Summary: To remind us of the ways God heals and the importance of the healing ministry of the church, particularly prayer ministry.
1. God is the Healer (Great Physician) - God desires to bring healing and wholeness because he is the Healer.
Many of you are probably familiar with the story of the Exodus when God delivered the Israelite people from slavery. They fled from Egypt and with the Egyptian army at their back they arrived at the Red Sea and the Lord prompted Moses to raise his staff, and as he did so the waters parted, and the people of Israel passed through on dry land. After the Israelites went safely through, Moses raised his hand and the waters rushed back over the Egyptian army. After that event the people of Israel traveled for three days into the desert. For three days they went without water, until they came to a place called Marah which means bitter because the water found there was bitter, undrinkable. And so the people complained to Moses who then went before God to plead on their behalf. And God told Moses to throw a specific kind of stick in the water. Moses threw the stick in and the water became good to drink. Right after this occurred God spoke to Moses, and Moses shared this with the people:
NIV Exodus 15:26 He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."
God revealed himself as Yahweh (Jehovah) Rapha which means the “Lord who heals.” God’s very nature is healing and God wants to provide healing and wholeness for his people.
We live in a world which is broken, hurting, in pain, suffering, whether it is physical pain, like cancer, arthritis, or emotional pain like the loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, or whether it is the greatest of all brokenness, the spiritual pain of being separated from God because of our sin. Many times this hurt and pain is intermixed together. Whatever the pain and suffering, out of love for us, the Lord wants us to be whole people. He desires to mend our broken bodies, fix our wounded heart, restore our relationships, and forgive our sin.
Richard Foster reminds us in his book, Prayer: Finding the Hearts True Home, "God cares as much about the body as he does the soul, as much about the emotions as he does the spirit. The redemption that is in Jesus is total, involving every aspect of the person - body, soul, will, mind, emotions, spirit."
It is through the redemption of Jesus that God brings total healing. Some passages from the Bible remind us of this healing about through Jesus. The prophetic words of Isaiah who predicted what purpose was of the coming Messiah:
NIV Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
NLT Isaiah 53:6 All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all.
Later, Jesus’ disciple Peter pointed back to Isaiah, showing that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of this prophecy.
NIV 1 Peter 2:24 He [Christ] himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
“By his wounds you have been healed.” Healed of what? Our sins, or broken spirit separated from God? Our physical healing? Our emotional healing? Yes. Jesus died so we might be healed of all these.
God’s healing work comes in many shapes and forms. And I would like to go through three of these was in which God works.
2. God’s Healing Work
A. OT – God Established a Right Way of Living
Notice in the passage from Exodus God said, “if you follow my commands and decrees.” We often think of miraculous means as the first and primary way of healing however, one of the first ways God provided healing was through his laws and commands.
NLT Psalm 119:93 I will never forget your commandments, for you have used them to restore my joy and health.
Many of Gods laws were given as a means of promoting wholeness and health among his people, to keep them safe before they knew anything about germs, disease, and psychology. God had food laws which had stipulations on which kind of food they could eat and what they couldn’t eat. God gave specific instructions on what to do with skin diseases (how to find cleansing and quarantine yourself from society). God had a moral law forbidding certain sexual practices (reduced sexually transmitted diseases), he created a conduct of holiness, how to behave what to do and what not to do, such as the Ten Commandments. If people followed all of God’s commandments they would experience health and wholeness in mind, body, soul, and relationally with others. It wasn’t just a list of do’s and don’ts, it was a way to live a holy (h-o-l-y) and whole (w-h-o-l-e) life.