These verses on healing and deliverance are foundational for the entire Old Testament and for the entire Bible.
As usual, I write to learn. Let’s learn together.
I use the NIV in this post. If you would like to see many more translations please go to biblegateway.com.
These verses are foundational for the Torah (first five books of the Bible), and indeed for the entire OT and the Bible. Look at the last clause in v. 26:
There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” (Exod. 15:25b-26, emphasis added)
The big point is that we must live righteous lives. A life of obedience can lead to blessing. Healing is an ingredient of this blessing. For example, if we eat unheathily and not exercise, thus disobeying the law of health, we will suffer in our bodies. If we eat healthily and exercise, we have a greater chance to be healthy.
But there is mainly a moral component to those verses. If we become promiscuous, we may catch sexually transmitted diseases. Thought experiment: if everyone on the planet were to remain virgins before marriage and remain faithful in marriage, then what would happen to all the sexually transmitted diseases? They would disappear. A life of obedience leads to blessing, even in our health.
Here are verses that promise blessing on our food and water. This was important for the ancient Israelites who were traveling through the wilderness.
25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span. (Exod. 23:25-26)
God fulfilled the healing of the waters here in these verses:
Moses and the Israelites at Mara in the Sinai Peninsula: 25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. (Exod. 15:24b-25)
Elijah right after Elijah was whisked away with God’s chariot. Near Jericho:
21 Then he [Elisha] went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” (2 Kings 2:21)
The waters were “healed,” This means that fresh water is best for people. God was restoring his best his people.
Back in Exod. 23:25-26, taking away diseases means that God “pre-protects” people from diseases. This promise is a prophylactic. Also, the promise is for fecundity. No miscarriage. God will give them long life.
Some of you may object: “But I live a righteous life in Christ, and I had a miscarriage! I got a disease! How do you explain this in light to those verses?”
The answer to your reasonable objection is difficult. I believe those promises in Exodus that seem so absolute (“no sickness!”) are summaries for an entire nation. The promises do not take into an account individuals over the entire sweep of Israel as a long-enduring nation. The promises are summaries of the general trend lines.
A super-charged “faith guy” replies: “But it says, ‘no sickness!’ I take God at his Word!” But the “faith guy” is misinterpreting Scripture. This is a general promise for a nation, not an absolute promise for each individual. Exodus 23:26 also says a “full life span,” However, sometimes a super-charged “faith guy” will die young-ish, or his child will, from a disease like cancer that does not get healed. So let’s not over-interpret a general summary verse for an entire nation that allows for individual exceptions.
Kenneth Copeland Gets a Pacemaker (he’s a super-charged “faith guy”)
Why Doesn’t Divine Healing Happen One Hundred Percent of the Time in This Age?
Torah legislation says that there would be blind, deaf and lame Israelites without divine judgment on them (Lev. 19:14; 21:18). Moreover, there is not one instance of those conditions being healed miraculously, despite promises of divine healing. The restoration of those conditions would have to wait for the Messiah ushering in the kingdom gradually (see the verses below). Therefore we have to be careful not to over-interpret those seemingly absolute promises of “no sickness!”
Another issue: There is a passage that indicates that God puts some deficiencies on people. Let’s look into this.
Moses put forward all sort of excuses as to why he was unworthy to be commissioned to liberate God’s people from Egypt. One excuse is that Moses could not speak due to a speech impediment. God says:
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exod. 4:11-12)
First, God promised Moses that he would help him speak, which is a process of healing. Now what about God who “makes” people with these deficiencies? One translation of “makes” is “appoints,” or so say the experts in Hebrew (I’m not one). Yet the question still comes up: why would he appoint these deficiencies?
I believe the best reply is seen in how to interpret the Bible. One statement from Bible interpreters is strong: Progressive revelation is a fact of the Bible. That is, as God deals with his people over time, new promises are offered, a new way of dealing with people develops. Look how Isaiah summarizes the Messianic Age:
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy. (Isaiah 35:5-6a)
Jesus applied those verses to his own ministry when John the Baptist was in prison and questioned whether Jesus really was the Messiah. Jesus is replying to John’s disciples:
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. (Matt. 11:4-5)
Jesus was ushering in the kingdom of God, and now those physical abnormalities are in the process of being healed. A fuller revelation says that regardless of their cause, Jesus was appointed to set them free.
Now let’s cover deliverance from false gods which are actually demons (1 Cor. 10:20-21).
On the night of Passover, the Israelites are to put blood on the doorframe to protect them from God’s righteous judgment. But the Egyptians are another matter.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. (Exod. 12:12)
Judgment on all the gods of Egypt was also done during the ten plagues, because some of the Egyptian deities controlled certain areas and realms of Egypt, and the plagues hit them hard. Many Egyptian gods got diseases or were wounded by scorpions and nearly died. One god got a headache. An eclipse meant that a god had a sore eye (see Brown, p. 78). Judgment on these deities means that Yahweh is over them. He never gets diseases. This judgment on the gods is an act of deliverance for God’s people because the Israelites were under the sway of the false gods when they lived in Egypt.
Are we under the influence of demonic gods in our lives? God can deliver us from them, in Jesus’ name.
Bible Basics about Deliverance
To conclude …
We need to take those wonderful verses of healing into our hearts. They may allow for exceptions, because miscarriages happen and people dying young also happens, even for godly men and women who are righteous in Christ.
However, those moments of trial and discouragement should not knock us off our walk of faith. We should still believe that those promises are for our blessing. God can separate us from the world around us, as we consecrate our lives to him. We can pray the promises over our lives, when we are sick, until God tells us to stop or until he heals us. Based on those promises, we should assume God wants to heal us, unless we hear otherwise from the Spirit speaking to our hearts.
And so let’s claim those promises when we get sick. Let’s pray them over our lives. And let’s watch expectantly what God can do.