After reading Psalm 73, several thoughts hit me strongly–Richard Duke
And SEE below: William Tyndale, October 2, 1528:
Psalm 73 (in part)
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.[a]
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity[b];
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
I remember Derek Prince describing the greatest healing and demon deliverance service that he ever witnessed, where he was the minister in charge of the service. This involved a healing service in Pakistan, as I remember.
At that healing service, he was completely and absolutely miserable because he had a rash on almost his entire body, which he did not disclose to anyone at the healing service. This healing service involved thousands of people. In addition to the extreme heat, he had to wear a suit. He never witnessed such a powerful deliverance and healing service in his life. Yet, God did not heal Derek Prince of this rash!
I thought of some of my dad’s words, who was a retired pastor and business owner (jewelry store). My dad had polio as a child, resulting in a shortened and smaller leg, and this caused him to see another side to healing and other subjects. My dad also had to drop out of school after the tenth grade because his family was poor, yet he became a successful business owner, as well as a pastor.
My dad taught me that a good time for a healing service is when the pastor or other person in charge is also not feeling well. When that pastor/person in charge of the healing service is not feeling well, he will not say the same things to his congregation or audience that he says when he is feeling well. Failure to have balance from the scriptures may make the mind—the battleground—more susceptible to deceit, manipulation or control by satan.
My dad taught the same thing about money.
The best time for a pastor or other person to talk about money may be when he or his family members have financial problems. If he has financial problems, he will not say the same thing to his congregation or audience that he says when he has no money problems.
In other words, balance is missing in most sermons, healing services, etc. My dad, Derek Prince and I see the necessity of balance. Please continue reading for the meaning of “balance.”
Derek Prince said that in healing and deliverance services, scripture about obedience and fear of the Lord and healing are quoted but no scriptures regarding the attack of Satan and his angels and demons are quoted or discussed. Yet, these attacks are real and can and do sometimes result in sickness to believers.
Satan is not attacking nonbelievers—those discussed in Psalm 73 who are “free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.” (Please note that an unbeliever and not a nonbeliever. An unbeliever was previously a believer.) Please also note that in Psalm 73 it does not say that circumstances will get better for the believers but says: “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” The foregoing quote makes no mention of matters getting better after learning in the sanctuary, including the body getting better, but it says that he learned the ultimate destination of the non-believers.
Believers are appropriately shown from the scriptures that being a believer may not lead to an easy life. Scriptures state that attacks will come from Satan and his minions. But at healing services, the verses read or referred to generally are about health and healing.
Other verses state that you may be under attack. The Bible states that because Jesus suffered, we must arm ourselves, likewise, to also suffer. Which it is it? Is it health and long life, or sickness and attacks on the body or sufferings? It is both; and the lack of balance of words can be dangerous.
So, when sitting in a service and hearing only scriptures about peace and prosperity, how do certain members of the congregation feel if they are under financial attack?
The first thought is: I must not be obedient and must not fear the Lord. This is exactly what Satan wants us to feel and think because he has used the scriptures to make us think “I must not be …” and that makes us think it is about us and not God.
So, what if you are sitting in a healing service and you are hearing verses about healing, health and long life but you are not feeling well?
Your mind may say: I must not be obedient and/or not fearing the Lord. Thus, it can result in being all about you—exactly what Satan wants. The lack of balance of scriptures results in only focusing on the subject being discussed, such as healing or prosperity, etc. But there are totally opposite scriptures regarding attacks on the body, wealth, prosperity, etc. The battleground is in the mind and Satan can attack that mind when scriptures are not read or heard in balance.
Practicing lawyers may best understand that lack of balance can lead to confusion. For trial lawyers (not my area of practice), the plaintiff’s lawyer knows that different principles and positions will come from the defendant’s lawyer. From an international tax lawyer such as me, no matter how clear the position may be to me, I know that the IRS can and will take another position.
As a lawyer, I am aware of the scriptures about health and healing, long life and prosperity but I am also aware of the scriptures that say you will be attacked and you must arm yourself to suffer. 1 Peter 4:1.
The Bible says we are called to suffer.
1 Peter 2:21. The Bible says that, God as author of our salvation, was made perfect through suffering. Hebrews 5:9; 2:10. The Bible also says: God will heal; and Satan will attack the body. God will provide prosperity; and Satan will attack prosperity. Failure to have balance from the scriptures may make the mind—the battleground—more susceptible to deceit, manipulation or control by Satan.
In addition, when a person is in a healing service, as an example, he must consider the following with respect to his faith:
1. am I being pruned by God (for maturity and growth);
2. am I being tested;
3. or am I being chastised for sin or trespassing?
The answer to that question directly affects your faith about healing.
But even faith about healing may not always be important because in the Bible Yeshua healed one or more when there was no faith. We also know that God can heal even an unrighteous man.
I close with the words of one of the most obedient human beings to ever live, the Apostle Paul.
Paul Boasts About His Sufferings:
16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting.
17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool.
18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast.
19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise!
20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.
21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about.
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I.
23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.
27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.
32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me.
33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
After reading Paul’s words about himself, visualize his appearing in a Twenty-First Century congregation. What will the pastor and the congregation think in their minds upon seeing Paul sit down?
You can answer the question.
After all, we are taught and given examples by pastors of how God protects the obedient and the faithful. As a member of the congregation, you may have received teachings that disobedience may be the reason that some have difficulties; and this is true for some but not for others!
You can answer the question truthfully without being sacrilegious.
You must answer the question with the truth. You look over at Paul and you (me, in the past but no more) think in your mind (as you mentally lecture Paul) that if you, Paul, had been more obedient you would have had more faith and God would have protected you from most, if not all, of the terrible circumstances you experienced in your life. After all, pastors give personal examples of how God has protected them and other people. So, Paul, you should learn from pastors about how to be obedient and how to have more faith. Paul, your life and your words do not fit; you are a hypocrite.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is another example.
Bonhoeffer, who had just finished completing a service, as a guest Pastor, on January 11, 1938 at a Confessing Church in Dahlem, Germany, was picked up by two men and carried to Flossenburg, Germany, where he was hanged on April 9, 1945—just 23 days before the Nazis’ surrendered.
Based on what I, and most likely you, have heard over the years, should we conclude with the statement that if only Bonhoeffer had been more obedient and faithful, God would have spared him for 23 more days? Bonhoeffer was obedient to God and he was faithful and he proved it by the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony but Bonhoeffer also lived (and died) according to the last part of the relevant verse—
They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11.
Notice, overcoming Satan may not protect a person from death on this earth. Many pastors conveniently leave out “they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Having to die to overcome Satan does not fit their theology.
And look at the lives and sufferings of Watchman Nee and David Wilkerson? What do you believe about their obedience and faithfulness? What about the disciples and their deaths? Were they disobedient? Did they lack faith?
William Tyndale, otherwise called Hitchins: To The Reader, October 2, 1528:
Finally, those whom God choses to reign everlastingly with Christ, he seals, with his mighty Spirit and pours strength into his heart, to suffer afflictions with Christ for bearing witness to the truth. This is the difference between the children of God and of salvation, and the children of the devil and of damnation. Children of God have power in their hearts to suffer for God’s word; it is there life in salvation, their hope and trust, and whereby they live in the soul and spirit before God. And the children of the devil, in time of adversity, fly from Christ, whom they followed feignedly for their hearts were not sealed with his holy and mighty Spirit; they get themselves to the standard of their father, the devil, and take his wages, which are the pleasures of this world. They are the earnest of everlasting damnation. Hebrews: 12:5-7 well confirms this, saying: “My son, do not despise not chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by him: for those whom the Lord loves, he chastises; indeed, he scourges every son whom he receives.”
Look, persecution and adversity for the truth’s sake is God’s scourge, and God’s rod, and it pertains to all of his children indifferently. For when he said that he scourges every son, he makes no exceptions. Moreover, says the text: If you endure chastening, God offers himself to you as to sons. What son is it that the father does not chastise? If you are not under correction, of which all partake, then you are bastards and not sons.
We must then be baptized in tribulations and go through the Red Sea in a great and fearful wilderness and a land of cruel giants, into our natural country. Indeed, it is plain that there is no other way into the kingdom of life than through persecution, suffering, pain and death, following the example of Christ. Therefore, let us arm our souls with the comfort of the Scriptures: how God is ever ready at hand to help us in our time of need; and how such tyrants and persecutors are but God’s scourge, and his rod to chastise us. The Father has always, in time of correction, held the rod fast in his hand, so that the rod does nothing but as the Father moves it. . .