Thursday, January 9, 2014

Does God make people sick?

The Lord impressed on me to conduct a study of the word "suffer" (and its various forms) in the Bible. Here are some interesting facts I discovered.

  • The word "suffer" and it's various forms are in the King James Version of the Bible 165 times.
  • 9 of those instances aren't actually in the original text, but have been inserted for clarity.
  • There are 9 different Hebrew words used for the concept.
  • There are 28 different Greek words used for the concept.
Now let's take a look at each word and, if it warrants, the verses in which those words are written.

יָכֹל (yakol)
This word means "to overcome." It implies ability and/or power. A very mundane example is found in Genesis 13:6, where it says that Abram and Lot could not live together because of the abundance of their flocks.

It's also the word used for "prevail" in the story of Jacob wrestling with the Lord.

It is translated as "suffer" in Psalm 101:5. The verse says that God will cause the proud to fail. While it is God that causes the failure, it's obvious that pride is the real issue.

יָנַח (yanach)
This word means "to rest." It was used by Samson in Judges 16:26 after he had been captured by the Phillistines and blinded. After a long time, his hair finally grew back and he regained his strength. So he feigns weakness and asks a servant boy to help him to a pillar so he can rest. Once there, he pushed against the pillars and brought the whole place down.

I'm not going to go through all the rest of the Hebrew words because the real question is, "Does God make people sick?" And for that answer, we need to go to the New Testament since that is the covenant we're living under now.

As I said, there are 28 different Greek words that have been translated as some form of the word "suffer." In none of them but one did I see anything about God doing something against a person. Most of them mean "allow" or some form thereof. There are references to suffering persecutions, but those aren't from God. And they don't apply to illness at all.

But as I said, there is one instance in the book of Jude.

"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." - Jude 1:7

The word for suffer in that verse is ὑπέχω (hypecho). It means "to hold under." In other words, to be made to endure.

A few things to note:
  1. Sodom and Gomorrha were not Godly places. The Bible clearly lays out the sins they were committing.
  2. Lot and his family were saved from that "suffering." They weren't forced to endure it.
  3. God didn't make them sick. He destroyed them.
Most people who believe God makes them sick use verses that talk about us "suffering" with Christ or "suffering" because of Christ. As I said, though, all of those verses talk about persecutions. Show me a scripture that says Christ got a cold or was afflicted by a disease.

Yes, when we are persecuted by the world, we should praise God that we are counted worthy. Because if the world hates us, that must mean we're one of His!

But no, if you are afflicted by sickness or disease, that is not because you're a Christian and it is not from God.

The Bible says that Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. Every. Single. One.

The Bible also says:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." - James 5:14-15

He didn't say might. He didn't say if it's God's will. (Because it IS God's will!)

And later, he says to "pray one for another, that ye may be healed." (James 5:16)

Does God make people sick? No. Does the devil make us think God makes people sick? He sure tries to. And in some cases, I suppose, he succeeds. But that's only because WE let him!

"Neither give place to the devil." - Ephesians 4:27 (KJV)

So be encouraged, saints of God! You're healing has been provided!

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." - Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)