I was driving downtown this morning and saw a license plate with ‘Ps 92’ on it. When I looked at Psalm 92 to see what God might say to me, I felt like the following verses were highlighted. It is a song for the Shabbat or our sabbath which is found in Christ (our true place of rest and peace).
:1 – A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day. It is good to give thanks to the LORD And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
:2 – To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night.
I want to elaborate on the Hebrew in verse 2. The Hebrew roots are ‘nagad’ (make conspicuous), ‘boqer’ (morning), ‘checed’ (steadfast love), and ’emuwnah’ (faithfulness), into ‘layil’ (night). Here’s how I would translate this verse: “Make conspicuous His loyalty and steadfast love each morning and carry His faithfulness into each night.” As we do this, we remain in His love, and the peace of God guards our mind and heart. The book of Hebrews declares that a place of ‘rest’ remains for the people of God. It is up to us to choose this life of the spirit provided to us in Christ. Jesus assures us that we find peace and rest as we trust in Him.
The scripture text that keeps coming back to me is Psalm 103. I call this His goodness chapter. Previously, I’ve written that we can equate His goodness with His glory (Exodus 34).
The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. In the original Hebrew manuscripts, chapter and verse don’t really exist as concepts. Those are conveniences for our reference. One of the things that I believe is that David didn’t just write Psalm 103, but Psalm 103 thru Psalm 107 as a continuous stream of consciousness. To justify my position, Psalm 104 starts and ends with the same language that we see in Psalm 103 – Bless the LORD, my soul. The big picture over the course of these Psalms is that David is declaring the goodness of God, and calling the people of Israel to remember. The entire section ends with the following in Psalm 107:
Whoever is wise will pay attention to these things. They will consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.
I want to draw out one particular verse in Psalm 103, as I believe it’s important for people to be in a heart posture to receive their healing.
:2 – Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
:3 – Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;
Why does David connect forgiveness with healing do you suppose? I believe David was prophesying the goodness of God being revealed in Christ where we find forgiveness and healing.
While in America, our culture looks to everything else for understanding of why a person might be sick or diseased, those familiar with Jewish law would know that the reason why someone would be sick was because of sin (chattah) or iniquity (avon – something twisted that was passed down through generations). This is why in John 9:1-2, Jesus’ disciples would ask him the question, was “he born blind due to his sin or the sin of his parents”? In Exodus 15:26, it is written that if people would do what is right and keep their part of covenant, then they would be spared diseases which were put on the Egyptians. In Deuteronomy 28, blessings are declared for doing what is right, and curses are declared for doing what is wrong including all kinds of sickness and disease. It’s a frightening chapter to read, but important to understand what the Mosaic law required.
Often when Jesus went around healing people, he would also pronounce them as having their sins forgiven. Why is that? Do you think they could keep their healing if they felt like they deserved their disease?
I believe why many of us don’t receive healing is that deep down at a heart level (whether we’re aware of it or not), we don’t really believe we’re forgiven.
In Psalm 103:3, the word translated iniquities or sins in sloppier translations, is the Hebrew word ‘avon.’ This word, while it can properly translated iniquities, a more important meaning in context is one of guilt. With that understanding, the verse might read “who forgives all your guilt, and heals all your diseases.”
Guilt is something subtle, and like condemnation, may not be anything we can consciously put our finger on. It is a shadow resting on the heart.
I don’t know about you, but as for me, I didn’t know that I truly believed in my heart that all my sins were forgiven. Oh sure, I could tell you intellectually that I knew that, but did my heart know it? My heart still carried guilt. I’ve walked with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over twelve years. Is it any wonder that when people would pray for me (including lots of anointed healers), that nothing would happen? I write this particular ‘blog’, because I believe many are bound and not free. Scripture declares that those whom the son sets free are free indeed. What if our hearts are veiled to the goodness of God? The question of whether God was really good has plagued man since being tempted in the garden. The same temptation exists for us today.
So how to we get free from guilt and closer to understanding the goodness of God?
A fuller expression of the cross is one of a divine exchange. My guilt in exchange for His innocence. His condemnation for my freedom, purchased by His blood.
Has the cross paid the debt of your sins, past, present, and future? Was the punishment that he bore for you, enough? Was the suffering and sacrifice of Christ enough to pay for your guilt and provide for your healing? I believe it was. I believe the answers will come when the goodness of God becomes a reality in our hearts.
Meditate on the grace given to us in the new covenant. What is the message of the gospel that the disciples of Jesus (and Paul) shared with others? Spend time declaring the truth of His grace over your heart and life. Scriptures passages like ‘there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’, ‘you will never leave me or forsake me’, ‘you haven’t given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind’, and ‘I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.’ Thank Him for His blood that was shed for you and testifies of your innocence and right standing before God. Apply the blood of the lamb to the door posts of your heart and mind.
Meditating on what the new covenant offers me has helped me to move further down the road of being guilt-free in my heart, and I believe closer to my healing.
Make prominent the expression of God’s love and grace for you each day. Carry His faithfulness with you even into the times of darkness. His love never fails.