When I was severally sick with a neurological disease and fibromyalgia, I began to attend a small church with a kind pastor. I noticed the pastor often looked at me, my cane and my wobbly legs strangely. On one occasion he prayed for me; it was a loud boisterous prayer, “Lord, get to the root of this sickness, the very root!” I felt as if the root he may have been referring to was my sin. He had suggested more than once to me, that sickness can be a spiritual issue. I wondered if he thought the root was something evil in my life like pride, lust or anger. I remembered the scripture in Timothy about laying hands on the sick and seeing them recover. It also said, “And if they have SINNED it shall be FORGIVEN them.” (James 5:13-15 KJV)
Many well-known Evangelist and pastors had prayed over me, but I was still suffering horribly. I pondered this and went over a list of people I had forgiven and the prayers I had prayed for God to search me and cleanse me. I cried out to God that I knew I had sinned and had things I needed to work on, like most of us do, but still felt awkward in the presence of this pastor. It seemed every time he prayed for me, it was suggested I was responsible for this disease. I felt like I was constantly surrounded by Job’s friends in the church. Of course I was no Job, my past had its colorful moments. But I had returned to the Father with all my heart, just like the prodigal son and I knew God had ran to meet me, kiss me and clothe me with a new robe. I was now in covenant with my Father.
The following Thursday night Bible study was quite a shock for me. I waddled in on my cane and there was the pastor, with one shoe off. His right foot looked swollen and he was using a cane. Gout had set in his foot. Had God allowed this to happen for a reason? I wasn’t sure but I felt quite relieved that a minister that I deemed to be very holy could also go through pain. It was confirmation that perhaps it happens to the best of us. He spoke about how his gout had caused him to get still before God because he couldn’t go to work. How he had a wonderful time in prayer at home resting. Sickness can be an unusual friend at times.
This chapter will enlighten you about scriptures and your eyes and mind will be opened to sickness in a manner you may have never been taught. Have you ever wondered who the first person to become sick was written about in the Bible? Job would be the first and I believe the next person written about was Jacob. After Jacob wrestled with an angel all night, his hip was out of socket, and he walked with a limp afterwards. Indeed, he walked with a limp until the day his sons buried him. Hosea says this about Jacob, “Yea, he had POWER over the ANGEL and prevailed.” (Hosea 12:4 KJV) Perhaps you have never pondered Jacob’s hip being out of socket? The devil had nothing to do with maiming Jacob, it was an angel! We have been taught that angels only protect us, this one WRESTLED with Jacob and injured him.
Many times the children of Israel were sick or even died because of complaining and bitterness. Snakes sent from God bit them and the quail they requested came up through their nostrils, the Earth even swallowed some. “The Lord SENT fiery SERPENTS among the people, and they BIT the people; and much people of Israel DIED.” (Numbers 21:6 KJV)
Miriam spoke against Moses and GOD STRUCK HER WITH LEPROSY and then Moses begged God to restore her and He did. Yes, over and over again we see sickness caused from SIN. Now we know this is not always the case, look at Job and all his troubles and there are others that I will illustrate to you shortly.
When Adam and Eve fell many believe we were then cursed and that is when sickness came into existence, but that is not what God’s word says, “CURSED IS THE GROUND FOR THY SAKE; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth… (Genesis 3:17-18 KJV) The Lord placed a curse upon the ground and the serpent. This curse on the soil is followed to Adam’s son Cain after he kills his brother: “The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you.” (Genesis 4:10-12 NIV)
Now after the flood came and Noah came out of the ark and built an altar to the Lord, that curse on the ground and upon the earth was broken. “And the Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in his heart, I WILL NOT AGAIN CURSE THE GROUND ANY MORE FOR MAN’S SAKE; for the imagination of man’s heart is EVIL from his youth; neither will I smite any more everything living, as I have done.” (Genesis 8:21 KJV) So God knew that we had evil in us, even from our youth and yet he removed the curse on the ground.
Noah knew that and he planted a vineyard afterwards. The land would ONCE AGAIN be FRUITFUL. Yahweh goes on to say this… “I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:21-22. ESV) This is a loving God who goes on in chapter nine to say that not just the plants and vegetation would be for food but that the animals as well.
God said this in Deuteronomy, “And the Lord will take away from thee ALL SICKNESS and will put none of the EVIL DISEASES OF EGYPT, which thou KNOWEST, upon thee; but will LAY them upon all them that HATE thee.” (Deut 7:15 KJV) Now wait a minute did you catch that? God is going to PUT SICKNESS on people that HATE HIS people. Wow! That doesn’t mean that every person who gets sick hates Israel! We know that isn’t truth. This verse was more than likely speaking about the terrible plagues of boils and other ailments sent to Egypt during Pharaohs rebellion against God.
Sickness wasn’t something we hear Adam or Eve dying from, nor was it something Abraham or Isaac had, but Elisha one of the mightiest men, died of a disease. “Now Elisha was FALLEN SICK OF HIS SICKNESS whereof he DIED.” (2 Kings 13:14 KJV) Elisha raised the dead, made an ax head float, cured Naaman from leprosy and so forth, yet he died in his sickness. You might say, “WELL, TEKOA, THAT’S THE OLD TESTAMENT.” However, several missionaries who were with Paul became sick and Paul was not able to heal them, but told the people these men have risked their life for the sake of the gospel. You can read about Epaphroditus in Philippians the second chapter and a man named Trophimus in 2nd Timothy chapter four. “Erastus abode at Corinth; BUT TROPHIMUS HAVE I LEFT AT MILETUM SICK” (2 Timothy 4:20 KJV)
Both men were doing a work for the Lord and both men were with Paul. Now Paul was the apostle who could heal the sick with his apron. Why would Paul leave a man sick if he could heal him? SO WHY THEN WERE THEY NOT HEALED? I hear men and women proclaim “greater works shall we do,” but Paul left Trophimus sick. Sickness can be challenging to grasp. Paul told Timothy, “Be no longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” (1 Timothy 5:23 KJV) The water back then wasn’t fit to drink and the wine helped kill the parasites and bacteria. So we see wine as a medicine prescribed by the Apostle Paul. He doesn’t say, “TIMOTHY, DON’T SPEAK YOUR STOMACH TROUBLES, DON’T EVEN CLAIM THEM, LIFE AND DEATH ARE IN THE POWER OF THE TONGUE. TELL THE DEVIL WHERE TO GO.” No, that doesn’t happen, nor will you find one of these great men of God ever prescribing that formula.
Now, I want you to think about medicine in a different way. 2nd Kings 20, tells a story about a king named Hezekiah. The Lord told him to get his house in order, that He was taking Hezekiah’s life. Now this man was Godly, he was not a sinner and when he heard it he began to weep and argue his case with God. “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amos came to him, and said unto him, thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; FOR THOU SHALT DIE, and not live.” (2 Kings 20:1 KJV) Wow, can you imagine being greeted with this type of Word from God? He was only around forty years old. We all like to hear a prophetic Word from the Lord, but not one of such doom. Hezekiah begins to cry out to the Lord and bring before Him how he has served Him with a perfect heart. The Bible says, “He wept sore.”
Before Isaiah left the court of his kingdom, God tells him to go back and listen to the beautiful promise He gives him. “Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up into the house of the Lord.” (2 Kings 20:5 KJV)
“And Isaiah said, take a LUMP OF FIGS. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.” (2 Kings 20:7 KJV) Yes, good ole herbs, figs and plants can cure many diseases.
Adam lived to be nine hundred and thirty years old, now that’s a ripe old age. The Bible says Moses lived to be a hundred and twenty years old and that HIS EYES WERE NOT DIM and his natural force was unabated. He still had the strength of a young man. No sickness there.
Remember Jesus healed. However, He didn’t just do it for any reason; there was always a lesson to learn. I HEAR PEOPLE SAY, “Jesus healed all; however, HE DIDN’T CLEARLY HEAL EVERYONE ENTIRELY. Jesus has trouble in His hometown and says “A prophet is not without HONOR except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on A FEW SICK people and healed them. 6 And He marveled because of their unbelief.” (Mark 6:4-6 KJV) So we have unbelief. We also read about a man at the pool of Bethesda who was healed, but we don’t read anywhere in that story that THE MANY others lying there were healed. Then we have a story after Jesus’ resurrection about a man who was laid at the temple gate for years. “Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.” (Acts 3:2 NIV) Now Peter and John walk past him and say, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”(Acts 3:6 KJV) Now we know Jesus walked into the temple many times, He must have passed this man.
Each time we study healings in the Bible, the process amazes me. Even from the Old Testament, Elijah laid his body upon the Shunammite’s son who died, and then the boy sneezed seven times and came back to life. You have Naaman, who had to dip seven times in some water that was far from clean to get his healing. Then you have the priest who would quarantine the sick for seven days before checking their ailments, but how did Jesus do it? Most asked Him to heal them. The lepers said, “If you will, you can make us clean,” and so Jesus did. Blind Barnabas cried out all the more for his healing. The people tried to quiet him but he would not give in. One blind man was healed after Jesus took some clay or mud and spat on it and placed it on his eyeball. Then the man had to go wash his eye in a pool of water. All the way there the man’s faith was brewing and he was saying after I wash I will see.
The woman whose daughter was vexed with a demon would not relent but had faith. Jesus never met her daughter, but the Bible says the demon left her the same hour. Jesus wanted to hear them speak it. He wanted to know that they believed He truly was able to make them whole. Sometimes He told them their sins were forgiven after He healed them and sometimes He just felt virtue go out of Him, as He did with the woman with the issue of blood. Other times Jesus DIDN’T HEAL them, He waited until they were DEAD and then He called them to come forth. YES, HE IS AMAZING!
Sickness and disease is mentioned in full detail in the book of Deuteronomy. There is a list of blessings and a list of cursings. Most ministers and sheep are very familiar with the scriptures that ring, ‘YOU WILL BE THE HEAD AND NOT THE TAIL, above and not beneath,’ but little is discussed about the curses and why they come. The 28th chapter begins a short list of blessing, around twenty or so and then it goes on to list the sickness and suffering of curses which far outweigh the blessings. These things would fall upon the nation and people who worship idols and do not keep God’s commandments and statutes. Let’s look at some of them.
“The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. The LORD will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the land where you are entering to possess it. The LORD will SMITE YOU with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew, and they will pursue you until you perish. The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. The LORD will make the RAIN of your land powder and DUST; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. The Lord will smite thee with the BOTCH of Egypt and with TUMORS, SCABS and itch, SICKNESS that CANNOT be healed.” Deuteronomy 28:20-24, 27.
The list is much too long to go over, but here are a few more. “The Lord will smite thee in the knees and in the legs with a sore botch THAT CANNOT BE HEALED from the sole of your feet to the top of your head.” (Deut. 28:35 KJV) So many forms of sickness and blindness are mentioned that it’s too much to list them all. Also every sickness and every plague and all the diseases of Egypt He promises to bring until everyone is destroyed. These don’t come from Satan, but from God and on a people who are sold out to idolatry.
I hear many people today in the church talk about sickness. They make comments about lack of faith, wrong confessions and hidden sin,—and they usually blame it on Satan. Most of the time what I hear doesn’t line up with the word of God. How can we have a miracle—a healing—without sickness and suffering? Many ministers today think sickness enters due to sin and the devil, but that cannot always be the case. “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, WHO SINNED, THIS MAN OR HIS PARENTS THAT HE WAS BORN BLIND?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”(John 9:1-3 NIV)
Moses told the Lord that he was not eloquent or good at making speeches, but God answers him with this, “WHO HAS MADE MAN’S MOUTH? OR WHO MAKES THE DUMB OR DEAF, OR THE SEEING, OR THE BLIND? HAVE NOT I THE LORD?” (EXODUS 4:11 KJV)
Many would call blindness, deafness and paralysis a curse from Satan. But we just read God created it. When we read the New Testament, we find how they prayed for the sick. Today much has been distorted, especially in the Charismatic movement. Let’s examine this again.
“As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up.” (Acts 9:32-34 NIV)
Peter, did not ask God to get to the root of his sickness. He did not PLEAD THE BLOOD over him or BREAK GENERATIONAL CURSES, he did not BIND anything, Peter did not say, “Aeneas, I’m sorry, but you just don’t have enough faith right now. Study Hebrews chapter eleven for a few more years, and I will be back to lay hands on you.”
King David said this about sickness and suffering, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good and doest good; teach me thy statutes.” (Psalm 119: 67-6 KJV) He goes on in verse seventy-one to say, “It is GOOD for me that I have been AFFLICTED; that I might learn thy statutes. I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in FAITHFULNESS hast afflicted me.”
Job makes a statement in chapter twenty one about what the wicked man’s life is like. He says, “Their houses are safe from fear. Neither is the rod of God upon them.” He talks about how they spend their days in wealth. King David speaks almost the same word in Psalm 73:3-5, “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They (The Wicked) have no struggles; THEIR BODIES ARE HEALTHY AND STRONG. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by HUMAN ILLS.”
Job makes a comment to his wife after she tells him to curse God and die. He tells her she speaks as a foolish woman would speak. “What? Shall we receive GOOD at the hand of God and not receive EVIL?” (Job 2:10 KJV)
Sometimes we give Satan too much credit. Sometimes I think we spend too much time talking to Satan and about him. Many have been taught that every sickness comes from Satan or hidden sin. They never take into account that this Earth is getting old and that we have polluted it badly with factories, chemicals, landfills, oil spills, and water that is no longer fit to drink. Some believe we need more faith and that medicine is not of the Lord. I have seen countless people go off their medication and become severely sick, especially the mentally ill.
Sickness in a POSITIVE form is mentioned often in the Bible. If you read the parable of the great supper you will find that the healthy, wealthy and wise in their own eyes, did not have time to come to this great feast of the Lord. “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and INVITE THE POOR, THE CRIPPLED, THE BLIND, AND THE LAME.” (Luke 14:21 NLT)
Yes, the wealthy, busy people of the world rejected his invitation but not the sick and the poor. Why were they so willing to come? Sickness and poverty can humble a person greatly and cause them to realize that they need a savior.
A man named Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul, was one of the greatest apostles of all time. Paul didn’t start out that way in fact he was one of the persecutors of the church. He was one of the main ones who helped stone the Christians and throw them into prison. And the Bible says that as he was on his way to Damascus he saw a bright light shining down from heaven and he heard a voice and he fell down on the ground. “And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.” (Acts 9:6-9 KJV)
So we have just read how God struck Saul blind for three days. He got Saul’s attention (or Paul as I will refer to him). By striking him with blindness, he was able to humble Paul. We even read here how he fasted and prayed during those three days. We also hear the voice of the Lord say that he will show Paul how greatly he must SUFFER for His names sake. Now Paul went on to influence Christian thinking in a way no other apostle could. He wrote at least seven books in the New Testament, books on how to bring praise and glory to God. Through his suffering and famine type circumstances, he became a humble Apostle. He also said he was given a thorn in his flesh, a messenger from Satan to buffet him. He asked God three times to take it away but God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9)
Sickness may be something you pay more attention to in the scripture now. Our bodies are supposed to get old. Paul said, “Though OUTWARDLY we are WASTING AWAY, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2nd Corinthians 4:16)
“Remember, “Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died.” (2nd Kings 13:14) Years later a dead man was thrown into his tomb and landed on his bones and was revived. He came back to life and stood upon his feet! He might have died of sickness and disease but God’s word was still shut up in his bones and his bones brought life. Do you really think Satan gave Elisha a disease in his late eighties? No. Hopefully your view on sickness has been broadened and you see that God is in control of more than we realize.
In the next chapter we will look at a very touchy topic, Mental Illness. This is often misunderstood and can cause great pain in the body of Christ.