Assorted Lessons for Us Life-long Learners, Pt. 6
Study Guide, September 13, 2020
Pastor Clay Olsen
Recently we have been treated to a special show because Jupiter and Saturn have been on display in the night skies. How many of you have been looking to the skies for that? They are located in the southern skies now. And, how amazing that we can see these planets as clearly as we can without even using any telescopic helps. One reason for that is because of how enormous these planets are, especially Jupiter. Jupiter is 318 times larger than our planet Earth. It’s also the fastest spinning planet. The Earth spins at 1,000 m.p.h., but Jupiter spins at 28,000 miles per hour. So, even as big as it is, its day is only 10 hours long. However, its year is eleven of our years…of Earth’s years. And you know that big red spot that images show us from some of the seven fly-by visits made by spacecraft? Yeah, that big spot on Jupiter is the Goliath of all hurricanes. It is one continuous gigantic storm that would engulf our entire planet. Plus, get this: The Earth has the Moon, but Jupiter has 67 Moons. Why is that? I guess we’ll have to ask God about that.
But one of the coolest features of all about Jupiter that you and I ought to be really thankful about concerns Jupiter’s most important service in space, and especially to our planet, and that is, that it serves as the giant Vacuum Cleaner of our Solar System. That’s right. Due to its massive gravity field it catches and collects space rocks and all kinds of other space debris so that these objects won’t come crashing into our beloved planet. How amazing is that? Jupiter has been taking the hits for us and solving problems for us that we didn’t even know about! So next time you are stargazing, you might just want to give a shout out to good old Jupiter… “Hey Jupiter, Thank you very much!” Really, Thank you Lord!
So, where are we going with this? You know, since we experience life linearly, or within a time scale, we also tend to think about our life linearly, just going from one day to the next, living within one day at a time, and just pretty much thinking about our life like each thing that happens is new to us and pretty much to everyone else. However, what we don’t often think about are all of the amazing things that have been going on behind the scenes in our lives in which our great God has been working on in delivering us, protecting us, guiding us, and providing for us…kind of like how Jupiter has been doing for the Earth, but way…way more, of course.
Take a look at what the Psalmist said about that in Ps 103:1-4 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion.”NASU I often marvel over the way the Psalmist talked to himself like a Coach…a sort of ‘Soul Coach’ to himself. It’s like he was saying, “Self…now listen up. Here’s your next move…Bless the Lord with everything you’ve got. And, Self, don’t forget any of God’s benefits and blessings and things that He has done and is doing for you, like; pardoning all your sins, and healing all your diseases, and redeeming your life from the pit, and crowning you with His lovingkindness and His compassion.” The Psalmist coached his own soul and self and instructed himself on how to think and how to act.
What a great ‘help’ and ‘practice’ for us to follow. A lot of people talk to themselves. Do you talk to yourself? That’s okay. It’s actually pretty normal. But we can also learn to ‘coach ourselves’, coach our souls to think and act in ways that reminds us and reveals to others these great realities about our God; like God’s love and compassion, and God’s countless benefits and blessings, and God’s redeeming work of salvation for us, and God’s ongoing ministry of healing us from all our diseases.
So, yes, how about you and I practice more of this ‘Art of Soul Coaching’; instructing our ‘natural selves’ not to act naturally, but to step it up a notch, and to act ‘super-naturally’, or to think and act according to the truths and realities that God has been doing for us and is doing for us, and then what we should then be doing for God on account of all that He is doing for us!
But back to one of the amazing statements embedded in what the Psalmist said that God has been doing and is doing: “Who heals all your diseases…” How we praise God for His many and His miraculous mercy healings for our lives through the years. But there is even far more to it than that; more than we can even imagine. What do we mean by that? Some parents were meeting with a Doctor about their little girl who was very sick. And the Father stated how surprised he was that a child so young could be that ill. And the Doctor consoled them about it, but then also said: “Actually, when you come to find out just how much the human body is constantly being bombarded with, from bacteria and viruses and contagions all of the time, sickness is not what surprises me. What surprises me is that anyone is well at all!”
How does that change the picture of life on planet Earth? We live in a sick world, and we live on a sick planet. And in a similar way that most Earthlings have no idea about how much they are being protected by Jupiter from the bombardment of space debris, most people have no idea of how much they have been and are being protected by God from the bombardment of so many sicknesses and diseases in their lives day after day, and year after year. The fact is that God has been protecting us and healing us from sicknesses and diseases that we haven’t even known about. Again, praise God for all of the healings and miracles that we have known about, but praise God also for the many healings and miracles that we had no clue about! So again, we can coach our self like the Psalmist and remind our soul: “Soul, bless the Lord! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion.”
So practice this habit of ‘Soul coaching’ that the Psalmist taught us and watch what difference it makes in your attitude and in the experiences of your day to day lives.
But…there is a question in the air, and this question has to do with that one word in that passage in Psalm 103:3- “…Who heals all your diseases.” All? Again, we all know about some of the healings we’ve experienced over the years, thank the Lord. But then we also know about other sicknesses…and know about others with sicknesses who weren’t healed, or are still waiting to be healed. How does that fit into the ‘all our diseases’ of what the Psalmist revealed? And the answer to that is found in the answer to another question: What does it mean that mankind is a ‘mortal being’? What does it mean to be mortal? The standard definition of ‘mortal’ is ‘subject to decay’. But ‘mortal’ means even more than being ‘subject to decay’; for to be ‘mortal’ is to already be in a ‘state of decay’. Mortality is being in ‘a state of decay’. That means ‘sick’! That means ‘not in a condition of complete health at all’. And yet Christians would add: ‘Not in a state of complete health YET!’ That’s because for those who are Christians, for those who are ‘in Christ’, their spirit has already been healed and resurrected to complete spiritual health, and their body is soon to be resurrected to ‘complete physical health’ as well. All healings while in this mortal body are still ‘incomplete’. But one day they will be complete and immortal! And that is also the key to what the Psalmist was talking about.
But again, every living human on Earth is ‘mortal’, and thus is already in a state of decay…some both physically and spiritually. We should clearly understand what the prophet Jeremiah revealed about the heart of man, or the soul of man: Jer 17:9- “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick!” AMP That is the condition of the soul of one who has not yet been born again. But, praise God, for all who have been spiritually born again, they are no longer in a state of decay spiritually…only physically.
Now, note how the Apostle Paul described this condition to the Christians in Corinth, and really to all Christians everywhere on Earth. 2 Cor 4:16- “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” NASU Friends, this ‘decaying process of the outer man’ or ‘the physical body’ is the present reality for every human being. But again, praise God, it is not the only reality for the child of God, for each of us who have been spiritually raised up, spiritually resurrected, our inner man, our spiritual self is not only being renewed day by day and will live forever, but even this mortal body will one day be transformed into an immortal body. Notice what the Apostle revealed about that: 1 Cor 15:53-55- “For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”NLT
Are you totally looking forward to your new resurrected body that will be immortal and will never die, as well as it will be so amazing that we can’t even imagine all of the new talents and abilities we will have to enjoy in our immortal bodies forever? Oh yeah!
But again, we need to be clear about what the Scriptures are revealing to us about the present state of the mortal body. Everyone on Earth has a terminal illness called ‘mortality’. Paul informed us that our bodies ‘are dying’. By God’s mercy and grace, our dying bodies will be transformed into bodies that will never die, but the fact remains: These mortal bodies of ours are dying. What we call ‘death’ is just the completion of the dying process. It’s like Dr. Norman Geisler said before he went home to Heaven when he was asked if he was dying. He said: “We’re all dying. It’s just a matter of when.” That is the Biblical reality of what mortality means.
So when it comes to sickness and disease, to clarify the human condition, the root disease is mortality…everything else is a symptom of mortality. Every named sickness, every named disease is actually a symptom of the root disease of mortality. Which, again, is a key to what the Psalmist was talking about. For ‘mortality’ is ‘the process of decay’. So even when we experience healings of individualized sicknesses or compounded diseases, they are not the root illness; mortality is the root disease that became that way due to the presence of sin in the world, which is what brought death to the physical body of mankind and separation from God in the soul of mankind. Rom 5:12- “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. NASU
This is the bigger picture behind sickness and disease that most of the world does not understand. For instance: What does the word ‘disease’ mean anyway? The word ‘disease’ means ‘a condition of abnormal functioning’. ‘Mortality’ itself is ‘a condition of abnormal functioning’, for remember; God did not create mankind to be mortal. Mortality is not normal functioning in God’s plan and design for mankind. Immortality is normal functioning in God’s plan. God created mankind to be immortal and to live with Him forever. But when sin entered the world of mankind, so did this ‘condition of abnormal functioning’, this diseased state of mortality. And ever since sin entered the world, ever since mortality entered the physical body, every sickness and disease has been a symptom of the root disease of mortality.
So back to the Psalmist’s statement: “Bless the Lord O my soul, who heals us from all our diseases.” This includes the diseases we know about that God has healed us from, and all those that we didn’t know about that God has protected us from and healed us from, and especially this ultimate disease of our mortality; this dying, decaying, condition of mortality that He will ultimately heal us from with the ultimate healing that we receive when we are delivered from this disease of mortality. The ultimate healing is the deliverance from mortality. Plus, God not only delivers us from this ‘condition of abnormal functioning’ or mortality, He also surgically removes that old nature from our soul; that ‘condition of abnormal functioning’ of the sin nature. And we are escorted into the land of Heaven and into ‘a condition of perfect functioning’; perfect functioning of the spirit and perfect functioning of the body when God clothes us with a body of immortality. Oh yes, we will be healed of ‘all our diseases’!
Brothers and Sisters, remind yourself, coach yourself: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all my iniquities, Who heals all my diseases; and one day from even that source of all my diseases, my mortality…because He has redeemed my life from the pit, and has crowned me with lovingkindness and compassion and eternal life.”