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Sermon – 10/27/02
Fear and Praise
- Psalm 22:23


Fear and Praise

You who fear the Lord, praise Him!” (Psalm 22:23)

How quickly life can change.  My wife, Genevieve, was making plans for the Friday Study Ministries Christmas Party (you’re invited – mark your calendar for December 15th).  Then, a pain in her abdomen, a visit to the doctor, a trip to Emergency, and admission to the hospital; all in 15-hours.  We were able to doze a few times in the night, but had noisy neighbors.  Typical was the lady in the next bed, who was asked something like, “Vomitaro poquito?” to which she answered, “Grande”, followed by sounds we hope to not hear again.

The surgery, supposed to be in the late evening, was delayed ‘til 3 A.M., 6 A.M., and finally it was done at about 8:00 in the morning.  It turned out there were plenty of patients who had similar needs and the doctor was operating on them, one at a time.  Genevieve’s side had been tender and swollen, and her white blood count was elevated.  The CT-Scan showed a swelling at the area of her appendix.  The operation had to be done quickly, we were informed, for an infected appendix could burst and cause further problems.  We agreed and she signed the forms.

In the Surgical Waiting Room, I told the Reception Lady, “I’m Ron Beckham, waiting for Genevieve Beckham.”  She responded, “That’s fine, Bob, we’ll let you know.”  The doctor came out and spoke to me in the waiting room, looking a little uncomfortable, saying he found – “nothing!”  The appendix was normal and so was everything else.  They took the appendix “just in case” and closed her up.  The doctor said, “this happens sometimes.”  Don Haynes, a good friend and a Friday Study Board Member, was standing there with me.  Don remarked, “It probably was the prayer.”  I thought about that.

From the doctor’s perspective, what happened was a “statistical anomaly.”  He said, it just “happens sometimes.”  But she really did have symptoms: the CT-Scan really was positive, there was a little lump, and there was an actual infection in her body, evidenced by the white blood count.  It is interesting that, responding to an email request, at least dozens of people were praying for her.  What if God simply HEALED her?

Sandy Stahl, our computer technical genius, Friday Study Board Member, and friend, confirmed that many prayerful emails had been received on Genevieve’s behalf.  God who had heard the cry, our need, prompted others to pray, and Genevieve is OK.

The First Church on the Net (at www.fridaystudy.org) has an "Especially For Children" section, which, at this time, consists of a Commentary on the Book of John for children.  We've reached Chapter 19, and I again find it hard to study in such detail, the pain our Savior experienced on the cross.  It was my sins (and yours) that put Him there.

It was necessary for Him to die in such a manner, of course, for we have no standing with God except through Jesus.  God's prophets had said He would die; and in His death, we would praise Him.  Isaiah the Prophet said of Him, hundreds of years before His birth, "Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5).

The Hebrew word for "healed" is interesting, because it is the word "raphah", which refers in Scripture to spiritual as well as physical healing.  Everything was done for us on the Cross of Jesus Christ.  If you NEVER seem to be healed in this life, you certainly are in the next, IF you trust in Him now.

Before Isaiah, another prophet was on earth named David.  Because of his simple reliance on the Lord, he was given remarkable understanding.  About the Messiah (Christ) he wrote, "I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to my jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.  For dogs have surrounded Me; the assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me.  They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones.  They look and stare at Me.  They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots" (Psalm 22:16-18). 

Jesus WAS crucified.  His joints and bones WERE displaced and disfigured by the cross.  The assembly of the wicked DID encircle Him.  They DID pierce His extremities, and they DID cast lots for His clothing.  And Isaiah was perfectly correct: He died for your healing and mine.  David and Isaiah wrote about Jesus Christ.

Should we phone the newspapers and shout the news: “Genevieve has been healed”?  Oh, certainly, we can if we want.  But there is more, for you and I are surrounded by His miracles all the time, though most of His miracles aren’t perceived.

Jesus died for you and me.  “By His stripes we are healed”, which should cause us to “fear” (reverence) and “praise” the Lord continually.  Every time a baby is born, a miracle occurs, for a new life is given to the world!  Whenever someone breathes “yes” to the Lord Jesus, miraculous, eternal LIFE comes into being!

He loves you.  That you exist is a miracle, for this world is in rebellion against the God we are to fear and praise.  He reached into the darkness of this place, sending the One who cried, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).  He changes us, and says, “YOU are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).  In changing us, He enables us to reflect His glory.

Father, we worship You and praise Your Holy Name.  Thank You, Jesus, for all You have done.  We receive You, now.  Thank You for the Spirit of God, and for Your Word, that we might know the Way home.  Thank You for healing Genevieve, and for our salvation.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
www.fridaystudy.org
ron@fridaystudy.org
P.O. Box 92131
Long Beach, CA  90809-2131

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)