Sunday, January 26, 2014
The LORD who Heals
Ex. 15:26 He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.”
The great getaway had just occurred. The Israelites had escaped from Egypt and Pharaoh and his army had been swept into the sea. Now, as they looked back over what God had done for them they rejoiced and celebrated. And then the voice of the LORD spoke to them, providing them with a promise. If the Israelites would listen to the voice of the LORD and do what he commanded them he would — not rescue them, provide them with everything they wanted — no he would heal them.
At this very moment in the lives of the Israelites I wonder why it was so important for God to assure them that he would be the God of their healing? Could it be that while they had been in Egypt they had become accustomed to the medical care provided in that country. We know from archaeological digs that the Egyptians were quite a highly developed society and created creams, medicines and salves to treat the people. Had the Israelites become dependent upon the services of this country to take care of their medical needs? The Israelites were used as slaves, doing manual labor, and may not have been allowed to work in the realm of medicine. Now, all of that was left behind in Egypt.
Another possibility is that the Israelites had just watched the plagues and diseases that had been inflicted on the Egyptians. The verse suggests that this may have been a cause for fear — because God just might bring about those same diseases on them and how would they survive? The promise of God’s healing is also a promise to not inflict this type of punishment on the people. For his own people who are loving and serving him healing is the promise — not sickness as a form of punishment.
Looking into the future, obedience to God’s law would be a form of preventive medicine for the Israelites. God’s laws on cleanliness, food preparation and sexual purity in relationships meant that the Israelites would be free of many of the diseases that existed in those days. By being obedient to God’s commands they would, literally, be a healthier people. (We could park out on that subject for a long while and consider the ramifications for God’s people today! But maybe we could ask God to speak to us about our obedience to to his commands for living a healthy life — and about our responsibility when it comes to allowing space for God’s healing!)
There is a promise for us today from the LORD who heals. That IF we follow the commands of the Lord, then he promises to bring wholeness or completeness to our lives, and in this there is healing. While we live in a corrupted world and in a corrupt and decaying body, we are drawn toward a new future in him, where the LORD is healing me. In his future this body, just as Jesus’ body, will be complete and whole, but until that time, we are drawn toward the hope that we have in Christ. He is already at work within us and as we participate with him, there comes a transformation which will lead to our ultimate healing in and through him.
We are not to live in fear of the past. Instead, we are to move forward, living in obedience to the calling of God who is the LORD who heals both now and forever.
Lord, thank you for your promise of healing. Amen.