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The Balm of Gilead
agf-blanco.com
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 • Posted April 11, 2014

I would encourage you to read Jeremiah 8:18-22. Verse 22 says, “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 was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah during the time the Babylonians under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Jews and carried them away captive to Babylon. Judah was judged because of her constant paganism, idol worship and rebellion against God. While God is rich in mercy and abounding in love, He is also just and holy - which means there will be a day when no more mercy is extended. That day had come for Judah. The harvest had passed, and they were not saved (vs. 20). When will your harvest pass? Hopefully you will give your life to Jesus, so you won’t have to say, “And I am not saved”.

Jeremiah asked, “Is there no balm in Gilead?” In other words, “Is there no healing & restoration for my people?” This balm of Gilead was famous throughout the Middle East. According to Jewish Historian Josephus, it was first brought into Judea from Arabia Felix, by the queen of Sheba in Solomon’s time. Apparently it was the sap of the Terebinth bush or Storax tree, and was well known for it’s medicinal qualities. It abounded in Gilead, which was east of the Jordan river. Because of this, many healers made it their home (Jer 46:11; Jer 51:8; Gen 37:25; Gen 43:11).

J. Hamilton writes, “Notice a few analogies between Judah’s balsam and that better balm which heals the wounds of sin—the anguish of the soul. (1) There was no great show about the tree itself. It had no particular grandeur or beauty. And so with the Savior. He had no outward form nor comeliness. (2) The balm tree was a stranger in Palestine. The Savior was a stranger in our world. (3) In order to obtain its healing essence, they used to wound the balm tree. And in order to give forth in one conclusive act the merit of His life, the Savior’s side was pierced. He was obedient unto death. He poured out His blood and made His soul an offering for sin.”

Gilead was a land known for it’s beauty and health (Jer 22:6). I believe it is a type of Heaven. Heaven’s balm is the Blood of Jesus; His grace & mercy; His Holy Word. The Great Physician is Jesus. He is Jehovah Rapha, The Lord God our Healer. Judah’s time had run out. They refused to receive the healing of their sin sick souls. They rejected the balm of Gilead, and instead indulged sin until it destroyed them. Many do the same today.

Why was their health not recovered (vs. 22)? Because they refused to be healed. Jesus said, “Ye will not come to me that ye might have life” (Jn 5:40). There is nothing wrong with God’s grace or His means of salvation. He is willing and able to save to the uttermost, if only we would come. God is merciful, gracious and kind; not willing that any perish. However, we must come. The prodigal son had to come home. The tax collector had to humble himself and say, “Have mercy on me, a sinner”. The sick patient cannot receive help of the doctor until he comes to him. I beg you, run to Jesus!

Let us hear Matthew Henry - “… Yes, God is able to help and to heal them. If sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the Physician there, all-sufficient; so that the people may be healed, but will not. Thus men die unpardoned and unchanged, for they will not come to Christ to be saved.” Jesus said it was the sick that need a physician, not the whole; and that He came to call sinners to repentance (Lk 5:29-32). Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Lk 19:10).

Jesus will in no way cast out the sinner who comes to Him for spiritual healing (Jn 6:37). In Lk 15:4-7, Jesus makes it clear that He is the Good Shepherd who delights to bring home the lost sheep. The Balm of Gilead, and the Great Physician who can apply it, is available to all of us who will reach out by faith and receive His healing virtue. Don’t think it’s too late. Don’t believe it’s hopeless. Where sin abounds, His grace does much more abound. You can be healed and restored today. Call on the Great Physician, Jesus Christ The Righteous. He calls you to come. Mat 11:28-30 says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Selah.

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