Psalms 103:1-5 ESV
“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Jesus Christ is our Savior, our Lord, our King, and our healer. He heals our sin-sick souls as well as he brings healing to our physical bodies. But does he always heal us physically? And does he always heal us completely in our physical bodies? And is it possible that he sometimes heals us in other ways which we need more than we need the physical healing that we desire?
Are there any biblical examples where God did not heal when someone pleaded with him for physical healing? The primary example that comes to mind is Paul’s pleading with the Lord three times for him to heal him of some physical abnormality, possibly his blindness, for he refers to that in other passages of Scripture. But Jesus’ answer back to him was (2 Co 12:9):
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Right now I am going through some trials with physical issues that to my knowledge I did not bring upon myself. Some of them are issues I have had for over 50 years but now they are much worse to where I am now having to use a walker to assist me to walk without falling over. Have I prayed for healing? Yes! Do I believe God for healing? Yes! He is my healer!!
But the Lord keeps giving me the same message he gave Paul. Over and over again he has put song after song in my head about his grace and about how he is enough and his grace is enough. Do I still believe him for healing? Yes! But I also submit to him and to his perfect will for my life. “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done” is my prayer to him.
A modern day example of this is Joni Eareckson Tada. As a young woman she was injured in an accident that left her paralyzed from the neck down. She is a quadriplegic. She also prayed for and believed God for healing, but the healing didn’t come, at least not in the way she had hoped for. 45 years after the accident she is still in a wheelchair. But look at how God has used her in the lives of millions of people across the world. That would never have happened if God had healed her in the way in which she had hoped (1).
Sometimes the healing comes in other ways, in ways in which we did not expect, because God is using this time of suffering in our lives for him to accomplish his purpose in our lives, like he did with Job and with Paul. Or, the Lord may be using our suffering to touch the lives of other people, perhaps without us even realizing what he is doing behind the scenes.
Now, I believe we are always to run to Jesus first for healing and seek his counsel before we ever run to a doctor unless, of course, it is an emergency situation. Too many people don’t seek the Lord for healing at all but they automatically go to the doctor without even consulting the Lord first. And far too many people have become drug dependent as a result.
Some people believe that, in this context, that “diseases” is more in a moral sense rather than a physical sense since it is sandwiched between “forgiving your iniquities” and “redeeming your life from the pit.” So, that fits, too. This could be speaking of something such as bitterness of spirit, which then can lead to physical sicknesses such as ulcers, though ulcers do have other sources like acidic foods.
Also note with me here that “forgives all your iniquity” includes “redeems your life from the pit.” And the pit is not just hell. The pit is a life surrendered to the flesh, living to please the flesh, habitually and deliberately doing what is evil, sinning against God and against others without conscience or concern for who gets hurt in the process.
For Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor the Lord with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20).
Psalms 103:8-14 ESV
“The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.”
Notice with me the phrase “toward those who fear him.” This is the qualifier for the whole rest of what is said in this section. And to fear God is to honor, respect, obey, and submit to him as Lord (Master). It is to die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness in the power of God.
For when we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, if our faith is genuine, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin so that sin will no longer have mastery over our lives, so we will no longer live under the control of sin, and so we will no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we will now, by the grace of God, and in his power, become slaves of righteousness.
Psalms 103:15-19 ESV
“As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.”
“To those who fear him” is repeated for us again, and this time it is explained: “To those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.” And this is not just Old Covenant teaching. This is New Covenant teaching, as well. For, if we do not honor him as Lord and if we do not walk in obedience to his commands, we don’t really know him.
So, don’t pull a few verses out of this passage and build a doctrine of salvation around them or use them to bless yourselves while you continue in sinful rebellion against the Lord in deliberate and habitual sin. These promises are for those who honor and obey the Lord, for those who keep his covenant (New Covenant) and who obey his commands (New Covenant).
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song)
Songwriters: Amy Lee Grant / Chris Eaton
I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy father you have come
And chosen me now to carry your son
I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now
Be with me now
Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy
Breath of heaven
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*This is not an endorsement of Joni or her ministry. I have not followed her for years so I am not current on where she is now, but I know that her drawings, her writings, her public speeches, her music, and her ministry to the hurting have been phenomenal in how they have ministered to so many people.