Balm_of_Gilead_IMG_97811Why the ‘Balm of Gilead’?

There is a great deal of importance given to names in the Word of God that we can learn from. Even when we look at the names of God Himself as used throughout the Scriptures, they reveal His character and nature to us. I therefore wanted to take the time to explain the significance of the name of this ministry and the ‘why’ behind it. Many years ago I was told prophetically that God would use me as the ‘healing balm of Gilead of old’. Knowing that we should always confirm and study everything with the Bible as our standard, our direction and our instruction – that prophetic word led me to an in-depth study of what the Word of God had to teach about this sought after ‘healing balm of Gilead’.

At the time when I received this prophetic word, sickness was not an unknown issue to me. As I heard those words spoken over me, it witnessed with me. I had lived, experienced and seen sickness – in spirit, in soul and in body. I saw sickness, not only in myself but in my biological family and also my spiritual family in the Body of Christ, the Church. One such loved one who was deeply affected by sickness in her body, was our youngest daughter, Vanna, who was born with a medically incurable, genetic disease, Cystic Fibrosis. I will not go into much detail about this disease in this section of the website but will say this much: Through genetic defect, Cystic Fibrosis is often called “the fight to breathe”. In a nutshell, infection and inflammation causes injury and structural changes in the lungs that eventually lead to chronic lung disease. The result is a struggle or “fight to breathe” and the prognosis medically is eventual death. I say medically because Almighty God is not a medical doctor – He is the Great Physician and He can heal any disease! More on that later.

Upon starting my study, I came across this Scripture first:

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”
For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt. I am mourning; Astonishment has taken hold of me. 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 8:20-22

I learned that this Scripture was written during a time when God’s chosen nation, Israel, had turned away from Him completely. They were backslidden and in continual apostasy. They had opened their hearts and ears to the false prophets of that age.  Their lies and futile promises of hope of deliverance did not come to pass since they were not prophesying words from the LORD. The people refused to repent of their sins and the wound spoken about by Jeremiah, the prophet (and writer of the book) in this verse, was their sin-sick, unbelieving, stubborn, and rebellious hearts towards God. God had been merciful unto His people – He first sent Isaiah the prophet and then Jeremiah to bring them to repentance but they would still not repent! Their spiritual “Balm of Gilead” was willing and waiting to heal them and He was right there in front of them, but they refused Him. They didn’t want His healing and restoration. The literal balm that came from Gilead could heal sickness in their bodies but could not heal the hearts of God’s people. Yet, they could go to their Physician and He would be able to heal their spiritual problems.

As it is written in verse 20: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved!, which proverbially meant that “One season of hope after another has passed, but the looked-for deliverance never came, and now all hope is gone.”1 The word translated as “saved” in verse 20 above according to the Strong’s Concordance (H3467) is from the Hebrew word ‘yaw-shah’ meaning “preserved, delivered, helped, rescued, to be safe, bringing (having) salvation, get victory, free”.                

This all resounded within me because it is all too familiar. The state of Israel back then in that age, is almost parallel to the state of the Body of Christ in this age. Just like they were stooped in covetousness, immorality, falsehood and idolatry – so are we. If the prophet Jeremiah had to walk the face of the earth today, he would be able to ask the Body the same question as he asked in Jeremiah 8: “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?” Is it not true that so many in the Body are not preserved, delivered, healed, helped, rescued, safe, bringing salvation, getting victory and living a life of freedom in Christ?

The balm of Gilead has a deep spiritual significance. Gilead was not far from Jerusalem, across the River Jordan. It was an area rich in ointments, spices and herbal remedies. The balm of Gilead was sought after and renowned “for the expensive perfume that was produced from it, as well as for exceptional medicinal properties that were attributed to its sap, wood, bark and seeds”. 4

In classical sources the medicinal uses of balsam was referred to very often and was commonly named “Commiphora gileadensis”. Certain historians even proposed that it was “among the world’s finest drugs”. It was alleged that the balm (also known as balsam) was used in the treatment of vertically all diseases in humans. Specific mention was however made of it’s healing properties in treating “pleurisy, pneumonia, cough, sciatica, epilepsy, vertigo, assisting breathing and conception amongst others”. 5  The actual physical ‘balm of Gilead’ healed many lung diseases.

Historically it is indicated that once an initial incision has been made into the rind of the plant, balsam would trickle in thin, whitish drops but that afterwards it would become “reddish in colour”. 3 In the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh), the word/s used for the ‘balm’ in Gilead, is “tsori” or “tseri”. According to the Hebrew and English Lexicon, the Hebrew root of the word means “run blood, bleed (of vein)”. 2

Ponder on that for a moment: Blood. A balm that by root implied ‘blood’ and looked ‘reddish’ in colour.
This is so amazing if you look at the deep and profound truth hidden in this, since it reminds us of the Cross and the blood poured out by the Son of God for our salvation, our healing and our deliverance. In the New Covenant, the Blood of Jesus Christ is the spiritual and Heavenly Balm and the Holy Spirit is the Physician that effects the healing. The key to the healing balm of Gilead in the Old Testament was application. Any balm is of no use if not applied. Likewise, the blood of Jesus Christ needs to be applied in every area of our walk through sanctification of our hearts. It is in that where healing and deliverance from bondage will take place. If we ask ourselves why so many receive salvation but so few are healed, delivered and set free, our answer lies in that we do not apply the Healing Balm in every area of our lives.

The lyrics of a song record:

“There is a Balm in Gilead,
To make the wounded whole,
There is a Balm in Gilead,
To heal the sin sick soul.”

The prophets of old were viewed as spiritual physicians. Time and again they would bring the healing power through the wisdom of God’s word to the sin-infested souls of God’s people. This is unlike the majority of prophetic voices today that speak messages of only prosperity, great awakenings, blessings and advancement for God’s people. The message of ancients usually included reproof for repentance! Repentance was seen as an act of worship, a part of the child of God’s daily walk, like small daily adjustments. In ancient times, the call for repentance was sometimes seemingly small, yet at other times it was intended for considerable change and turning back to God. As in the time of Jeremiah. As in the time of the Church today.

Listen to the former Scripture about the Gilead’s:

“Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord.” Jeremiah 8:12

This Scripture is just as relevant to the Church today as it was in the time of Jeremiah. In Revelation 3 Jesus Christ is on the outside of the Church, knocking on the door to be let in. The Laodicean Church had reached a place where they believed they were in need of nothing (Rev 3:17 “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing”). Their nothing even included that they didn’t need the Messiah. His response to them:

“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:17-19

I believe that Father has called me to be a spiritual type of physician, as the prophets were in the days of old – for Him (the Great Physician) in THIS age – in Christ, by the power of His Spirit.

If at all, I consider myself to be only a nurse, a bond servant, in the hands of my Father. After all, we have no ability apart from and only through Him.  It is my holy high calling to teach people and help people to recognise sickness, disciple them on the Cure and apply the Heavenly Healing Balm through sanctification and consecration to and of every area of their lives, so that they may truly be healed and delivered – spirit, soul and body.

“Therefore since these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God.”
2 Corinthians 7:1:

 

1. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary (http://biblehub.com/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah/8.htm)
2. Francis Brown, ed. (1906), “צרה”, Hebrew and English Lexicon, Oxford University Press, p. 863
3. Josephus, Ant. 14.4.1; War 1.6.6; Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. 9:6; Strabo 16:763
4. David Iluz; Miri Hoffman; Nechama Gilboa-Garber; Zohar Amar (2010). “Medicinal properties of Commiphora gileadensis” (pdf). African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. pp. 516–520. Retrieved 2016-07-24
5. Osbaldeston, Tess Anne (translator) (2000). Dioscorides. Johannesburg: Ibidis Press. p. 1.18