#131

THE BALM OF GILEAD

JER 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

>>The prophet asks a most powerful question from a heart overwhelmed with very peculiar and painful feelings.

JER 8:21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.

>>The prophet was astonished at three things.

>>First, at the hurt, i.e., the deep and desperate wounds of God's church;

>>Secondly, at the greatness of the remedy which God had provided.

>>Thirdly, seeing that the malady was so desperate and the remedy so great, why was not the health of His people recovered.

FOR OUR FIRST POINT, let's consider the desperate condition of the daughter of his people.

FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let's consider the remedy God has provided for this desperate condition.

FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let's consider the answer to the prophet's question, "why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?"

>>Sin is a very grievous thing, and every one of God's dear children either have, or will be made to feel it so.

>>It is only in proportion as we see the extent of the malady of sin, that we will see the value of the remedy.

>>The apostle Paul never saw the holiness of God's law until after he was apprehended by Christ.

ROM 7:12-13 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

>>The prophet did not point a finger at a fallen congregation, but his complaint was

JER 8:21-22 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

>>The prophet saw God's church was suffering under wounds which needed balm, they were so severe as to require the care of a physician.

>>God's Word has described this condition of fallen man in ISA 1:6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

>>When a man is bitten by a serpent, the venom flows through every artery and vein and the man dies infected with venom in every sense.

>>Adam was created in the image of God, but he became infected with the venom of sin from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head and died spiritually.

>>Until a person is quickened into spiritual life all his spiritual senses are slain by the infection of the venom of sin.

>>When the Holy Spirit comes to "reprove," i.e., to convince us of sin, He uses the "Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God," to cut our conscience, inflicting wounds which nothing but the "balm of Gilead" can heal.

>>As the Holy Spirit quickens our spiritual senses, we see from God's Word that, "...the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." ISA 1:5

>>The carnal mind, i.e., the unregenerate mind is depraved. The will chooses evil; the affections cleave to earthly things.

ROM 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

>>The Sword of the Spirit, opens up the depth of the fall to make us sick of self. The knowledge of sin caused God's dear saints to deplore self.

>>David said in PSA 6:2-3 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?

PSA 6:6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

>>Jeremiah complained in JER 8:21-22 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.

>>Every one who has received a faith's view of the co-equal Son of God agonizing in the garden and on the cross will never be able to slight the least sin.

2CO 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let's consider the remedy God has provided for this desperate condition.

>>It seems clear that the prophet, thus almost overwhelmed with the sight and sense of sin, he had a faith's view of the remedy. Therefore he cries out in our text

JER 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

>>The prophet seems to be asking, "Is the case so desperate that the sinner must die in his sin?--is there no hope for him?--has he wandered to far by sinning against such love?--is there no hope?--Is there no remedy for such a loathsome disease? "Is there no balm in Gilead?--Is the supply exhausted, or has it lost its healing power?"

>>When the "Sword of the Spirit," has laid our hearts open to see our need of that "Balm of Gilead," then Jesus says in

JOH 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

>>Our lovely Saviour's blood becomes such precious balm to our hearts when they are bleeding over our sins.

>>Then the Holy Ghost testifies to our soul that "...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin," 1JO 1:7.

>>That blood of Jesus Christ is the healing balm "for all sin."

>>The Holy Ghost pours in that balm of Gilead into every wound--sins before being effectually called--sins after calling--sins of thought--sins of word--sins of deed--sins of commission--sins of omission--sins against light- sins against love--sins against the law--sins against the gospel--sins against God in every shape.

>>The blood of Christ does not cleans us from a thousand sins--not from a million sins, but from all sins.

>>When the Holy Spirit has used the Sword of the Spirit to wound the conscience over sin, what besides the blessed balm of Gilead can soothe the pain or bring the edges of the wound together again.

>>Can such a wounded heart find any soothing from human duties?--human merit, or human observances of rituals.

>>Why do I mention all these? Because there is no middle ground between human merit and Christ's blood.

>>The main end of the gospel is to drive out all that is of the flesh and bring in Christ.

>>But the question is also asked "...is there no physician there?"

>>We need a Physician who can diagnose the ailment, as well as we need the balm to remedy.

><>A physician must naturally be a man of deep skill and thorough knowledge, but also of great tenderness.

HEB 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let's consider the answer to the prophet's question, "why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?"

>>Jeremiah saw by faith that there was balm in Gilead, and that there was a Physician there, so the central them of his question was, "why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?"

>>The Holy Spirit may have wounded their conscience with the knowledge of sin--they may know there is balm and a Physician in Gilead, and yet they are not healed because they have not repented.

HOS 5:14-15 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.

HOS 5:15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

>>What was the sin of Judah and Jerusalem?

JER 5:1-4 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

2 And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely.

3 O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

4 Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God.

>>Instead of repenting they joined their forces against the Lord's servant.

JER 18:18 Then said they, Come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.

>>Jeremiah's commission was to sort out the precious from the vile.

JER 15:19 Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.

>>The apostle Paul spoke of this same rebellion in ROM 10:21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

>>This word "gainsaying," is taken from the Greek word "Antilego-(an-til'-eg-o)," which means, "To dispute, to refuse to hear, to answer again, to contradict, to deny, to speak against, to gainsay."

>>The answer to Jeremiah's question, "why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" is that they refused to repent.

>>In many cases the Lord delays His coming because of a spirit of self-righteousness, therefore they do not seek God with their whole heart.

JER 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

>>Another reason why the wound is not healed is because we must wait for the due time.

1PE 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

>>The Lord has His set time to favour Zion.

PSA 102:13 Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.

GEN 21:2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

>>Another reason why some of God's people are not healed, even though they know there is balm in Gilead, and that there is a Physician there.

>>They may still be embracing a known sin, or flirting with the serpent that bits them.

>>They may be half-hearted and drawn aside by pride-- their affections may go to much after earthly things.

Ephraim's heart was divided. When he saw his sickness he run after the flesh for help.

HOS 5:13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.

>>Our own obedience is a bed to short and a covering to narrow,

>>When there is an application of that balm of Gilead it softens the hardest heart--it humbles the proudest heart and at the same time it heals every wound.

>>This balm of Gilead strengthens every weakness, heals spiritual blindness--remedies spiritual deafness--makes the lame man leap as an hart and the tongue of the dumb to sing.

>>The balm of Gilead produces gospel hearing, gospel sight and gospel walk.

>><A faith's view of God's mercy and love to such un-deserving wretches produces gospel obedience..

>>Gospel obedience i.e., the imparted obedience of Christ flows from love and gratitude, it is submission joyfully rendered and therefore acceptable before God. David said in

PSA 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

>>It is the application of this divine balm which purifies the heart, makes sin hateful and Jesus precious.

>>The prophet asks in our text

JER 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

 

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