“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.
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” — Matt. 11:12
The first day of April 2018 is Resurrection Sunday. We can celebrate the resurrection of Christ because He fulfilled the purpose for which He was sent to earth. He lived His life on earth in the fullness of authority available to Him from the written Word of God, and from His submission to the counsel and direction of the Holy Spirit. His life pleased and delighted the heavenly Father because He walked in perfect obedience.
As it was while Christ and His disciples walked the earth, the same is true today – the Kingdom of God is by power and righteousness. The Kingdom is to be the primary focus of the believer; it operates by power principles. Failure to understand these principles makes one’s destined end and dreams a mirage. The enemy is a violent and bitter adversary and must be stopped by proactive, defensive force. Whatever the LORD Jesus Christ offers at Calvary for the redeemed is only enforced and delivered on the platform of warfare. You must know what belongs to you that you may apply the relevant force for delivery (Matthew 11:11-15). Until you fight the good fight of faith, the delivery of eternal life and all other redemptive benefits are not in view (1 Timothy 6:12). Contention, for what is rightfully ours, is the principle behind the recovery and delivery of life’s inheritance (Deuteronomy 2:24).
According to Isaiah 53:12, the spoils of life are shared among the strong. The weak do not share in the spoils of life. Victory in spiritual warfare is what qualifies a man for sharing in the spoils of life (1 Samuel 30:18-20; 2 Chronicles 20:25). It is people that share the spoils of life that take their place among the great in life. Those who cannot share in the spoils of life remain small, little, irrelevant and insignificant and exploited. It takes strength in life to do exploits (Daniel 11:32, Isaiah 53:12). Strength is conventionally the main determinant of victory (Luke 11:21-22).
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, we are made to understand that ”For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds).” The day a child is born, he begins a lifetime of battle. Everyone living is engaged in one form of battle or the other. Many have become prisoners of war (POWs) brutally abused and despicably treated by captors. Deliverance is by force because the enemy does not release his captives easily or willingly.
Every human being has received a call; a call to WAR. It is not a war fought in the earthly realm but in the heavenly one. A war not fought with tanks and jets, but, with prayer and worship! A war fought with the Sword of the Spirit and the Shield of Faith (God’s Word). Wake up to reality and fight the good fight for your life and do it by force. How do I know force is needed to rectify my individual lack of redemptive rights as one born again? Review the non-exhaustive list below for self-identification:
- Your calling has been compromised by a career
- When your desire to serve your employer has become greater than your desire to serve God
- When your problems seem greater than your God
- When you cannot sleep at night for fear of the devil and his armies
- When you are too busy to come to the house of God for regular meetings
- When you are afflicted for trying to help someone else
- When you struggle through school to get a degree yet do not gain employment
In Acts 13:8-11, Paul the apostle was on a divine assignment. He was Salt and Light to his generation. He was populating heaven by diverting hell’s traffic. Satan and his cohorts were angry about this and sought retaliation. Their plan was to infiltrate the camp of the righteous with Elymas, the sorcerer. Paul was to catch a big fish for Jesus; the proconsul, named Sergius Paulus, was to be won to Christ. However, Elymas, also known as Bar-Jesus, who was in the employ of the proconsul, was not interested in furthering the cause of the gospel and so withstood Paul. Therefore, Paul confronted Elymas with a verdict of force saying, “…O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the LORD?” (Acts 13:10). By force, Elymas’ negative experience expanded the Kingdom of God, as Sergius Paulus was won to the faith, much to the enemy’s chagrin.
Presently, Satan’s major attack against the Body of Christ is not a frontal attack, but a subversive attack through intrigue, fear, lies, deception, false doctrine, and the likes. Occasionally, he works openly, but most often, his activities are carried out discreetly and with serpentine cunning (Genesis 3:1). For his goal has always been, and always will be, to turn mankind away from GOD. In this season, it appears the devil’s employs to trip Christians up are intrigue, deception, and hellish reconstruction of biblical doctrines. If he can distract, derail, or discourage us, or get us to yield to temptation, then, he has succeeded. Our weapons have been divinely provided in Christ. Consequently, our protection against Satan’s attacks is assured only if, and when, we take up the full armor of GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18). Satan is a defeated foe, but his complete demise is yet in the future. We have already alluded to Satan’s defeat at the cross of Calvary. Nevertheless, we shall say it once again; Satan’s demise is certain! The LORD is near to all who call on Him (Psalms 145:18). Call on Him this month through prayer and worship and every storm shall be over in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Our Redeemer and Arch-conqueror has gone ahead of us to fight and win battles on our behalf. All we do in spiritual warfare is to appropriate the victory that He has won for us in the mighty Name of Jesus. If you will fight by the law of the Spirit of Life, the winner of the battle has been decided before the battle began (Romans 8:2). The referee in the battle is your Redeemer. He is on your side, so, until you win, He will not blow the final whistle. Fight the good fight of faith and your victory will be registered and announced (1 Timothy 6:12)!
As you pray these prayers, may your redemptive rights be restored by force in Jesus’ Name:
- Father, for every battle I must fight in life, let me come out a victor and not a victim in Jesus’ Name (1 Corinthians 15:57).
- Every power working, in the order of the Prince of Persia, to highjack my blessings, be arrested in Jesus’ Name.
- Father, as I fight the battles of life, equip me with the right weapons that ensure victory in Jesus’ Name.
- Father GOD, I dispatch Your Fire to the heavenlies to destroy every power working against my life, family, success, and prosperity, in Jesus’ Name.
- Father, set me free from the hand of my captors, spiritual or human, in Jesus’ Name (Psalms 79:11).
- I break every curse designed to get me close to my life goals but never complete achievement in my job, ministry, marriage, family and business in Jesus’ Name.
- LORD Jesus, wipe every manifestation of imprisonment off my life. I refuse to live my life as a prisoner, in Jesus’ Name (Zechariah 9:11).
- Father, send your angels to battle on my behalf. Please cause to be released to me every good and virtue in me that the devil has imprisoned, in Jesus’ Name (Daniel 10:11-13).
- Let every arrow of shame and reproach back fire, in the Name of Jesus.
- Father, help me not to spend my life only laboring daily to make money. Please bring me to the point where my money will, in turn, work for me in Jesus’ Name (Ecclesiastes 10:19).