Jeremiah 8:22 (HCSB)
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
So why has the healing of my dear people
not come about?

There was, of course, balm in Gilead.  While biblical commentators don’t know exactly what this balm consisted of, it is clear that it was used for medicinal purposes.  The people of Judah complain that they are in desperate straits and that God has not saved them.  God’s answer is that the remedy has been there all along–faithfulness to him.  There is balm available; there is healing available.

Instead of faithfulness to the covenant, the people pursued God and other gods.  They were performing the rituals that God had commanded, all the while also offering sacrifices to false gods of the nations surrounding them.  Needless to say, this was not acceptable to our God.  This was idolatry.  God treats idolatry very harshly and if he is that concerned about it, we ought to be that concerned also.

The ESV Study Bible comments: “They prefer false prophets to God’s written and revealed word.”

We ought to be considering the lessons of Jeremiah’s Judah very carefully, because we live in a culture in which, as followers of Jesus, we are allowing ourselves to become ensnared by the cultural trends around us, many of which are diametrically opposed to faithfulness to God.  We believe it’s okay because we are also devoted to God.  This is not okay.  Not at all.

God will fight against our flagging devotion to him, even when we do not want him to.  This is an act of love.

 

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