Psalm 107: 17 Some were sick through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities endured affliction; 18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. 19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress; 20 he sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.
The psalmist names a direct connection between illness and sin, which is interesting. I’ve known some Christians who believe that whenever a person gets sick it’s the result of that person having sinned against God. I’m not ready to go that far, but I don’t dismiss the connection either. It appears in too many places in scripture to be ignored. Seems to me, sickness is a dimension of human mortality which is part of the curse of original sin recorded in Genesis. We also cannot forget the force of evil in our world which attacks people through illness. V.18 says the people “loathed any kind of food” which suggests an intestinal illness of some kind. Yuck!
I also find it interesting that God “sent out his word and healed them”. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I’ve mentioned the creative, generative power of God present in God’s word. Not simply the written word, but the word spoken by people and by God as well. Consider the role of God’s word in creation and the way God’s word dwelled on the earth in flesh and blood through Jesus. In our example above I wonder if God’s word was a word of healing spoken over the people by another human being appointed by God for this purpose (perhaps Moses) or if God spoke the word himself in some way. We can’t know for sure, but it’s clear that God’s word has power for many things, including power to heal.
Heavenly Father your word is present throughout scripture performing works in your name. That word is not dormant today, but continues its work. Today I ask that you would empower all believers to speak words of healing over those who are ill in mind, body, or spirit. For it’s not our own words that matter, but your word let loose in prayer that performs mighty works in your name. We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.