Friday, March 19, 2010

“If We Could Understand God, He Wouldn’t Be God.”

“If We Could Understand God, He Wouldn’t Be God.”

God IS. Nothing we do or don't do determines God's being or character. The Bible is choc-full of admonitions to "Get wisdom, get understanding, though it cost you everything you have."(Proverbs 4:7) The Good News is a revelation--a revealing of God, not a hiding. The point at which people get confused is they think that any understanding of God must come from their own brains’ reckoning (they also forget that God created our brains) rather than from the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

“Spiritual Healing is the Ultimate Healing”

“Even though he didn’t receive physical healing (and died), he got the ultimate healing—a spiritual one.”

If a person is a follower of Jesus, we can rejoice that when he dies, it’s not the end and his spirit will continue in Jesus’ presence though his body was not healed. (Take your questions about why he wasn’t healed to Jesus and his word—not to the “traditions of men” or your imagination.) However, the idea that the physical body (and thereby physical healing) is less important or unimportant, that only the spiritual counts, doesn’t come from the Bible but from Gnosticism, which taught that material things are evil and only the spiritual is valuable. Paul warned Timothy about such teachings. (1 Timothy 6:20, 21)

“Death is the Ultimate Healing”

“Death is the Ultimate Healing”

If a person has died, (sorry to have to put it so bluntly) his body is not healed; it is dead until the last day when it will be renewed.

The Bible does not portray death as healing— Jesus never said, Ah because this person has died, she has received the ultimate healing. In fact, Jesus raised every dead person he encountered! The Bible does say that death is an enemy—the last one for Jesus to destroy. (1 Corinthians 15:26) While death is not our friend, Jesus removes the sting of death by receiving his followers’ spirits on the other side of it.

Hezekiah’s Second Round of Life

“It would have been better if Hezekiah had gone on and died and not asked to be healed since his son, the extremely wicked King Manasseh was born during Hezekiah’s extra fifteen years.”

God told Hezekiah his time was up at the age of only thirty-nine (2 Kings 20:1) but Hezekiah cried out to the Lord to remember his faithfulness and heal him (v.3). The Lord heard his prayers and tears (vs. 4-6) and healed him—he even gave him a sign (vs. 8-11).

From a very narrow view, I can see how some might thing that it would have been better if Manasseh, a king who led the Israelites into horrendous idolatry (even sacrificing his son in the fire, 2 Kings 21:6) had died instead of being healed, but God has a broader view. First of all, to say that Hezekiah should not have been healed is to say that his faithfulness (to God) or his prayers should not have influenced God. Next, it is to say that God made a bad decision in healing him.

Though Manasseh’s son Amon was also evil (21:20) Amon’s son Josiah was a righteous king who restored the Book of the Law and renewed the covenant. Then we fast forward to the gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and in reading Jesus’ human genealogy (Matthew 1), we find not only Hezekiah (v.10) but the troublesome Manasseh and the righteous Josiah!

So while this was not Jesus’ direct bloodline but Joseph’s, though not his birth father, Joseph was the man selected by God to raise Jesus to manhood here on earth. God used Joseph’s lineage to place Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, the City of David in fulfillment of prophecy. (Micah 6:2; Matthew 2:6) Without Hezekiah’s extra fifteen years there would have been no Joseph.

To sum it up, God made the right decision in honoring Hezekiah’s faithfulness and healing him. Yes, his son Manasseh was very evil but that was his personal rebellious choice (and that of the Israelites in following him). God still had a plan for good King Josiah, the faithful Joseph who watched over Jesus as he was born and grew, and the fulfillment of prophecy concerning Jesus. He also had a plan for all who would follow Jesus—to rescue them from the dominion of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of light and eternal life! (Colossians 1:12,13)