Summary: There is a Healer in the midst of the Church. All we need to do is go to Jesus for our needs.
The Balm in Gilead
Israel, as a nation, suffered so greatly and paid a great price for its worship of idols and unfaithfulness to God. So many times, God had to bring judgment upon the nation. Time after time they had to be chastised to remind them of their failure to remain faithful. In our scripture portion for today we see Israel is not only in rebellion but is standing at the brink of destruction by the Babylonian Army under King Nebuchadnezzar.
This was the end of their freedom, the end of God’s blessings upon their country, the end of life as they knew it. In a very short time they would be slaves in the land of Babylon. That slavery would soon mean 70 years away from their Promised Land. It would be the last time that most of this generation of people would see their beloved city and the Temple where God met with them.
In just a few months Nebuchadnezzar would take Hananiah, Misheal and Azariah as prisoners and slaves into Babylon. There, in Babylon, their names would be changed to Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego and they would face the fiery furnace where God would walk with them and deliver them from death.
Shortly thereafter, King Belshazzar would see the hand of God as it wrote on the wall of his palace and then fall dead. Babylon would fall to the Medes and the Persians.
Only a few years after that Daniel would face the lion’s den under King Darius the Mede where God would stop the mouths of the lions and give Daniel a great miracle of deliverance. Then King Cyrus of Persia succeeded Darius to the throne. It was during this time, while still a slave in the service of King Cyrus that Daniel had his great visions that were to give us a future picture of world history and the end times of such great tribulations.
70 years later, Nehemiah under orders from King Cyrus went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city. He was the first to get permission to rebuild Israel. God would bring Israel back to their Promised Land again because of His great mercy and grace.
Jeremiah 8:19-23, "Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? Is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!"
These words were penned just before the fall of Israel into Babylonian Captivity.
From the heart of the “weeping prophet”, Jeremiah, we hear these words that are spoken in absolute grief and pain because Jeremiah knew that judgment was coming and could not be stopped.
ISRAEL’S CONDITION SPEAKS TO US OF OUR OWN CONDITION
Israel, God’s chosen people were under attack from enemies from all sides. They were surrounded and no way of escape. The enemy had come from a far country to steal, kill and destroy Israel once and for all.
God created you and I to worship and serve Him.
He desires to bring all of us into a right relationship with Him. So many times, God tries to reach out to us and draw us into his love. Jesus wants to extend mercy and grace to each of us. And yet, we continue to live our lives at times like Jesus is not there at all.
Just as Israel had done, we let anything take the place of worshipping the true God of Heaven. Even when we know that one of the commandments that God has given to us says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Anything that we place in importance above serving God becomes our idol whether it is our job, our home, our land, our possessions or even our family. God must have first place or He will have no place at all.
We live in a world where we are surrounded by temptation, evil on every side, and people who would lead us away from God. Satan is the Prince of this world and his job is to steal, kill and destroy every man, woman and child who walks the face of the earth.