God’s Medicine Bottle
Last week I shared with you some of Derek Prince’s biography in order to help you understand why much of his ministry focused on healing. Much of what I have found in his books reflects what God has already taught me in various ways but he has some special gems that I want to include. I will be referring to his booklet “God’s Medicine Bottle” (Whitaker House 1984), throughout this study. I will include direct quotes and page numbers where appropriate.
In summary, from last week, the foundational scripture is Proverbs 4:20-22 (KJV):
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. – Proverbs 4:20-22
This verse clearly gives us four guidelines (specific instructions) for taking God’s medicine in order to heal our physical bodies:
- Attend to My words.
- Incline thine ear unto My sayings.
- Let them not depart from thine eyes.
- Keep them in the midst of thine heart.
This is God’s remedy for health, so if we are going to receive the benefits we need to take the medicine, as directed. Let’s look at each guideline in turn.
- Attend to My Words
We need to make a decision right off the top that we are going to listen to the Lord respectfully with our full attention. In my own personal studies I always include “submit to God” first; because it is implied that we need to make a decision to believe that God means what He says and says what He means before anything else. The Amplified Bible helps us out here. It translates the verses this way: “My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.”
If we have not consciously made a decision to consent and submit to God’s Word, let’s take care of it right now. Say the following out loud with me:
I Believe God. The Bible is the Word of God. Hallelujah!
In the Bible, God means what He says and says what He means.
Derek Prince covers this as well under Guideline 3. Okay, let’s continue.
In today’s world we are flooded with the media: Google, Wikipedia, television, YouTube, cell phone apps, online games, FaceBook, Tweets, and so on. It is not easy to give our full attention to any one thing when so much is going on all around us. When we are waiting to see the doctor we are often in a waiting room which has music piped in or a TV playing soap operas or talk shows. It’s a challenge to even focus on our own thoughts, let alone hold a conversation with another person in this environment. At home, if we try to do Bible study or pray with the TV on we will easily be distracted and lose our focus. This is not good. God wants us to be disciplined in giving Him our full attention.
“Jesus said to His disciples, “Take heed what you hear” (Mark 4:24 NKJV). He also said, “Take heed how you hear” (Luke 8:18 NKJV). We have to put the two together. It’s what we listen to and how we listen to it.” – P.23
We see a similar emphasis in Exodus 15:26 NKJV:
“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
Notice the IF at the beginning of this verse. “The Hebrew word that is translated “diligently heed” is a repetition of the verb “to listen”. It goes something like this: “If you will listen listeningly to the voice of the Lord your God.” The complete emphasis is on listening.” – P. 24
In very simple terms, to listen listeningly means to LISTEN WITH BOTH EARS. We need to remember that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17 NKJV) Faith is primary to receiving healing from God, so God wants us to listen with both ears. Hallelujah!
Many of us suffer from unbelief from time to time in our journey with Jesus. Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. We have God’s promise that FAITH COMES! How? We just read it in Romans 10:17: “we start with the Word of God. That’s the beginning. We listen to the Word of God carefully, and, out of that listening, there comes what the Bible calls “hearing”, the ability to hear God. Then out of hearing, faith develops.” – P. 26 How wonderful is that!
- Incline thine ear unto My sayings
How do we incline our ear? We do it by bending our ear down…now, our ear is not like our arm, we cannot bend our ear down without bending our head down. And what do we express as we bend our head down? It shows an attitude of humility and teach-ability. Many of us have been conditioned in our youth by various experiences to reject the Truth in the Word of God. Derek Prince shares the story that “early in life” he “formed the conclusion” that if he wanted “to be a Christian, he would have to be prepared to be miserable” all of his life. – P. 32 And so, consequently, as he read Bible verses about joy, healing, strength, long life, and so on he was perplexed and said to himself, “This couldn’t be. That’s too good to be true.” – P. 33 Then he says, the Lord “spoke to me so clearly, not audibly, but just as clearly …He said, “Now tell Me, who is the pupil and who is the teacher?” I thought it over for a moment and replied, “Lord, You’re the teacher, and I’m the pupil.” Then He responded, “Well, would you mind letting Me teach you?” I saw then that I wasn’t letting God teach me at all. I had my own preconceptions….my mind was blocked by these set ideas.” – P. 33 Basically, the Lord was saying, bend your stiff neck, give up your prejudices, and let me show you My wonderful provisions.
“This brings out a very important principle about God’s Word. God’s Word works in us only insofar as we receive it. If we don’t receive it, it doesn’t do us any good. In a very powerful passage, James said when he was speaking about God (James 1:18-19,21 KJV):
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth…
[Notice, our becoming Christians is due to the Word. God begat us with the word of truth.]
….that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
[Note that a wise man is swift to hear, but slow to speak.]
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
God’s Word can save you, it can heal you, and it can bless you in innumerable ways, but only if you receive it with meekness.” – P. 34-35 Please note that we are asked here to lay aside naughtiness; a naughty child or person is disrespectful to authority, disagreeable and argumentative. God invites us instead to be teachable, and receive His Word within our hearts where He very much wants to plant it (engrafted) so that it can bear fruit (bringing salvation, healing and deliverance).
- Let them not depart from thine eyes
“Them” refers to God’s Words and God’s sayings. For me this is a straightforward guideline about regularly reading your Bible and confessing out loud the Word of God so that it is always in front of, or, before our eyes.
But, in his booklet, Derek Prince brings out another aspect that is worth our consideration. He discusses the fact that we have two eyes which, when properly focussed give us one image that is clear; if one eye is not working properly, the images will be blurred. This can be true of our spiritual eyesight as well: it can be focussed giving a clear image or, if not focussed properly, the images of spiritual reality can be blurred. As a young person, Prince had no spiritual focus, lost interest, and turned to philosophy. This is true for many people who may end up turning to Eastern Religions or manmade alternatives as they seek spiritual focus/answers.
Jesus said something about “spiritual vision:
The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34 KJV)
“Here Jesus is speaking about something that affects the whole body. Instantly, it reminds me of the statement in Proverbs 4 about God’s words being health to the whole body. But here Jesus is dealing with the way we use our eyes. “When thine eye is single” – I think that means, first, and foremost, that we form a single image or focus. We’re not looking in different directions with our two eyes, but they are focused to make one image. Then Jesus says the result will be manifested in the whole body: “thy whole body is full of light.”
“I believe a body that is full of light does not have room for sickness. I believe light and darkness are mutually exclusive. Sickness is from darkness. Health is from light:
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings (Malachi 4:2a KJV)
“The sun in the natural is the source of light. The two products of light, when the sun arises, are righteousness and healing. They are the works of light. The opposite are the works of darkness. The opposite of righteousness is sin; the opposite of healing is sickness. They are works of darkness, but righteousness and healing are works of light. Jesus is saying, “If your eye is singly focused, your whole body will be filled with light, with righteousness, with health.” It all depends on having a single eye.
“The Greek word that has been translated as single is a word that has various meanings…..one of the main meanings is “simple” or “sincere”, which I think probably brings out the point. If your eye is simple or sincere, if you just see things the way they are written, then you are not too clever or too philosophical. You don’t know too many different ways of explaining the text away: you just take it as meaning what it says.
“I previously explained that the second direction “incline your ear”, means bow down your stiff neck, be willing to hear. There are certain normal barriers, and I have described two of them as prejudice and preconception. We think we already know what God ought to have said, so we are not willing to listen.
“This third instruction speaks about simplicity or sincerity. I would suggest that the barriers to simplicity and sincerity are rationalization and sophistication. I become wary when I hear preachers quoting too many worldly experts……in the end that doesn’t build people’s faith.
“…….We have to read the Bible with the single eye of simplicity and sincerity which says, “This is what God says, this is what He means, and I believe it the way it is written”.
“I think back to my own experience in hospital. There I was, a professor of philosophy with a knowledge of Latin and Greek, able to quote many long and learned books. As sick as I was, I was offered through God’s Word a very simple, unsophisticated way of getting healed: taking God’s Word as my medicine. Now, to a philosophic mind, that is pure nonsense! It is just ridiculous! You dismiss it. But, you see, I was sick, and philosophy hadn’t healed me. So I was really faced with two clear alternatives: I could be clever and stay sick, or I could be simple and get healed. One thing I have always been glad about ever since – I became simple enough to get healed.
“That brings out this point: If your eye is simple, if you’re sincere, if you are not too profound, if you don’t know too many arguments, if you can’t quote all the theologians, then you have a much better chance to reach God. I am sorry to say it, but experience over many years has convinced me of that. Theology normally does not help people’s faith.
“Let me quote two passages from the writings of Paul to conclude this thought. Note that we are talking about a kind of simplicity which, in the eyes of the world, is foolish. Paul wrote on this subject:
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:25 KJV)
“He is speaking primarily about the cross. The cross was the weakest and most foolish thing that you could conceive of in the culture of that time, but out of the weakness of the cross comes the almightiness of God. Out of the foolishness of the cross comes the unsearchable wisdom of God. So we have to turn to something very weak and very foolish to receive God’s wisdom and God’s strength.
“A little further on in 1 Corinthians, Paul says something very interesting. Because I realize he was speaking to people with a philosophic background just like I acquired through my studies, I can appreciate it so well.
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. (1 Corinthians 3:18)
“You see, between us and God’s wisdom is a valley, a place of humility. We have to lay aside worldly wisdom. We have to become fools in the eyes of the world in order that we may really enter into God’s wisdom.
“At that point, I was confronted with an alternative. I could go on being wise in the world and stay sick, or I could do something that was foolish in the eyes of the world and get healed. I actually have to say, I was much wiser to be foolish and get healed than I would have been to be clever and stay sick. That may sound confusing, but it is exactly what Paul is saying: “If you are wise in this world, you need to become a fool in order that you may be wise, because God’s foolishness is much wiser than man’s.”
“The application is this: “Don’t let them depart from your eyes”. Have a single, simple eye. Read the Bible the way it is written, and take it as meaning what it says.” – P. 43-48
- Keep them in the midst of thine heart.
When it comes to learning and especially memorization, we all have preferences. Some people prefer to learn audibly (by hearing), others visually (by seeing). But studies show that we retain more of what we learn when we combine hearing, seeing and also doing. We allow things to come into our minds and hearts through the eyes and ears, so the terms “eye-gate” and “ear-gate” have been coined. And then, what we have seen and heard may be reinforced by actions (doing).
God has provided the eye-gate and the ear-gate for His good pleasure:
The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
The Lord has made them both. (Proverbs 20:12)
A few other verses about the eyes:
The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. (Psalm 25:14-15)
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; (Psalm 19:8)
Jesus said to His disciples, “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;” (Matthew 15:16)
All of us have eyes and ears, but not all of us are able to see and/or hear (perceive) spiritual things. It is my prayer that as we continue through this study God will open our eyes to see and our ears to hear all of the wonders and mysteries that He has for us in His Word.
“The purpose for going through the ear-gate and the eye-gate is to reach that vital, central area of human personality which the Bible calls the heart”. – P. 52 When we make a decision with only the mind, it will not necessarily change our behaviour, but when we make a decision with the heart, it changes our behaviour forever after.
“In order to be effective, some kinds of medicine which you take must be released into the bloodstream. You can take the medicine, but if it does not get to the bloodstream, it is not going to do what it is supposed to do. Well, God’s medicine is only effective when it is released in the heart. The previous three directions are all concerned with the medicine getting where it will do what is promised, which is the heart. Then it says, “keep them in the midst of thine heart”.
“We need to look on to the very next verse of Proverbs 4 which is one of the most profound verses in the Bible:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (v. 23)
“…what you have in your heart will determine all that you experience in your life. If you have the right things in your heart, your life will go right. If you have the wrong things in your heart, your life will go wrong.” – P. 53,54
This is why the Lord encourages us to keep His Word and sayings in the midst of our hearts; in the midst, central, primary, not floating around the outer edges. “Keep them in the central place of your whole life and personality. They are going to affect the whole way that you live.” – P. 54
An Additional Comment on God’s Word
God’s Word is powerful to save, heal and deliver. (Please remind yourself of the teaching about this from April 19th and 26th, 2020.) Let’s look at Hebrews 4:12 in the Expanded Bible version:
[For] God’s word is alive and working [active; powerful; effective] and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones [penetrates until it divides even soul and spirit, joints and marrow]. And it judges [discerns] the thoughts [ideas] and feelings [attitudes; intentions] in our hearts.
“If I were to choose one word that sums this up, I think it would be the word penetrating. God’s Word penetrates. In fact, it penetrates where nothing else can penetrate. We are used to the concept of the surgeon’s knife with its sharp, pointed blade that can penetrate so delicately into human tissue. But the Word of God penetrates into another realm. It divides between soul and spirit, the very innermost areas of our personality. Things within ourselves that we cannot fully understand about ourselves, the Word of God reveals to us. It separates between joint and marrow. It touches the spiritual area of us, and it touches the physical area. There is no area of our lives that is out it its reach.
“If you have a disease of the marrow or a disease of the joints, this Scripture says that maybe there’s no human medicine or instrument that can deal with it, but the Word of God can get there. If you have a personality problem for which the psychiatrist does not have a solution, the Word of God will get there. God’s Word penetrates. – P. 56
“What is important is that we take God’s word the way He Himself requires that we take it. We must take it with our undivided attention and with a humble, teachable attitude. We must lay down our barriers of prejudice and preconception and look at it with a single, sincere, wholehearted eye. We do not want to quibble, we do not want to theorize too much. We must take it as meaning what it says. We must lay down the barriers of rationalization and sophistication, and then we can let it enter and do its work.” – P. 57
Hallelujah! I am so thankful for this teaching and very excited about what God will do amongst us as we follow these guidelines and take God’s medicine as He has directed. Amen.
Almighty God, Creator of the heavens and the Earth. You position the stars and call them by name. You set the planets in motion. You created water, the most amazing substance in the entire universe. You created the animals, the fish, the birds, the sky, the plants and all things that have life in them. Hallelujah!
Thank You for Your Word and Your Ways, Lord, there is no one like You. You are beautiful beyond description, too marvellous for words. You are too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard. And we stand in awe of You! We stand in awe of You!
We offer You all of our praise and worship today with humble hearts full of love. Thank You for Jesus who came to reveal Your life and truth to us more fully. Thank You that everywhere Jesus went He declared, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” and He healed ALL who came to him and He set EVERY captive free. Thank You Lord that we are in covenant relationship with You today because we are children of Abraham by faith. Hallelujah!
Thank You Lord, that every promise we find in the Bible about salvation, healing and deliverance is as alive for us today as it was on the day that the words rolled off Your tongue. Thank You Lord, that You do not change. You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Hallelujah!
Thank You Lord, that Your Word does not return void but accomplishes the purpose for which You sent it. Thank You that when we confess Your Word, it is equally powerful to move Your angels into action. Hallelujah!
Father, You have shown clearly throughout the Holy Scriptures that You bring healing to Your people in many different ways. What we have learned in the last two weeks is something new and different on how to appropriate the healing You provide for ourselves. Help us Father to let go of everything in our minds and hearts that inhibits our faith. Some of us have preconceptions or prejudices that have caused unbelief in our hearts, help us Father to set each and every one aside right now. Some of us have allowed the rationalizations of the world or the sophistications of higher learning to cancel out the simple truth of Your Word. It has seemed good in our eyes but the truth of the matter is that it has robbed us of being healed and set free to enjoy the abundant life that Jesus died to give us. Help us Lord, to be willing to be foolish in the eyes of the world that we may indeed by wise in Your eyes.
Thank You Lord, that Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, rises every day with healing in His wings for us. You, and You alone, are the Lord who heals us.
Father I commit myself to You, with my various health issues, and I commit our pastor and the members of our congregation to You today. Each person has something in their body or their heart or their mind or their relationships or their lifestyle that needs healing today. We all have something that afflicts us, but You, Lord, promise to deliver us from them all.
Help us to take Your Word seriously, knowing that You mean what You say, and You say what You mean. Help us to remember that FAITH COMES when we hear Your Word. Help us to find ways to incorporate time to keep Your Word before our eyes and in the midst of our hearts every day that it may be Life, Healing and Health (Medicine) to every area of each of our lives. To God be the Glory!
We offer our praise and prayers in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.