December 4


"Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people?" (Jeremiah 3:22, NKJV).

Jeremiah's imagery of the balm in Gilead is an allusion to the famous aromatic resin or gum that was highly prized for its therapeutic properties. It was derived from "a small, flowering evergreen tree that grew in the mountainous region east of the Jordan."--SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 394. The product was widely used and exported for medical purposes during Old Testament times (see Genesis 37:25; Ezekiel 27:17). Gilead had become famous for its healing balm both because of the quality and quantity of its products. It is held that Gilead was also famous for its physicians.

Distressed by the chronic spiritual maladies of Israel, Jeremiah laments, "Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?" (Jeremiah 8:22, NKJV). His puzzlement was this: If there is a balm in Gilead, and if there is a physician there, why is there no healing for the wounds of my people? The implied answer to the prophet's question is, "Yes, there is a balm in Gilead, and there is a competent physician to prescribe and administer the balm. Israel's lack of healing was not due to the absence of the means of cure, but to a refusal to apply the medication as prescribed by the great Physician. In these perilous end times of chronic Laodiceanism, there is good news for God's people. There is a balm in Gilead, and there is a Physician whose specialty is the healing of our sin-sick souls.

Here is sound advice: "We all should take our troubles to Jesus, and tell him all our difficulties, that he may pour in the balm of Gilead, and give us the oil of joy for the spirit of mourning. We may present all our wants to him, and ask him for strength of body as well as for clearness of mind and peace of soul."--Review and Herald, May 3, 1892.

My Prayer Today: Lord, help me to apply the balm in Gilead to heal my sin-sick soul. Amen.