Jeremiah 8:22: Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?
The problem here is the spiritual health of the children of Israel and the Prophet Jeremiah in full appraisal of it intractable issue went poetic, saying though there is plenty of balm in Gilead, this kind of health issue, spiritual health, does not answer to the application of a physical solution in form of a balm.
Everyone need to be restored spiritually. All of us are born spiritually bankrupt. But here is deception: those who are born in relative ease, living their lives with some measure of physical comfort, are more prone to say there is no God, while the man born into a society with myriads socioeconomic and health concerns, is prone to say that there are many gods, different one attached to unexplained natural phenomena and others to appeal to at various times and because of various problems. Another is born into a form of religion that does not deliver fellowship with God into your hand. All captured the chronic cases of spiritual malaise that assails men, which is the core issue. And Jesus is the solution to this problem.
As a definition, the balm of Gilead is “an oil or gum, with healing properties exuded by the fruit or stems of one or more kinds of small trees especially effective” (NASB).
It you don’t know, Jesus is the full embodiment of the oil of Gilead.
He said the Spirit of the Lord is on him (Luke 4:18-19); Peter confirmed it saying that Jesus Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit and Power (Acts 10:38). In the Old Testament, the oil is applied on the High Priest and Kings and it is called anointing. Therefore when we talk about the anointing on Jesus, we are actually talking about the oil (in a spiritual sense) on him in the Holy Spirit. And since he is the confirmed solution to all spiritual problems, therefore it goes without saying that Jesus is the quintessential balm of Gilead.
From the list of the missions that Jesus is saddled with, according to Luke 4:18-19, we can see that he is the solution to all forms of spiritual sickness. In that passage the function of the spiritual oil/balm on him is elucidated showing him forth as the balm of Gilead in person.
1. to preach the gospel to the poor
One way the spiritual malaise of man manifests is in start ignorance of spiritual truth. That is the state of humanity without the balm that Jesus brings in restoring knowledge in man. To be ignorant is to be blind and it is by turning to Jesus that we see (2Corinthians 3:16). The stark ignorance that humanity is embroiled in without God is described as being in the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:13). The solution in Jesus is to take us, from the kingdom of darkness to that of light, where we experience the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2Corinthians 4:6).
Illumination comes from encountering Christ who is described as the Light (John 1:4-9). And through preaching, he is unveiled, with the light illuminating the hearer.
2. to heal the broken-hearted
This balm of Gilead can penetrate the soul and get to where psychotherapy cannot get to. To be broken-hearted means to suffer from a protracted sense of loss, that may not be obvious to the onlooker. However, in Christ, we are complete and we did not need any one or event to complete or validate us. We are complete in (the event of the sacrifice of) Jesus for us because in him we are fully alive to God. The greatest loss of man is the loss of fellowship with God which Christ restores back to us as the ultimate balm of Gilead healing our broken heart.
3. to preach deliverance to the captives
The word deliverance acknowledges the possibility of being in bondage. Every form of it: habits, sin, satanic oppression, family sins and demonic expression, are all covered in the comprehensive package of the oil on Jesus. But he said you should come willingly to him after seeing him as the source of freedom (Matthew 11:28). He said, “Come unto me all youth at labour and is heaven laden, through all manners of bondage and I will free you.”
Long standing physical infirmities also qualify as bondage. There was a woman bent, with sickness, Jesus freed her and she stood up right (Luke 13:10-16). That was an example of the function of the balm of Gilead.
People are captives to evil spirits. There was the case of the boy with the deaf and dump spirit; the functioning if that boy’s body was his bondage to satanic spirit (Matthew 17:14-21). Jesus offers freedom from all satanic bondage. Because at the mention of his name every knees bows (Philippians 2: 9-11).
4. recovering of sight to the blind,
This is to awaken the capacity for spiritual knowledge in every one who receives him to help establish the dominion of Christ on the earth. This is the capacity to know God and appraise his truth for spiritual impact. This is because it is those who know their God that would be strong and do exploit. It is by what you see in divine truth that you guide others or else you would fulfil the scripture which says, “blind leaders of the blind (Matthew 15:14)”. Also your eyes are opened to the plans and purposes of God for your life so you don’t have to move aimlessly in the earth as a wandering star without direction and a train wreck of a collision waiting to happen (Ephesians 2:10).
5. to set at liberty them that are bruised,
The language used here is that of conqueror who sets free from further harassment, all the subjects of his opponent. Jesus said that to free those under the dominion of the devil, you have to bind the strongman and strip him of his armour to free his captives (Luke 11: 20-22). Jesus can handle all cases of being bruised. We have all been bruised by sin, but Christ took care of that. By his death, he brought life and immortality has been brought to light through Jesus (2Timothy 1:10). Also, all those bruised by fear of men and fear of death (Hebrews 2: 14-15) he deals with their issue the same way he took care of sin: in the body of his cross.
6. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
That means to announce jubilee (Leviticus 25: 10-55) (in Christ, jubilee is no longer something to observe by someone to imbibe), the ultimate in restoration, when whatever has been taken from you in spiritual and material and physical functionalities are restored. Health, optimum functionality, is restored, in all areas by plugging you back to the life of God.
He restores you to health in all areas.
The above are the functions of the oil on Jesus Christ. Because He does all these things today (the oil is still fresh) he is ready to do them for you, to make them your continuous reality; but only through the gate of faith in him.
WordFromGod: There shall be rain of blessing, of abundance, of progress, of power, of purpose, and of the balm of Gilead.
- The Balm of Gilead (beingrebekah.com)
- Balsam: For Priests and Kings (cmoneyspinner.wordpress.com)
- The True Balm (samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com)
- Balms Of Gilead (poetrywritersbookshop.org)
- Day 29 (P.M.) – “To Meet the Bridegroom” (Part 2) (growyourfaithblog.wordpress.com)
- John 15:19 I have chosen you out of the world. (calvinistview.com)
- “Jesus, A Miracle Worker”/The Suffering And Glory of The Servant (robertadennisblog.wordpress.com)
- Allow God to circumcise your heart (examiner.com)
- The Blood of Jesus in Spiritual Battle (dianarasmussen.com)
- A Devotional By Charles Haddon Spurgeon On The Doctrine Of Election (stomson2001.wordpress.com)