We’ve been learning about “God’s Medicine Bottle” and how to receive healing. Today, Derek adds one more dose of God’s medicine to our lives. He says, “What you have in your heart will determine all that you experience in your life.” Don’t miss this broadcast!
It’s good to be with you again, as we draw near to the close of another week. Today I’m going to continue and complete the theme we’ve been studying this week: God’s Medicine Bottle.
In my talks this week I’ve been examining the directions on God’s medicine bottle. God’s medicine bottle, I trust you know by now, is Proverbs, chapter 4, verses 20 through 22. Let me repeat once more my suggestion that you would find it very profitable to memorize those three verses, especially if you yourself have some kind of physical need of healing. This is what the verses say:
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my saying. 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)
And the marginal reading for health is medicine. So God says, speaking to His children, “My son, my daughter, in my words and in my sayings, if you can find them, there is that which will be medicine for your whole body.” But, as we’ve been seeing each day, in order to benefit from the medicine, we have to take it according to the directions on the bottle. And the directions on the bottle are fourfold: Attend to my Word; 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, we’ve looked at the first three directions: Attend—give God your undivided, total attention; incline thine ear—lay aside your prejudices and preconceptions. Bow your stiff neck and let God teach you, you don’t know it all. Some of your ideas which you think are very cleaver, may not be cleaver at all and may not be in line with Scripture. God’s thoughts are higher than your thoughts. He says His ways are higher than your ways, even as much as the heaven is higher than the earth.
The third direction—let them not depart from thine eyes. And I’ve suggested that means a focused gaze, forming one single, clear image of what God is saying. And I quoted the words of Jesus in Luke 11:34—Your eye is single, simple, sincere; your whole body will be filled with light, having no part dark. I suggested that the single eye means we’re not too much influenced by the world’s theories, by the sophistication of theology or philosophy. That we just look at the Bible, see what it says, take it the way it’s written, and act upon it.
So now we’re coming today to the fourth and final direction concerning how to receive God’s words and sayings: keep them in the midst of thine heart.
This all is very real to me, first of all on the basis of my own experience of being healed through this passage; secondly, because for five years, in East Africa, I was principle of a teacher training college for training African teachers for African schools and therefore, of course, in some way I had to familiarize myself with some of the principles of teaching. And one of the simple principles that we used to try to inculcate into our students was the principle of what we call the ear gate and the eye gate, that when you want to get to a child’s personality, you need to use every available gate. It’s not enough for the child just to hear it. The child also needs to see it. In fact, we also taught them that child not merely needs to hear it and to see it but in some way or other, the child needs to become practically involved; hear, see, and do. And so we used to talk to them about the ear gate and the eye gate, and it blesses me to see that in this passage in Proverbs, God anticipated the psychology of modern teaching by a good many years, about 3,000 years almost. And he said, “Incline thine ear; let them not depart from thine eyes, then they will get into your heart.” You see, the purpose of going through the ear gate and the eye gate is to reach that vital, central area of human personality which the Bible calls the heart, and then when they get to the heart, then they’ll do what is promised. But if they don’t get to the heart, they won’t produce the results.
This is like some kind of medicine which you take which may be, in order to be effective, has to be released in the bloodstream. So you can take the medicine, but if it doesn’t get to the bloodstream, it’s not going to do what it’s supposed to do. Well, God’s medicine only is effective when it’s released in the heart and so the previous three directions are really all concerned with the medicine getting where it will do what’s promised, which is the heart. So then it says, “Keep them in the midst of thine heart.”
And then, we need to look on to the very next verse of Proverbs which is one of the most profound verses in the Bible, I think. Proverbs 4:23:
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (KJV)
How profound that is; “out of the heart are the issues of life.”
I remember again, my mind goes back to East Africa. One of my students wrote up this verse in her own vernacular language which was called Lorlagoli, and I knew just enough to be able to read what she’d written up on the dormitory wall, and it said, “Guard your heart with all of your strength; for all the things in life come out of it.” So simple—more simple in a sense than the King James Version, but that conviction has never left me, “All the things in life come out of your heart.” In other words, what you have in your heart will determine all that you experience in your life. If you have the right thing in your heart, your life will go right. If you have the wrong thing in your heart, your life will go wrong. But it’s what’s in your heart that determines the course of your life. And so God says, “If my medicine and my words and my sayings is going to do what I have promised, it’s got to get into your heart, and you’ve got to keep it there. So, keep them in the midst of thine heart—not just on the periphery of thine heart, but in the midst. Keep them in the central place of your whole life and personality. They’re going to affect the whole way that you live.
To conclude this teaching which is based on Proverbs in the Old Testament, about God’s Word being our medicine, I’d like to turn to a very parallel statement in the New Testament, in the epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 12 which speaks there about the nature of God’s Word and how it acts within us. Just in order to make it vivid, I’m going to read two different translations of that verse, Hebrews 4:12, first of all in the King James, and then in the New American Standard, just to pick out certain differences. First of all the King James:
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (KJV)
And then the New American Standard, it’s the same verse:
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (NASB)
If I were to choose one word that sums that up I think it would be the word “penetrating.” God’s Word penetrates. In fact it penetrates where nothing else can penetrate. We are used to the concept of the “surgeon’s knife” with its sharp pointed blade that can penetrate so delicately into human tissue and muscle and so on. But the Word of God penetrates into another realm also; it divides between soul and spirit, the very innermost area of our personality. Things within ourselves that we cannot fully understand about ourselves, the Word of God reveals to us. It separates between joint and marrow. See, it touches the spiritual are of us; it touches the physical area. There’s no area that’s out of its reach. If you have a disease of the marrow or a disease of the joints, this scripture says maybe there’s no human medicine or human instrument that can actually deal with that disease, but the Word of God can get there. Or if you have inner personality problems that the psychiatrist hasn’t had any solution for, the Word of God will get there. God’s Word penetrates. What’s important is that we take it the way that God Himself requires that we take it; that we take it with undivided attention; that we take it with a humble, teachable attitude; we lay down our barriers of prejudice and preconception; that we also look at it with a single, sincere, wholehearted eye; we don’t quibble; we don’t theorize too much; we take it as meaning what it says. We lay down the barriers of rationalization and sophistication and then we let it enter and do its work.
May I pray for you as I close this study.
Father, I thank you for those that have been listening that have spiritual and physical needs that can only be solved by the Word of God and I pray that this word will enter in and do what’s necessary in them; create faith, bring healing, bring deliverance, bring peace and joy and harmony, I pray in Jesus Name, Amen.
All right, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time, Monday through Friday. Next week I’ll be sharing on another rich and exciting theme from God’s Word.