:   Is There No Balm in Gilead?

By Dr. Cornelius Matandiko
Adventist University of Eastern Africa
, Kenya – January 6, 2004 

Text: 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 consciences.  

  • 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

Jeremiah’s Dilemma:
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.

When 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 of protection.

It is in this context that he asks a pertinent question: “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?”

The Balm
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 ills.  

  1. 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 their sins…”
    No wonder the angel calls him ‘Jesus’ meaning Jehovah Saves! He is the only balm that can save.


  1. 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)


  1. 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 healed.”
                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.


  1. Yes, for our human illnesses, there is a balm in Gilead. HIS NAME IS JESUS. Jehovah Saves!!    Amen!!

[Home]  [Up]

End discrimination against people with HIV / AIDS
Adventist Leaders Meet US President
Helping HIV/AIDS Victims;  RwandaChurch Fights HIV-AIDS in Africa
Adventists Share How Churches Can Help Those with HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS Affects Not Only the Infected
Zimbabwe: Church Leaders Stress Urgent, Practical Involvement in AIDS Crisis
Church Addresses Vital Issues at Year's Top Meeting - HIV/AIDS