Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!
(Psalms 103, 2 Timothy 1:9, Exodus 15, Romans 12)
Introduction: How important is your health? Would you like to wake up every morning feeling great? If money is any gauge, I have read that in the United States alone over two trillion dollars (trillion, not billion) is spent each year on our health. Does God care about our health? Is there a connection between righteousness and health? Do we have an obligation to God to do our best to stay healthy? Let's dive into our new series of studies to see what the Bible has to say about health!
- Reasons for Praise
- Read Psalms 103:1. What does it mean to praise God with our "inmost being?" (This is not superficial praise. This is praising God from our core - from deep inside.)
- Read Psalms 103:2. I often hear people say we should praise God "because of who He is." What additional reason does the Psalmist give us to praise God? (He gives us benefits! This seems a selfish reason to give praise, but it is natural (and easy) to praise someone who helps us.)
- Read Psalms 103:3-5. What is the Psalmist describing? (The previously mentioned benefits that God gives us!)
- Let's list these benefits. (Forgiveness of sin. Healing disease. Pulling us out of a pit. Giving us love and compassion. Satisfying our desires with good things. Giving us youth.)
- As you look at this list, do any of these benefits have anything to do with health? (Yes! Giving us a youthful feeling and getting rid of our diseases.)
- Do you attach any importance to the fact that when the Psalmist lists our benefits he lists the forgiveness of sins first and healing of diseases second? (Eternal life is logically more important than life on earth.)
- Let's look at these two benefits - forgiving our sins and healing us from disease - in more detail.
- Praise for Forgiveness of Sin
- Read 2 Timothy 1:9. When did God formulate His plan to fix our sin problem? (Before the beginning of time. Before the beginning of our existence.)
- What does this suggest about God's thinking when He created us? (He created us with the knowledge that we might reject Him.)
- Assume you are a parent and your child has rejected you. If you could turn back time and not have this child born, would you do it? (A parent who says, "I would have this child anyway" shows incredible love. Our God has shown incredible love to us.)
- Read Ephesians 2:8-10. Do we deserve to have our sins forgiven and eternal life? (No. It is a gift from God, and not the result of our works. However, we have been created to do good works.)
- Now we understand why the Psalmist in Psalms 103:3 praises God for forgiving our sins.
- Praise God for Healing Disease and Giving Us Youth
- Read Exodus 15:26. What connection is there between obeying God and sickness? (God says that if we obey, he will not bring the diseases on us that He brought on the Egyptians.)
- Does this mean that when we get sick it is because we sinned? (Perhaps.)
- What does the book of Job teach us about this subject? (Job's "friends" were telling him that he was sick and suffering because he had not been obeying God. But, we know from the first chapter of Job that God told Satan that Job was "blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." Job 1:8.)
- What should we conclude from Job and Exodus 15:26 about the origin of illness? (Sometimes we get sick because we have not followed God and sometimes we get sick because we have followed God. In addition, our common sense tells us that sometimes we get sick simply because we live in a sin-filled world.)
- Let's look again at the last few words of Exodus 15:26: "I am the Lord, who heals you." Is there both a negative and positive involvement of God in our health? (God seems to say He is a healing God. That is His normal attribute, the positive side of health. However, He also brings diseases on the disobedient. God is involved in our health in both a positive and negative way.)
- Read Jeremiah 7:22-23. Could God have just given the people commands about worshiping Him? (Of course. This is the way people viewed pagan gods.)
- What else did God do for us? (God is not just seeking our worship, He is seeking to have a relationship with us. He wants our lives to go well - and for that reason He has given us a series of commands. This is the positive side of obedience, the "healing" side.)
- What examples do we see of this in the Bible? (If you skim over Leviticus chapters 11-15 you will find numerous regulations that God gave Moses to keep the people healthy and disease-free.)
- Read Proverbs 3:7-8. Avoiding arrogance, fearing God, shunning evil: do these have any obvious connection to health and strong bones? (This suggests a connection between spiritual health and physical health. This seems more than the idea of God putting diseases on us as a judgment or a test, or healing us as a blessing. There is some inherent connection between righteousness and health. The natural result of obedience is a strong and healthy body.)
- Praise Sacrifice
- Read Romans 12:1. I thought Jesus was the Lamb of God who died to take away our sins. Why are we sacrifices?
- Let's work through this problem. What is the reason for us to be sacrifices? ("In view of God's mercy." This is a reference to the mercy Jesus showed us by dying for our sins. As His followers, we need to have the same sacrificial attitude.)
- How is our sacrifice different from that of Jesus? (We are a "living" sacrifice. I'll choose that over being a "dead" sacrifice!)
- How is this worship? (As part of our worship to a God who gave His life for us, we make some sacrifices.)
- Now for the tough question, what kind of sacrifice are we talking about? What does it mean for you to "offer" your "body" as a "living sacrifice?"
- Read Romans 12:2. What does this suggest is the answer to the prior question? (Our "sacrifice" is to conform to God's will and not the will of the world.)
- Romans 12:1 referred to our body and this refers to our mind. Are both involved in this living sacrifice? (Clearly, there is a physical component to this. A healthy body reflecting a positive relationship with God is part of the "sacrifice." Our actions begin with attitudes of our minds. We need to present a total sacrifice: mind and body!)
- Is health a part of this? (The parallel seems to be a renewed mind and renewed body. These reflect our total worship of God.)
- All sorts of people worship their body. This is one of the main goals of our age. Is that what is being discussed here? (The text warns us about conforming to the pattern of the world. Instead, our worship is a mind and body reflecting the greatness of our God.)
- Friend, if you have not thought about the relationship between health and spirituality, if you have not thought about taking care of your body as part of your worship of God, will you consider it today? Why not commit today to asking God to help you renew not only your mind, but also your body as part of your "living sacrifice?"
- Next week: The Power of Choice.