The meanderings of ancient Israel saw them often rest from the blistering heat of the desert sun under the welcome shade of the Terebinth tree. The majestic cedars of Lebonan stood unrivalled for their mighty reach and luscious spread of foliage . A certain species of the Terebinth family more ordinary and less majestic in its stature carried within its hidden capabilities a substance when harvested well known for its medicinal properties. As Lebonan was the home of the mighty cedar Gilead was recognised as the home of this healing balm. Things were really bad when the weary prophet had to ask, “Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?".
Could we not lament the serious loss of confidence that prevails across our nation in these difficult times when the answers to life’s important questions appear to be illusive even to those who would profess to have some kind of relationship with God. The chariot of pagan persuasion rumbles through the land as the standards of moral decency and fundamental integrity crumble in our hand. Where is the respect for God’s House, the reverence of worship and a willingness to submit fully to God’s Word in the exercise of His purposes. Would many not prefer to hide themselves away in the hype and clamour as they dance around a golden calf and say, “This is my God” than to prostrate themselves before the throne of God’s Holiness and plead for mercy and for grace.
For those whose heart still yearns for sweet communion with their Lord the way of access remains open and for all who call upon His name heavens response is still abundant. Elijah the prophet came from Gilead (1 Kings 17:1). There is still a balm in Gilead and from within its gates God still sends the harbinger of His word to provide a panacea for all our spiritual ailments and concerns. Let us not fail in the exercise of our faith as we continue to draw upon the ministry of His grace in our hearts.