Healthcare is one of the biggest concerns in the US today. All over our country, people long for better healthcare and seek means of improving their health.
Scripture has much to say about human health and factors that affect it. I recently read a remarkable “healthcare” statement in Deuteronomy concerning Israel that gripped me with a force that I do not remember having experienced before.
The Lord’s Promise to Take Away All Sickness from Israel
In one of his addresses about the Law that God gave to Israel, Moses included an incredible statement about what God would do for Israel if they were faithful to Him (cf. Deut. 7:11-12):
Deu 7:15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
The fact that these promises were set before sinful humans makes it all the more intriguing to me. Imagine living in a country where no one was ever sick!
Tragically, Israel failed miserably to be faithful to God and never experienced the fulfillment of this blessed “healthcare” promise of having the Lord take away all sickness from her. Israel thus came short of a glory that God intended for her that was supposed to be a part of her distinctive excellence among the nations of the world.
Remarkable Parallel Teaching in Scripture Concerning Health Promises to Israel
Parallel teaching elsewhere in Scripture corroborates God’s intent to bless His chosen people in this remarkable way:
Pro 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
Pro 4:20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Proverbs 4:22 is especially striking because it declares that attention to God’s words would be health to the entire body of those who find them! Correlating Deuteronomy 7:15 with Proverbs 4:20-22 points to God’s continuing promise to bless with remarkable health those in Israel who would diligently attend to His Word and way.
Beyond these statements in Proverbs, reflecting on what God promised to Israel in Deuteronomy 7:15 seems to illumine many passages in the New Testament in a way that I have never appreciated before.
The Remarkable New Testament Record Concerning God’s Blessing Israel Concerning Her Health
The New Testament record of the lives and ministries of Jesus and His apostles includes many incredible statements about what God did for the health of people in Israel at that time:
Mat 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
Mat 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
Mat 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Mat 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Mat 12:15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
Luk 6:17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases . . . 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
Act 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
Act 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
At times, God even granted widespread gracious healing to people who were not in Israel:
Act 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
Act 28:9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:
Taken together, these many passages document how God graciously granted healing to multitudes of people who had not been obedient to Him in the way that Deuteronomy 7:11-15 spoke of concerning the Israelites! Furthermore, God’s extending his gracious healing to non-Israelites encourages me to think that the most important healthcare measures that we could take in our country today would be to turn wholeheartedly as a nation to the Lord our God and heed His Word and all His ways.