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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing

By Horatius Bonar

      "I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee." -- Psalm 41:4

      THIS is the cry of the needy; of him who has no helper; of him who in the time of trouble finds that there is no refuge but in God. It is the cry from the soul's sickbed,--more terrible than the sickbed of the body,--to the divine Physician, for the application of his heavenly skill and medicine. It tells us--

      I. Sin is the soul's sickness. It is an infinite evil; the evil of evils, in comparison with which mere pain is nothing. The end of all bodily sickness, if allowed to run its course, would be death temporal; so the end of all sin, if unarrested, would be death eternal. It is infinitely varied in its nature, though comprehended under some general descriptions, and capable of being classified under certain heads. All the diseases, or shades of disease, of the body, are but types of the awful varieties of sin. Palsy, leprosy, fever, blindness, and the like, are symbols of sin. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. There is the disease of unbelief, of impenitence, of lust, of enmity to God, of pride, of worldliness, &c.; all these have penetrated our spiritual system, and destroyed our spiritual health. Not that sin is mere disease or misfortune, to be got quit of gradually by a healthy regimen, or diet, or medicine; to be wrought out of the constitution by human skill and effort. It is guilt as well as sickness, to be dealt with by the Judge as much as the physician; nay, by the Judge first, before the physician can touch it,--for as the order of the evil was first, the guilt and then the disease following thereon, so the order of the remedy is first the pardon and then the health.

      II. God is the soul's Healer. Whether we look at sin as disease or as guilt, or as both together, we find that in regard to it we must deal with God alone. The medicine, the skill, the pardon, the deliverance, are in His hands. With no other must we transact in the matter of sin's removal; not with self, or man, or the flesh, or the church, or a creed, or a priest, but with God himself; and that directly, face to face, alone, without any medium or intervention. All others are physicians of no value. They heal not at all, or they heal slightly, or they increase and irritate the disease. Health is with God alone. He heals effectually and eternally. He who is the soul's life is also the soul's health. Whatever be the sickness, deep or slight, of long or brief standing, connected with the eye, the ear, the hand, the feet, the head, or the whole spiritual being, the counsel which must be given to the sick soul is, Go straight to God; deal with Him, and let Him deal with you.

      III. God is most willing that the soul should be healed. He has no pleasure in our sickness or death; His desire is that we should live and be in health. Our sickness is not of Him, but of ourselves, just as truly as our health is not of ourselves, but of Him. Yet He loves not the evil of His creatures; He desires their good, not their evil. Why, then, does He allow sickness and death? For infinitely wise reasons, of which you and I know nothing, but which will be known sooner or later. Yet our present ignorance should not lead us to deny the sincerity of God's desire for our welfare. The two things will be found perfectly reconcilable, and both equally true. Let us not take up with one-sided truth, but let us receive both sides, according to the divine revelation, whatever our perplexed minds may argue.

      IV. God has made provision for the soul's healing. The disease was so thoroughly beyond human skill that none but God could undertake the cure. He has undertaken it; He has provided the means, He has sent the physician. The medicine is the cross. There is forgiveness which is indispensable as the commencement of the cure; righteous forgiveness through the death of the Surety. At and with the cross the cure begins, and begins by the pardon of the sinner. But pardon is not the whole. There is fear, trouble, disquietude, weariness, darkness, and such like. For these also the cross provides. And with the medicine there is the Physician Himself, Christ Jesus; or rather there is Christ and the Holy Spirit, Christ dispensing the Spirit, and the Spirit revealing Christ. The power and the skill are in their hands. They apply the divine provision. So that everything pertaining to the healing of the soul is truly divine. Hear the Lord's own declaration regarding this, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up," &c. We ask then,

      (1.) Hast thou been healed? If so, give God the glory. Assuredly the health came not from man, but from the love and power of God, from the cross of Christ, from the hand of the Holy Ghost.

      (2.) Wilt thou be made whole? Perhaps thou art still unhealed? Be it so. The cross is here for healing; look and be cured, look and be saved, look and be forgiven. It is not working, or buying, or deserving, but simply looking. The sight of the cross is pardon, and health, and life. The leaves of this tree are for the healing of the nations.

      (3.) Canst thou do without healing? Is thy wound so slight, thy disease so trivial, that thou canst do without the cross, and that thou canst heal thyself? Or though unhealed dost thou think thou canst go on as thou art, well enough, without health? Suppose thou couldst in this world, what of the world to come? Tossed upon an eternal sick-bed, think of that! Eternal disease pervading body and soul, think of that! Oh, look and be healed! Make at once the application of our text, "Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee."

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae


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