Wellness Beyond Pills 3

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8 Roots of Sickness

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eye is wasted from grief;
    my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
    and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
    and my bones waste away. Psalm 31:9-10 (ESV)
  1. Distress

The word Distress is the Hebrew word ṣar, meaning, “Narrowness, tightness, distress, application, misery. It refers to a narrow space or object, not wide, with a small distance across it (Num. 22:26). It is used figuratively of a person’s pain and distress; oppression, a feeling of being hemmed in (Deut. 4:30; Job 7:11; 15:24) … It describes oppressive political, economic, and military conditions suffered by a group, a people, or a nation (Judg. 11:7).[1] Distress is oppression; it always involved outside forces oppressing a person or a people. Distress is demonic in nature. 

David knew how to seek healing from distress. In Psalm 4:1 he prayed by stating, “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!” (ESV) Sadly, today folks look for drugs (Legal and/or Illegal) and alcohol searching for relief from their distress.  

2. Grief

The word grief here is the Hebrew word, kaʿaś: meaning “Anger, provocation, vexation.”[2] When the old folks used to tell us to stop being so angry before we get sick, they were right; they knew what they were talking about. Notice that even our eyes are affected by grief (Psalm 31:9) Anger affects us physically, but we can say that when we are angry, we can’t really see God’s vision for our lives or the way God’s sees things or, any wisdom. 

3. Sorrow

The word Sorrow is the Hebrew word yāg̱ôn: meaning “Torment, trouble. It indicates a state or condition of utter loss and despair (Gen. 42:38; 44:31) that seems beyond cure (Jer. 8:18). It is an emotion that is the opposite of gladness or joy (Esth. 9:22) and equal to a state of mourning.”[3]

4. Sighing

This is the Hebrew word ʾanāḥāh: “A feminine noun indicating moaning, sighing. This response is brought on by physical (Job 3:24; 23:2), spiritual, or mental despair (Ps. 6:6[7]). It involves both body and soul (Ps. 31:9[10], 10[11]; 38:9[10]). Babylon would be punished because of the groaning she caused to others (Isa. 21:2). But sighing and groaning will be removed from the redeemed of the Lord (Isa. 35:10).[4] Sighing is directly connected to what others are doing to us. It is another outside force based on our circumstances or things we are going through. Again, you see the clear connection between how this adverse emotion affects our body and our soul.

5. Iniquity

This is the Hebrew word ʿāwōn: “A masculine noun meaning evil, guilt, punishment. This is one of the four main words indicating sin in the Old Testament. This word indicates sin that is particularly evil, since it strongly conveys the idea of twisting or perverting deliberately.”[5] While the other roots of sickness involved outside forces; this one is on us. To sin is to miss the mark; you do not want to miss the mark, but you do. However, iniquity is a lifestyle of sinning; we are sinning delivery. The psalmist tells us in Psalm 31:10, 

“…my strength fails because of my iniquity,
    and my bones waste away."

Iniquity has devastated consequences; eventually it will affect our energy level; we will feel so sick in our bodies that it will affect us deeply in our own bones. 

To be continued…


[1] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 966–967.

[2] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 519.

[3] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 416–417.

[4] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 76.

[5] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 814.

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