Behold [says the prophet, listen to the voice of] the cry
of the daughter of my people [for help] because of those who dwell
in a far country: Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her King in her?
[But the Lord answers] Why have they provoked Me to anger
with their carved images and with foreign idols?
The harvest is past, the summer has ended and the gathering of fruit
is over, yet we are not saved!
For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I [Jeremiah] hurt;
I go around mourning; dismay has taken hold of me.
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people restored?
[Because Zion no longer enjoyed the presence of the Great Physician!].
When I Was A Child…
She would coat my chest with the salve, put some at the end of my nose and…though the label says to use for ‘external use’ only— mom would stick her index finger in the dark blue jar, then pulling out a large glob and say, “Mel, put this in your mouth and swallow.” Give me a break, it was my mom’s instructions! Did the remedy help cure the cold? Well, I’ll put it this way: I still have a large plastic jar of VICKS nearby in case of colds [I don’t swallow the medicine anymore!].
What does all this have to do with Scripture? The investigation begins!
There’s a song (a spiritual) of old, based upon the Scripture found in Jeremiah 8:22:
“There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounds whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.”
So as we look together at the referenced Scriptures, we will look more at why this is mentioned in the Bible and its significance then and now.
Where is the Region of Gilead?
Gilead is important and mentioned along with this balm of the region of this particular plant or tree. Many people came to the area to obtain this well-know substance and if the ‘moms’ of that day had medicine cabinets–they most likely would have a large jar of the ‘balm of Gilead’ on the lower shelf and easy to get at!
The Natural Aspect of this Balm—Why it is mentioned in the Bible?:
This particular balm was famous as a gum or spice used to heal wounds and also as a cosmetic. The substance of this particular balm was similar to honey; had a pleasant aromatic smell to it. It was sometimes mixed with olive oil and was swallowed [like “Vicks”] or put on wounds and sores.
A Few Scriptures Where We See the Balm Mentioned (particularly the value, sought-after substance):
1. Genesis 37:25: “Then they sat down to eat their lunch. When they looked up, behold, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites [mixed Arabians] coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum [of the styrax tree], balm (balsam), and myrrh or ladanum, going on their way to carry them down to Egypt.”
— A caravan of Ishmaelites, coming from the region of Gilead, took Joseph after his brothers sold him to them on their way to Egypt.
2. Genesis 43:11: “And their father Israel said to them, If it must be so, now do this; take of the choicest products in the land in your sacks and carry down a present to the man, a little balm (balsam) and a little honey,aromatic spices and gum (of rock rose) or ladanum, pistachio nuts, and almonds.”
— Father Israel had Joseph’s brothers take back gifts to Joseph when they went to Egypt to purchase more food.
The items they took were considered highly valuable, specialty items not found common in Egypt. Because of the famine, even more rare. And as you can see among theses items, balm is mentioned.
Let’s go back to Jeremiah 8:22 (our theme Scripture for this ‘blog-study’)–
I thought it somewhat interesting in the Amplified Bible, the adding to this verse in brackets: [Because Zion no longer enjoyed the presence of the Great Physician!].
To tie this thought in with this verse in Jeremiah, lets look at Exodus 15:26 to answer the question…is there no physician there?:
“If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord Who heals you.” Hopefully your answer is…YES!!!
When it came down to their own choosing and they had rejected the One Who can apply the healing balm they would not use as the remedy–they would not apply (or go to) the healing of the Great Physician. Therefore, they could no longer enjoy His presence (not walking in obedience).
Thinking about that in application of your own life…where you may have hurts/wounds of any kind–
Have you gone to the Great Physician?
Let me rephrase that question: Do you just take what He offers as “matter of fact”, not really in the depths of your being, knowing He is the only answer?
More Questions to Ask–
We can sometimes know this in our minds, but do we really know it from our hearts and apply it?
Do you “draw the line” when it comes to some areas of obedience to His Word…because it hurts?
Let’s move on in Scripture: Jeremiah 46:11–
“Go up into Gilead and take [healing] balm, O Virgin Daughter of Egypt! In vain do you use many medicines; for you there is no healing or remedy.”
What really “jumped out” at me in reading this particular verse in the Amplified Bible, is that it states that– “in vain you use many medicines and for that one, there is no remedy.”
What about your life? Have you tried many other “remedies” for healing? Have you looked to others to find the answers instead of the One Who has the balm for the remedy?
IS THERE A SOURCE FOR “BALM” TODAY?
The Sin-Sick Soul–God’s Word:
–Man has a sin problem—
1. Romans 3:10 and 23-
 “As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no not one.” [Ps. 14:3].  “Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.”
2. Greeks have sinned. Romans 1–Perverted the natural.
3. Jews have sinned. Romans 2–Become Hypocritical.
4. Therefore, all have sinned—Romans 3.
John says that if we say we have no sin, we–
1. Deceive Ourselves– 1 John 1:8.
2. Make God a liar– 1 John 1:10.
3. The Truth is not in us– 1 John 1:8.
4. God’s Word is not in us– 1 John 1:10.
QUESTION: “What are the consequences of sin?”
Romans 6:23-– “For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Notice this picture portrayed of sin as a cruel master: “Sin is regarded as a sovereign who demands the military service of its subjects, levies their quota of arms and gives them their soldiers pay of death.” (Lightfoot).
SIN is an ugly sore that is placed upon our souls [our ‘heart-soul’] and it festers and festers until we wash it away!
God’s Word gives us freedom from sin: John 8:32; 17:17; Romans 6:17-18; Romans 8:2.
God’s Word supplies us with everything for life and godliness–2 Peter 1:3:
“For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).”
If a doctor prescribes medicine, it is supposed to meet the needs for which it was prescribed. Is there a physician who has prescribed the medicine of the sin sick soul?
THERE IS A PHYSICIAN WHO HAS PRESCRIBED GOD’S WORD–JESUS THE CHRIST!
JESUS is God’s WORD! (John 1:1, 14)–
JESUS said to the Pharisees, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to arouse and invite and call the righteous, but the erring ones (those not free from sin) to repentance [to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins].” (Luke 5:31, 32 AMP).
How do we learn of the Christ?
“And this report concerning [JESUS] spread through the whole of Judea and all the country round about” (John 7:17).
The Hippocratic Oath–
DOCTORS take this oath at their graduation of medical school, promising to give their patients the best care they can give. How much more shall the Great Physician give the best care to His patients?
There Are Sin Sick Souls Needing to Apply the ‘BALM’– You and Me!
In Revelation 3:14-22, JESUS talks to the church at Laodicea. He sees their spiritual poverty and is prescribing ‘spiritual medicine‘ to the church. They are to apply this eye-salve, ointment, BALM, to their eyes to see the TRUTH and this ointment is GOD’S WORD.
James says, “But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience)” (JAMES 1:25 AMP).
Notice, a continued comparing of ourselves with God’s Word, along with a doing attitude bringing spiritual blessings. Readers, this is how we apply the “balm”! Comparing ourselves with God’s Word and do what is right.
JESUS Himself says, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
It would be foolish of us to receive the doctor’s prescription, then never get it filled.
THERE IS STILL A BALM IN GILEAD–“Will you and I apply it?”
1. Are you looking into God’s “perfect law” every day?
2. Are you applying the “Balm of Gilead” to your life?
3. God’s Word is still here!
4. JESUS’ prescription is still the same!
5. All you need to do is apply it to your life!
6. Will you be willing to do that?
7. If you are a Christian…
8. If you are NOT a Christian…
a) Hear Romans 10:17.
b) Believe Hebrews 11:6.
c) Repent Acts 17:30.
d) Confess Romans 10:10.
e) Be Baptized Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16.
9. Remember, a doctor’s prescription can only do us good if we get it filled!