Summary: HEALING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Chronicles 6:26-31. II Chronicles 20:9 promises that God hears when we cry in affliction. In 2 Chronicles 16, you can read the story of Asa who died because he did not seek healing from God. His sin was not going to medical doctors, but ignoring God and His healing power
Isaiah 6:10 explains the relationship between spiritual understanding, conversion, and healing
HEALING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
The number of specific healings recorded in the Old Testament bears no comparison with those recorded in the Gospels and Acts. In fact there are only twelve recorded in the four millennia of Old Testament history, far less than Jesus sometimes did in a single day!
Signs and Wonders in the Old Testament
Healing is part of the great plethora of divine activities recorded between Genesis and Malachi. Each of Israel’s historical eras is peppered with angelic visitations, divine revelations, anthropomorphic appearances, acts of judgement, supernatural manifestations and miraculous deliverances which are purposefully recorded as evidence of God’s interaction with mankind, but especially his people, Israel.
Moses lifting up the brazen serpent
These miraculous occurrences provided Israel with confidence in their leaders and in the Scriptures that recorded their stories. How else would they have accepted Moses’ ministry and message without witnessing the signs that accompanied him? Moses rod that became a serpent, the plagues of Egypt, the death of the first-born, the pillar of cloud, the pillar of fire and a host of other spectacular manifestations underscored the fact that God was actively involved with his people and that Moses was his messenger.
The same could be said of the rest of the Old Testament with its interweaving of prophetic activity and real-time events. God’s way has always been to endorse his men and their message by signs and wonders that men might believe.
There are two main periods when such activities abounded in Old Testament times. The first was during the time of Moses and the second during the consecutive ministries of Elijah and Elisha. Far more supernatural events were recorded in each of these two eras than in the rest of the Old Testament added together. Though God was always at work in the world and amongst His people, there were special times when his activity was intensified and observable phenomenon flourished. They may be described as ‘times of refreshing from the Lord.’ (Acts 3:19)
Specific Healings recorded in the Old Testament
There are twelve occurrences of individual healings and three corporate healings recorded in the Old Testament.
1. Gen 20:1-18
‘Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again, for the Lord had closed up every womb in Abimelech's household because of Abraham's wife Sarah.’ Gen 20:17-18
2. Num 12:1-15
God inflicted Miriam with leprosy and Moses interceded for her saying, ‘O God, please heal her!’ Though there is no record of her healing it must be assumed that the Lord exchanged this act of judgement with the lesser penalty of seven days of disgrace outside the camp. There is no further mention of her having leprosy.
3. 1 Sam 1:9-20
Hannah received healing from barreness in response to her personal prayers and Eli, the priest’s declaration.
King Jeroboam pointed his hand in judgement at an unnamed prophet and it ‘shrivelled up.’ The prophet interceded for Jeroboam and his hand was restored to health.
Elijah raises a widows son from death
Elijah raised a widow’s son from death.
Elisha granted a child to the formerly barren Shunnamite woman.
The Shunamite’s son dies and Elisha raised him from the dead.
Naaman, commander of the King of Aram’s army, was healed of leprosy after following Elisha’s counsel.
A dead man was thrown into Elisha’s tomb and contact with Elisha’s bones raised the man to life.
10. 2 Kings 20:1-7, 2 Chron 32:24-26, Isa 38:1-8
Hezekiah contracted a terminal illness and prayed for healing. Isaiah received a word from God that he would live for a further 15 years. Hezekiah was healed after applying a poultice of figs to the offending ‘boil.’
11. Job 42:10-17
After what some scholars believe to be nine months of serious sickness and loss, the patient and trusting Job prayed for his critical friends and was personally healed.
12. Daniel 4:34, 36
Nebuchadnezzar ‘looked to heaven’ and was healed of insanity.
In addition to these incidences of individual healing there are three occurrences of corporate healing in response to prayer:
Aaron stopped the plague which had killed 14, 700 people by offering incense and making atonement for the people.