Read: Psalm 103:3; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Isaiah 53:5; Jeremiah 17:14; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; 1 Peter 2:24
After forgiveness of sins, the next great benefit of God proclaimed in Psalm 103 is that He heals all our diseases. This healing is first of all spiritual, the healing of my soul, the work of sanctification in my heart accomplished by Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Think About It: What are the symptoms of sickness of soul and spirit? How have I experienced the healing work of God’s Holy Spirit in my spiritual life? Where do I specifically need Christ’s healing touch in my life right now?
Prayer: For spiritual healing.
Read: Psalm 103:3; Exodus 15:26; Matthew 4:23; 9:35
God’s great benefit of healing also includes healing from physical sickness. God promised Israel that “none of these diseases” (Exodus 15:26) with which the Lord afflicted the Egyptians as judgment would come upon the Israelites.
Think About It: What were the conditions placed upon God’s promise of physical health to the Israelites? To what extent did Jesus emphasize physical healing in His earthly ministry?
Prayer: Thank Jesus for His compassionate interest in my physical well-being.
Read: Psalm 103:3; Hebrews 9:27; Isaiah 38:1; Genesis 3:19; Psalm 89:48;
2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:8
Psalm 103:3 does not enter into an exploration of a Biblical doctrine of sickness and recovery, but elsewhere Scripture offers several explanations for illness. One reason is to bring about death. Genesis 3:18 establishes that death is the penalty for man’s fall into sin. Solomon reflected in Ecclesiastes on the inevitability of death. Physical death involves the demolishing of “the earthly tent,” and illness is the most common means for this destruction of the flesh. For the unbeliever this demolishing is a warning of and prelude to the terrors of judgment to come. If God permits a time of sickness before death, it can be a great blessing through providing time to come to faith in Christ. For the believer, while the process of demolishing the flesh is not pleasant, it is made bearable by the “hope of glory” that lies before us.
Think About It: What are some of the benefits of the decay of our outer man and our ultimate death according to 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:8? Some people insist “Jesus wants you well.” Why can’t this be true in every case?
Prayer: Thank God for the blessings inherent even in sickness and death.
Read: Psalm 103:3; 1 Corinthians 11:29 – 32; James 5:14 – 16
Another Scriptural reason for sickness is as chastisement or discipline from God. This is the reason that the disciples assumed was the case of the man born blind in John 9:2. It is also the reason why Job’s friends assumed he was suffering illness and loss. While chastisement was not the reason for Job’s illness or the blindness of the man in John 9, this does not mean that God never chastises with illness.
Think About It: According to 1 Corinthians 11:29 – 32, why were some of the Corinthians getting sick, even unto death? According to James 5:14 – 1, what is the remedy for such sickness? How can I know if I am suffering for this reason?
Prayer: For discernment and willingness to be convicted of sin and to repent when God chastises me with sickness.
Read: Psalm 103:3; John 9:1 – 7; Philippians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 12:7 – 10
Another Scriptural reason for sickness is that it results in the glory of God. God was glorified when Jesus healed the man born blind (John 9). In the case of Paul’s thorn in the flesh (assuming this was an illness), God’s glory was accomplished through God’s power coming to full strength in Paul’s weakness. God did not heal Paul, but instead gave him grace to endure suffering, thereby revealing through Paul’s weakness His power at work.
Think About It: What have I experienced in my life that resembles Paul’s thorn in the flesh? How is that experience helped me experience God’s grace?
Prayer: Glorify God for His all-sufficient grace
Read: Psalm 103:3; Romans 8:20 – 21; 1 Corinthians 15:20 – 28
Another reason for sickness is the suffering that is incidental in creation because of the fall of man. Because of the fall, creation is subject to corruption. The curse brought about by Adam’s sin caused the machinery of the universe to run amok . Sometimes things get caught in the gears. Usually we experience recovery from sickness inherent in the brokenness of creation through the healing processes in our bodies that are part of God’s design. Because God is the Designer who stands behind the natural processes of healing this type of healing is a sub-set of the sickness that is to the glory of God.
Think About It: Does healing that comes about through the intervention of modern medicine fall into the natural processes category? Should God receive glory for the benefits of scientific discoveries.
Prayer: Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Read: Psalm 103:3; Matthew 8:13, 12:15, 14:14; Luke 13:14
Jesus had great compassion on those who suffered from physical illness. He cared more for relieving their suffering than He did for keeping to a strict interpretation of the Sabbath.
Think About It: How have I experienced Jesus‘ tenderness in my life? What are the implications of the various biblical reasons for suffering on the practice of praying for healing of those who are sick? What would be a good biblical practice in response to sickness in my life or the life of loved ones?
Prayer: Praise Jesus for His compassion.