No Balm In Her Box, The Sore of Israel.
“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? (Jeremiah 8:20-22)
But that day belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty— a day of vengeance, for vengeance on his foes. The sword will devour till it is satisfied, till it has quenched its thirst with blood. For the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will offer sacrifice in the land of the north by the River Euphrates. “Go up to Gilead and get balm, Virgin Daughter Egypt. But you try many medicines in vain; there is no healing for you. The nations will hear of your shame; your cries will fill the earth. One warrior will stumble over another; both will fall down together.” (Jeremiah 46:10-12 )
“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. 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 I punish them,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 6:13-15 )
What can we understand about the heart sickness that plagues human kind. The disease of sin, it is more then just skin deep but permeates all facets of the heart.
Topical remedies won’t work. Good deeds won’t become healing balm for our outrageous guilt. These people tried in vain many religious things to no avail. Religion only addresses external behavior but cannot convert the heart.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’ Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them. Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law. What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.” Jeremiah 6:16-20 –
Oh how he wanted to lead them into peaceful abode, but they said “We will not walk in it.’ And “We will not listen”
In vain they offered to God empty offerings and He said, “What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”
The sacrifice of God is this,
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar. (Psalm 51:16-19)
God does not nearly delight in fasts, religious works or offerings as much as the heart, offered up in humble repentance and contriteness. True love for God is what He desires. Anything given aside from love for Him is like giving a gift to a stranger.
Truly, if you gave your loved one a gift, they would treasure it because you gave it from the heart, yet you give a stranger or someone not close a gift, that may indeed be merely a bribe.
To refuse to obey and trust God but give him a gift or offering, that to God is like a bribe that people give thinking they can appease their guilt and sin often.
What does God truly desire? Not your offering or mine but rather to receive Him as our offering to cure our wound and sore called sin
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
In the prophesies, of Egypt, Israel, and Babylon, the metaphor used is that of an incurable sore that there is no balm for. There is no salvation for them, except,
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:13-14 )
There was no fast, bull, offering or lamb that could atone for the incurable wound of these people- except, the blood of the greatest sacrificial Lamb of God
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Finally during the time of Christ, the Messiah had finally arrived as the long awaited prophesies were unfolding. So sad though, because many could not recognize Him
Shortly before He was crucified, Jesus wept over Jerusalem
34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Luke 13:34-35)
Yet the hope for those who will believe and receive Him is this: “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:11-14)