Monday, December 12, 2016

Does the Bible really say we don’t need doctors?

It always bugs me when "holy" people insist we don’t need doctors if one's faith is strong enough.  All that’s required to heal, they argue, is faith and prayer.  And then they “look down” on you and presume they have the right to chastise you if you do see a doctor.  Their criteria?   Exodus 15:26, which reads:

“He said, ‘If you will listen intently to the voice of ADONAI your God, do what he considers right, pay attention to his mitzvot and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians; because I am ADONAI your healer.’" (CJB)

Fact is, that particular scripture (Exodus 15:26) was YHWH telling His people what He would do if they obeyed Him.   (Remember, YHWH, throughout Torah, was constantly in a teaching mode to get Israel to learn to rely on Him for everything.)  That scripture was meant for the “learning to obey YHWH” time when His people were in the wilderness for 40 years – where He provided for their every need and even their clothes and shoes didn’t wear out (Deuteronomy 8:4, 29:5).
 
If “holier-than-thous” are going to suggest we don’t need doctors, then why don’t they also suggest “we don’t need to buy new clothes or shoes today?” …No, this is just a very misguided, narrow conclusion to draw from a single scripture….

So, let’s take a look at that scripture in context:

Exodus 15: 24 The people grumbled against Moshe and asked, "What are we to drink?" 25 Moshe cried to ADONAI; and ADONAI showed him a certain piece of wood, which, when he threw it into the water, made the water taste good. There ADONAI made laws and rules of life for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, "If you will listen intently to the voice of ADONAI your God, do what he considers right, pay attention to his mitzvot and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians; because I am ADONAI your healer." (CJB)

So, does this apply to us today?  Sure!  We ARE to keep His commands, but we still live in a “fallen world” where doctors can help us when we’re sick.  Whenever I see a doctor, it’s NOT because I don’t trust YHWH to heal me, or that I don’t have “enough faith.”  What I have is common sense that when my appendix ruptures, I can’t just sit there and pray it will go away! 

When your toddler falls down the stairs and breaks his arm, and cracks his skull, you’re not going sit there and trust YHWH to mend him – you’re going to head for the emergency room, praying the whole, entire way and trusting YHWH to keep your kid alive!  If you’re involved in a bad accident, and you’re lying there, passed out, do you really expect the ER doctor to say, “Wait, no, I can’t touch that one because God Himself will take care of him/her!”  Would you want him to?
 
(YES, YHWH certainly COULD heal your child or put your back together when you’re torn apart in an accident (or preferably PREVENT your accident)…but He heals WHEN He chooses (Exodus 33:19), and we have learned from Yeshua’s temptation by satan in the wilderness that you don’t TEST God by suggesting He HAS to do ANYTHING, including heal you! (Matthew 4:1-11). YHWH doesn’t do ANYTHING on command!)

Last June when I needed pacemaker surgery, YHWH gave me plenty of warning that “something was wrong” with my heart.  Could He have simply healed me?  SURE!  But He didn’t and I had the wherewithal to find an emergency room where I ended up with a pacemaker 24 hours later.  While there – and this important – I got to witness to THREE PEOPLE, including the Jewish cardiologist who admitted me!  Please think about that….

While it’s certainly true that YHWH heals (and He heals whenever He chooses; not on command, or only those whose faith or prayers are “strong enough”), the fact remains, we are in a “fallen world” where bad things happen, even to faithful people - and faithful people DO get sick, and they often DO need to see a doctor, and may even require surgery.  Bad things have been happening to mankind since the day Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden!

And by the way, physicians have always been around, in one form or another.   Apostle Luke was a physician! (Colossians 4:14).  Let’s be honest here, if the Apostles Paul and Timothy suffered health problems, are we to assume THEIR faith wasn’t strong enough; or that they didn’t keep Torah well enough (as these “you’re going to hell if you use a doctor” types like to insist)?  Even Yeshua became weak and ill from fasting for 40 days in the wilderness (see Matthew 4), to the point where angels had to come to take care of him.  His faith was so strong, he overcame satan’s wiles three times in a row!

Regardless as to what the “don’t need doctors” people say,  we cannot ignore that, in the New Testament we see Paul telling Timothy to "drink a little wine" for his stomach ailments (1 Timothy 5:23).  We cannot ignore that Paul himself had sought ADONAI three times to remove this source of pain from him (2 Corinthians 12:8).  Paul speaks of a “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12:7 (no one knows whether that “thorn” was something physical or spiritual) and of weakness in his flesh (Galatians 4:13). 

So, again, YES, YHWH can and does heal, but we live in a fallen world where “bad things” happen – and not always of our own making.  He heals when HE chooses to heal…but He also gave us physicians, even to the faithful, to help during those times when He doesn’t heal.  If anyone tries to tell you, you’re sinning by seeing a doctor, shake the dust from your sandals and leave them and their beliefs behind!

Before I close, let's take a brief look at some other scriptures people take out of context to defend their "we don't need doctors" stance:

Deuteronomy 32:39  "See now that I, yes, I, am he; and there is no god beside me. I put to death, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; no one saves anyone from my hand!"

Deuteronomy 32 is all about how YHWH led His people and provided for them.  He showed them He was their Rock.  But the people turned their backs on Him. Eventually, YHWH beat them down and said "Where are their gods, the rock in whom they trusted?" (verse 37).  This is followed by the admonition, verse 39, that only He wounds, and He heals and that no one saves anyone from His hand.  The verse in no way implies "don't go to doctors!"

2 Chronicles 16:12  "In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa suffered from a disease in his legs. It was a very serious disease, yet even with this disease he did not seek out Adonai but turned to the physicians.  13 Asa slept with his ancestors, dying in the forty-first year of his reign."

This sounds like Asa died because he turned to physicians rather than seeking out YHWH.  If you go back to 2 Chronicles 14:1 (13:23 in some versions) you find that Asa was a good king and did what was right in YHWH's eyes.  Indeed, 2 Chronicles 15:17 states "Asa was wholehearted throughout his life."  But then look what happened! I chapter 16, Y'hudah was attacked and Asa turned to the king of Aram for help.

The prophet Hanani came to Asa and admonished him for not relying on YHWH and instead relied on the king of Aram.  Asa, instead of being humbled and repentant, went into a rage and had the prophet imprisoned.  Only then, do we see that Asa died when he turned to physicians instead of YHWH.
 
So you see, this had nothing to do with "going to doctors"; it had to do with Asa, who should have known better, becoming "full of himself" and not glorifying YHWH.  (We see a striking similarity to Moshe's fate in Numbers 20.  In verses 8-10 he struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock as commanded.  That brought glory to Moshe instead of YHWH!  YHWH told Moshe in verse 12 that "Because you did not trust in me, so as to cause me to be regarded as holy by the people of Isra'el, you will not bring this community into the land I have given them."  Asa trusting in doctors only meant that he had placed all his faith in his own solution to his ailment, rather than trusting YHWH's hand would be on the doctors for healing.

Job 5:18 "For He wounds, but He bandages the sore; his hands may strike, but they also heal."

One need only go read all of Job 5 to see these verses are about those who maintain faith through thick and thin. Verse 18 has nothing to do with "sitting back and letting YHWH bandage your wounds and 'letting' YHWH heal you"!  It has to do with simply trusting that YHWH will put the solution in your path - you need only the faith to recognize it.

Look at verse 20! "In famine, he will save you from death, and in war, from the power of the sword." Does that mean in famine you can sit at your plate and YHWH will fill it for you? Of course not! But by your faith, YHWH will ensure that you find the food you need.  Does it mean you won't die? The verse seems to say that, but that is not what it means!  We are all going to die.  And some will die by the "sword".  But those with faith and trust and acceptance in Him see "everlasting life" - thus they are "saved from death" though their earthly bodies certainly will die.

There are many other verses I could discuss here, but I think I've made my point.  YHWH provides - Matthew 6:31-32.  But notice the end of verse 32! "Your heavenly Father knows you need them all." Faith means you trust YHWH will provide and that you don't trust in yourself! One of those provisions set before you are doctors, for He gave them their knowledge and skills to provide what you need from His hands for healing.  Trust Him.

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