Taking us through the Scriptures, Derek presents powerful truths about God's provision for our lives in the area of health and healing. If you are struggling right now with a physical symptom or problem you'll want to listen closely to this tremendous teaching that was birthed out of Derek's own desperate need to obtain healing when the doctors could do no more to help him.
It’s good to be with you again as we go one stage further in our conducted tour through the land of God’s promises. In my previous three talks this week, the main area of our inheritance that I’ve been dealing with was the area of prosperity. Today I’m going to move on to another major area of our inheritance, the area of healing and health.
Today I’m going to explain the great basic foundation for healing and health which God has provided for all His people. It is God’s own Word, the Scriptures.
Right after God first redeemed Israel out of Egypt and they became His redeemed and covenant people, the first specific revelation of Himself that He gave them was that He was their healer. This is stated in Exodus 15:26. The Lord said to Israel:
...“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.” (NAS)
That word, “your healer,” in modern Hebrew is “your doctor”; precisely the same word that’s used there in Exodus 15 is the modern Hebrew word for a doctor. And it hasn’t changed it’s meaning in something over three thousand years of the history of the Hebrew language. The Lord says emphatically to Israel, “I am your doctor.” And He unites that with His own name, Jehovah, the Lord, and He makes a covenant of it.
Two things that do not change are the Lord’s name and the Lord’s covenant. And the Lord’s position and function as the healer of His people is united with His name and His covenant. In other words, it’s unchanging.
Many centuries later, when Jesus came to Israel as their Savior and Redeemer, fulfilling the promises of the Messiah, He again manifested God as the healer of His people. In Matthew 8:16-17 we read:
“And when evening had come, they brought to Him [that’s to Jesus] many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.’”
We see that Jesus healed all who were ill in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. Again, He manifested the unchanging nature of God as the healer of His people. Jesus’ own comment on this can be found in John 14:9-10 where He says:
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father...”
And then in verse 10:
“The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” (NAS)
So the healing ministry of Jesus didn’t proceed from Himself, it didn’t initiate with Himself; it was the expression of God’s healing nature and God’s healing covenant to His people. The foundation of God’s provision of healing and health for His people is His Word, the Scriptures. This is clearly stated in Psalm 107:17-20, where the psalmist says this:
“Fools, because of their rebellious way, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all kinds of food; And they drew near to the gates of death.” (NAS)
That’s a dramatic way of saying that they had exhausted all medical help, there was no further hope for them, they were at the very doors of death, just waiting to die. But then we read that they cried out to the Lord. My comment on that is that people often leave it very late to pray. These people were right at death’s door and it occurred to them to pray. How many times we’re like that in our lives. We don’t pray until there’s absolutely no other source of help but God. It goes on to say:
“...they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; [How did God respond? It’s stated in these words that follow:] He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.” (NAS)
Notice those three successive statements of how God intervened: He saved them, He healed them, He delivered them. I believe those represent the three great ways in which God intervenes in mercy to help us in our lives. He saves, He heals, He delivers. Each meets a specific area of need. He saves us from sin. He heals us from sickness. But He delivers us from the power of Satan.
How does He do this? Basically, His provision for all these three acts of mercy to meet these three areas of our need is in His Word. “He sent His word and healed them.” It was through His Word that He answered their prayers, their cry for help at death’s door. How important to see that God’s answer to our need primarily is in His Word. If we ignore His Word, then we really do not have any right to expect that He will meet our needs. But if we turn to His Word and seek Him through His Word, we will find that in His Word He does meet all our needs: spiritual and physical. So God sends His word to heal us.
Now I’m going to turn to a specific word, a specific passage of Scripture through which God offers us total healing and health. This is one that is very precious to me because after I had lain in the hospital for one year on end, sick with a condition that doctors apparently were not able to heal, when I sought God through this Word which is found in the fourth chapter of Proverbs, God granted me that which He had promised, healing and health. It was not a temporary healing, it was a restoration of health which really has lasted me for thirty-five or thirty-six years, right up to this present time. So listen carefully as I read these beautiful words from Proverbs 4:20-22. They open with the word, “My son.” It’s God who’s speaking, He’s speaking to you and me as His children. Remember that Jesus said that healing is the children’s bread. It’s what the Father has provided for all His children. And so the promise here is for the children of God.
“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their whole body.” (NAS)
Notice that last phrase, “health to all their whole body.” As I lay there in the hospital bed sick, I reached out and grasped hold of that phrase by faith. “Health to all their whole body.” I said to myself, “If God is offering me health in all my body then there can be no room for sickness. Wherever there is health there is no sickness. If I can have health in all my whole body, that means I can be perfectly well and not sick.”
And then I looked again and I saw God says, “they are life to those who find them, and health to all their body.” What is denoted by the word “they”? I went back and I saw that it’s God’s words and God’s sayings: “My son, give attention to My words; incline your ear to My sayings.” So God’s words and God’s sayings, if we can find them, will be life to us and health to our whole body. I happened to have at that time, a Bible with marginal alternative readings and the alternative reading in the margin for “health” was “medicine.” Well, that pleased me even better. I said to myself, “If I’m well, it will keep me well; and if I’m sick, it will be my medicine.” And so I decided in a very simple-minded way to take God’s Word as my medicine. It so happened that I was a hospital attendant myself, so I was very familiar with giving people medicine and I said to myself, “Now, how do people take their medicine?” And the answer was, “Usually three times a day, after meals.” So I said, “That’s how I’m going to take God’s Word. Three times daily, after meals, I’m going to take it as my medicine.”
Well, then the Lord spoke to me not audibly, but very clearly to my mind and He said, “When the doctor gives a patient medicine in a bottle, the directions for taking it are on the bottle and the directions for taking this medicine of Mine are on the bottle. You’d better read them.” So I looked back at those verses of Proverbs and I saw that there were four clear directions for taking God’s Word as medicine.
Number 1. Give attention. Listen very carefully to what God is saying.
Number 2. Incline your ear. I saw that meant to bow down my head. In other words, to be humble, teachable. Not to argue with God, not to think I knew everything, but to be willing to let God teach me. You see, so many people read the Bible with their minds already made up as to what God ought to have said and if He says something different they don’t even hear it. They haven’t inclined their ear.
The third condition: Let them not depart from your sight. In other words, you’ve got to keep your eyes focused on the promises of God. Don’t let them waver.
And finally, keep them in the midst of your heart. Get it right down into the very central area of your total being: your mind, your spirit, that part of you out of which all your life ultimately originates. When God’s Word gets in there, then it will bring you healing and health.
And I want to testify that through that very simple means of taking God’s Word as my medicine, three times daily, after meals, in a climate that was extremely bad for my condition, with everything in the natural against me, I received exactly what God had promised me: Health to all my whole body. And I want to assure you that if you are in need and you take God’s Word as your medicine the same way, it will do the same for you. Give attention, incline your ear, focus your eyes, keep it in the midst of your heart. It is life to you and health to your whole body.
Well, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be dealing once more with this area of healing and health. I’ll be explaining another way in which God has provided healing for His people.