1 Samuel 30:6
6. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
25. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26. And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27. When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
30. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31. And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32. And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
34. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
These seem to be two unrelated stories in the Bible. On the surface they don’t seem to have anything in common. We want to look deeper into the Word to find their familiar significances.
David and his mighty men returned to Ziklag to find that the Amelekites have invaded and sacked the city, burning it with fire. The wives and families of the inhabitants were taken and none were killed. The men of David’s army sit and weep until there are no more tears. Their discouragement turns to talk of stoning David. This is where we find David in this passage. We will go into further detail later.
The woman with the issue of blood is known to us only by her condition and her subsequent healing. We never learn her name. She is mentioned in two of the Gospels. We are told she had a condition of an issue of blood and that she had it for twelve years. She had spent all of her living on treatments to no avail. She is pressing through a crowd to grab hold of the garment of Jesus. This is where we find her in this passage.
We want to look at several words in the passages.
In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the word ‘encouraged’ is ‘chazaq’ which means ‘to fasten upon.’
In the Greek of the New Testament, the word ‘touched’ is ‘haptomai’ which means ‘to attach oneself.’ The word ‘throng’ is ‘sunthlibo’ (soon-thlee'-bo) which means ‘to compress’, or ‘crowd on all sides.’ It is a combination word from ‘sun’ which means ‘a primary preposition denoting union; with or together, i.e. by association, companionship, process, resemblance, possession, instrumentality, addition, etc’., and ‘thlibo’ which means ‘to crowd’.
What was the difference between the woman with the issue of blood and the rest of the throng?
What caused her to seize hold of Christ while the rest of the crowd merely thronged him?
We want to go beyond the obvious without losing sight of it.
Obviously she was there with a need. However, to simply discount the needs of the rest of the crowd would be unrealistic. Everyone has needs. Everyone there was there for a reason. Everyone had a reason (need) to be there.
Why do people come to church?
The crowd was there because it was the place where Christ was going to be. Today, we have relegated Christ to His house. Even though He is omnipresent, the house of God is where we know for assuredly that we can find Him. We need to dispel this thought, but understand that it is out there. If you cannot bring a person to God where you are, bring them where they feel they will find Him.
What was it about David that caused him to seize hold of God?
Look at the similarity of the situation of David and the situation of the woman:
David was a man of war. The reason David was not allowed to build the temple for God was the blood on his hands from battle. War he knew. He was accustomed to the heat of the battle. When he faced an enemy, he enjoyed the comfort of his experience and knowledge. This was his element.
Coming home to the city of Ziklag and finding it in ruins and all the families missing was some much more than war. This was not David risking David.
The mighty men of war wept until there were no more tears. Then their tears turned to discouragement. There was talk of stoning David. However, David encouraged himself in the Lord. As we stated earlier, the Hebrew word means to attach or to seize. When he faced his greatest challenge, David grabbed God.
When his skills could not help him, when his knowledge failed him, when hope abandoned him, he grabbed hold of the one thing that never fails. He grabbed hold of God.
The woman with the issue:
Look at her circumstances. Her health was shot. Her wealth was gone. Her hope was nearly dead. The Word tells us that she had this condition for twelve years. This issue controlled her life. It determined her travel or lack of. It determined her social standing. It determined her wealth.
Life was in the blood. This woman had a condition where she was hemorrhaging.
She had battled this condition for twelve years. It is not a coincidence that we use the word ‘battle’ in the description of her plight. She was at war with her body. Its condition was such that it was draining the life out of her. She waged war. She used all of her strength. She used all of her wealth. She used all of her social standing. This battle cost her all of it. Her condition caused her to be considered unclean. It deprived her of access to the temple. It denied her access to friends. It caused her to be alone. Her only companions were the doctors that failed to cure her. When the money ran out, so did those physicians.
This is the condition in which we find her. She is alone. Her hope dashed on the shores of reality. Dying was all that was left to her. She would die alone. One has to wonder how long it would be before someone would even notice the loss. With no hope, no money, no friends, and no chance, she heard of a traveling healer. She heard the excitement outside the door of a man that was more than a man. She heard about how he healed the blind and the deaf. There were even rumors of the dead being raised. Surely, if she could get to this man, she could be made well. But how? He was a holy man. Her condition even demanded that she should not be even allowed to be close to him. “But, if I could just get hold of Him.”
David had been full, now, sitting in the ruins of Ziklag, he was so empty.
She had been full but now she was empty.
David had been surrounded by the laughter and love of family and friends, and now, his family was taken and his friends spoke of stoning him.
She had been surrounded by family and friends, but now she was alone and there seemed to be no-one to care.
The future had seemed bright for David, but now it was dismal and bleak.
She once had such dreams and now she cried for death as her next friend.
The result of attaching oneself to God:
David’s result: David consulted the Ephod. He inquired of God. “Shall I pursue?” God’s word was “pursue and without fail recover all.” David and his men pursued and recovered everything the Amelekites had taken. Joy was restored. Family was recovered. Discouragement was chased away. The clouds of despair were dissipated. The sun shines through.
Woman’s result: thy faith has made thee whole. Health was restored. Fellowship was mended. Dreams were returned. I am not sure I have the words to tell you how much was changed in that one meeting. Everything was different now. Her condition affected every aspect of her life. There was not one thing that was not touched by her sickness. In that one meeting, everything changed.
You will not meet and hold God without there being a change. Sin permeates every aspect of your existence. It affects your health, it affects your wealth. It affects your social standing. It affects your friendships. It affects your relationships. There are no areas of your life that are not touched in some way by sin.
The difference between the crowd and the woman
Jesus had come into the area and a crowd gathered as was usual. A ruler in the city came to Jesus to ask Him to come heal his daughter who was at the point of death. Jesus went with Jarius and the crowd followed. The word here means merely to ‘walk along the same road.’ It does not imply an agreement of beliefs, but merely a common direction for a period of time. The crowd consisted of several levels of followers:
Dedicated followers: His disciples followed Him. They sat with Him and ate with Him. They followed Him not only on the road that day, but in their hearts. They followed his teachings and His directions. They had forsaken their former lives to become his fishers of men. While they may have been curious to see what Jesus was going to do, it was not the motivation for their following.
Curious followers: Then there were those that followed out of curiosity. They followed to see what Jesus could or would do. They had heard of His travels and His miracles. They came to see the show. Was He a prophet as some had claimed? Was He a healer from God as others claimed? Was he a magician or sorcerer using the power of the devil as others had claimed? Their curiosity compelled them to follow.
Following followers: Then there were those that followed simply to be following the crowd. They followed the crowd to be following the crowd. They had not heard of Jesus and His works, but the crowd was excited and therefore, they would join in. They were just joiners. They joined every good or popular cause.
In any church, you will find these followers.
Dedicated followers: You will find those that have given their hearts to God. They have ‘forsaken their nets’ and taken up the cross and are following. They are in the thick of the worship. They are giving their all. They are listening for the words of God. They are eager for instruction and reproof.
Curious followers: There you will also find the curious. They are there to see what Jesus will do in the service. They follow Him but from somewhat afar off. They readily agree that He is a great man and worthy to be followed. They are there for the fishes and the loaves. While the first group is being fed both spiritually and physically, this group is missing the spiritual and feasting only on the physical benefits of church attendance. This temporal satisfaction is all they seek.
Following followers: Then there are the followers of followers. My friends go to church so I will go to church. I am not here for the spiritual blessings. I am not here for the physical blessings. I am here because it is the social cause of the day. Church attendance has had a resurgence in popularity. Therefore the followers of followers can be found on the pews. They are following the crowd.
However, also in that crowd, on that common road, on the way to do good, Jesus encountered the woman with the issue of blood. While faith brought her to the place where He was, she did not possess the boldness of Jarius. Her condition caused her shy away from the spotlight.
Leviticus 15:25 “And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.”
She would have been delighted to grab the garment of Christ, be healed, and go her way with none being the wiser. To proclaim her healing or even her need for healing would be to expose her condition. While she was not a Jew, she knew that Jesus was a Jew. Her condition required that a Jew not come in contact with her.
It did not work out that way.
Jesus, perceiving the virtue going out, stopped and asked who had touched Him so. Her act was exposed. She had been healed, but now the Healer was asking who had ‘touched’ Him. When she came forth, His words were not of rebuke, but of comfort. “Go in peace and be whole of your plague.” Her faith had made her whole.
Your condition and position does not hinder God in His redemptive work.
He is not looking for social standing. He is not looking for wealth. He is not looking for beauty. He is not looking for intelligence. He is not looking for political connections.
He is looking for faith. He is looking for need.
Your social standing, present or absent, will not hamper the work. Your faith and need matter. Your wealth or lack thereof will not obstruct the work of His Spirit. Your faith and need matter. Your beauty or plainness will not hold back the healing power of His touch. Your faith and need matter. Your intelligence or absence of it will not mar His perfect will in your life. Your faith and need matter.
Come with your faith. Bring your need. Fasten yourself to God.
Job said that he would hold fast (‘chazaq’) to his righteousness.
Hebrews tells us to hold fast to the profession of our faith.
Judas spoke a mouthful when he told the soldiers he would identify Jesus with a kiss. His words were, “Whomsoever I shall kiss , that same is he: hold him fast.”
If your life is going in the wrong direction, grab hold of Jesus.
If your world is in turmoil, grab hold of Jesus.
If sin has you in its grip, grab hold of Jesus.
If you are discouraged, grab hold of Jesus.
If you have no hope, grab hold of Jesus.