Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
F. F. BOSWORTH
Jonah’s symptoms were very real when he was inside the fish, and he did not deny them; but he called them “lying vanities.” In other words, any symptoms that make us doubt the fact that God is “plenteous in mercy to all” that call upon Him, should be regarded as “lying vanities.” Jonah said, “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” Instead of listening to Satan and watching our symptoms, we must be “workers together” with God Who heals by sending His Word and keeping it!
We must cooperate with Him by being occupied, not with what the devil says, but with the Word He sends for our healing.
SYMPTOMS MAY LINGER
Even when we do act our faith, symptoms do not always disappear instantly. After Hezekiah was healed, it was three days before he was strong enough to go up to the House of the Lord. In John 4:50-52 the nobleman “believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him.” When he met his servants he enquired of them the hour when his dying son “began to amend.”
The Bible differentiates between the “gifts of healing” and the gift of “miracles.” Christ could do no miracle in Nazareth because of their unbelief, but He healed a few sick ones. If every one were to be made perfectly whole instantly, there would be no place the gifts of healing. It would be all miracles. Many people miss healing by trying to confine God to miracles. Christ’s promise is that “they shall recover,” but He does not say “instantly.
When we base faith on our improvement, or are affected by our symptoms or by what we see or feel instead of by the Word of God alone, just to that extent ours is not real faith. To be occupied with what we see or feel is to exactly reverse the condition God lays down for us to follow. “Every one that … looketh upon it, shall live.” This simply means that every one who, like Abraham, occupies himself with God’s promise so that he is no longer affected by symptoms “shall recover.” It means, the Word of God (not what we see or feel) shall be the basis of our faith. Our looking unto the promise of God is a good reason for looking to God for mercy. Then there is no time to stop looking until God withdraws His Word.
Note that it was by continuing to look unto the promise of God that Abraham experienced the miracle. To be occupied and influenced by symptoms instead of God’s Word is to question the veracity of God. Instead of making God a liar, Jonah, from within the fish, gave the name “lying vanities” to the symptoms and circumstances that seemed to stand in the way of his expecting God’s mercy. Realizing that it was symptoms and not God that was lying to him, he said, “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” God never refuses to give mercy, but many “forsake” it by observing their symptoms. The symptoms are real, but become “lying vanities when they say to us that God is not plenteous in mercy to all that call on Him.
Abraham’s faith was not based on anything he saw. You must see to it that yours is not. All that Abraham could see was contrary to what he was expecting. After Isaac was born, Abraham had a prop for his faith. Through Isaac, “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” With his eyes upon Isaac, the channel through which God was to fulfill the rest of His promise,
it was easy to believe. So God tested his faith, by telling him to offer Isaac, to destroy the channel. This did not daunt Abraham. Real faith thrives on a test. Since he still had God’s Word for it, he was ready to remove every visible encouragement to his expectation and yet continue to be “fully persuaded.” God had to halt him or he would have offered Isaac. This test was God’s way of perfecting his faith, not of destroying it.
If, after coming to God for healing, He finds you more encouraged by your improvement than by His Word, He may find it necessary to test your faith. This is to teach you the glorious lesson of believing His Word, when every sense contradicts Him. Faith has to do only with the Word of God.
*ALL MINISTERS ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR TIME INCREMENTS TO BE MET. ALL PREACHING MUST BE COMPLETED BY TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE THE TOP OF THE HOUR TO ALLOW FOR THE WORKING OF THE WORD.
**IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT BEFORE YOU PREACH YOU SPEND 30 MINUTES – SITTING IN A CHAIR – SAYING THE FOLLOWING – OUT LOUD:
*I THANK YOU LORD – ACCORDING TO 1 JOHN 2:27 – I HAVE AN UNCTION TO SPEAK. ACCORDING TO MARK 16:17-18, “WHEN I LAY HANDS ON THE SICK THEY RECOVER.” *I HAVE HEALINGS, MIRACLES, SIGNS, WONDERS, WORKING OF MIRACLES, WORD OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE GIFT OF FAITH MANIFEST THROUGH ME.
*ACCORDING TO JOHN 14:16 THE HOLY SPIRIT IS HELPING ME TO MINISTER. I DO NOT DO IT IN MY OWN STRENGTH.