Lesson 8: Believe His Prophets

Focus text: 2Chronicles 20:20
“....Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”

 

Healing of Captain Naaman

Read 2Kings Chapter 5: 1-16

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.

How did Captain Naaman hear of the remedy for his Leperosy?

Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, had defeated Israel in the battle that resulted in Ahab’s death. Since that time the Syrians had maintained a constant border warfare against Israel. In one of their raids they had carried away a little maid who, in the land of her captivity, “waited on Naaman’s wife.” A slave, far from her home, this little captive was one of God’s witnesses, fulfilling the purpose for which God had chosen Israel as His people. In that heathen home, her sympathies were aroused in behalf of her master, and, remembering the wonderful miracles of healing that God had performed through Elisha, she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” She believed that by the power of Heaven Naaman could be healed. (vs. 1-3)

When you consider Captain Namaan’s position, we can assume that he must have had the access to the best medical opinions, professionals and resources available at his disposal.

What can we learn from Namaan, in making the decisions to seek help based on a humble servant girl’s recommendation? What does that say about the servant girl?

Put yourself in Namaan's shoes. You are a high ranking military officer. Would you have reacted as Namaan did if you were suffering from leprosy and a recommendation for a treatment came from a humble servant girl?

Describe the steps in which Naaman had to take in order to get well.

Naaman heard what the maid had said to her mistress. After getting permission from the king, he went in search of healing, taking “ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing.” He also carried a letter from the king of Syria to the king of Israel: “I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.” (vs. 4-6)

What was the reaction of the king of Israel when he learns about the nature of Naaman’s visit to Israel? And Why?

When the king of Israel read the letter, “he tore his clothes and said, ‘Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.’” (vs. 7)

News of these developments reached Elisha, and he sent word to the king: “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” (vs. 8)

What was Elisha’s instruction to Namaan?

“Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house.” Through a messenger the prophet told him, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” (vs. 9-10)

What was Naaman’s reaction?

Naaman had expected to see some wonderful display of power from heaven. “I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’” When Elisha’s messenger simply told him to wash in the Jordan, it wounded his pride: “‘Are not the Abana and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage.” (vs. 11-12)

The rivers Naaman mentioned were beautified by surrounding groves, and many people flocked to the banks of these pleasant streams to worship their idols. Naaman would not have needed any humility to go down into one of those streams to wash. But only by following the prophet’s specific directions could he find healing.

Naaman’s servants urged him to carry out Elisha’s directions: “If the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’” The proud Syrian yielded his pride and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, “according to the saying of the man of God.” And God honored his faith: “His flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”

How can our attitudes prevent us from experiencing healing?

How did Namaan’s servants help him in his decision to follow the prophet’s instruction?  How would you react if the remedy for your own sickness does not meet your own expectations?

Is it possible to start on a journey of faith and be so close to what you are looking for then only to turn back at the most critical moment and forfeit your blessing because your attitude or your lack of faith got in the way?? 

Luke 4:25-27 “I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

Jesus acknowledged that some divine healings were recorded for a specific purpose. He explained that during the time of Elijah and Elisha there were many widows and lepers, but the prophets only performed miracles for specific ones.

What was the purpose for Jesus recalling these two incidents? What were the reasons for Jesus recalling Namaan’s story?

These two stories stand as a great rebuke to the Jews and their ancestors.  Throughout their history, they have hated and sought out to kill the prophets, not liking their message of repentance and how their pride, and their unfaithfulness resulted in forfeiting a great blessing.  Unfortunately, today, God’s true prophets are still hated, disliked, and ridiculed by Christians and non-Christians alike.  

In the story of Namaan, we read about a man who had to humble himself and obeyed the instructions of the prophet in order to experience healing.

Can God still provide healing for those who are willing to follow the instructions of His prophets?

Is there a prophet in our day that we can turn to for healing? Are there prophetic counsels from God if followed, can bring healings to our bodies?

Ellen G. White

1 Thess. 5:19-21 “Quench not the Spirit; despise not prophesyings; prove all things; hold fast that which is good,”

Seventh-Day Adventist Church believe that Ellen G. White was used by God as a special messenger to give His church much needed insight and knowledge regarding many aspects of spiritual life including health. Ellen G. White’s Health Message was given by divine initiative and by direct revelation of God.

In her own words, Ellen White has stated, “I have had great light from the Lord upon the subject of health reform. I did not seek this light; I did not study to obtain it; it was given to me by the Lord to give to others.” (CD 493, from Ms 29, 1897)

Ellen G. White's Statements on Health Ministry

“Nothing will open doors for the truth like evangelistic medical missionary work. This will find access to hearts and minds, and will be a means of converting many to the truth.” (Ms. 58, 1901, in Ev 513:1)

“Medical missionary work” is characterized as “a great entering wedge” (CH 535, 1893)

“the right, helping hand of the gospel” (Ms. 58, 1901, in Ev 513:1; cf. 7T 59, 1902)

“will break down prejudice as nothing else can.” (9T 211, 1909)

Ellen White understood the biblical picture of the indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit. She saw clearly that the interacting and integration of these three components required the health of each so that all components would function effectively. In other words, whatever affected the body also affected the mind and the spirit. If the mind was not properly filled with the proper food and rest, as well as positive, rational thoughts, then both the body and spirit would perform less efficiently. She insisted, “Anything that lessens physical strength enfeebles the mind and makes it less capable of discriminating between right and wrong. We become less capable of choosing the good and have less strength of will to do that which we know to be right” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 346). 

How can I accept Ellen White as a true prophet? 10 Tests of a Prophet

The Bible provides 10 key indicators that determine whether a person is a true prophet of God. 
They are …

  • A true prophet’s predictions will “come to pass” (Jeremiah 28:9)
  • He will glorify God rather than himself (John 16:13)
  • He does not give his own private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20, 21)
  • He points out sin (Micah 3:5-8)
  • He warns of coming judgment (Isaiah 24:20, 21)
  • He edifies the church (1 Corinthians 14:3, 4)
  • His message harmonizes with the Bible (Isaiah 8:20)
  • He teaches that Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:1-3)
  • He has a Christian character (Matthew 7:16-20).
  • He is obedient to the will of God (Deuteronomy 18:18).
  • Learn More about Ellen G. White.

Since I don't know what she wrote, how can I evaluate her writing?

Some of her books on health:

Writings of Ellen G. White, on the subject of health is abundant and scattered throughout the whole field of her writings.

Below are just a few examples of Ellen G. White’s writing on the subject of health (emphasis added through out):

“Health reform is an intelligent selection of the most healthful articles of food prepared in the most healthful, simplest form.”—My Life Today, p. 132.

On Healing and Natural Remedies

Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies. Every person should have a knowledge of nature’s remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge.

The use of natural remedies requires an amount of care and effort that many are not willing to give. Nature’s process of healing and upbuilding is gradual, and to the impatient it seems slow. The surrender of hurtful indulgences requires sacrifice. But in the end it will be found that nature, untrammeled, does her work wisely and well. Those who persevere in obedience to her laws will reap the reward in health of body and health of mind.

Too little attention is generally given to the preservation of health. It is far better to prevent disease than to know how to treat it when contracted. It is the duty of every person, for his own sake, and for the sake of humanity, to inform himself in regard to the laws of life and conscientiously to obey them. All need to become acquainted with that most wonderful of all organisms, the human body. They should understand the functions of the various organs and the dependence of one upon another for the healthy action of all. They should study the influence of the mind upon the body, and of the body upon the mind, and the laws by which they are governed. {MH-Ministry of Healing 127-128}

The Creator of man has arranged the living machinery of our bodies. Every function is wonderfully and wisely made. And God pledged Himself to keep this human machinery in healthful action if the human agent will obey His laws and cooperate with God. Every law governing the human machinery is to be considered just as truly divine in origin, in character, and in importance as the word of God. Every careless, inattentive action, any abuse put upon the Lord’s wonderful mechanism, by disregarding His specified laws in the human habitation, is a violation of God’s law. We may behold and admire the work of God in the natural world, but the human habitation is the most wonderful. [Sin of Taking a Course Which Needlessly Expends Vitality or Beclouds the Brain—194{CD-Counsels on Diet and Foods 17.2}

It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the ten commandments. To do either is to break God’s laws. Those who transgress the law of God in their physical organism, will be inclined to violate the law of God spoken from Sinai. {CD-Counsels on Diet and Foods 17.2}

God says, “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” (Exod. 15:26).

On Drugs

People need to be taught that drugs do not cure disease. It is true that they sometimes afford present relief, and the patient appears to recover as the result of their use; this is because nature has sufficient vital force to expel the poison and to correct the conditions that caused the disease. Health is recovered in spite of the drug. But in most cases the drug only changes the form and location of the disease. Often the effect of the poison seems to be overcome for a time, but the results remain in the system and work great harm at some later period.

By the use of poisonous drugs, many bring upon themselves lifelong illness, and many lives are lost that might be saved by the use of natural methods of healing. The poisons contained in many so-called remedies create habits and appetites that mean ruin to both soul and body. Many of the popular nostrums called patent medicines, and even some of the drugs dispensed by physicians, act a part in laying the foundation of the liquor habit, the opium habit, the morphine habit, that are so terrible a curse to society. {MH-Ministry of Healing 126}

On Health and Nutrition

Nutrition- Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.{Ministry of Healing 296.1}

Not all foods wholesome in themselves are equally suited to our needs under all circumstances. Care should be taken in the selection of food. Our diet should be suited to the season, to the climate in which we live, and to the occupation we follow. Somefoods that are adapted for use at one season or in one climate are not suited to another. So there are different foods best suited for persons in different occupations. Often food that can be used with benefit by those engaged in hard physical labor is unsuitable for persons of sedentary pursuits or intense mental application. God has given us an ample variety of healthful foods, and each person should choose from it the things that experience and sound judgment prove to be best suited to his own necessities.—The Ministry of Healing, 296, 297, 1905{CD-Counsels on Diet and Foods 94.2}

Exercise—Those who do not use their limbs every day will realize a weakness when they do attempt to exercise. The veins and muscles are not in a condition to perform their work and keep all the living machinery in healthful action, each organ in the system doing its part. The limbs will strengthen with use. Moderate exercise every day will impart strength to the muscles, which without exercise become flabby and enfeebled. By active exercise in the open air every day, the liver, kidneys, and lungs also will be strengthened to perform their work. {Child Guidance 339.3}

Water—In health and in sickness, pure water is one of Heaven’s choicest blessings. Its proper use promotes health. It is the beverage which God provided to quench the thirst of animals and man. Drunk freely, it helps to supply the necessities of the system, and assists nature to resist disease.—The Ministry of Healing, 237, 1905{CD-Counsels on Diet and Foods 419.1}

Sunlight—There are but few who realize that, in order to enjoy health and cheerfulness, they must have an abundance of sunlight, pure air, and physical exercise.... No room in the house should be considered furnished and adorned without the cheering, enlivening light and sunshine, which are Heaven’s own free gift to man....—The Health Reformer, April 1, 1871.{DG-Daughters of God 175}

Temperance—In order to preserve health, temperance in all things is necessary.... Our heavenly Father sent the light of health reform to guard against the evils resulting from a debased appetite, that those who love purity and holiness may know how to use with discretion the good things He has provided for them, and that by exercising temperance in daily life, they may be sanctified through the truth. {CG-Child Guidance 396.2}

On Eating—True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful, and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual powers. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body. {CG-Child Guidance 398.3}

Air-Fresh air will purify the blood, refresh the body, and help to make it strong and healthy. The invigoration produced will be reflected upon the mind, imparting to it tone and clearness, as well as a degree of composure and serenity. It gives a healthful stimulus to the appetite, renders the digestion of food more perfect, and induces sound, sweet sleep. Living in close, ill-ventilated rooms, weakens the system, makes the mind gloomy, the skin sallow, and the circulation feeble; the blood moves sluggishly, digestion is retarded, and the system is rendered peculiarly sensitive to cold. One should so accustom himself to fresh, cool air that he will not be affected by slight changes of temperature. Of course he should be careful not to sit in a draft or in a cold room when weary, or when in a perspiration.{CTBH-Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene 104.2}

Rest- Intemperance in eating and drinking, intemperance in labor, intemperance in almost everything, exists on every hand. Those who make great exertions to accomplish just so much work in a given time, and continue to labor when their judgment tells them they should rest, are never gainers. They are living on borrowed capital. They are expending the vital force which they will need at a future time. And when the energy they have so recklessly used is demanded, they fail for want of it. The physical strength is gone, the mental powers fail. They realize that they have met with a loss, but do not know what it is. Their time of need has come, but their physical resources are exhausted. Every one who violates the laws of health must some time be a sufferer to a greater or less degree. God has provided us with constitutional force, which will be needed at different periods of our lives. If we recklessly exhaust this force by continual overtaxation, we shall sometime be losers. Our usefulness will be lessened, if not our life itself destroyed. {CE-Christian Education 166.2}

Trust in God-Why is it that men are so unwilling to trust Him who created man, and who can, by a touch, a word, a look, heal all manner of disease? Who is more worthy of our confidence than the One who has made so great a sacrifice for our redemption? Our Lord has given us definite instruction, through the apostle James, as to our duty in case of sickness. When human help fails, God will be the helper of his people. “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” [James 5:14, 15.] If the professed followers of Christ would, with purity of heart, exercise as much faith in the promises of God as they repose in satanic agencies, they would realize, in soul and body, the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. { CTBH-Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene 113.2}

When Prayer for Healing Is Presumption

Many have expected that God would keep them from sickness merely because they have asked Him to do so. But God did not regard their prayers, because their faith was not made perfect by works. God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating thelaws of health and make no efforts to prevent disease. When we do all we can on our part to have health, then may we expect that the blessed results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts for the preservation of health. He will then answer our prayer, if His name can be glorified thereby. But let all understand that they have a work to do. God will not work in a miraculous manner to preserve the health of persons who are taking a sure course to make themselves sick, by their careless inattention to the laws of health.{CME 35.2}

Those who will gratify their appetite, and then suffer because of their intemperance, and take drugs to relieve them, may be assured that God will not interpose to save health and life which are so recklessly periled. The cause has produced the effect. Many, as their last resort, follow the directions in the Word of God, and request the prayers of the elders of the church for their restoration to health. God does not see fit to answer prayers offered in behalf of such, for He knows that if they should be restored to health, they would again sacrifice it upon the altar of unhealthy appetite.—Medical Ministry, 13, 14.{CME 35.3}

Why Miracles are Less Important Today

The way in which Christ worked was to preach the Word, and to relieve suffering by miraculous works of healing. But I am instructed that we cannot now work in this way, for Satan will exercise his power by working miracles. God's servants today could not work by means of miracles, because spurious works of healing, claiming to be divine, will be wrought.   For this reason the Lord has marked out a way in which His people are to carry forward a work of physical healing, combined with the teaching of the Word. Sanitariums are to be established, and with these institutions are to be connected workers who will carry forward genuine medical missionary work. Thus a guarding influence is thrown around those who come to the sanitariums for treatment.  {Selected Messages Vol. 2, 54.2-3} 

Challenge: Are you willing to test Ellen White's writings by Scripture and accept them if they are in harmony with Scripture? Would you consider a method of healing that she recommends if you find her writing to be true?