Summary: Do you need to claim the promise of healing for yourself? For your family? For your friend? God is able to heal today.
This month In our series on Fresh Fire, we are looking at the work of the Spirit in the Writing of the Old Testament Prophets.
And as this is a Healing and Wholeness Service it is a wonderful opportunity for us to consider a few verses from the book of Isaiah that speak prophetically about the Messiah that would come to bring healing and wholeness.
Let me give you a little background first....
The OLD TESTAMENT covers a period of around 4000 years and there are only a few specific accounts of healing recorded.
In fact if you added up all of the accounts of specific healing in the Old Testament and compared that to the New Testament accounts of healing -
you would discover that Jesus actually healed more people in a single day than are recorded in the whole of the Old Testament.
(The Old Testament records 12 specific occasions for individual healing and 3 occasions of corporate healing).
There are miracles and signs and wonders recorded throughout the Old Testament.
Healing is one of the many ways in which God,
in His mercy, was active in the lives of His people.
From the book of Genesis to the book of Malachi there is evidence of God’s active involvement with His people.
Israel’s history is full of angelic visitations, divine revelations, acts of mercy, acts of judgement, supernatural manifestations and miraculous deliverances -- All of which are recorded as evidence of God’s interaction with His people.
Miraculous occurrences that provided Israel with blessing and confidence in their God.
When we read the Old Testament we discover that there is a wonderful interweaving of prophetic activity and real-time events.
Throughout the Old Testament God worked Miracles and Signs and Wonders to underscore the fact that God was God and was actively involved with his people.
God is always at work in the world and God is always working amongst His people, but there are special times when God seems to intensify His activity -- ‘times of refreshing from the Lord.’ as Acts 3:19 describes it.
In the Bible there are many names that are used to describe God.
Names that reveal His nature and activities.
‘Almighty God,’ ‘the Sovereign Lord,’ ‘the God who provides’ and ‘the Lord our Shepherd’ are a few of the many names that describe His magnificent and multi-facetted nature.
One of the names given early in Israel’s history, soon after they had been delivered from their Egyptian bondage – was Jehovah Rapha, the Lord your healer.
Jehovah Rapha ‘the healing God’ or ‘God who heals’ conveys something of the very heart and nature of God.
In the same way that ‘God is love’ describes something that God is (not just does).
God is Healer by name and Healer by nature.
The Old Testament is full of prophetic words and pronouncements that reveal God’s sovereignty.
One prophetic theme majors on the Messiah and another on the Messianic age and people.
The coming of the Messiah is the focal point of Old Testament prophecy.
The Old Testament gives a detailed picture of the Messiah - Jesus birth and His suffering and meticulously detailed.
But it is his supernatural ministry, empowered by the Spirit, that proclaims the hope of mankind.
Isaiah 35:1-7 says:
Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
2 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God.
3 With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.
4 Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”
5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.
6 The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.
7 The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.
The opening of blind eyes, the hearing of deaf ears, the leaping of the lame and the joyful shouting of the mute are all possible because Jesus has come!
Remember when Jesus read from the Book of Isaiah 61:1-3 and said today this scripture is fulfilled - Let me remind you of what He read?
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,