“Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of My people recovered?” (Jeremiah 8:22)
In April God said, we must take it by force. In May, He is saying that there is a Balm in Gilead for all the members of His kingdom. A discussion on Eskimos cannot but include ice. Likewise, a trip to the hospital brings the expectation of meeting nurses there, as their absence would be an oddity. The link between Gilead and Balm is the same. Anywhere one reads about Gilead, one is also bound to encounter the word, “Balm.”
Balm was first used as a preservative and later in indigenous remedies meant to heal and soothe. Embalming took its name from the use of balm as a preservative in earlier times. Both Jacob & Joseph were embalmed by the Egyptian method: "And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father…" (Genesis 50:2-3). "So, Joseph died…and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." (Genesis 50:24-26).
Biblical history states that the area of Gilead was rich in spices and aromatic gums that provided balm, which was then exported to Egypt, Tyre, and the land of Israel. But spiritually viewed, what is this balm? It is JESUS and the Savior's blood!
When Adam [and the Church of God within him] fell upon the rocks of sin and temptation, he shipwrecked the image of God in which he had been created. And as water floods into a shipwrecked vessel, so sin rushed into every faculty of his body and soul, penetrating the inmost recesses of his being.
However, the frightful havoc sin makes is neither seen nor felt until the soul is quickened into spiritual life. It is the sword of the Spirit which cuts and wounds; it is the entrance of life and light that gashes the conscience. It is the divine work of quickening to life that lacerates the heart and inflicts those deep wounds which nothing but the "balm in Gilead" can heal.
As previously established, balm preserves. However, Jesus preserves eternally (John 3:16; Hebrews 7:25; 1Peter 2:23-24). In Mark 2:17, the bible introduces JESUS as the physician. “Balm in Gilead” therefore connotes “preservation, healing, soothing and recovery in Jesus.”
Why the peculiar line of questioning in Jeremiah 8:22 then? "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" Jeremiah 8:22. This line of questioning is fraught with pain, worry, confusion, concern and desperation. These questions were posed by the prophet, Jeremiah, under unique circumstances that elicited very peculiar and painful feelings. Why was he hurt and wounded in spirit though?
Through careful study of this portion of Scripture, it appears there were at least three things running through Jeremiah’s mind: First, the hurt of [the daughter of] his people (Zion), for Zion lay languishing. Second, the greatness of the remedy which God had provided. Lastly; with such a great remedy for the grievous malady, why is the health of Zion not recovered?
We shall examine Jeremiah’s concern in 3 outlines with the people being the contemporary, 21st century people of God.
- The people of God hurt in the 21st Century
- Why is there so much hurt?
- The Remedy
Outline 1: The Church hurts in the 21st Century
Statistically speaking, almost 50% of the people in the U.S. suffer from one sickness or the other, financial malady, stress conditions, divorce, depression, suicide, and everything in between. By extrapolation, the global statistic is more staggering. The “Jeremiah” of our time is asking the same questions as the Jeremiah of old but with contemporary speech. “Is there no healing in JESUS? Why are the people dying rather than recovering?” To answer that, we move on to the next outline.
Outline 2: Why is There So Much Hurt?
From Jeremiah 8:22, it is crystal clear that the prophet Jeremiah is perplexed and confused, based on his questions. Why is there so much hurt in spite of the power of Jesus available to heal, soothe, recover, and preserve? The answer is made clear in Jeremiah 8:19. It says, “Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of My people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? Is not her king in her? Why have they provoked Me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?” The apparent problem is SIN! God has not changed, and He will never change. The same power that raised Lazarus from the dead is still available and efficacious (John 11:43); the power that healed the woman with the 12-year-long issue of blood is still very potent (Mark 5:25). That same power cured the leprosy of Naaman and it is still available all the time (2Kings 5:1-14). Yet, Jeremiah asked, "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" The obvious conclusion is that the problem is not the Balm [in Gilead]; rather, the problem is SIN in man.
Outline 3: The Remedy
2 Chronicles 7:14 prescribe 4 major steps to the remedy. It says, “If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Each of the four steps are required, otherwise there cannot be a lasting remedy should any step be skipped or omitted. The acronym BALM comes in handy in following the 4-step remedy.
a. Bow in humility before God (Proverbs 16:18; Acts 12:21): Wherever pride is found there will be no healing, instead there is always an evil turnaround from Glory to shame. Make up your mind to deal with pride in your life. Nebuchadnezzar was not only proud, he also dishonored God. He fell from the top to the very bottom, from grace to grass literally, from fame to shame.
b. Ask God for help in prayer: Prayer turns things around (2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalms 51:10-11; James 5:14-16)!
c. Look unto God, not unto man: Psalms 60:11 says, “Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.” We must look up to God and seek Him for the balm to work for us. Until God’s people begin to seek His face, there will be no healing.
d. Move away from sin and wickedness: Total departure from sin, evil and wickedness is the answer to healing. Proverbs 28:13; 2 Chronicles 7:14
In conclusion, the very question, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?”, implies that there IS indeed Balm in Gilead. It connotes that God has provided a remedy which is suitable to the desperate malady. Also, that there is more in the balm to heal than there is in the guilt to wound; for there is more in grace to save than there is in sin to destroy. Why, then, should Zion so languish? Why is she so sick and sore? Why still bleeding to death? Jesus the Balm in Gilead is waiting to heal you, but will you be healed or rather continue in sin? Hosea 7:1 says, “When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.” In other words, the power to heal Ephraim is readily available but the present sin stops the healing. The Balm is there, but when sin has a foothold, healing cannot coexist there.
- I bless Your Name, O LORD, I confess that You are the LORD, the Balm in Gilead, the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley. You are the same yesterday, today and forever more.
- Father, in the Name of Jesus, I am sorry for all my sins, I repent of my pride, iniquities, and wickedness. Also, I ask for Your mercy, in Jesus’ Name.
- Let healing flow into my life, flow into our homes, cities, nations, and the world over. LORD, wipe off from me every manifestation of the prison life. I refuse to manifest the life of a prisoner, in Jesus Name (Zechariah 9:11).
- Meditate on these healing scriptures: Exo. 15:26; Deut. 32:39; 2 Chron. 7:14, Psa.6:2, Isa. 53:5, Jer. 17:14, 33:6, Mal. 4:2
- LORD, You’re the perfection of beauty, infuse Your beauty into every area of my life. Where beauty has faded, add color to my life and make my life bright again, in Jesus’ Name (Psalms 50:2).
- Father, keep me from all forms of afflictions from now on, in Jesus’ Name (1 Chronicles 4:10).
- Father, terminate every attack on my life that has made me formless or that has not allow my true image to be reflected, in Jesus’ Name. Let Your light shine in every area of my life, Father.
- LORD, because I am Your child, no unbeliever around me will outshine me, in Jesus’ Name. I shall be found to be ten times better than the best of those around me, in Jesus’ Name.
- SING: You’re the Lord that health me, You are the Lord my healer, You sent your Word and heal my disease, you are the Lord my healer; etc.