I have been massively encouraged by David’s response to Goliath’s threats, particularly as they relate to battling against sickness and disease. He starts, in 1 Sam 17:45 by saying:
“you come to me” – You Think you have the initiative here? You think that I am in trouble? You think that your weapons can harm me? Oh, you have a big spear and shield and javelin but you have no idea what you have done or what is actually going on here.
Sickness and disease do not have the initiative. God is sovereign over all things and he alone rules over the events of history. He hates Satan, and evil and sin and sickness and will destroy them all, but they do, never the less, play an unwitting role in his plans and purposes.
What some intend for evil God intends for good. Ultimately he is not responding to Satan’s moves like an adversary in a chess game. He is not simply a better player, or a stronger opponent. There is no measure that can be put to God such that we might say “so and so is here on the scale and God is there on the scale”. He is not 1000 times more intelligent or powerful than Satan. His power and intelligence are infinite and of another degree or order entirely. He knows every thought that anyone has ever or will ever think. He works out his plans in full knowledge of what everyone will do.
If God was playing battle ships he would not only know where each of his opponents ships were but where all their bombs would land as well. The bible even says that he can direct our wills in the direction and to the ends that he pleases (prov 21:1). The closest I can get to understanding that is that God could actually direct your will towards choosing a particular grid reference in battle ships without himself being morally responsible for the consequences or even being happy about your choice and in fact still holding you accountable for your choice! I’m sure thats a very crude and clumsy analogy and I feel like it misses something key, but it seems to be almost what the bible is pointing towards. The bible reveals a God who can can channel an evil will towards a particular evil action that plays a key role in his plans without himself being in any way being morally culpable for it (Acts 4:25-28). “You come to me?” says David. You have no idea who God is, what he is like and what he is doing.
“with sword and spear and javelin” – These weapons are simply not sufficient. It’s like Goliath is running towards a modern day tank armed only with 1st century equipment. The purposes of God and the people of God are unstoppable. One version of the bible puts it like this: “no weapon forged against you shall prosper”. The does not exist not shall there ever exist a weapon that can destroy the church. People and even nations have tried and failed. They have thrown everything they had at the church and she has only grown stronger under the onslaught.
“But I come to you” – You have got everything the wrong way round. It’s not you that comes to me, says David, it’s me that comes to you. I am not defending myself, you’re the one under attack. You are the one who is on the back foot. You are the one way out of your league. When we see sickness and oppression Satan is putting his head over the parapet to be shot at by those who are waiting for him. Those with God given weapons of the Spirit and the authority and courage to wield them. God has set an ambush ready in the form of his spirit filled church. We are to be like marksmen that lie in wait for the first signs of trouble.
“in the name of the Lord of Hosts” : And it’s not simply me that’s coming against you says David. I come in the name of God, and all his power and might is now arrayed against you. His army is bigger and more powerful than the one you see behind me. His power and might is beyond your comprehension. Before you is not a young boy, but the strong arm of the LORD. The hosts of heaven are arrayed against you, you silly little man! You are about to be totally overpowered.
Does God want to heal? Yes. Can he heal? Yes. So when we pray in his name, people will get well. It’s not me, its God who will defeat the giants of cancer and MS and arthritis, and heart disease.
“Whom you have defied” : You have defied God’s army and in doing so you have defied God!!! In your ignorance you have blundered into something you know nothing about. You are like a boy who delighted in burning ants with his magnifine glass, but now finds himself shrunk down to their size. The tables have turned and boy are you in trouble now.
Men and women are made in God’s image and are precious to him. Satan failed to dethrone God so now he goes after God’s people instead. He does some awful things, one of which is to make them ill. Now, it’s one thing to attack a Father but quite another to go after his children. You may think you are wise in going for the softer target, but you are bringing a far greater wrath down upon yourself. God will respond to any attack on his children with everlasting and ongoing destruction. Day and night for all eternity his anger will burn against the one who defied his precious people.