God Is Close To Those Who Are Suffering
What is constant throughout Scripture is that God provides comfort to the suffering and meets the needs of the brokenhearted . His Word promises that those who are in the midst of suffering, whether experiencing death or depression, have the hope that everything is working together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose . It is outside of Gods character to senselessly torment those he loves . We know that the trials that we are experiencing on this earth, while difficult and uncomfortable, are for the testing of our faith , to produce endurance and character , and are never without purpose.
What Does The Bible Say About Diseases
Just as Scripture notes, Jesus continues to take on diseases, pain and suffering.
There were many diseases during Jesus time on earth. One of the most well-known of examples of debilitating disease that was discussed quite often in the Bible was leprosy. For many centuries, to have leprosy was considered a curse of God, often believed to be connected with sin. The amount of need in Jesus day and our own cant be overstated. There are many passages in the Bible that address diseases and other forms of sickness. There are times in the Bible where we see disease as a result of sin. Psalm 107:17-18 says, “Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat And they draw near unto the gates of death. However, diseases werent always a result of sin. Often, this isnt the case. Many people are afflicted with diseases as a result of a plan God has that we may not understand. We see this in countless biblical examples.
During Jesus earthly ministry, He eliminated a great deal of suffering. The Bible tells us When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to Him, and He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases. Our Savior not only healed all kinds of diseases, He healed the possessed.
The Ten Plagues Of Egypt: What Are The 10 Plagues In The Bible
Exodus 712 records ten disasters that God sent Pharaoh to free the Israelites who had been in bondage for 400 years in Egypt. God used Moses to accomplish His purpose and rescue His people so that they could worship Him and so that He could bring them into the Promised Land. We can look back at these events as a reminder of Gods faithfulness, His great power, His love, and His desire for His people to experience liberation.
43. Exodus 9:1-4 Then the Lord said to Moses, Go to Pharaoh and say to him, This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 2 If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, 3 the hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the fieldon your horses, donkeys and camels and on your cattle, sheep and goats. 4 But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.
44.Exodus 7:17 So this is what the Lord says: I will show you that I am the Lord. Look! I will strike the water of the Nile with this staff in my hand, and the river will turn to blood.
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There Were Also Ailments Sent To Individuals
We find, at times, that the Lord judged certain individuals by means of various ailments. We can list a few examples.
Miriam Was Judged with Leprosy
Miriam, the sister of Moses was struck with leprosy for her disobedience to the Lord. We read the following account in Exodus.
So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper .
This episode shows us that God, at times, will judge His own people with sickness.
The Servant of Elisha Was Struck with Leprosy for Disobedience
In another episode, Gehazi, the servant of the prophet Elisha, was struck down with leprosy for his disobedience to the command of the prophet as well as lying to him. Elisha said his judgment would be follows.
Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you, and to your descendants forever. So he left his presence leprous, as white as snow .
Again, we find that leprosy was used as a tool of judgment.
The Lord struck down the evil king Herod Agrippa for not giving glory to the Lord. The Book of Acts records what happened in this manner.
Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died .
This judgment for this godless king was death. This was Gods righteous judgment for his sin.
Pandemics Wars And Rumors What Does The Bible Say
Towards the end of World War I, the world would be convulsed by another deadly event. In January 1918, a new strain of flu began making its way across the globe. The origin of the virus remains unknown. Some historians have theorized that the virus originated in a British camp in France, while others are convinced it came from North America. However, as the virus spread, the heavily censored press on both sides of World War I suppressed the news of the outbreak in fear that it would damage morale. In neutral Spain, the uncensored press was free to publish news of a deadly disease that had swept the country, a phenomenon which led to the virus being given its name: Spanish Flu.
To many Christians, the flu, combined with the devastation caused by the Great War, must have seemed like the end of days. In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus warned His disciples that they would
hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled for all these things must come to pass,but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will befamines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Or had it?
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away .
John Thomas Justus is a TMU alum with a bachelors in history and a masters in theology. He is currently completing his PhD in American history from Liberty University Online with hopes to finish by 2024.
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Don’t Ignore Your Symptoms
Much of the writings of the Apostle Paul that made it into the canonized Bible are epistles letters to specific churches or individuals. Not only are they filled with theology and advice on Christian-living, they have personal touches. He acknowledges individuals, or details that give insight into their lives. One such moment comes in 1 Timothy.
While writing to Timothy, Paul mentions No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments . Paul understood that Timothy was prone to bouts of illness, it seems particularly with his stomach, so he compels the young minister to do something to fix it. He does not tell him to ignore it, or pray that God will just make his stomach better. He encourages him to take active measures to alleviate his symptoms.
Another important point, the water in Ephesus where Timothy was pastoring new believers, was notoriously dirty and bad to drink. Paul recommends that his young friend stop drinking just that water for very practical reasons. At that time, it was not just Ephesus that had a dirty water problem. It was good hygiene and health practices to drink less of the river water, and add a mildly alcoholic beverage to ones diet. Pauls words are a good reminder that there is wisdom in not doing something that can create health risks.
Bible Verses About Sickness
Matthew 4:23: went throughout the whole of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the Kingdom and curing every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity among the people.
Meaning: Jesus miracles demonstrated on a small scale what Gods Kingdom will soon do for all humankind.
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Sickness Itself Is Not Sin
We also want to emphasize that nowhere the Bible equates sickness with sin. This is illustrated in an episode in the life of Jesus. We read of the following episode.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life .
Jesus disciples assumed that this man was blind because of some sin which he or his parents may have committed. However, in this case, Jesus taught otherwise. His blindness was actually going to result in the glory of God. Indeed, Jesus miraculously healed this man giving him sight for the first time in his life. Thus, it was not his sin that caused his blindness.
This brings up an important principle. Nobody in Scripture was ever judged because they were sick they were judged because they were sinful.
Some Causes Of Pestilence
What caused those pestilences to take place? Many were manmade. I do not have all the answers but I will say this: historians need to look seriously, and particularly medical historians, at what caused some of these pestilences to break out in the first place.
Many of them say bubonic plague is the major problem, but that does not answer all of the questions in every case. Certainly the Black Death of the middle of the 1300s AD was caused by Bubonic Plague. About one third, maybe one half of Europes population in some areas was wiped out, even more in some regions. Many of the Jews were blamed for some of these plagues, wrongly of course.
The Black Death set back civilization for about 100 years. Civilization was returning to a nice degree of development in what we might call the Renaissance period of the 1200s. Then the 1300s came along and all of a sudden there was the Black Death coupled with what is called the Little Ice Age that took place when it seemed like cold came down over the whole of northern Europe. The New World was not discovered until 1492. It could have been discovered much earlier had not the Black Death and the Little Ice Age taken place.
These are things we should consider because as we approach this end of the age we are beginning to see new diseases coming on the scene, new afflictions that have never appeared in the past. However, perhaps they have appeared in the past and we have not recognized them.
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Sickness Can Come As A Result Of Violating Gods Laws
Indeed, there are times when people get sick simply because they violate the laws of nature which God has established. In other words, if we do not take care of our bodies, then we put ourselves at risk of becoming ill.
Indeed, we find that God gave the nation Israel certain laws to follow while they were traveling in the wilderness toward the Promised Land. These laws not only had ceremonially value, they were also given for the continued health of the people. If the people of Israel violated these laws, then illness could result. We will provide a few examples from Scripture.
Sewage Was to Be Kept Separate from the People
In a very practical matter, God commanded that the people of the nation of Israel keep their sewage outside of the place where they camped. We read about this precaution in the Book of Deuteronomy. It says the following.
Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you .
This law not only kept the camp holy, it protected the people from the various diseases which could result by living amongst raw sewage.
They Were to Wash with Water after Coming into Contact with Things Unclean
Christian Quotes About Quotes
To know that nothing happens in Gods world apart from Gods will may frighten the godless, but it stabilizes the. J. I. Packer
When you are in crisis, your strongest position is on your knees.
In the midst of this crisis, we must not only pray-though we must most fervently pray-we must also work. There are many things to be done and its going to be up to us to do them. Albert Mohler
How do you have peace in the middle of a pandemic? How do you have faith over fear and an unknown future? Here is how- you trust Jesus with your life. David Platt
But living in fear is no kind of life. We have to trust God. That doesnt mean bad things wont happen. But we know Hes in charge.
We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesnt come naturally. Its a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.
When the Spirit came to Moses, the plagues came upon Egypt, and he had power to destroy mens lives when the Spirit came upon Elijah, fire came down from heaven when the Spirit came upon Gideon, no man could stand before him and when it came upon Joshua, he moved around the city of Jericho and the whole city fell into his hands but when the Spirit came upon the Son of Man, He gave His life He healed the broken-hearted. D.L. Moody
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Examination Of Psalm 91
Verse 1 of Psalm 91: He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. This is a promise to these people living at that time.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I will trust. Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
You see what is being talked about? The pestilence foretold by Jesus to occur prior to His second coming.
Psalm 91 talks about the pestilence mentioned in the book of Revelation. So what will happen? We want deliverance from this. Read how that deliverance can come:
Satan the Devil used verse 12 against Jesus when he tempted Him in the wilderness, but Jesus was not seduced by it. This reference refers to a future time when there will be pestilence and terrible times. There is a protection to those who know what the truth is and who put their faith in Jesus Christ at this particular time.
You shall tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall you trample under feet. Because he has set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.
That is the end of Psalm 91. That is a remarkable promise.
Sickness Can Have Positive Benefits
We should not assume that sickness is always negative. There can be positive benefits derived from sickness. The psalmist wrote.
I used to wander off until you disciplined me but now I closely follow your word .
The discipline of the Lord, through sickness, can cause us to change our habits and thus follow the Lord more closely.
The psalmist also wrote about the benefits of suffering. He put it this way.
It was good for me to suffer, so that I might learn your statutes .
There can be actual benefits from suffering. This being the case, we should not always complain when we suffer. Instead, we should look for something positive to come out of it.
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To Accomplish His Purposes
God used plagues to deliver the enslaved Jews from their Egyptian overlords. .
God will also pour out plagues during the Tribulation to bring God-rejecters to faith in Christ. The way coronavirus spreads quickly from person to person is a foreshadowing of the way God will pronounce judgment in Revelation.
Revelation 9:15-19By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent.
How does God accomplish His purpose in our day? Through Jesus death and resurrection. Isaiah 53 tells us Christ bore our sins and diseases on the cross. We receive grace and not judgment when we believe in Him.