Tuesday, January 30, 2018

PSALM 103 VERSE 3 - "TO HEAL AND FORGIVE"

"Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases" (Psalm 103:3)
Iniquities are basically the worst type of offense against the Lord our God. It goes like this: Sin -> Transgressions -> Iniquities. Let us examine the man whom God used to write this Psalm himself – King David. When he first saw Uriah the Hittite’s wife, it was not while he was absent-mindedly walking on the roof.  Uriah was one of the elite 37, called “David’s Mighty Men”.  His beautiful wife, Bathsheba had to have been known by everyone in the palace and societal circles. 

Later on, when the Bible says that “in the Spring when Kings went off to war”…David stayed behind, sin had already formed in his mind. He had allowed the lustful thoughts about Bathsheba to form a nest in his hair and instead of taking it captive, rebuking the temptation and turning from it, he doubled down on his “missing the mark” (the definition of sin).

Then David took his sin a little further into an action plan. He did the recon on the rooftop, saw what he saw and sent for her. He was the king and she obviously has some culpability in this. This is transgression. He had not done anything yet, and could still back out of complete rebellion against God. If anyone of us ever gets that far into sin, to the second tier of rebellion – turning around and fleeing immorality is still the best option. However, David went over the cliff. On purpose, he willingly disregarded God, Whose Holy Spirit lived in David so he could write Scripture and then not just committed adultery but murder to cover up what he did. This last stage of sin is iniquity. 

It is not just King David who has gone as far in open rebellion against God to commit iniquity. All manner of Christians has done either one of these three levels of sin or all three at once. God has, is now and will continue to forgive even the worst violation of His Law and Commandments.  Everyone from pastor to well-known TV evangelists to politicians and regular folk has done it. Most of us never go as far as King David or some three-times divorced fancy pants preacher…. or you name them. Most people just do the everyday sins of losing tempers, swearing or not following through on promises to the Lord.  Sins can also include things like not making proper uses of time, resources and spiritual gifts.  We are all guilty in some way of one or the other of these. The amazing thing is God still loves us, even if the conduct of the sinner stinks to the high heavens! 

This is the kind of sin which God forgives – the foulest and worse. Even the little sins we commit, after being saved, are not kosher with the Lord. He forgives….but there is a caveat here.  We must first stop sinning. Then we must turn away from all the stumbling blocks which have temporarily broken our wonderful fellowship with God. Then, we must repent. Seriously repent and ask forgiveness. Now, we cannot keep committing the same sin and doing what Paul said “should we keep sinning that Grace may abound? May it never be” (Romans 6:1-2)

Here are the kinds of prayers of repentance, as a guide. We must add our own specific circumstance, or where we are in at the time, for which we need forgiveness. From Psalm 51:
9   Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,

And sinners will be converted to You.

God not only forgives the vilest of sins, but He heals diseases. Even diseases caused by sin – from alcoholism to sexual – can be healed by the Almighty.  Not all disease is caused by sin or circumstances of birth. Remember the incident in the Bible here: "And His (Jesus) disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" John 9:2.

The human body is exceedingly frail in the grand scheme of things, due to the Fall of Man in Genesis chapter 3, but it is also created with certain immune mechanisms to fight off all kinds of plagues and diseases.  Christians were the first to bring hygiene, healthful living and hospitals to the world…and especially the uncivilized world, hundreds of years ago. Conditions for life – air/water and other essential entities- have improved from the Dark  Ages where plaques and other widespread diseases killed millions and millions. But in spite of the best medical technology and advances in medicine in the 21st century, a vast amount of sicknesses still cannot be defeated.

There is still no cure for the common cold or cancer. But there is God. He Who made us and knows every hair on our heads, and every cell He created. He knows how everything works better than 100 teams of doctors at John Hopkins.  He can heal. He heals when He wishes and He does from time to time when we pray and ask.  

Sometimes, He does not heal because there is a lesson to be learned from the ensuing trial and test of our perseverance. Sometimes He does not heal because it is time for the person to leave this earth. But He heals and He touches so many in a miraculous way.  I have seen people healed from lumps in the chest. I have a friend who was healed from Stage 3 colon cancer because the man of God praying about it. I was there when that happened to listen to him pray…and on and on. Our God reigns and our God heals! Bless His Holy Name! 
Amen.



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