Thursday, June 03, 2010

2010 – June 03 – Too Little Faith from the Faithful

Study from God’s Word 1Kings 15: 8-11 [2Chron. 14: 1-5]; 2Chron. 14: 6-8; 1Kgs 14: 19-20 [2Chron. 13: 20]; 1Kgs 15: 25-26; 1Kgs 15: 31, 27-30; 1Kgs 25: 33-34; 2Chron 14: 9-15; 2Chron 15: 1-7; 1Kgs 15: 12, 14, 15 [2Chron 15: 8, 17-18]; 2Chron 15: 19; 2Chron 15: 9-15; 1Kgs 15: 13 [2Chron 15: 16]; 1Kgs 15: 16-17, 32 [2Chron 16: 1]; 1Kgs 15: 18-21 [2Chron 16: 2-5]; 1Kgs 15: 22 [2Chron 16: 6]; 2Chron 16: 7-10; 1Kgs 16: 7, 1-4; 1Kgs 16: 5-6, 8, 14; 1Kgs 16: 9-10; 1Kgs 16: 15; 1Kgs 16: 11-13, 20; 1Kgs 16: 15-19; 1Kgs 16: 21, 31, 22-29; 1Kgs 21: 25-26, 34; 1Kgs 15: 23b [2Chron 16: 12]-14; 1Kgs 15: 23-24 [2Chron 16: 11, 13]; 1Kgs 15: 23-24 [2Chron 16: 11, 13-14]; 1Kgs 22: 43, 46-47 [2Chron 20: 32-33]; 2Chron 17: 2-19; 1Kgs 22: 44 … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Chronicles 16: 12 … NIV 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians.

My Journal for Today: Reading through the Passages edited by Dr. Smith today, we see the faithful in the divided Hebrew peoples being pitted against the faithless. It is a stark contrast, where, in the North the tribes of Israel did not follow the ways of God; and in the South, the tribes under two primary kings of Judah, Asa and his son, Jehoshaphat, basically followed the ways of God, even having God’s Law taught throughout the land. And God, true to His promise, blessed the people of Judah in the South and cursed those who were disobedient in the North. The application of that should have obvious application for all of us today, shouldn’t it?

But in today’s highlighted passage, and Dr. Smith’s devotional, we see that even the faithful can wane in their faith, trusting more in man than God. And this is illustrated by an illness of his feet incurred by Asa, one of those “good kings” in Judah; and Asa had been a man who pursued, by faith, God’s ways through God’s word. But in this one instance, when his foot ailment became too bothersome, he did what many of us believers would do; … he went to the doctors for help. But we read that he put all of his trust in the physicians for his healing; and if you read on in 1st Kings, you see that Asa died a couple of years later, apparently related to the disease in his feet (though that is not totally clear in Scripture). The question arises, … did Asa, this man of faith, die prematurely because he was unable or unwilling to take His health issues to God as well as to man (i.e., the physicians).

And Dr. Smith asks the very revealing and probing self examination question at the end of today’s devotional: ”When illness comes my way, do I ever make an appointment with the Great Physician?” Do we rely too heavily on earthly doctors when we’re sick, shying away from Peter’s exhortation (in 1st Peter 5: 7) to cast ALL our cares on God, Who truly cares for us; or ignoring Paul’s directive (in Phil. 4: 6-7) to cast aside anxiety and take our concerns to our infinitely faithful God, seeking His peace for the direction [or healing] we’re pursuing.

I’m an Elder in our church; and each week we have the privilege to be available to follow, in faith, the directions provided for healing prayer in James 5: 13-16 - linked. And when some from our flock come forward, in faith, as described in this exhortation from God through James, we are so privileged to pray for our brothers/sisters in Christ for healing. And we do so with expectation, because of God’s promises in His word. Now, we don’t know how or when the healing will take place; but if someone has come forward – in faith – having confessed their sins [see 1st John 1: 9], and carrying out the dictates of God’s word; and we Elders pray – in faith – expecting God to intervene, we KNOW that God’s healing will take place. As I said, we just don’t know how or when. And yes, the healing could be by God taking the person to be with Jehovah-Rapha, the God Who heals, by heavenly interdiction.

As Dr. Smith puts it today, “It is amazing how many people of faith, like Asa, minimize the power of God to work directly in the healing process.” So, the next time you are downed by health concerns, I hope you’ll realize that God cares for even small health challenges, like maybe a tension headache. But when ill health is overwhelming, consider a source of healing way above man’s expert and educated healing processes. Jehovah-Rapha is waiting to use doctors and earthly healing techniques; and if He so chooses, He can bypass all of that and just do it all Himself. And we Elders in our church have seen that happen on many occasions. But you may ask, “Does it always happen?” And I’d have to say honestly, “No.” But I know that bypassing God as the Great Physician and having faith only in worldly doctors is short-circuiting God, by lack of faith, the greatest source of healing we have available to us; and that’s just plain pride-filled foolishness.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I’m convicted by my own shoulder pain today to do what I’m so privileged to do for others and that’s to take my own healing to You in prayer; and my prayer of surrender and submission is directed there today. Thank You, Lord. You are my Jehovah Rapha. Amen

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