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Michael Brown: Israel’s Divine Healer

It is difficult to summarize the research assembled by Brown in his exegetical study. His thematic study starts with the Torah and historical books, quickly tying together the idea that God’s covenant promise to be Israel’s Healer was a dynamic one. God “promised not to place sickness on his obedient children” (p. 77, emphasis his). “Health in and of itself is virtually never promised in the OT. Rather, the promise is presented either in general terms of ‘healing’ with no specific reference to sickness (e.g.. Pr 3:7-8; 4:20-22), in terms of sickness and disease never touching the faithful children of God (e.g., Ps 91, esp. vv 5-10), or in terms of the reversal of a specific sickness (e.g., Ps 41:1-3). … God’s pledge to be Israel’s Healer is primarily expressed in terms of keeping them free from disease, as opposed to keeping them healthy” (p. 80, emphasis his).

Making “psychosomatic observations” from Proverbs, Brown quotes Malbim “Flesh and bones are only as healthy as the spirit they encase” (p. 165), and observes, “Circumstances, words, and relationships impact the mind, will, and emotions, which in turn impact the body—to its very bones” (p. 165). Brown also finds that the book of Job has much to say regarding sickness, judgment, restoration, and even “quack doctors” (something Job calls his friends).

The mistake of Job and his friends was that Job radically altered his view of God because of his sufferings, while the friends drastically altered their view of Job because of his sufferings and subsequent behavior. Instead, it is best to patiently wait and trust, always believing in the goodness of God and his desire to bless, walking humbly before him, and expecting that in the end, he will cause everything to work for the good.

Where sickness or disaster is preceded by known sin, it should immediately be confessed and forsaken (Pr 28:18; 1Jn 1:9), and mercy should be sought. Where the disciplinary hand of the Lord is sensed, there should be complete cooperation to see that this trial accomplishes its goal. In both cases, however, it should be expected that healing or restoration will generally follow repentance, submission, and/or change, although in some cases, there may still be lasting negative consequences. Also, in both of these cases the suffering is not inexplicable or mysterious, although, as emphasized previously, it can still be redemptive. However, when no such convenient explanation is at hand, then unshakable, persevering faith is the only answer. And when satanic involvement in revealed or discerned—this is now moving us to a NT perspective—the evil one is to be resisted (p. 180-181, emphasis his).

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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 2001

About the Author: Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of The Pneuma Review. Raul has been part of an Evangelical publishing ministry since 1996, working with Information Services and Supply Chain Management for more than two decades. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter and twin boys and live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. LinkedIn

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