Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? Jer. 8:22
I love the Apostle Paul with all my heart! The Apostle Paul is not someone you can love emotionally. He is not a rock star. You can only love the Apostle Paul in the Spirit, and I thank God for that.
Paul was he who paid the price to bring the life of Jesus Christ to the church. He suffered with Christ. And through his ministry, today there is healing balm in Gilead! There is healing balm in the church.
For that very reason, if any man cannot love the Apostle Paul, let him be accursed. Yes, let him be accursed.
The Israelite people in Jeremiah’s time underwent an extremely rough time. There came a time when there was no balm in Gilead! The spiritual health of an entire nation was appalling! And the Prophet Jeremiah lamented for the nation of Israel, God’s own people.
You may not believe it, but today the spiritual situation of God’s people is even worse. And yet, under the New Covenant, the answer to the question, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?”
is a resounding “Yes!” There is healing balm and there is a Physician in Gilead! Praise God for that!
But the enemy is also at work. I know of preachers who sell oil and claim it is the balm of Gilead. But God in Jeremiah is not talking about these conmen. He is talking about the things of the Spirit, and the things of men’s hearts. If someone can give or sell you oil that can deal with the things of your heart, then he will have nailed it for you. But I can assure right here that if you are ever going to meet up with such a preacher, he will not be selling you oil in a bottle. In any case, true preachers of God’s Word are not easy to come by. In fact, considering that today’s church has almost been totally over-ran by the enemy, the chances of finding such a man are getting exponentially more difficult to attain.
The church is filled with conmen masquerading as bearers of God’s healing balm…
But once in a while God comes across a good man, like He did with Paul. With God, of course, the good man is the man who is willing to be crucified with Christ. And God takes such a man and, through the cross of Christ, shapes him into His sharp instrument.
Isaiah saw that in the Spirit, for he says: “15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. 16 Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Is. 41:15-16)
This new instrument that God creates has teeth! In other words, it is effective. It has power in the Spirit, and it performs God’s work fully, effectively.
I truly thank God for the Apostle Paul. Paul put himself under the workmanship of God under the cross, and the result is that he brought life to the church. Oh, that the entire church were as willing to face the cross as the Apostle Paul was! There would be a spiritual revolution the world over.
But that is not the case. Actually, in light of the New Covenant, Jeremiah was prophesying about the modern church, and he was lamenting its state. He asks, “… why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?”
Which translates to, “Why is the church walking in sin? why are God’s people walking in spiritual defeat?”
That is the question we need to ask ourselves today. We are not to be bothered with, “Why do I have no food on my table?”, or, “Why have my children been sent home for lack of school fees?” for these are the things that seem to concern the modern church the most.
In truth, the real concern of the gospel is to change the inner character of those who would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Our real task is in the Spirit, to walk in the revelation of the cross.
And so I wholeheartedly thank God for the Apostle Paul. This was the man whom God prepared in order that he might bring life to the church. Paul brought life to the church by allowing the cross to work in him. God invested in him the revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God, the healing balm that would heal the wound of God’s people.
The wound of God’s people, the church, is sin. The gospel of the cross of Jesus carries the life of Christ, which is the balm that heals the wound of sin in the church. When God’s people are daily confronted by the cross, they learn to deal with the carnal nature of their lives, and thus defeat sin in their lives.
Today, the church is deceived, and they spend all their time casting out demons of every sort in their lives. They cast out demons of fear, demons of theft, demons of anger, demons of witchcraft, etc.
But the Bible says that these things dwell in our hearts. And we cannot “cast out” these things from our hearts with a word. On the contrary, we must face the knife and have them circumcised from our hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit.
The only thing, therefore, that can deal with the things of a man’s heart is the cross of Jesus Christ.
That is why Paul, writing to the Corinthians, reminded them that when he went to preach them the gospel at the first: “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
I root for that with all my heart. I can imagine the determination in Paul’s heart. In the face of every kind of opposition, “… I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”!
How truly wonderful.