The Lord Showed Him A Tree - Part V
— “And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there He proved them.”
The Scripture says, “The waters were made sweet.” This means that the Lord can turn the bitterness in your heart and life into that which is sweet. In fact, He alone can do this.
As you read these words, you may think that such is beyond reach. Well, it is beyond our reach as it regards our own personal strength; however, it’s definitely not beyond the reach of our Lord. In fact, this is not something that He has to do in the future. He has already healed the bitterness in your heart, and all you have to do is simply appropriate it by faith in the manner in which we have described to you.
Some may ask the question, “Will everything change immediately?”
There will definitely be a change immediately in your heart and life as you begin to realize, as the Spirit bears witness with your spirit, that you are now on the right track; however, it may take some time for the healing to be complete. Actually, the very word healing refers to a process.
However, the truth is, you are now on the right road, and while everything may not change immediately as it regards the situation, whatever it is, it will definitely ultimately change, even though it may do so little by little. Then again, regarding bitterness, the change may happen immediately with some. It has with untold thousands, and it may very well happen with you.
But that’s not the point. The point is, Jesus has already healed these bitter waters, and once your faith is anchored firmly in Him and what He did at the Cross, ever making that the object of your faith, you are guaranteed victory (Rom. 8:1-2, 11).
THE STATUTE AND THE ORDINANCE
The phrase, “There He made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there He proved them,” refers to the promise of the next verse.
The words “proved them” refers to the testing of their faith. Regrettably, they didn’t come out too well, but rather murmured and complained against Moses. However, God is merciful and gracious and didn’t overthrow them, just as He is merciful and gracious to us. Thank God He is, or we wouldn’t be here.
“And said, If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD your God, and will do that which is right in His sight, and will give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD who heals you” (Ex. 15:26).
We learn several things from this verse of Scripture.
The Lord told Israel, and all of us, as well, that we must keep “all His commandments and statutes.” He didn’t say “some,” but rather “all.”
Now, the truth is, no human being has ever done this, other than Christ. So, this means that in the sight of God, we are shot down, so to speak, before we even begin.
To receive the benefits of the Cross, I am obligated to do this which He commands. These are the conditions, and they will not be altered. So, what am I to do?
I am to understand that my salvation and my victory don’t lie within my own perfection or the lack thereof. So, if all of this is not in me, where is it?
All that I need is in Christ. Our Lord has kept every single commandment and statute. He has done so impeccably and has done so all of the time, and He did it all for us. He is my substitute and my representative man (I Cor. 15:45-50). My trust and faith in Him grants to me all of His victory, and does so automatically and immediately.
GOD DOESN’T GIVE VICTORY TO MEN, ONLY TO CHRIST
This is where we make our mistake. We think, in essence, that He is giving victory to us. While we certainly are recipients of victory, or whatever, it is not actually to us that all of this is given. It is to Christ. God blesses Christ, and our faith in Him grants us all the blessings that He has been given. All the victory is in Christ, and my faith in Him, and my faith in Him alone, grants me His victory.In fact, this is the idea of the entire salvation process. It is all in Christ, or it is nothing at all!
Therefore, I can stand before the Lord and honestly say that through Christ and in Christ, I have kept every single commandment and statute. I sense greatly the presence of the Lord, even as I dictate these words.
Listen again to Paul: “And you are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:10).
And then again: “That you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12).
The phrase, “I will put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians,” proclaims the fact that the Lord is in charge of all things.
While sickness and disease originated with the fall in the garden of Eden and has come upon the human race because of sin, this is all because of a decree from the Lord.
Some Christians act as though the Lord answers to the Devil. It’s the other way around. Satan answers to God! In other words, whatever it is that Satan wants to do, he can do only as the Lord gives him permission to do so. To be sure, he is not running loose, but is rather subject to the Lord at all times (Job, Chpts. 1-2).
Because of the idol worship of the Egyptians, the Lord caused certain diseases to come upon them. It is no different presently!
When men ignore God, they reap the results of their actions. While the Lord may use Satan as an instrument, which He often does, still, it is the Lord who does the directing in all things.
The Lord can withhold blessings, and He can bestow blessings. It is all predicated upon the individual and whether our faith is properly in Christ and the Cross or otherwise! Even then, our faith must be tested, and great faith must be tested greatly.
THE HEALING POWER OF GOD
The phrase, “For I am the LORD who heals you,” proclaims the fact that He is the healer, and He alone is the healer. The name LORD in the Hebrew, as used here, is actually Jehovah-Ropheka, which means “Jehovah, the healer.” So, the Lord revealed Himself here to Moses and to the children of Israel in a more graphic way. He was telling them that He was now their healer. What a comfort that must have been!
Let the reader understand that while, in fact, they were in a wilderness, and it was unpleasant to say the least, this is where God would reveal Himself to His people even in a more advanced way. They had known Him as the deliverer; now they knew Him as the healer as well!
Let the reader also understand that as this promise was given to Moses and the children of Israel some 3,600 years ago, it is still just as appropriate now as it was then. God does not change simply because He cannot change, and we refer to His attributes. Whatever blessing He promised then, He promises now and, in fact, will ever do so.
A PERSONAL HEALING
The promise of healing is very real to me on a personal basis. If I remember correctly, the year was 1945, which means that I was 10 years old.
I had some type of physical problem, which the doctors did not seem to be able to find. My parents, in fact, took me to several doctors, but all to no avail. They ruled out malaria, plus other things, and seemed not to be able to come to a satisfactory diagnosis.
I stayed nauseated constantly and would at times go unconscious. Actually, I passed out several times at school. The last time it happened, the principal told my parents when they were called to come and get me, “Something is going to have to be done for Jimmy. And if something is not done, you’re going to have to take him out of school.” The principal then said, “We don’t want him dying on our hands.”
That’s how critical that it was, and regrettably, the doctors, as stated, did not seem to be able to help.
I had been anointed with oil and prayed for any number of times by our pastor and others in our church but, seemingly, to no avail. However, of the following, I am very thankful.
I’m so glad that we attended a church where the pastor believed that Jesus Christ still healed the sick. Had I not been a part of such a church, I probably would not be alive today, for I believe that Satan was trying to kill me.
On the particular day in question, the day of my healing, it was a Sunday, and service had just ended. My parents were taking the pastor and his wife out to lunch. Of course, my baby sister and I were among the group.
Before going to lunch, they were to go by the home of one of the members of the church, who had been ill and had not been able to be in service that morning. They lived in a very humble dwelling, and I remember us going to the bedroom, which was at the back, and the pastor laying hands on the dear brother and praying for him.
As everyone walked back toward the front of the house, all of us stopped in the front room, in fact, bidding the lady of the house goodbye and saying something encouraging to her about her husband who was ill.
I was standing near the door, with the pastor standing behind me and my dad to his left. This scene is forever freeze-framed in my mind.
THE ANOINTING OIL
Dad said to the pastor, “Brother Culbreth, anoint Jimmy with oil and pray for him.” He further added, “If the Lord doesn’t do something for him, we’re going to have to take him out of school.”
Brother Culbreth was standing there with a little bottle of oil in his hand, with which he had just anointed the brother for whom he had come to pray. He smiled and walked toward me. He turned the bottle of oil upside-down, whereas a small amount was released onto his finger, and he anointed my head and began to pray.
Now, as stated, he had done this any number of times in the past few months. So, the question could be asked, “Why didn’t the Lord heal me the other times?” I really don’t have the answer to that, and I don’t think anyone else does. We could probably say that He was testing our faith, and possibly that is so, but as a 10-year-old child, I didn’t know that much about faith, but I did know that the Lord was the healer.
I think there are many questions that we have as it regards the Lord and the how of His doing of things. The Lord’s ways are not our ways, but this I do know, which the Bible teaches: It teaches that Jesus Christ is still the healer (I Pet. 2:24). As well, the Lord taught us that if we don’t get the answer at first, we are to keep knocking (Lk. 11:5-13).
A BALL OF FIRE
The moment the pastor anointed me with oil, he at the same time began to pray, along with all others in the room. And then it happened!
I felt something like a hot ball of fire start at the top of my head and then slowly go down through the entirety of my body, even down to my feet. I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was healed. I knew that I would never have that sickness again, and that’s exactly what happened. I’ve never had that problem again, not in any capacity.
Does this mean that everyone who truly receives healing from the Lord will experience a heat-like feeling go through their physical body? No, it doesn’t, but some few do! We could ask the question, “Does God always heal according to our faith?” In other words, is the amount of faith we have always the barometer?
No, it isn’t! While faith is certainly required, to be sure, the Lord is not sitting up in Heaven, refusing to heal us because we need five percent more faith. Such thinking is silly, but unfortunately, many preachers teach such error.
I cannot honestly answer why the Lord sometimes heals and sometimes doesn’t. I cannot answer why we are prayed for several times for the same problem and receive no healing, and then seemingly out of the blue, just as the Lord did with me, prayer is answered, and we are healed.
THE LORD IS A MIRACLE WORKER
All I know is this: the Lord is still in the healing business. In fact, He is still in the miracle-working business as well! While He doesn’t always heal, I thank God for the times He does heal.
While I’m on the subject, I think it might be proper to make a few statements regarding some of the modern claims that are made as it respects healing and miracles.
As should be obvious, the Lord receives no glory out of false claims. As well, the preacher pronouncing people as healed when there is no physical evidence that such has occurred, once again, doesn’t bring glory to God. The problem is, almost all of these people treated thusly are, in fact, not healed.
It hurts the cause of Christ for a preacher before thousands of people to announce to that congregation that the dear soul standing before him, who, incidentally, is dying with cancer, is healed when there is, in fact, no physical proof. Almost every time, those people, at least those of my acquaintance, have died. And yet, it seems that the church asks few questions because they have been taught that to question such a preacher about such practices constitutes rebellion. In fact, it is actually taught that such individuals are above question.
NO PERSON IS ABOVE QUESTION
When preachers put themselves in such a position — and it is for certain that they have put themselves there because the Lord surely hasn’t — such is a sure sign that what they are doing is not of God. Any and every believer, providing they are in a right spirit, has the scriptural right to question what is done, that is, if it doesn’t seem to be proper. Any true preacher of the gospel will welcome such scrutiny.
In fact, it is my belief that being prayed for by such preachers, whomever they might be, not only doesn’t help the individual in question but, in fact, can cause greater sickness.
Listen to what Paul said: “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord (the Lord’s Supper), unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep” (I Cor. 11:27-30).
NOT PROPERLY DISCERNING THE LORD’S BODY
Paul has made some serious charges here. He has said that if we do not properly discern the Lord’s body, sickness can be the result, and even premature death. Even though such a person will not lose his soul, he will definitely have his life shortened. In fact, he used the term many sleep, which should give us pause for thought.
When he spoke of believers being “guilty of the body and blood of the Lord,” he was meaning that such a believer was not properly “discerning the Lord’s body.”
For the believer to properly discern the Lord’s body is to understand that everything he has from the Lord has come to him solely and completely through the Cross of Christ on which Jesus died.
All of this means that our faith must be exclusively in Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross.
HOW DOES ALL THIS TRANSLATE?
It means that if the preacher who prays for you isn’t basing all that he does on the sacrifice of Christ, in other words, the Cross, he very well could be functioning with “another spirit,” and, in fact, it is just about guaranteed that he is functioning accordingly (II Cor. 11:4). While thousands in the church are clamoring for some particular preacher to lay hands on them, the truth is, oftentimes, instead of bringing healing, it brings the very opposite.
Despite all of this, and we speak of the false claims, etc., the Lord is still the healer. The believer is encouraged by the Word of God to ardently seek the Lord as it regards our needs, irrespective as to what they might be, and He has promised, in His own way, to answer (Lk. 11:5-13).
TWELVE WELLS OF WATER AND SEVENTY PALM TREES
“And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters” (Ex.15:27).
This passage carries a spiritual significance of what was to come in the future. Even though Israel would not have seen it then, looking back, we can see it now.
First of all, the “twelve wells of water” spoke of the twelve apostles who would be chosen by Christ, and on which, in a sense, the new covenant would be built.
The Scripture says: “Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto a holy temple in the Lord: In whom you also are built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22).
TWELVE AND SEVENTY
The “twelve wells of water,” symbolizing the “twelve apostles,” also symbolize the government of God, for the number of government is 12. There were 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles, and the city, New Jerusalem, is 12,000 furlongs square. As well, it has a wall with 12 foundations, on which are written the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. The wall is pierced by 12 gates, with 12 angels standing at the 12 gates. As stated, 12 portrays the government of God. That government is based on apostles and prophets, whose callings continue unto this hour.
The 70 palm trees are symbolic of ministry, which must be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.
The Scripture tells us that Jesus “appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come” (Lk. 10:1).
Luke added to that by saying, “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils (demons) are subject unto us through Your name” (Lk. 10:17).
The phrase, “And they encamped there by the waters,” signals the place in which the believer is to rest. If we pitch our tent “there,” so to speak, this will be according to the Word of God, and in the midst of this weary world, we will find relaxation, joy, peace, and serenity. This is that of which Jesus was speaking when He said, “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat. 11:28).
As long as the doctrine is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, which speaks of the foundation - typed by the “twelve wells of water” - and the ministry - typed by the “threescore and ten palm trees” - Christ will be found in all His glory and will be to the believer what He desires to be.