A balm is an aromatic substance, and fragrant healing ointment that soothes pain. The aromatic resin or gum is used in the ancient near East for medical purposes.
The Egyptians used it for embalmment. Gilead is in the present day Middle East, a region in the East of Jordan having Bashan on the north, Moab and Ammon on the South as well as the Arabian plain on the East. In Genesis 37:25, the Bible records that the brothers of Joseph lifted up their eyes and saw a company of the Ishmaelites coming from Gilead carrying spicy balm and myrrh, going to Egypt for merchandise.
This depicts that the land of Gilead is known for its massive, maximum production and exportation of their special healing balm. Sin is poisonous and venomous like the venom of a snake. Sin occasions a mortal and eternal wound which does not require a physical superficial treatment.
The word of God in the epistle of Paul to the Romans 6:23 declares: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
As corroboration to the above scripture, the word of God declares in the same epistle to the Romans chapter 8:1-2, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
During the life time and ministry of Jeremiah, he saw and prophesied of the imminent manifestation of God’s anger as a consequential effect of their sins, stubbornness, hardness of heart and idolatry which is clear rebellion and opposition to God. Thus he prophesied and said: “For behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed and they shall bite you, saith the Lord.” T
hese are enemies and rampaging troops; they invaded the land like poisonous snakes which cannot be charmed or stopped when they bite their victims, their victims die.
This is the effect and characteristics of sin. It is poisonous and consequently leads to death, especially spiritual death.
By Jeremiah’s message, therefore, the effects of sin shall be so much on the house of Judah that they shall cry helplessly; they shall apply all the human medications, consult physicians, but they will fail, even the powerful healing balm from Gilead which doesn’t fail will fail them and they shall begin to ask.
Is there no balm in Gilead anymore? The balm of Gilead failed to heal them because their wounds were spiritual wounds. The poisonous venom of a spiritual snake cannot be healed by a physical balm.
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