Is There No Balm In Gilead?
The balm spoken of here is “rosin” or “resin” from the evergreen trees, which grew abundantly in the land of Gilead in Old Testament times. This resin was well known in those days for its medicinal qualities, and was used to clean and bind wounds. The trees were cut or punctured to allow the resin to flow out and be collected for medicine.
Gilead is the mountainous land on the east side of Jordan that Moses gave to the tribes of Gad and Reuben, and the half tribe of Manasseh. Because of the abundance of resin, the land of Gilead was also well known for its physicians.
We have three points that we want to bring form our text this morning 1) What caused the wounds of God’s people?; 2) What are the wounds of God’s people; 3) Is there no balm in Gilead, and physician to heal the wounds of God’s people?
1. What caused the wounds of God’s people?
1) The first cause of their wounds was their idolatry (verses 1-2, 19). These verses speak of the “host of heaven”, and the “graven images” that Israel was so abominably guilty of worshipping. In other words, they worshipped the whole gambit of pagan idols. Israel was stooped in every kind of idolatry that the world had to offer back then. Beloved, there is also much idolatry in the world today, and God’s people are no different than Israel in their devotion to idols, and their forsaking the only true God of the Bible.
2) Secondly, was Israel’s perpetual backslidings away from God (verses 4-5). The normal trend for God’s people is, when they fall they rise up again, and when they turn away from the Lord and His truth, they return again by the grace of God. But Israel was backslidden with a perpetual backsliding, and they would not return to the Lord.
3) Thirdly, Israel would not repent, but went on in their wicked course (verse 6). God listened and waited for Israel to seek Him, that they might find out the error of their way. But they didn’t speak right unto the Lord, but went on in their evil ways like a horse rushes to battle. Beloved, how many professing Christians today refuse to repent, and rush off into sin, like horses to the battle?
4) Fourthly, they didn’t know the judgment of the Lord (verse 7). It was not as though they hadn’t heard of God’s judgment upon evil doers. They heard the prophets of God, but they just didn’t believe what they heard about God’s judgment. People today are just like that. The word goes forth, they hear it with their ears, but they just don’t believe that God will judge them for their sins and disobedience to His Word. But, beloved, God is the same God today that He was back then, and He will “not at all acquit the wicked.”
5) Fifthly, Israel disobeyed and rejected the Word of the Lord (verses 8-9). They claimed that the law of the Lord was with them. They claimed to have the truth. They claimed to be defenders of the truth. But God said that His Word to them was in vain. God said they rejected His Word, and that there is no wisdom in them. Woe to all those who claim to have the truth, and to know the truth, and yet reject the Word of God by their disobedience to the very truth they claim to love.
6) Sixthly, Israel was covetousness, and guilty of false dealing (verse 10). Beloved, covetousness is idolatry, were taught in Col. 3:5. Covetousness is an over-desire to have things that don’t belong to us. These “things” include anything that doesn’t belong to us; whether tangible or intangible. And when people are covetous, they will stop at nothing, and they will stoop to anything, to satisfy their over-desire to have. The Israelites were dealing falsely, which includes lying, and cheating, and stealing, and even killing; to have those things they coveted after. Beloved, this is not the spirit of Christ but of Satan!
7) Seventhly, the prophets preached a false peace (verse 11). The prophets had a “balm” of false doctrine, but their false doctrine was only able to heal the people “slightly”. In reality, the balm of the prophets could not heal at all, but only give the people a false peace and a false hope, when in fact, they were under the imminent wrath of God.
Beloved, the people didn’t want to hear Jeremiah, God’s true prophet. The king of Israel didn’t want to hear Jeremiah. Instead, they all wanted to hear the false prophets, which said, “its OK, you can sin all you want to;” “God is love and He will give you peace;” “God will not send His wrath upon you, because He is a God of love.”
This is the popular message of our day. The false prophets say “smile, God loves you”; “you needn’t fear His wrath”; “God will accept you just as you are”. “You need not repent, you need no genuine faith in the gospel of the Jesus.” But beloved the truth is, “there is no peace, saith my God, unto the wicked” Isaiah 57:21. Children of God and lost sinners alike this morning, don’t believe the false prophets, who prophecy lies in the Name of the Lord!!! They only want to destroy your souls in hell.
8) Eighthly, Israel was not ashamed of their sins and abominations (verse 12). They were not ashamed of their sins. They had no remorse over their evil doings. Their conscience was seared with a hot iron. They could not so much as blush because of their sins, even in the presence of God and His prophets. They were completely insensitive to the guilt of sin. They were like the adulterous woman in Proverbs:
Proverbs 30:20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
Such is the way of hard hearted religious professors, whose lives are enslaved in sin. They go about their sinful way, day unto day, and come to church on Sunday and say, “I have done no wrong.” They’re not ashamed of their sins and sinful ways. They are not sorry for them. They have no remorse over them. They shed no tears for their sins. They cannot even blush when the preacher preaches on their sins!
2. Secondly this morning, what are the wounds inflicted on God’s people?
In verse 3, the Lord said He would drive Israel into the nations whose gods they worshipped. What a shame and reproach, for God’s people to become slaves to this old sinful world and its idols. Child of God, this world is not your friend! It would love to take you captive, and make you a slave! And God will cause it to be so, if you worship and serve the idols of this world.
In verse 10, the Lord would take away their most loved possessions; their wives and their lands, because of their covetousness. When God’s people are greedy and covetous, they will not prosper, but they are in danger of losing even the possessions that they have.
In verse 12, the Lord would cause them to fall and be cast down, because they were not ashamed of their sins. When God’s people get lifted up in sinful pride, and they are no longer ashamed of their sins and their sinful ways, then they are bound for a great fall.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
In verse 13, the Lord would destroy the fruit of their land, and take away their temporal blessings that He gave them. The Lord will not continue to bless His children when they continue in their backslidings, and repent not of their wicked sins. He will destroy the fruit of their land. He will destroy the fruit of their labors.
In verse 14, the Lord would put them to silence and gave them the “water of gall” to drink because of their sins. He will put to silence the testimony of His people, and make their lives bitter because of their sins. How about us this morning, has our testimony been silenced and our lives made bitter because of our sins?
In verse 15, they would have no “good times”, but they would have great trouble instead. They will desire good times, and joyful times, but instead God will send them trouble! Beloved is this us? Do our “good times” turn into trouble and vexation of spirit?
In verses 16-17, the people would be devoured and destroyed. Not only their possessions, but even the people themselves will be devoured and destroyed because of their sins.
And finally, in verses 18-19, they would have sorrow, and faintness of heart, and crying, and fear, because of the coming judgment. By this time, however, it was too late to repent. Judgment was at the door! Their comes a time in our backslidings, when it is too late to repent! I’m not talking about sinning away your day of grace, but I talking about sin unto death. Sometimes, beloved, fear comes too late for repentance!
3. Thirdly and finally this morning, is there no balm in Gilead, and a Physician to heal God’s people?
Yes, beloved, there is a “balm in Gilead,” and there is a Physician.
And what is the “balm” of Gilead?
1) First, it is the Word of God.
Psalms 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
Beloved, there is miraculous healing power in the Word of God, when applied to the soul by the Holy Spirit. The “balm” of God’s Word will accurately diagnosis the sick and wounded soul, and it provides a perfect remedy, with just the right prescription for true and lasting healing of the soul. The Word of God will never lie, it will never withhold the truth of your condition, but it will show you the way of healing, and of life everlasting.
2) Secondly, the “balm of Gilead” is the blood of Christ.
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Beloved, the blood or Jesus can cleanse and bind all our sin wounds, and purge our conscience from our dead works to serve the living God. Yes, the blood of Jesus is the “balm of Gilead” for the sin sick soul this morning. Christian, come to God through the blood of Jesus, and find cleansing and healing for the wounds of your soul!
What is the “balm of Gilead” for lost sinners this morning?
First, is the Word of the Gospel. The gospel of Jesus is the life giving, soul healing message of the Word of God to lost sinners. To be healed of your sins you must believe the gospel of Jesus, which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for your sins.
Second is the blood of Jesus. Like the healing resin that flowed from the cuts and punctures in the trees of Gilead, so the healing blood of Jesus flowed from the cuts and punctures in our blessed Saviour, as He hung upon Calvary’s tree, dying for you and me who believe. Beloved, there is healing power in the blood of Calvary’s Lamb. There is soul cleansing, life giving power in the blood of Jesus, that flowed on Calvary’s tree!!!
Believe this morning, that the blood of Jesus was poured out for your healing. Believe that His blood has power to cleanse you of all your sins, and to heal your sin sick soul. Believe that He gave His life blood for you, and died for you, and was buried for you, and rose again the third day for you; and you will be healed of all your sins, and you will receive the gift of everlasting life!
Can you believe this gospel this morning. If you are lost in your sins, believe in Jesus unto the salvation of your soul, even this very moment!
And yes, beloved, there is a Physician, and His Name is Jesus?
Truly Isaiah sayeth of Him:
Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Malachi 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
And in Luke, Jesus reading from the Old Testament a prophecy of Himself:
Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Yes beloved, Jesus is the Physician of Israel, and of every soul who will come to Him in faith, and believe that He is the Son of God, and the Savior Who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again for your sins.
And He is the healer of His people when we err, and backslide from the way. Ah, the question is, will we come to Him in repentance, and confess our sins and erring ways, and be healing of all our wounds?
In conclusion, Will the daughter of God’s people be healed? No, beloved, Israel wasn’t healed; at least not at that time (READ verse 20). No, they were not saved, but they were conquered, and taken captive, and devoured as the Lord said in His Word.
What about us this morning? May God give us repentance to return from our backslidings, and anoint us with the “balm of Gilead”. May the Great Physician heel us of our sins and erring ways, through the power of His precious blood.
“Lord, hear our prayers this morning, and forgive us our iniquities, and heal the wounds that we have caused by our wicked sins against you and your Holy Word!”
“And Lord, give lost sinners repentance and faith in “balm of Gilead”, which is the blood of your Son. May Jesus, the Great Physician, cleanse and heal their souls, and save them from everlasting contempt unto everlasting life; even this very moment!”
May the great physician heal you this morning through faith in the gospel of Jesus.