Monday, October 12, 2009
Who is Responsible for Providing Healthcare? God or the State?
By Brian W. Shilhavy, BA, MA
[I ran across the following article today and felt moved to share this with my readers. My reason is that I sincerely believe that many Christians (true believers, not just those who toss the word around so carelessly) fail daily to have REAL faith and do not reach out to God to not only provide healing, but on every other needs they may have.
Yet, some of my fellow Christian friends retort that we live in a society that has to be practical concerning healthcare (for example, will God mend a severed arm or leg); that some health issues do require office visits to the family physician and in the case of major emergencies. There were obviously physicians during the times when Jesus sojourned the earth some two thousand years ago (Colossians 4:14).
Therefore, it would be interesting to hear your comments on this article; should healthcare be left up to God, or the State? Let the debate begin.]
Who is Responsible for Providing Healthcare? God or the State? By Brian W. Shilhavy, BA, MA
If you listen carefully to the voice of 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. (Exodus 15:26)
But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst. (Exodus 23:25)
The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health. (Psalms 41:3)
Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases… (Psalms 103:3)
Ask any believing Jew in Old Testament times this question: “Who is responsible for providing your healthcare?”, and it is unlikely they would have even had to think about the answer. The answer was very clear in the Old Testament writings: The LORD our God, the one who created us, is the one who heals us and gives us our health.
Ask that same believing Jew who they would turn to for help if they were sick, and their answer would be equally as quick in their reply: the priests. They were the ones who administered God’s health care plan:
and the priest shall examine the diseased area… (Lev. 13:3)
Take care, in a case of leprous disease, to be very careful to do according to all that the Levitical priests shall direct you. As I commanded them, so you shall be careful to do. (Deuteronomy 24:8)
Now let’s fast forward to the believers living in the days of Jesus and ask them the same question: Who is responsible for providing your healthcare?
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)
While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him(Jesus); and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them. (Luke 4:40)
Great crowds came to him (Jesus), bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. (Matthew 15:30)
But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. (Luke 5:15)
The news about Jesus and his power to heal spread far and wide, and crowds sought him out. Everyone who believed in Jesus knew that he had the authority and power to heal, because they witnessed it first hand. They trusted in him for their health. But it was not yet time to set up his physical kingdom, and he was a threat to those in power at that time, so he allowed the authorities to kill him. His sacrificial death on the cross satisfied God’s punishment against sin. As we have noted in other places, sin is the cause of all sickness, either directly or indirectly. If there had never been any sin, there would never have been any disease or sickness in a perfect world. So Jesus’ death took care of that problem once and for all. In the Old Testament times, continual blood sacrifices were needed to cover up the effects of sin.
But Jesus’ healthcare plan did not stop when he died his physical death. Jesus still lives today, and he passed the administration of his healthcare plan on to his disciples:
These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them…. “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:5-8)
And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. (Luke 9:2)
At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. (Acts 5:12-16)
God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. (Acts 19:11-12)
So believers living at the time of Jesus or during the beginning of the church right after his death, would answer the question as to who was responsible for their healthcare by stating their belief that Jesus was their healer, and the one who restores them to a relationship with God, resulting in health. The apostle Peter wrote:
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
Healing was not seen as simply dealing with sickness in the physical realm only, but also as a spiritual problem with sin that only Jesus could heal. And if you would ask these believers in Christ who they would turn to for help when they were sick, they would reply that they turned to their leaders in the church, because Jesus passed on his ministry of healing to his disciples. James, the brother of Jesus who became one of the key leaders in the church at Jerusalem wrote the prescription for us:
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:13-20)
Now fast forward to today, the 21st century, and walk into any church in America and ask the believers this same question: Who is responsible for providing your healthcare? What would be the response? Would they respond in a similar way that believers have always responded throughout the history of the Bible, a book which is the written record of God’s people and their faith in God? I don’t think so. I think most believers today think “healthcare” is equivalent to “medical care” and the domain of drugs, doctors, insurance companies, and hospitals, which in most cases only deal with the physical realm, and is part of a multi-billion dollar industry that controls our economy. I think most believers today would take sides in the debate as to who should be paying for this medical system that is called “healthcare,” rather than discuss what true health is, and what true healthcare is. The world system built upon the foundation of humanism and evolution has defined the term for “healthcare” for us, and Christians are not even debating it.
Wake up America! You have traded the truth for a lie, and equated “healthcare” with what is actually medical care: a system that for the most part only manages disease and brings great profit (and power) to those in charge of the system. Instead of seeing Jesus as the one who is responsible for our healthcare, and the leaders of the church as responsible for administering it, we have turned to the world system built upon the lie of evolution and humanism, and made it our idol as we trust in it for our “health.” The result is a highly technical system, but very sick people.
But as we have noted in other places, real health is not something that can be purchased. It is a free gift given to those who put their trust in the right things, instead of lies. When will we repent and turn to the one who truly can offer us true health? Let’s stop participating in the debate of who is going to make the providers of the medical system richer, and instead start debating the true meaning of healthcare!
I am the LORD, who heals you. (Exodus 15:26)
[Brian Shilhavy earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible/Greek from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and his Master of Arts degree in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He has previously taught English at the high school and university levels in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. He worked in northern Iraq after the first Gulf War (1991) helping Kurds return to their homes from the mountains of southern Turkey. He lived with his wife, Marianita, and their children in the Philippines for several years studying rural Philippine culture, including traditional diet and nutrition. He is the founder and current president of Tropical Traditions, Inc. ]
The End Times Passover
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