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Friday, February 23, 2024

Benefits (Benefit #2)

Here's that list of benefits from Psalm 103 again:

  1. forgiveness for iniquity
  2. healing for diseases
  3. redemption from "the pit"
  4. being crowned with "steadfast love and mercy"
  5. being satisfied with "good" - specifically good health

God heals all your diseases

Benefit #2 is "who heals all your diseases". I grew up in churches that believe that God can supernaturally heal someone by laying on of hands, prayer, maybe anointing with oil - there are a number of Scriptural mechanisms by which humans express their faith that God will heal someone. But I know that there are a lot of churches that believe instead that God does NOT supernaturally heal people anymore. Those things the Apostles did in the Bible? Those things, members of these church bodies might say, left the world when those Apostles died. I am not here to criticize those people; I'm just acknowledging that the things I was taught in church are not the same things everyone is taught.

But the benefit laid out here is pretty straightforward. I looked up the Hebrew words, and there's not really any ambiguity. "heals" means healing - sometimes it is even translated as "physician". This "diseases" is not common in the Old Testament, but every time it occurs it's talking about a disease in someone's body, usually one that kills them (don't look it up if you are squeamish!) And how about that word in the middle: "all". So God is the physician, you have some kind of illness or illnesses in your body, maybe even terminal ones, and the benefit is that the physician God will heal ALL of your sicknesses!

So here's the big question: Michael, as you were growing up in your church and people were laying hands and praying and anointing with oil people with sicknesses, are ALL of them healed? And my answer has to be: some of them walked away from the prayer time and didn't seem changed at all. Others walked away super excited because they could tell that they were healed! I don't actually know why that is - I have some theories and ideas, and I've heard preachers talk about it. But the benefit is that God heals ALL of your diseases. That's what the Bible says, so I have to believe that it is available!

There is a warning in verse 2 of this chapter: "forget not all his benefits". In my previous blog entry I described how at the end of the year in a lot of businesses, you sign up for benefits. The ones you are offered and refuse, you can't turn around three months later and access - if you didn't sign up at the right time, you don't get them. Also, if you forget you have a benefit - say, you go to the pharmacy but don't give them your insurance card - the benefit does not work for you. You get to pay the price for forgetting that benefit. I suspect this is something like that. You have to know that healing is available and trust God to supply it. I'm by no means an expert on this, and there are instances when things happen and you wonder why someone stayed sick when to all appearances they were believing God for His healing. All I do know is that the benefit is there, and if I get sick, I want to do everything I can to access it!

On to Benefit #3, or start from the beginning!

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