A Balm In Gilead

A few years ago, I was asked to speak for five minutes at a funeral service. A good Christian layman and friend had died. It takes anointing to speak for five minutes. In a sixty-minute message, a preacher can hide a lot of nonessentials. A five-minute speech must have some meaning for its listeners. Well, the Spirit helped me. My wife said that during the service, many around her were saying, “Amen!” After arriving home, I was meditating after a time of prayer. I had asked the Lord if He thought I had said the right things. It was but a minute when a song came into my spirit. Over and over it came. “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.” Then the Spirit said, “Your message was ‘balm’ today in the place where a witness was needed.” Then He said, “Exhort people to be a ‘balm’ for those who are hurting.”

The word “balm” means “a healing medicine.” The word “Gilead” means “a heap of witness,” referring to the testimony left at Gilead when Israel crossed over the Jordan River after leaving the wilderness. The rest of the song says, “Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work’s in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again. If you cannot sing like angels, if you can’t preach like Paul, you can tell the love of Jesus, and say He died for all.”

Jeremiah 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?” (KJV). The story behind this verse is that God, through Jeremiah, was evaluating the performance of the priests and prophets. He was seeking repentance that would turn the nation around. It’s never God’s purpose to cure sin by first meting out judgment. God dealt with sin on the cross. In this chapter, God upbraids the nation for unrepentance. He speaks of their never-ending backsliding and deceit. In verse 5-6 God says, “I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.” The Lord continues in verses 10-11, “From the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” Saints, hear me, no one is ever “slightly healed.” There is no blessing in being slightly healed. Let me repeat it, there is no blessing in being slightly healed. In verse 15, the people looked for peace and health, but trouble came. The people cried in verse 19, “Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her?” God’s heart was grieved and Jeremiah’s heart was hurt (verse 21). Then the question comes in verse 22, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?” Today, we hear from pastors and prophets saying, “The Lord is in our church; the Spirit is moving–shout hallelujah somebody!” But nothing happens. The people go home sick with their hurts not healed and needs not met. If God is in Zion (church), why? In 1 Samuel 17:46, David challenges Goliath with, “That all the earth may know there is a God in Israel.” What a challenge for believers today. If God is in the house, why does the community not know?

Bible history teaches that balm grew in Gilead. Balm was used as a healing medicine. In Genesis 43:11, Jacob sent a gift of balm to Joseph as a symbol of healing after years of separation. The Spirit said to me, “Exhort the people to become a ‘balm’ in a place that needs their witness and testimony.” Every believer has the ability for this anointing in their life.

A few years ago, I taught about the spices mentioned in the Song of Solomon 4:12-16. I discovered that the spice calamus referred to having the creative power to heal. It promoted healing and recovery. That’s what the Lord wants you to be, one who promotes healing. You say, “But I have no experience. How can I be a healing balm?” Please note Hebrews 11. There men and women with no experience, except for a love for God, did great exploits. “By faith… they went.” They did what the Lord asked them to do. They had no experience. Consider Abraham. He was called to go to a certain place. He went. He had no experience, but he went. He knew two things, the voice of God and how to build an altar (Genesis 12:7-8). Saints, YOU can be a balm (a healing medicine to someone). God has place for your testimony that will edify and heal.

Pastor George Belobaba

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