Dr. Ed Young - Can God Heal Me?
When I was a boy, I played flat out. Know what that means? I just, whew. I wasn't the fastest or the biggest or the strongest, and certainly not the best athlete, but I'll tell ya, when I entered into a contest, I didn't leaven anything on the field. I went flat out. And I remember when I was a little guy, I don't know how old. We were playing football and somebody threw a pass, and I was determined to catch it. So, flat out, I went, ready to catch the pass, and I ran right through two or three rosebushes. I'm sure I was scratched up, but the only thing I remember is there was one thorn that went deep behind my knee. I must've just driven it into that bush and the thorn broke off deep behind my knee.
And so, my mom, my dad, they couldn't get it out. So we called our family doctor, Dr. Gatlin. And in those days, doctors made house calls. In our little town, when he got through with the clinic, he came by our house with that black bag in his hand. And as a boy that black bag and Dr. Gatlin could heal anything, I really did, anything. And so, he came by and he put me on the bed, and Dr. Gatlin just dug that thorn out. And I'll never forget it. I've still got a scar. Every time I read in the Scripture about Paul's infamous thorn in the flesh, I say, "I identify with that". But not really because we don't know what Paul's thorn was.
And we're glad, I'm glad we do not know because there's been a lot of speculation. Some thing he had malaria. That's where the illness would come and it would go, with high fever. And some thinks it was his eyesight. Some think it was some kind of tremendous temptation he battled with. And some think that perhaps it was his wife. Though she is never spoken of in Scripture, we know he had to be married to be a member of the Sanhedrin. We don't know exactly what that thorn was, but we know it was there. And Paul prayed three times, "God, heal me of this thorn". He must've said, "How much better can I speak and teach and travel and do my sideline work of tentmaking and do your kingdom work if I didn't have this thorn"?
But three times, as he prayed for healing, God said, "No, no, no". Until finally, Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, figured it out. God said to him, "Paul, you gotta have that thorn to keep you humble". And then God said to Paul, "It is through that weakness that I get a chance to show off my strength". When we are weak, that gives God a chance to show off his strength. Now, everybody here has a thorn in the flesh, with few exceptions. Somebody would say, "Well, you didn't say that accurately. Some of us have thorns in the flesh". And we do. There are all kind of physical pain and physical thorns that we have.
Oh, it's seems like cancer is exploding. It seems like heart problems are out of proportion. And everybody has a problem with their back. I mean, just tell somebody you've got a back problem. You'll have 15 remedies immediately right there. And we all have these thorns, different diseases, and different problems, different challenges. Some, we were born with them. We carry around these debilities all of our life. Some we have picked up along the way. But all of us have, with few exceptions, maybe the very youngest among us, different kinds of physical thorns, pain, and we would like for those physical thorns to be healed. But also, we have thorns that you don't see, those spiritual thorns, those hidden thorns because of how we were brought up.
Many were abused verbally, emotionally, sexually. There's a lot of pain that has come through. We were neglected. Some parents were overbearing. Some parents were just totally tolerant. And so we all have the results of all the different homes upon which we were brought up. And then we have all the things that have happened to us in our life. As a result of this, some of us are just naturally angry. Some of us are just naturally tentative. Some of us have a tough time making a decision. And so, all of these thorns, physical, mental, emotional, psychological, they all have a bearing in our lives because we are a people of thorns, all of us. And therefore, we come to the name of God, which says, "Jehovah-Rapha". Remember, "Jehovah" is a synonym for "Yahweh". We looked at, "I Am that I Am".
So, here we have the double name, the compound, that here is the proper name of Jesus, Jehovah, or Yahweh, and now Rapha. It is, "I Am that I Am, your Healer". How we need Jehovah-Rapha to come and heal these thorns. Now, to best understand this name of God, we go back to where the name was first mentioned in the Scripture, and that is in our chapter in Exodus chapter 15. But the first part of Exodus 15 should come as a surprise. Now, where we are in the pilgrimage of God's people, remember, Moses had gone back. He had become the liberator. God gave him those ten plagues he brought upon the Egyptians. And then he took that rod and he struck the sea and it divided, and the Israelites went on the other side. And when they got on the other side, they began to celebrate their safety.
And then we pick up exactly what happened in our Scripture. Look at verse 22 there of this 15th chapter: "Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea," this is after all the celebration, "and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days into the wilderness and found no water. And they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, 'What shall we drink?'"
Now, before you're too hard on them, what would you have done? They spent their whole life grumbling in Egypt, "We're slaves, God's forgotten us. Look what we're going through. Look at the privation. Look at the exploitation. Look how we've been used by these Egyptians". And they grumbled and grumbled and now they go in their Promised Land and they have a 3-day celebration. And Moses leads 'em, and now they have no water. And then, finally, they come to a place and Moses says, "Look, there's water. There's a spring up here". And they run to the spring and they put their head down in the water to drink, and it's bitter. You can't drink it, Marah. It's bitter water. And you say, "What do you do about bitterness"?
That's what the question was asked, "Where do we get some good water? Where do we get some water? We're thirsty, we can't drink this bitter water". When you drink bitter water for a long time, ladies and gentlemen, it just gets in your bones, in your feet, in your blood, in your mind. And before long, you wake up and essentially, you are bitter. "Oh, if only this had not happened. If only this had taken place. If I had not lost my job. But that person has not". And we get bitter and bitter and bitter. And then sometimes we get over bitterness and we go back and visit it again. I know you've done that. I've done that.
Go back and get bitter all over again. What is the answer to bitterness? We have it right here in Scripture. It'll work right now just like it did in that day. Look at the answer to bitterness, verse 25: "And then he cried out," the question is, "What shall we drink"? "And then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. And there he made for them a statute and regulation, and there he tested them". What do you do when you get bitter? Two things, you pray and you obey. That's what he did. That's what we're to do. Pray, he said, "He cried out unto the Lord". You pray, you see him, and then you obey. What did he tell Moses to do? He said, "Moses, do you see that tree"?
By the way, did that tree just suddenly, whoosh, jump out of the ground? It was already there, wasn't it? Said, "Moses, cut down that tree. Put it in the bitter water, and the water will become sweet". That's exactly what Moses did, he prayed. God gave him insight, gave him instruction. He cut down the tree and put it in the water. Now, if you've heard this talked on before from pulpits, you've heard pastors say, "That tree was the cross". That's not what this is teaching. You can use the illustration of the cross as that which takes bitterness and sin in your life and in my life and makes our life sweet, certainly. But that's not what this is teaching. That's not what he's teaching. That's not good exegesis. It is eisegesis. But you can use the cross as an illustration of the cross of Christ which takes bitterness and turns it into sweetness.
Now, the next thing. We've gone from bitter water to sweet water, two steps. Now, we need to go to healing water. Look at this. Take your Bibles. Here we go to healing water, verse 26: "And he said, 'Will you give earnest heed?'" What's the first things? See, it's one thing to have bitter water, it becomes sweet, but we want healing water, do we not? Just, you know, sweet water lasts for a while. We wanna be healed. What's the first thing you do to be healed? You stop, what he says, "Give heed". We just charge on, you stop. He says, "Give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your Go, and do what is right in his sight".
We stop and we look. We do what's right in the sight of God. How it would change everything in your life and in my life if we knew that God was there, God was looking. Where did Moses learn this? 'Member when he killed the Egyptian? If you read that passage very closely, it says that "he looked to his right and to his life, and no one saw him". And so he buried the Egyptian. He thought he got away with murder. He looked every way but up, didn't he? And so he says, "Look, look, look, stop and look. Look what God sees. Make sure God is seeing". Then he says we are to listen. We are to listen. Stop, look, "Give ear to the commandments, and keep all the statutes, and I will put none of these diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord your Healer". "I'll put on you none of these diseases. I am the Lord your Healer".
So, what do you do? We're bitter, what do you do? Two steps, what are they? Pray and obey, right? All right, we wanna move it, healing. There are three steps. We stop, we look, and we listen. And then he says, "I'll put on you none of these diseases I put on the Egyptians because I am Jehovah-Rapha, I am your Healer". Now, you've got a problem here. Guess what? Do we have none of these diseases? No, we have all of these diseases. We have more diseases than the Egyptians had. They've invented, these bugs have grown. The bacteria have developed. We have diseases that hadn't even been in vogue back then, right here, extant in this place all around our culture.
Why is that? We've got a bigger problem. Why does bad things happen to good people? You've heard that one before. You know, I don't have a bigger problem with that as why good things happen to bad people. I got a real problem with that one. But the other one, why does bad things happen to good people? You get the problem that we have there. We say, "God is good and God is all-powerful". If God is all-powerful, why do we have all those children with serious cancer in Texas Children's, that whole floor, why? If God is all good, why doesn't he go and zap them and heal them if he's good and all-powerful?
So, therefore, if he is good, certainly he'd do that. But if he's not doing that, he must not be all-powerful. He just is good without power. Or he's all-powerful and he's not good, or certainly he would do that. And we could just line up things in your life and in my life from birth defects all the way through to you and me and to your thorn and my thorn. Why doesn't God do something? He must not be good. He must not be all-powerful, right? So, we need some answers. And the first answer is, why thorns? Why sickness? Why do we have that? Jehovah-Rapha, Jesus Christ is Jehovah. We know that.
Why do we still have sickness? Three reasons, number one, sickness sometimes is God's time out in your life and in my life. That's all it is. He just says, "You're sick, I want you simply to look up, look in, and look around. It's God's time out". He's teaching us something. That's one reason for sickness in the world. And another reason there's sickness in the world is that we live in a fallen world where there is disease and death as a part of the environment.
Let me explain that. When Adam and Eve decided to do their own thing and to rebel against God, that lineage, that bloodstream, that original sin is in your DNA and my DNA. And guess what? We've all rebelled, each one of us. "All we like sheep have gone astray. We've all turned to our way," haven't we? So that is this fallen world. God didn't plan on disease and death. But as we were created with free will, right, there's all the possibility if we're to relationship with him. Otherwise, we're just robots or puppets. We're not that. So, he gave us free will with a risk involved and with his pre-knowledge involved that we would indeed make poor choices. Therefore, because we live in a fallen world where there is disease and death, the possibility there of sickness is a part of where we are.
The third reason we have sickness is a result of sin. Now, not all sickness or ailment or thorns come as a result of sin, but a lot of them are the result of sin. Listen, we exploit this temple. You know, I get a hour of sleep at night. I dissipate my life. I violate all the laws of good health. And I just run rampant through this life, live a decadent life, and I wonder, "I wonder why I'm sick". A lot of sickness comes as a result of sin. Make no mistake about it. We need to understand that. So, we do have sickness in this world, we do. Some of the time, it's God's time out. It's a result that we live in a fallen world where, not according to God's plan, because of our free will, there is disease and death. And sometimes, it's the result of sin.
Now, Mark chapter number 2, man is paralyzed. Everybody's waiting on him. He's tired of being sick. He's tired of havin' to depend on other people. But he hears about a carpenter from Nazareth who is healing people. And maybe one day, he met a man who came up and said, "You know, I used to be paralyzed like you, but this man healed me". And so he gets excited. He said, "There's healing, there's Rapha available for me". So he gets his buddies to take his mat. Four of them, they got each corner of his mat, and they picked him up and they carried him all the way to Capernaum, where they heard Jesus was teaching.
Let me tell ya, I've been to Capernaum. I've been to Capernaum, it's something. Can you imagine carrying somebody on a mat? They took him up there, and when they got there, Jesus was in a house. The house was packed. People were gathered all around the house and they couldn't get the man up to Jesus. Plan B, they say, "We'll go to the roof," exactly right. And you say, "Well, how did they get on the roof"? Remember, in the Middle East, a roof was a porch or lanai. It's a place where they went at night or they would sit on the roof so there were steps goin' up to the roof. And they got up there and they said, "What are we gonna do now". They said, "We gonna dig a hole and our buddy's gonna be healed".
And so they dig a hole in the roof. You can imagine that Jesus is teaching a crowded room, and they feel sand falling, plaster falls. And they look up and they see these four heads, then they see, finally, a bigger hole. And they're lowering this man down on that mat. Can you imagine what that man was thinking? "I'm going to be healed. Man, I've met people he's healed. This is my moment. I'm gonna be at the feet of the Healer, of this Jehovah, this Messiah. He's going to heal me". And they lower him down right in front of Jesus. How excited he must have been. And Jesus looks at him and Jesus says, "Son, your sins are forgiven". The man must've said, "What? I didn't come here for a theological lecture. I didn't go to the synagogue for a sermon. You're telling me my sins are forgiven? Can't you see that I need to be healed? I can't walk".
Mark it down, Jesus looked deep inside the life of that man. He'd performed miracles of compassion, miracles to give sign he was the Messiah, but he saw the problem, what led to this paralysis was sin. You see, where you and I think we need be healed may not be where you and I really need to be healed. Did you get that? I think, you know, "I need healing. I need to walk". Oh, no, you need your sin forgiven, your sin forgiven. And this is how it works. Now, we've got another problem here. Don't overlook anything. Did not God, in his omniscience, God knows everything, know in pre-history, pre-Creation, when he created man with a free will, did he not know that man would rebel against him and sin? Sure, he knew that.
Did he not know also that that sin would go all the way through our bloodline and that you and I would sin? Sure, he knew that. Did he not know that the only answer for that sin and that rebellion that we would play the role of God and pull God off his place of authority, it would mean that God himself would have to come and pay for your sin and my sin on the cross? Did he not know that in advance? Absolutely, he knew that. So, why didn't he work out a deal as he will in heaven where there won't be any sin, there won't be any sickness, there won't be any thorns? Why did he just continue along this path when he knew in advance?
Now, there's a mystery here, but let me give you a hint as to perhaps why this was done. It is on the cross and only on the cross that we can see the full name of God. No other place can you see it. We could say, "You can't pick up anywhere that God is a God is love". Look at nature. Do you have the idea that, "Oh, I have studied nature and I've figured out that God is the God of love"? Oh, no, you see survival of the fittest in nature. You don't pick it up in all the other names of God, these compound names. But on the cross, the question is answered, "God, how much do you love us? How far will you go with your love? How much will you give"? And God says in Jesus Christ, "I gave it all".
Love so deep, so wide, so amazing, it is immeasurable. So, we see the name of God fullness as a name of love only on the cross. Do you see? Do you see it? And then God comes and heals. He comes and heals, heals that where we, first of all, needed to be healed. And then, Jesus said to the man, after he had a little dialogue with the Pharisees, "Pick up your mat, get out of here, go home, you're healed". Sins forgiven first, healing second. You say, "Boy". Which miracle was the biggest miracle? Huh? Where is that man today? Oh, he's dead. Really? But Jesus... Oh, he's dead. Where is Lazarus?
Jesus brought him... where is he? He's dead. Where are all the people Jesus physically healed? They're dead. What's the biggest healing in anybody's life? It is the forgiveness of sin provided in Jesus Christ. That's the inner healing. That's the power. That's the best demonstration of Jehovah Rapha. Then in his economy, there are moments of supernatural healing. I can't tell you how many people I know. They had serious cancer and every diagnosis, every biopsy, came in positive. And they got 'em on the operating table and they opened 'em up and the doctors come out, saying, "We don't understand it. There's nothing there. There was no cancer".
God, in his economy, sometimes heals physically, but he always desires for us to know the spiritual healing within which is the forgiveness of sin. That's where we see it fully, the whole name of God in capitals on the cross. And then what happens? We go from bitterness, we go to sweet water, then we have healing water, Jehovah-Rapha. And then we have living water because then, they moved from Marah, bitterness, to Elim. And you know how far that was from where they were? Seven miles, it's on the map. Seven miles, they went seven miles and they found twelve springs of water, phew, and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. That's healing water. That's where God... you have been forgiven and cleansed inside and out. That's where he wants us to dwell.