Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Exodus 39-40; James 5
This is one of the passages that has been misunderstood and misrepresented down through the years. The calling of the elders to anoint with oil and pray over a person for healing is Biblical and right. However, many who have desired to have this done have violated the previous chapter by praying amiss. We are never in a position to tell God what He needs to do or should do. God cannot ever do wrong or make a mistake; therefore, what God does or doesn’t do is always best. When we tell God what to do, we are praying amiss. We have the wonderful opportunity and privilege to make our requests known. We can ask God to do things, if it be His will. Our perspective is always limited and to some degree swayed by selfishness. Some, who have called for the elders (spiritually mature men, not always pastors), are treating this passage as some sort of good luck charm to get their way. Somehow believing they have put God in a box or cornered Him in a corner and now He will have to do what they say. Can I just say that this is so very carnal and misrepresentative of God’s person and program! Often these people put the elders present on some sort of litmus test of their spirituality. “Let’s just see how good your prayer life is.” The two dangerous misinterpretations of this passage is putting the emphasis on the elders or putting the emphasis on the oil. I had a guy show up to my office while pastoring in Indiana with 10W30 motor oil and asked me to anoint him for healing. I looked at the top of his head and said, “It says here, to use 5W20!” (I didn’t really say that) It isn’t the oil! The oil, like baptism, is only an outward identification of our inward faith. It is a symbol of our seriousness not a secret potion for healing. The emphasis is on the prayer of faith. Verse 15 says, “the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” The beginning of this chapter rebukes the rich person who puts their faith in their money. The middle of the chapter rebukes a person for not honestly representing God’s will in an oath. How foolish for a rich person to not acknowledge God and His will when spending their wealth. How foolish for a person to not acknowledge God and His will when making an oath. And how foolish for anyone to not acknowledge God and His will when anointing with oil and praying for healing. God will always do what is right! We can trust Him and therefore, He should be the sole source of our faith.
• Lord, please help me to grow in my faith in YOU! I do love you and thank you for all you have done. You have my best interest at heart, and you will never make a mistake. What comfort this brings!
• Lord, help me to never replace trusting you with anything, including myself. Please convict me of idolatry if I begin to put my confidence in property, people, prosperity, or any personal gifting or talent.
• Lord, do not let me shy away from obedience to your word just because so many have abused or misrepresented this passage. Please help me to use every opportunity to glorify your name and magnify your program.