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  • Henry Omotayo

Is There No Balm In Gilead?

Jeremiah 8:1-22

Message No. 0552 | Twitter @GodandUs |

Commiphora Giliadensis, is the botanical name given to a tree in Gilead that is credited with the production of balm – a perfume or ointment which was said to have healing abilities. According to Bible history, this tree has existed for centuries, and balm, its by-product, has been traded from generation to generation, as far back as the time when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt; the Ishmaelites, to who he was sold, came from Gilead, with their camels carrying spices, balm and myrrh, on their way down to Egypt.

In Jeremiah chapter 8, the prophet painted a very dreadful situation in Judah, where idolatry and other sins had become predominant and the hearts of God’s people had become so hardened that God was about to allow Babylon to deal a very shameful and abominable blow, not only to the living, but also to the dead, especially their kings and other noble men. The men of Judah had not only backslidden, they had hardened their hearts and refused to repent. Expressing his bewilderment for the spiritual state in Judah, the prophet wrote in verse 22:

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

With reference to “the wound of my people” in Jeremiah’s statement, the prophet was, of course, speaking metaphorically. By wound, he meant the spiritual health of God’s people.

Our world today may not be comparable, one to one, with the time of Jeremiah, but we can certainly ask the same questions that the prophet asked in his days. Not only do we have enough share of idolatry in our societies, we have people who grew up in the church and later became atheists or even started ‘churches’ for atheists, and they are the ‘pastors.’ We live in a world with heart-hardened people, who are completely unwilling to consider repentance.

Spiritual health may be different from physical health, but the state of the former is known to sometimes have effect on the latter. This is the reason why, in some instances when Jesus healed people, He used the phrase ‘Your sins are forgiven you.’ Right after crossing the Red Sea, Israel encountered a challenge where they had traveled for three days in the desert without water to drink. The one they eventually found was bitter. After healing the water, God spoke through Moses to the children of Israel, to establish the covenant of healing. In Exodus 15:26,

He said, "If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."

When we face precarious public health challenges as we have in our world today, it is often a time to look back, examine ourselves and repent. If we remain obedient to God’s commands and pay attention to His decrees, His promise is to not allow to come on us coronavirus, which has challenged our world like no other matter in our generation. The fact that the ‘infection is running faster than the injection’ (as one TV anchor puts it) is evidence that we are incapable of solving this problem on our own. While we ask for God’s wisdom to create the vaccines that will assist with prevention, we still have no reliable cure for the disease, so people continue to die daily in thousands.

As Moses created a bronze serpent in the wilderness and lifted it up so anyone who, as a result of collective disobedience was bitten by snakes, looked at it and was healed, so should we lift up our Lord Jesus Christ so our society could look at Him and be healed. The Balm in Gilead may have been able to cure some physical ailments, but it could not cure the spiritual decadence of Judah. Jesus Christ is our Balm today, and He is not just capable of healing pandemics, He is our spiritual Healer and He is able to reconcile us back to our Creator. Jesus is the only Balm who can address all manner of situations in our societies. Please continue to pray until we see the change that we all eagerly await. It will come soon, in Jesus’ healing name. Amen. Have a blessed week!

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 If you are yet to give your life to Christ, you do not have a covenant with God and His promises do not apply to you. To come under these promises, please surrender your life to Christ today, by praying this prayer:
 Lord I know that I am a sinner and I am unable to save myself. I am sorry for my sins and I pray that you please forgive me. I am aware that Your Son Jesus died for my sins and I accept Him as my Lord and savior. I surrender my life unto you from this moment. Please take control of my entire being and help me to be obedient to your Word, going forward. Thank you, Lord, for hearing me. I have prayed in Jesus’ name. Amen.
 If you prayed the foregoing prayer, you have just been born again. Please find a Bible believing church in your area and ask to see the pastor. Let him or her know that you have just given your life to Christ and s/he will guide you on next steps in your journey as a child of God. The Lord bless you!
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