2 Chronicles 30:18-20 Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God–the Lord, the God of his fathers–even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
We don’t usually think of healing in terms of spiritual cleansing, or vice versa, but Hebrew thought is much more holistic than Greek (Western) thinking. Most people today think that associating disease with a need for repentance is superstitious, that we “know better than that.” The more I read the Bible, the more dangerous I think that attitude is. I don’t discount modern medicine by any means, and I am actually pretty well versed in it, since I have been teaching Medical English for many years now. However, I am also aware of the incredible defenses God has built into our bodies. The most promising cancer research today deals with teaching our immune system to recognize cancer cells to take them out, rather than trying to kill those cells with poison (chemotherapy) or radiation. It stands to reason that departing from our Creator’s blueprint for our lives would lay us open to our body’s defenses not being up to par. Repentance is often the most powerful “medicine” anyone can take! All that said, there is nothing in this passage that indicates the people were falling ill. Rather, the king’s prayer was effective “preventive medicine,” providing the purification the people needed so that they wouldn’t be in trouble for celebrating Passover. The world around us is a cesspool of spiritual disease, and we need God’s cleansing in order to be spiritually and physically healthy.
Disease and healing are very much on everyone’s minds these days, with all the uproar about the pandemic. I recognize that the virus is very contagious, and I do my best not to be foolish, but I refuse to live in fear. The only person I knew personally who has died of this was a very strong believer who was a pastor and evangelist, so I know that presumption is dangerous. However, he had a personal history of pneumonia, which medically speaking put him in the at-risk category. I know that he was welcomed to his reward, but I pray for his wife and children, as well as the many others who loved him and are deprived of his physical presence. All of that said, I am far more concerned with people’s spiritual health than I am for their physical health. Physical issues are temporary by definition, but eternity is forever (if you’ll pardon an obvious statement). Jesus is indeed the Great Physician, but I have been called to be on His support staff. I am to teach people “spiritual hygiene” so that they may walk in the health for which they were created. Right now I feel that fear is a worse pandemic than the virus! God has allowed this so as to cause people to cry out to Him, and I am to point the way to true healing, to salvation.
Father, these things come and go, and right now people are uptight about a “second wave,” but eternal salvation is found in You alone. Help me fulfill the function You have for me, drawing many into Your family, Your kingdom, for the eternal life that can be had no other way. Thank You. Hallelujah!