Journal Entry February 24, 2006

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And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take away sickness from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, or be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfill. Exodus 23:25-26
 
Loosely (but accurately) paraphrased, Exodus 23:25-26 says, when we serve the Lord (key-word "serve"), we will not be hungry, thirsty, sick, unhealthy or die before our time.

He Brought Us Out...
That He Might Bring Us In
 
No one is brought into the promised land unless they are first brought out of Egypt.
 
...that it might be well with thee... that thou mayest go in to possess the good land... to cast out all thine enemies...
 
No one gets to live peacefully in the promised land without first casting out all their enemies.
 
Only when this happens, can we possess the good land.
 
The Bible says, "The curse causeless does not come."
 
In dealing with strongholds, the first thing that must be understood is that they are caused by something.
 
That something is sin.
 
When Jesus walked the earth, his earthly people, the Jews, still understood this concept.
 
We see an example of this in the scene where his disciples were asking him about why a certain man had been blind from birth (John 9:2).
 
They boldly asked, "Who caused this malady by sinning, this man or his parents?"
 
Well, it so happened, in this particular case, that a sinful stronghold was not the cause of this man's blindness.
 
It was part of God's sovereign plan, from the beginning, to get glory from healing this man--however, we need to understand that is not always (or even usually) the case.
 
Jesus did not rebuke his disciples for asking such a stupid question, because it was not a stupid question.
 
It was a scriptural question. 
 
It was the logical conclusion for any Israelite to come to--if they knew the scriptures.
 
They had promises, in the Word of God, that if they love the Lord with all their hearts and serve the Lord, that they would eat the good of the land, and also they would not be hungry, thirsty, sick or die before their time (Exodus 23:25-26). They also had warnings in the scriptures that sickness would be the guaranteed result of sin.
 
The scriptural correlation between sin and sickness is absolutely irrefutable.
 
New Testament Christians have the same promises. We are told in Hebrews that we have an even better covenant built on better promises than the Israelites had.
 
They had an amazing covenant and amazing promises.
 
Nowhere in scripture do we read where those conditional promises have never been made void.
 
The warning is confirmed in the New Covenant as well. Do we not read in the New Testament where Paul warned the Corinthian Christians that many were sick among them, and even dead, as a direct result of sin in regards to their casual treatment of The Lord's Supper.
 
Do we not read in the gospels where Jesus said, "What's the difference? saying your sins are forgiven, or rise up and walk?"
 
How many times did Jesus heal someone or cast out a devil and leave them with the warning, "go and sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you?"
 
The bottom line is this, even though we do find scriptural exceptions to the rule--cases where God has ordained a person to be afflicted in order to gain glory from the affliction by healing them or some other reason (his thoughts are higher than our thoughts). They are exactly that, exceptions, not the rule.
 
Most sickness is caused by sin or strongholds of infirmity--the scriptures are clear on that. 
 
Jesus healed woman who had been bound by Satan...
 
Her sickness had been directly caused by a spirit of infirmity, and no medical procedure was ever going to heal her.
 
Had she not been set free from this vicious spirit, she would have suffered her entire life and died without ever knowing a day of health from the day the affliction set in.
 
Did Jesus tell her to go and sin no more like he did to others he healed?
 
No.
 
The Bible does not say what brought on her infirmity, other than the fact that it was a direct work of Satan, so we cannot speculate.
 
But all sickness is a work of the devil, and Jesus said he came to destroy the work of the devil. So let's not cop out and accept the devil's work just because we get weary in the fight or don't necessarily understand what is happening to us.
 
In breaking strongholds of any kind, sin must be exposed, dealt with and repented of. There is no way to get around this.
 
And, yes, just like Jesus' disciples said, it could be our parents sin, or grandparents sin that is causing us some difficulty in getting free from certain strongholds (generational sins and curses are found in scripture--it would be very foolish of us to ignore this fact).
 
O that there were such an heart in them that they would fear me and keep my commandments always.
 
That it might be well with them and with their children... forever!
 
Isn't that promise worth putting some effort into gaining? Isn't that promise worth giving up anything God may ask us to?
 
Jesus said if we put anything ahead of him--including husbands, wives and even children, we are not worthy of him.
 
That's a hard saying. He left us with no loopholes or excuses.
 
If that is the case, lesser loves, attachments and traditions that come between us and Jesus have to go.
 
Jesus harshly rebuked those who placed traditions ahead of the Word of God--and we see from the example of scripture what a strong hold these traditions had on those who refused to give them up. They traded their souls for them.
 
O that there were such an heart in them that they would fear me and keep my commandments always.
That it might be well with them and with their children... forever!
 
But we are no longer under the law of Moses, so exactly which commandments are we supposed to be keeping so we can live peacefully and free from strongholds?
 
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, creator of all things answered this question for us in the last chapter of Matthew, when he told his disciples to go preach and teach all nations to observe all things he commanded them.
 
He specifically said that all of the law and all of the prophets hinged on the first and greatest commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind." The second, he said, was like unto the first, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
 
That was saying a lot. And we can spend a lot of time learning what this means.
 
Jeremiah was told that he would be building and planting. That's a good thing.
 
But what needed to be done first?
 
The Dirty Work
 
There was a need to first root out, pull down, destroy and throw down...very unpleasant business.
 
When it comes to The Promised Land, we all love to hear about the "being brought in" part, but few of us will tolerate either the hearing about or the effort involved in, the "being brought out" part.
 
But we cannot have the one without the other.

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Mark 8:27

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