculous. You dismiss it. But the thing was, I was sick and philosophy hadn’t healed me. So I was really faced with two clear alternatives. I could be clever and stay sick, or I could be simple and get healed. And you know one thing I’ve always been glad about ever since, I was simple enough to get healed. But that brings out the point—if your eye is simple, if you’re sincere, if you’re not too profound, if you don’t know too many arguments, if you can’t necessarily quote all the theologians, you have a much better chance to God. I’m sorry to say it, but experience over many years has convinced me of that. Theology normally doesn’t help people’s faith.
Let me just quote two passages from the writings of Paul to conclude this thought, noting that we’re talking about a kind of simplicity, which in the eyes of the world, is foolish. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:25:
“The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (KJV)
He’s speaking primarily about the cross. The cross was the weakest and foolish thing that you could conceive of in the culture of that time, but out of the weakness of the cross comes the almightiness of God. Out of the foolishness of the cross comes the unsearchable wisdom of God. So we have to go to something very weak and very foolish to receive God’s wisdom and God’s strength.
And then a little further on, in the same epistle, 1 Corinthians 3:18, Paul says this. Because I realize that he was speaking to people with a philosophic background just like I acquired through my studies, I can appreciate it so well. He says this:
“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.” (KJV)
You see, between us and God’s wisdom, there’s a valley, a place of humility. We have to lay aside worldly wisdom. We have to become fools in the eyes of the world that we may really enter into God’s wisdom.
So, at that point, I was confronted with that alternative. I could go on being wise in the world and stay sick, or I could do something that was foolish in the eyes of the world and get healed. And I actually have to say, I was much wiser to be foolish and get healed than I would have been to be clever and stay sick. That may sound complicated but it’s exactly what Paul is saying. If you’re wise in this world, you need to become a fool in order that you may be wise because God’s foolishness is much wiser than man’s.
So, the application is, don’t let them depart from your eyes. Have a single, simple eye. Read the Bible the way it’s written and take it as meaning what it says.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. In my closing talk on this theme tomorrow I’ll explain the fourth direction on God’s Medicine Bottle.