There No Balm in Gilead?
Adventist University of Eastern Africa
Baraton, Kenya – January 6, 2004
Jeremiah 8: 20-22
“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not
saved. Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn,
and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no
physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound
of my people?”
There is a disease in our humanity and the correct name for
it is SIN. The
modern mind has chosen to better and benumb their troubled
Homosexuality is now called - Alternative lifestyle.
Adultery is now called - Extramarital sex
Fornication is just - Sex outside marriage
Prostitutes are now - Sex workers
Lying is now called - Diplomacy
Stealing is- Initiative
The text for our consideration today was written by Jeremiah
the prophet; a priest who was called to the prophetic office
at a time when God’s people were in constant decline
politically, morally and religiously. At this time Syria was
no longer a world power. Two nations seemed to be going on
the central stage of world dominance. First was Egypt and
the second being Babylon. Israelites, the people of God,
were now trying to align themselves with the might. Two
groups, therefore, were debating which power they would
gamble on for protection. One group said; let us submit to
Egypt for protection; another group said; let us submit to
Babylon for our national existence.
the matter came to the attention of Jeremiah he said, “Look
neither to Egypt nor Babylon for protection- TRUST IN GOD!
This made him very unpopular, but he had to hold tenaciously
to the God given task of pointing people to the true source
in this context that he asks a pertinent question: “Is there
no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?”
In Ancient times, this balm had unbelievable healing powers.
It reached diseases that were declared incurable by many.
In this vein; there are certain qualities that point to
Jesus-Christ as the powerful remedy for all our Spiritual
The Balm came from a
land east of Jordan. This balm was imported from a
distant land, it was not originally found in Palestine.
For our Spiritual maladies; there is no earthly balm
that can get to the seat of sin. Education can’t, wealth
cannot, culture has failed, and even prisons do not
change the sinfulness of man. We have a balm in the
person of Christ that was imported from heaven.
Galatians 4:4- “In the fullness of time, God
sent forth a Son…”
John 1:11- “He came into His own…”
Matthew 1:21- “He will save His people from
No wonder the angel calls him ‘Jesus’ meaning Jehovah
Saves! He is the only balm that can save.
The balm was extracted
from a tree. This particular tree was not a tree of
beauty. It was not attractive. Its wood could not be
polished into beautiful furniture. It was not like the
magnificent pines or gum trees. It was a stunted shrub.
Jesus, who has become the great physician was not, and
still is not attractive by human standards. Isaiah 53:2,
“He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a
root out of dry ground. He hath no form nor comeliness;
and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we
should desire him”
But the beauty of Christ is seen through
the eye of faith. He is as lovely as the rose of
Sharon, the lily of the valley and the bright and
morning star. He comes as sun of righteousness that
comes with healing in his wings (Malachi 4:2)
Healing power was not in
the leaves; nor roots but in the thick fluid that flowed
out of the tree. In order to extract the fluid; the tree
had to be cut or pierced.
Isaiah 53:5 “He was wounded for our transgressions; he
was bruised for our iniquities…with his stripes we are
When Pilate failed to be just and release
the innocent Jesus, the soldiers took over. They used
the instrument of torture which was a whip with bits of
sharp bones and iron attached. This they used to whip
his back until He bled. Little did they know that it is
that blood which brings healing to our sin sick souls.
They brought a crown of thorns which they
forced on His head; thorns cut through the skin sending
rivulets of blood trickling down his face. Let
everyone know that it is this blood that changes curses
into prayers; it changes the poison of sin into the
medicine of Grace.
Yes, for our human illnesses, there is a balm in
Gilead. HIS NAME IS JESUS. Jehovah Saves!!