HEALTH AND COMMON SENSE This is an article from DESTINY Magazine 1937-1968 by CR Dickey
An American Bible Society pamphlet by Daniel A. Poling is titled “What is the Bible?”. Dr. Poling begins an answer to the question by saying:
“What is the Bible? It is inspired common sense. The humblest man reads it because it meets his various needs; it appeals to his sound judgment; it is reasonable.
“What is the Bible? It is common sense adapted to every walk of life….And in all particulars its effectiveness has not diminished since its first edition came from the press. Human publications have their days and become obsolete; but God’s Word is like Himself, ‘the same yesterday, today and forever.’”
Does the Bible – this potent, unchanging volume of “inspired common sense” – have anything to say on the subject of health, which sooner or later becomes a matter of deep concern to every family? Indeed it has much to say, in fact, and says it with finality.
From the Bible we learn the incontrovertible source of health. It is announced clearly and emphatically in Exodus 15:26:
“If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
David, Israel’s beloved psalmist and king, states the source of healing and vitality in Psalm 103: 2-5:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
There are scores of such informative statements on the subject of health from the writings of Moses and the prophets and the apostles. God’s concern for the physical welfare of His people may well be measured by the amount of time His Son, Christ Jesus, spent in healing diseases during the short span of His ministry. His healing activities, as recorded in the Four Gospels, absorbed Him so completely at times as to overshadow temporarily other phases of His great work. By His never-failing compassion for the infirmities and sufferings of humanity, Jesus demonstrated the divine source of man’s health and general well-being.
While most Christians agree that God is the ultimate source of health, there is much honest disagreement as to His methods of healing. Some devout believers hold that all healing must come through the direct intervention of God in the manner which was used by Jesus and His disciples, and they feel that it dishonors God to seek help from any other source, even when it is used as a supplement to one’s faith. Others, equally sincere, feel justified in using the professional services of men and women who have developed their natural gifts of healing.
How can we know who is right? How may we determine the method, or methods, God uses to restore health?
From the way different Christian sects have wrangled, often bitterly, over this question it may seem that authoritative information on the subject has never been available. On the contrary, such information is not only at hand now, but it has been silently awaiting recognition since long before the Christian era began. The answer is found in the Old Testament Apocrypha, literature which was familiar reading to Jesus, His disciples and the early Christians. It was formerly included in all our English Bibles. Since its removal from our Old Testament, numerous cults have arisen to plague Christians throughout the world with strife, schisms and an abundance of false teaching regarding the matter of health. The book is Ecclesiasticus, from which we quote the first 14 verses of chapter 38:
“Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him: for the Lord hath created him. For of the most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honour of the king. The skill of the physician shall lift up his head: and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration. The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them. Was not the water made sweet with wood, that the virtue thereof might be known? And He hath given men skill, that He might be honoured in His marvelous works. With such doth He heal [men], and taketh away their pains. Of such doth the apothecary make a confection; and of His works there is no end; and from Him is peace over all the earth.
“My son, in thy sickness be not negligent: but pray unto the Lord, and He will make thee whole. Leave off from sin, and order thine hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all wickedness. Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour; and make a fat offering, as not being. Then give place to the physician, for the Lord hath created him: let him not go from thee, for thou hast need of him. There is a time when in their hands there is good success. For they [the physicians] shall also pray unto the Lord, that He would prosper that, which they give for ease and remedy to prolong life.”
How can the question of God’s method of healing be answered more completely? Where else can one find “inspired common sense” expressed with more clarity and simplicity? All the necessary elements are there – not implied but explicitly declared. There is no room for misunderstanding and argument. Wayfaring men, though fools, can read and comprehend the simple instructions which promise freedom from pain and the prolongation of life.
Only the Lord Himself knows how much suffering and how many untimely deaths might have been averted if these fourteen sentences had remained in our Bibles and had been frequently called to the attention of the people by consecrated ministers. Most clergymen and a few laymen now have copies of the Apocrypha. Some Protestant councils have advised ministers in their fellowship to use the Apocryphal books in their preaching. But this has been done rarely, if at all; thus only a comparatively few Christians ever hear of Ecclesiasticus 38:1-14.
Study the foregoing formula and note these eight factors involved in the process of healing: 1) the power of God from Whom all healing comes; 2) the skill of the physician; 3) medicines out of the earth; 4) the skill of the apothecary; 5) prayer on the part of the patient; 6) prayer on the part of the physician; 7) leave off sin and practice clean living; and 8) express gratitude in a memorial offering.
While recognizing the Most High as the Great Physician, we must also consider the fact that He utilizes physicians and medicines as cooperative agents in the process of healing. Many adherents of faith healing sects will not agree with this statement. They remind us that Jesus and His disciples went about curing all manner of diseases without physicians and medicines. In all sincerity they feel that we dishonor God by our lack of faith when we use any material means or human agencies. They ask, are we not promised that the prayer of faith shall save the sick?
On the other hand, it is well to remember that the work Jesus did in curing diseases and raising the dead formed a major part of the signs and wonders which necessarily accompanied His ministry in order to prove His Messiahship and to inaugurate the great Christian movement. In so doing Jesus used invisible forces still unknown to men. When some emergency arises prayer can bring these same forces into operation again, as it has done on many occasions in the past and is still doing today. Missionaries in our generations have reported thrilling instances of healing and protection when they were overtaken by disease in some lonely spot far from medical aid. Our servicemen in the present war have already sent back many stories of divine intervention when they were injured and stranded at sea or on barren islands – and the half of such remarkable testimonies have not yet been reported.
It is acknowledged by all reasonable thinkers that God can heal diseases fully and instantaneously with no visible means; it is further acknowledged that He has done so in the past and continues to do so now when necessity demands it, or when such demonstration serves His holy purpose. The question is, should Christian believers dispense with all the natural means of health at their disposal and expect the Lord to perform some special miracle of healing on their behalf? There is a principle expressed in the temptation of Jesus which seems to answer this question:
“Then the devil taketh Him up into the Holy City, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matt. 4:5-7.)
Note in this example how Satan misapplied a Scriptural promise of protection in his effort to goad Jesus into committing a rash act. According to Jesus’ answer, one should not challenge God to uphold his willful disregard and violation of natural laws. Therefore, it seems that the man who demands instant and miraculous healing may be guilty of tempting God. Jesus knew that if He cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple in defiance of the law of gravity, merely to please the devil, He would suffer the consequences. And so it is with a sick man who spurns all divinely appointed aids for his recovery, meanwhile dictating to God the manner of his healing. God seldom works by the spectacular method of signs and wonders; more often He uses the slower processes of revealed laws and their operations in familiar, normal channels.
The one great hindrance to good health on a national scale is the personal equation, consisting of the indeterminate foibles, idiosyncrasies and pet aversions of each and every one of us, doctors of all kinds included. First, we ignore the fundamental principles of health for the nation as a whole; second, we pay no attention to the dietary regulations prescribed in the Bible; and third, we neglect contacting God, through Christ, in daily devotion and prayer.
Read Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 to learn the basic principles of health. Speaking to the newly formed Israel nation – not Jews, mind you, but the whole House of Jacob-Israel – the Lord God said:
“Ye shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence My Sanctuary: I am the Lord. If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
“I will set My tabernacle among you: and My soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people.
“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; and if ye shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but that ye break My covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.”
Specific rules regarding diet are recorded in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. Other suggestions will be found in various passages from the Pentateuch. For instance, Aaron was instructed to burn animal fats. We soak fried foods in lard and suet, leave fats in the gravy and actually eat the fat portions along with the lean meat. Surely we have no right to expect God to perform miracles of healing for us when we violate His rules of health, either willfully or ignorantly. Yet people as a whole are stubborn beyond all reason when it comes to changing life-long eating habits.
Modern physicians also have much to learn about these fundamental principles of health. They too are required to seek counsel of God in prayer. Because of their failure to do this, many secrets of healing have not yet been revealed to them. Furthermore, they are not giving due consideration to the Bible as a source of health knowledge; consequently, they often prescribe for their patients food that is forbidden in the Bible regimen. Doctors, like preachers, are slow to investigate anything that is not endorsed by the school in which they received their training. The heavenly Father does not confine all wisdom within the narrow limits of any particular school. Men should ever be on the alert for new revelation wherever it may be found.
Nutritionists have pioneered ahead of the medical profession in the science of foods in relation to health. They have rendered notable service in the matter of better balanced menus. Some among them, however, are obsessed with the idea that their method is the infallible cure-all for every known disease. Without discrimination and knowledge of conditions, each one unhesitatingly recommends his theory as the answer to Ponce de Leon’s desire for eternal youth and vigor. Sometimes it is an exclusive diet of fruit juices for days at a time – between fasts; or it may be raw vegetables that will turn the tide in the battle for health. While all these things are good in moderation when balanced with other essential foods, they may be positively harmful if used alone or to excess. Many people are allergic to raw foods and to certain fruits. But these extremists have one formula for all, without reckoning with the old adage, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”
There is another important question the sick man must consider if he wants the Lord’s help; namely, what use does he intend to make of his strength? Will he use the gift of health for selfish ends only, or will he dedicate his renewed strength to whatever work will best serve the Lord and his fellowmen? Any honest man’s labor becomes hallowed when his purpose is to honor God and do His will. But he will miss if his motives are self centered:
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts [pleasures].” (James 4:3.)
An essential question faces the physician also. He must ask himself, why do I want power over disease? Do I want it in order that I may cooperate with God in alleviating human suffering and prolonging life? Or do I want it primarily to accumulate great fortune for myself, as many of my colleagues have done? A physician’s calling is too sacred to be guided by mercenary motives.
Medical science was practically undeveloped in Jesus’ day and what little was known at that time was inaccessible to the poor. So Jesus and His disciples graciously healed all who sought their help. Masses of people then were afflicted with diseases which modern surgery and medicines now eliminate readily. Yet unfortunately, at the present time, there is an increasing tendency to set a prohibitive price on all branches of medical service. It is felt most keenly by average middle-class people, who are not eligible for the free service in county hospitals and would not accept charity in any case. Physicians must see that proper care is within reach of all classes of citizens. It is a responsibility they cannot escape.
There remains one last fact to be taken into account: “It is appointed unto man once to die.” That verdict must be considered at some time in every life. Again, there are times when one may serve God’s purpose better in affliction than in health. We do not know to this day why Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was not removed. But we do know why he had to be imprisoned. It was for the purpose of writing his imperishable Epistles to the churches. His freedom to travel and preach had to be removed before he would take time to record his teachings for posterity. So in praying for restored health, remember always that even our Lord Jesus added these submissive words to His prayer in Gethsemane:
“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42.)
In Ecclesiasticus are many statements worth remembering. The following are little commentaries on life, health and death, expressed in the philosophy of common sense:
“Let the counsel of thine own heart stand: for there is no man more faithful unto thee than it. For a man’s mind is sometime wont to tell him more than seven watchmen, that sit above in an high tower. And above all this pray to the most High, that He will direct thy way in truth. Let reason go before every enterprise, and counsel before every action.
“My son, prove thy soul in thy life, and see what is evil for it, and give not that unto it. For all things are not profitable for all men, neither hath every soul pleasure in every thing. Be not unsatiable in any dainty thing, nor too greedy upon meats: for excess of meats bringeth sickness, and surfeiting will turn into choler. By surfeiting [immoderate indulgence] have many perished; but he that taketh heed prolongeth his life.
“O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions, unto the man that hath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things: yes, unto him that is yet able to receive meat! O death, acceptable is thy sentence unto the needy, and unto him whose strength faileth, that is now in the last age, and is vexed with all things, and to him that despaireth, and hath lost patience! Fear not the sentence of death, remember them that have been before thee, and that come after; for this is the sentence of the Lord over all flesh.” (Ecclesiasticus 37:13-16, 27-31, 41:13.)
Thus death was the sentence over all flesh when man renounced his allegiance to his Creator. Even so, there is a reason why the inspired writer could say, “Fear not the sentence of death.” Long after His work was done, a Man came from God and gave Himself a ransom to break the bond of death. The prophet Hosea foretold His coming in these dramatic words:
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” (Hosea 13:14.)
Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, registered the fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (I Tim. 2:5-6.)
The Christian hope will not acquiesce in a sentence of death, because Christ brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. We look for the day He promised, when “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev. 21:4).
In that day we shall see “the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2).
Articles from Biblical Treasures (Volume II) – C. R. Dickey
The Staff at Destiny Publishers, having read all the articles written by the late C. R. Dickey (Christina R. Dickey) found in DESTINY Magazines from July 1938 to October 1967, received such a blessing from her writings that we wanted to share the information with all who are seeking God’s wonderful truths. We are hereby publishing all her articles in two volumes, which we believe you will find most inspiring and of genuine interest and value.
Her knowledge of the Scriptures was unbelievable so she must have had a very close association with her Lord, as she certainly became a champion for His cause.
Our late beloved editor, Howard B. Rand, realized her talent as he published many of articles in booklet form.
The reader should take into account the time element when each article was written, which was from the late thirties to the middle sixties. We found her articles to be up to the minute as though she had written them yesterday. Her writings on various subjects are backed up with Scripture verses, as well as with quotes from reliable sources, when making a point. From her writings, the Lord surely made use of her God-given talents.
Although we do not have any knowledge of her background, we do know that she was a Congregational minister. Her sermons given must have been of interest and value to her congregation. We are sure her articles contained in this book will do the same.