Monday, February 26, 2018
A Failure of Faith
At the same time that Yahweh was leading our family to steps of faith, and proving Himself to be a faithful Father, He was bringing many others in this body at Living Faith to face similar challenges. Health problems abounded in this church, and each crisis of health was an opportunity to press into the Lord. The saints must hear from Him in order to know what He requires, that the victory might be attained and the good land possessed.
The head pastor at this fellowship of believers was named Richard, and he began setting aside a time during each service to call all those who were sick, or injured, to come forward for prayer. On some days half the congregation would come forward, and Richard himself was seeking the Lord for healing from a chronic back problem that robbed him of strength and severely limited his activities. There was a real sense among the leadership of the church that God wanted to reveal Himself as healer to the body. Perhaps the most common work ascribed to Yahshua in the gospels is healing. He also bestowed authority upon His disciples that they might heal.
Richard shared that he was having his wife lay hands on his back every day and pray for healing, and they were both patiently looking to the Lord in this matter. Every Sunday he was also calling all who were sick to come to the front of the church to receive prayer. This continued for about two months. Then Richard announced to some members of the church that he had heard of a new therapy offered by some doctors in Illinois for people who had physical problems similar to his. The way he had heard about this new treatment seemed unusual to him, and he took this as a sign that God wanted him to check into this procedure.
I did not say anything immediately to Richard about this, but I felt a great concern in my spirit. I had recently done a study on the medical profession, focusing on the symbol of the medical staff, or caduceus, which is pictured as a rod with entwined serpents upon it. I traced this symbol back to ancient Egypt, and I found many things that were impure relating to the medical profession and its practices. What was most troubling, however, was that so many men and women placed such trust in man’s resources for healing, while not even considering that God could, or would heal them. A very large percentage of those who professed faith in Christ would not even consult with God to find out what His will was for them when they experienced injury or sickness. The Spirit led me to the following passage of Scripture.
II Chronicles 16:12
In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek Yahweh, but the physicians.
There is a judgment in these words. King Asa acted foolishly by not seeking Yahweh. If you read the entire story of Asa’s life you will find that he began in faith. Early on he trusted God and saw God deliver him from his enemies with a great and spectacular victory. At some point, however, Asa began to trust in that which his eyes could see. Years later when he was faced with another enemy, he hired the sword of foreigners to provide him protection and deliverance. God sent a prophet to rebuke him for not trusting Him as he had done previously, yet Asa rejected the prophet’s words and mistreated him. The Scriptures record the following concerning this event:
II Chronicles 16:9-10
"For the eyes of Yahweh move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars." Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him for this.
At the end of his life Asa still was looking to the hand of man for all of his needs, and preferred to trust in physicians rather than to seek God for healing. Asa did not turn to God even when the physicians could not heal him.
I know I must be very plain in what I say here, lest some twist and distort my meaning. I am not saying that God will never use physicians as a source of healing in our lives, nor was Asa criticized by God because he obtained the services of a physician. The error manifested by Asa, and by a multitude of saints, is that he failed to seek God in the matter. Asa never even considered that God might heal him, so He never sought out God to know His mind.
Many saints today never give a thought to God’s ability, or willingness, to heal them. When they are faced with an injury or sickness they run immediately to the arms of the physicians. Some men and women trust the physicians so completely that they will allow them to cut off a limb, fill their body with toxic chemicals, bombard them with deadly radiation, operate on, or remove, some part of a major organ, or perform some other risky and potentially life threatening procedure, without ever seeking a witness from God.
Is it not a great sign of unbelief that Christian’s will not seek God when they are met with a physical trial? The prophet declared that King Asa was acting in unbelief, and was dishonoring Yahweh by completely bypassing Him as a source of deliverance and healing, while preferring to trust in man. The words of the prophet have become a theme in my life that I have quoted many times, and have often recited them to God in prayer.
“The eyes of Yahweh move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
Oftentimes when I discerned that the Spirit would have me cast myself wholly over into God’s care, and there was some great risk involved, I would meditate on these words and I would be comforted in knowing that Yahweh was searching earnestly for those who would give their hearts completely to Him.
I was very concerned when I first heard that Richard was going to seek the physicians. I knew he had grown impatient in waiting upon God, and his confidence that God would do anything for him was weak. Richard shared more about this matter when he was gathered together with the other ministers and their wives in my home. He told us, that as a minister, he could receive this medical treatment free, and that the physicians performing this procedure had set-up a clinic in the basement of a church. He told us this clinic was located in Thebes, Illinois.
When Richard mentioned Thebes, the Spirit quickened me to go get my dictionary and look up the name of this town. My dictionary gave the following definition, “The capital of ancient Egypt in the period of its greatest glory.” I had previously shared my study on the medical profession, and the caduceus, with Richard and the other ministers, and they understood Egypt’s link to both the Caduceus, as well as its Biblical typology of representing the systems of man and all those who rely upon the arm of the flesh.
I shared with these men that I did not believe this was God’s provision for Richard’s healing, but that it was a test to see whether Richard would continue to wait upon God. I was reminded of the tests that God brought before David when he was being pursued by King Saul. Twice God delivered Saul into David’s hands where he would only have to reach out and strike his enemy and the kingdom could have been his. David’s men looked at the incredible way in which Saul had been delivered into David’s hands, and they told David, “Surely this must be the hand of God, and it must be God’s will for you to strike Saul.” David knew this was not the way God would provide his deliverance, and he refused to be drawn into such an action.
I Samuel 24:3-6
He came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave. The men of David said to him, "Behold, this is the day of which Yahweh said to you, "Behold; I am about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you...'" So he said to his men, "Far be it from me because of Yahweh that I should do this thing to my lord, Yahweh’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is Yahweh’s anointed."
I Samuel 26:8-9
Then Abishai said to David, "Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time." But David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against Yahweh’s anointed and be without guilt?"
The Spirit of God taught me a valuable lesson through these accounts of David’s life. He revealed to me that not all things that appear as a supernatural ordering of our steps are an indication of God’s will. Twice God had very remarkably placed Saul into David’s hands to see what David would do. David’s men rightly observed that God had done this, but they wrongly concluded that it was God’s will for David to do that which unbelief would tempt him to do.
In the same way, the Spirit bore witness that this opportunity set before Richard had been orchestrated by God, but it was merely to test his heart. Like myself, Richard was a minister to the body, and as such God looked to him to set an example to the rest of the church. The very name of this fellowship was Living Faith, and God had spoken to Richard and the rest of the ministers that He desired to lead us into our inheritance in Christ by faith. He had revealed that health and provision were the two areas He would begin to bring us into by faith, and now Richard was being tempted to quit looking to God, and to return to the provision of man.
I shared these things with Richard, but he would not change his mind. I was concerned that as soon as Richard quit waiting upon God that he would also quit urging the body to do the same. Sure enough, the very next Sunday was the first Sunday in nearly two months that he did not ask those who needed healing to come forward for prayer. He has since led other members of this body to go with him to receive treatments. His attitude changed from encouraging the saints to look to God for healing, to leading men and women to lean upon the same source of healing that he had placed his trust in.
It has been over four years since God led us out from this fellowship of Christians. Last year I heard that Richard was still going for treatments and had not yet been cured of his chronic back problems. It amazed me that he could not wait upon God for two months, yet he was continuing to wait upon man’s healing after several years of treatment.
The Holy Spirit inspired men to record the lives of Asa and David for the benefit of the saints today. We are to learn from their successes and failures. The Scriptures declare that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” The need to walk by faith is just as much a requirement for the children of God today as it was for the patriarchs, prophets, kings, and priests of old. Only those who walk by faith will enter into the good land before them. Those who refuse to walk by faith will perish in the wilderness.
I have great empathy for those who struggle with fears and worries and unbelief, for these have also been my enemies. I have found God to be greater than all these things, and His grace has been sufficient to allow us to remain standing when many enemies have gathered around us. Sadly, like King Asa, the response of many who have received reproof, correction, or admonition from those whom God has sent to direct them back to a path of faith, has been to become angry and to act violently toward the messenger. Ultimately, I was to be cast out from my place of ministry among this body due to my unwillingness to turn aside from the path of obedience God had set before me.
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