Healthy Leaders


A Biblical Balance (from Healing in the Old Testament)

Malcolm WebberMalcolm Webber

Ever since the beginning of human history, people have battled sickness, disease, pain and oppression in every realm – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Sickness and oppression have always been a part of human life.

The reason for this was the sin of man. When man sinned – when he went his own way instead of obeying God – he came under the curse of sin, and that curse included sickness and all the sufferings and oppression of this life.

In response to this suffering, understandably, man has sought relief. Every human culture – ancient and modern – reveals evidence of man’s pursuit of healing through a variety of means, both natural and supernatural.

In human cultures, there are many different kinds of doctors (specialists in various fields) and many different kinds of witch-doctors (they, too, often have their own specialties).

We see these two kinds of healing also in the Old Testament in the midst of God’s people Israel:

In the Old Testament we see several things:

1. The willingness of God to heal His people supernaturally.

The Old Testament reveals God’s willingness to use His supernatural power to heal His people from sickness and to deliver them from oppression. God revealed Himself as the “healer” of His people:

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.” (Exodus 15:26)

2. The biblical balance regarding divine healing.

God does not, in the Old Testament, condemn the use of doctors or medical science. He does, of course, condemn the use of all supernatural means of healing apart from Himself. He condemns all other kinds of supernatural healing in the clearest of terms.

For example in Deuteronomy 18, God condemns all kinds of occult activity, some of which can be used in the pursuit of healing:

When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)

In 2 Kings 1, King Ahaziah seeks help from the pagan god and is condemned by Elijah the prophet.

Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.” But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’” (2 Kings 1:2-4)

A Biblical Balance

We must have this balance in our theology of divine healing.

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