Title: BLEEDING PEOPLE AVOIDING THE SALVE
Text: Jeremiah 8:18-22
Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. Over and over again God showed him the sinful ways of the nation of Israel, and this broke his heart. He was a great prophet that appealed with tears to his people to return to the Lord. He wept because he saw them waling around wounded, but wouldn’t come to the source of healing. Read Text.
The prophet asks, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” The expected answer is “yes.” Gilead had long been known for its balm made from the Mastic tree. Since the remedy was at hand, why there is there no healing? There can be but one answer…the people have not gone to the Physician! They have not sought a remedy and neglected the one sure source of help. Whether they were stubborn or blind, they were walking towards doom. So the shepherd’s heart in Jeremiah breaks under the load of grief. Jer. 9:1 No wonder Jeremiah’s heart broke with grief…medicine was nearby, a physician was at hand, but the hurting people were avoiding the balm of Gilead.
Even today bruised and battered people continue to walk around hurting but avoiding the salve. Healing can only come when the patient gets together with the physician who has the medicine. And folks, you and I are God’s agents who are to bring the wounded to the Great Physician so He can heal them.
What a high calling…to be God’s ministers of conciliation and healing. Through the Holy Spirit, we have what a hurting world needs, for He has performed healing on us so that we can take it to others.
1. To get an idea of how long there was a healing balm in Gilead available, what was the setting of Gen. 37:25?
Balm was harvested from the Mastic tree by cutting incisions in the bark and capturing the bleeding sap. It had medicinal qualities. The dictionary defines balm as: “A healing, soothing ointment for wounds; an anointing oil that is derived from a bruised plant or leaves.”
2. What is our spiritual healing balm today? (Emmanuel, God with us.) Isa. 61:1-3
3. What’s the advantage to having the Holy Spirit as our healing balm? (He is accessible 24 hours a day no matter where we are.) Jn. 16:7
4. Why do you think people avoid the spiritual/emotional healing they need when the source is available? (They are either spiritually blind or stubborn.)
5. So what do they need from us? (We are to bring the patient together with the Physician.)
6. What sacrifices did the Good Samaritan do in order to get the wounded man to the healing he needed? Lk. 10:30-35 (He did what he could do immediately to help; changed his schedule; walked and put the wounded man on his donkey; paid the innkeeper to see to his needs; came back to check up on him.) Do you think Good Samaritans are just as rare today as they were in Jesus’ day?
7. In the parable, two out of three people passed on by. What does it take to “see” the wounded around us? (Compassion) What does it take to be one who stops and helps? (Compassion and sacrifice.) Has someone stopped and helped you before? If so, don’t you reckon you have a debt to pay?
8. What does Matt. 25:40, 45 say is Jesus’ evaluation of those who do not stop and help?
9. Do you think the spirituality of the anointer has effect of the healing that may result upon the anointee? Ja. 5:14-15; Acts 8:18-21
10. What’s the metamorphosis of balm? To answer that, use the metamorphosis a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. (It is through our own painful struggles [the cocoon] that God’s healing balm is applied to us; and it’s through that process that we learn to help others.) 2 Cor. 1:3-7
11. Comment on this statement: “We can be healed only if we allow God to perform His healing.”
Why do some people withhold that permission?
12. While some people lay there hurting, with no one to help, what does Ezek. 16:1-6, 9, 14 say God will do for us?
When things go right in our life, we seem to think we are just fine without the Lord. But when we are knocked down and we can go no further, it’s then that we hear His voice, “I want you to LIVE, My child! Accept My Spirit and you will be healed and live!”
The decision is ours to reach out our hand and accept His that has been there all along.
Is there balm in Gilead? Yes! Is there a Physician there? Yes! “Why then has the health of My people not been restored?” …It’s up to them, Jesus.