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 (James 5:14-15)
The Lord promised that "in this world you will have tribulation (or trouble), but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b). How does someone do that when the enemies of God are systematically destroying His people....when many are losing hope....when the numbers of "nones" (those who believe in nothing) grow exponentially....etc. etc..
These are the Biblical end times which are in view, primarily, to those who are saved and called by Christ into the Kingdom. We are seeing a plethora of incurable diseases, deadly viruses and inexplicable things all around us. Cancer is on the rise due to the many different things - lifestyle, quality of food and environment etc. In fact, if you act even the dearest Christian, there seems to be a sense of resignation and defeat.
This is both understandable and wrong at the same time. We see an exhortation from James here which is hardly called upon, in times of need, even by those who call themselves strong believers.....and that includes pastors. On average, you hear pastoral prayers about "Lord heal so and so, touch brother X, remember sister Y....etc.." But is there the strong biblical prayer system for healing, whether Body, Soul or Mind, which lines up with James 5:14, 15? Not really! This sort of healing and restoration requires Faith and Trust in the Promise AND persistence in prayer.
Too many modern seminaries, and thus, the pastors they put out, have removed the spirit of this Scripture which says that such faith for healing, anointing with oil and restoration "is only for Bible times" and not now! I have heard that so many times, I don't even listen to it anymore. Because the Living Word who abides in the Christian testifies that the entire Word of God - all 66 books - are for now and for you and I. Therefore, even if the elders don't pray for the church and the sick as they should - YOU DO IT!
To drive home that point, the Lord gave us the account of the man of God - Elijah - who was sent to a place of famine and a poor woman in Zarephath.
Read the full account here from the flowing narrative of God's Word Translation:
8 Then the Lord spoke his word to Elijah: 9 “Get up, go to Zarephath (which belongs to Sidon), and stay there. I’ve commanded a widow there to feed you.”
10 He got up and went to Zarephath. As he came to the town’s entrance, a widow was gathering wood. He called to her, “Please bring me a drink of water.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her again, “Please bring me a piece of bread too.” 12 She said, “I solemnly swear, as the Lord your God lives, I didn’t bake any bread. I have one handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I’m gathering wood. I’m going to prepare something for myself and my son so that we can eat it and then die.”
13 Then Elijah told her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home, and do as you’ve said. But first make a small loaf and bring it to me. Then prepare something for yourself and your son. 14 This is what the Lord God of Israel says: Until the Lord sends rain on the land, the jar of flour will never be empty and the jug will always contain oil.” 15 She did what Elijah had told her. So she, Elijah, and her family had food for a long time. 16 The jar of flour never became empty, and the jug always contained olive oil, as the Lord had promised through Elijah....1 Kings 17:7-16 (GNT)
Notice the parallel to a life of belief, faith and therefore, TRUST:
The RED HIGHLIGHT from verses 10-11 “Please bring me a drink of water.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her again, “Please bring me a piece of bread too.”
Elijah was repeating the Word of the Lord to the widow of Zarephath, just as James is telling us that if we are sick, go to the elders. God gave the widow the following commands:
- Bring me a drink....even though I know you're thirsty and there is famine and drought in the land (Sacrificial prayer.....what are YOU willing to surrender to Christ to be in the center of His Perfect Will through obedience?)
- Bring me a piece of bread too....even though I know you have nothing and are about to die because of this famine, caused by the disobedience of others. Noteworthy here is the condition of the saint. We are not exempt sometimes when the Lord judges a place, as He judged Israel then and the even harsher judgment coming to America for its rebellion against God. This is what Jesus meant by tribulation. This walk with Christ through life is not meant to be easy and woe to those who deceive with the health, wealth and prosperity gospel!
This is proven by the BLUE HIGHLIGHT and the words of the poor widow “I solemnly swear, as the Lord your God lives, I didn’t bake any bread. I have one handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I’m gathering wood. I’m going to prepare something for myself and my son so that we can eat it and then die.” (Verse 12).
The prayer application for us here is this - simply go to the Lord, explain your case and do it over and over (persistent prayer). You say, "well, God knows what I need....why should I have to pray?" God does know what we need and we pray because He desires fellowship with His Elect. We all come from families, whether large or small. How can we live in our homes in peace, joy and contentment if we do not speak to our moms, wives, dads, brothers sisters and cousins?! It is the same thing with the Lord, our Heavenly Father! He is called Abba which in English is the equivalent of "Daddy"! We present our case to Him in humility, fear, trembling but we also present to Him in anticipation and the STRONG belief that He hears and will heal, reveal and not conceal!
The great result of this tremendous, dynamic and ever growing faith is found here in the GREEN HIGHLIGHT: “Don’t be afraid. Go home, and do as you’ve said. But first make a small loaf and bring it to me. Then prepare something for yourself and your son. 14 This is what the Lord God of Israel says: Until the Lord sends rain on the land, the jar of flour will never be empty and the jug will always contain oil.”
Look at what the man of God (and therefore GOD) says:
-DO NOT BE AFRAID! Do not be afraid to ask and believe and trust in Him to do what He says, even in the darkest hour!
- GO HOME! What? You mean, leave my burdens and cares and some Cross I can't see and under some "Blood" that I only read about being shed for me? Yes, doubting Thomas - Go home! Go and rest and abide in the fact that you can have peace, joy, contentment, hope and victory from the One Who already won it at the same Cross you doubt it and because ye doubt, ye have not the answer ye seek! Go home simply means - DO YOU BELIEVE ME, JESUS...DO YOU BELIEVE I CAN DO IT? YES I CAN...NOW GO YOUR WAY - YOU ARE HEALED! Such amazing faith in His Amazing Grace is such a sweet sweet sound, to a wretch like me that I don't deserve what verse 14 says: Until the Lord sends rain on the land, the jar of flour will never be empty and the jug will always contain oil.
That simply means - until the Lord Jesus returns for us, calls us home or either one or the other, I will live in that promise, my cup runneth over, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever....to the praise and glory of His Name. Saint, be of good cheer, because we pray....because we TRUST! Amen!
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