Two weeks ago we began our study of Life Hurts God Heals. We discovered the primary word for healing was Rapha – to HEAL. But it is much broader than just physical healing. It means to make whole, to complete what is lacking, to fill what has become empty. Rapha covers physical, emotional, relational, spiritual hurts.
God gave the word as an introduction to Who He was and what He could do. He told Moses: Ex 15:26 "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals."
Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord Who Heals
Today we need to step to the side and look at times we interfere with that healing.
Matt 13:58 And He did not do many miracles there in Nazareth because of their unbelief.
Now many have used this verse as the reason some are not healed. Accusing them of not having enough faith. Their unbelief was sin not just the inconvenience of not believing in what Jesus could do. They were denying Him. By adding sin to their need for healing, they had compounded their problem.
Compound means to add something to something else and get a different result.
Compounded medicine -
Compound sentence –
Compound fracture – when a person breaks a bone and the bone pokes through the skin. The fracture is compounded because of adding a risk of infection.
Compounding a problem – adding resentment instead of resolution. Seeking revenge instead of reconciliation. Wanting payback instead of blessing. Asking for sympathy instead of solution.
Gen 27:27-30 So Jacob dressed as Esau came close and kissed him; and when Issac smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, "See, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed; Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine; May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you." Now it came about, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had hardly gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
Gen 27:34-35 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" And he said, "Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing."
Gen 27:37-41 But Isaac replied to Esau, "Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?" Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." So Esau lifted his voice and wept. Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, "Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck." So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
Heb 12:15-17 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
What would Esau have to repent about? He was the one mistreated. Yes he was, but he compounded the problem with his bitterness.
John 5:2-6 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get well?"
John 5:14-15 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you." The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Was there a connection between his condition and sin? Had he compounded his problem?
Ancient Judaism made God the source of health and illness. Whichever you had, God caused it. If you were healthy, He had blessed you. If you were sick, He was punishing you for something. So it was natural to question why someone is suffering by asking what they did to deserve that.
Here Jesus hinted that the reason the man at the pool had lingered long in his suffering had more to do with him, than getting into the water.
Perhaps Jesus saw unresolved bitterness. Like Esau. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
Esau was distraught because of what he’d lost and begged for it back, but refused to acknowledge how he had compounded the problem. His bitterness kept him from accepting his own sin.
Remember Leo Tolstoy’s quote: “We cannot prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from making nests on top of our heads. Similarly, bad thoughts somethings appear in our mind, but we can choose whether we allow them to live there, to create a nest form themselves, and to breed evil deeds.”
What was the evil deed Esau allowed into his life as he let the birds build a nest? Bitterness. Bitterness bred resentment. Resentment lead to retribution.
Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
What’s missing? Repentance. Repentance begins with accepting I have gone away from God’s path and chosen to make my own trail.
The Hebrew word for repentance is teshuvah literally meaning to "return to God."
Ps 41:4 As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You."
David connected his need for healing with having gone away from God’s best.
What was Esau’s promise? But it shall come about when you become restless, that you will break his yoke from your neck.
Restless – uneasiness caused by leaving something hanging – unfinished.
His dad had told him, when you get tired of what your own bitterness has done to drain you, you will then be able to break free from this hurt.
At this point the original problem is no longer the problem. Bitterness has taken over as the problem.
Gal 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Works of the flesh we are sowing into our life? Gal 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.
Works of the flesh are ways in which we compound our problems.
How do we stop the works of the flesh? Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. Deliberately choose to deny the impulses of bitterness and walk with God.
Prov 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
Turn away from evil: It’s the action of repentance. Turning away from the desires of the flesh and turning back to the Lord.
After the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly pointed out how its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Union artillery fire. She wanted Lee to sympathize with her for her pain. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it, lest bitterness take root and poison the rest of your life.”
Two monks were approaching a river. A lady was stuck on their side and needed to get to the other side. One monk offered they might carry her across. They joined their arms and she sat down. They carried her across, set her down and went on their way. The second monk complained about his back. The first monk said: the problem is, we both carried her across the river but I put her down. You are still carrying her.
How did the story of Esau and Jacob end? Gen 33:1-4 Then Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
What made the change? Somewhere along the way, Esau grew weary of the heaviness of carrying his resentment against Jacob and let it go. In the process he was healed, the emptiness gone. He was full again and the joy returned.
Because the seeds of bitterness are close at hand, it is easy to grab a handful and plant them when we have been hurt. If you have, pick them out of the garden of your mind. Don’t let them take root and by all means don’t feed them and help them grow.
- We cannot prevent hurts.
- What we can prevent is becoming bitter against who or what we believe caused them.
- When we allow bitterness room to grow we have compounded our problem.
- Under these circumstances, to be healed we must confess our sin of bitterness turning back to God in repentance.
- Repentance doesn’t mean the bee didn’t sting, it means we can remove the stinger so it will stop compounding the hurt.
When I was a kid, we'd suck on our t-shirts and then grab a bee and let him sting the shirt. When he did the stinger would pull out. We'd toss away the bee. But if we forgot to take the stinger out of the shirt you could get stung without the bee having anything to do with it. Who then stung you? The bee or did you sting yourself because you left the stinger in the shirt? Repentance removes the stinger.
If you heard me say, if you have chronic suffering you have sin in your life, highlight that and hit delete. But make sure in your suffering you haven’t compounded it with bitterness. If so, you must deal with the bitterness first.