Saturday, February 06, 2010
Friday, February 05, 2010
A Healing Balm for America
By Pastor Michael Eaton
Bethlehem Baptist Church
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
A Healing Balm for America
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? Jeremiah 8:22 (NIV)
There has been much controversy over health care in America. On Thursday, December 24, 2009, the U.S. Senate passed a landmark health-care reform legislation. The final Senate vote passed 60-39 along strict party lines. This followed the (3) three procedural votes that passed this week, which needed a 60-vote win. The Democrats needed all 58 members and (2) two Independents to pass the legislative hurdles against unanimous Republican opposition and a threatened filibuster.
Earlier, President Barack Obama said that if the bill is passed, it will be the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act passed in the 1930’s. An Ohio Republican said, “Not even Ebenezer Scrooge himself could devise a scheme as cruel and greedy as the Democrats' government takeover of health care,"
The bill still needs to go through the process of reconciliation in which legislation passed in the House of Representatives is harmonized with the Senate's bill. Negotiations could extend until at least February.
I do not know why health care is so controversial in America. I do not know why the Ohio Republican would depict anyone trying to give health care to those who need it as a Scrooge. I guess the Republicans think it is a vast left wing conspiracy for healing in America. Maybe, they believe that health care reform is socialism. Socialism is now being associated with the plans of our newly elected African American president.
However, I know it has more to do with the gigantic health care pharmaceutical conglomerate which like the banking industry may be too big to fail. I will pray for God’s will in this bill, especially for the poor, the terminal and the disenfranchised. Health care is for healing not killing. Regardless of the benefits of the outcome of this bill passing, I am so glad that my God is too big to fail in health care.
Therefore, my question for the church today, “Is there no balm in Gilead?”
Many of you will remember the well-known traditional African-American spiritual, “There Is a Balm in Gilead.” The refrain of this song says:
There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin sick soul.
After the captivity, Moses give Gilead to the tribe of Gad. Gilead was on the West side of the Jordan. It was occupied long before the East side of the Jordan was conquered under Joshua leadership. The tribe of Gad settled in Gilead. This balm of Gilead was already a great resource in Gilead. This balm of Gilead had a rich history in the lives of the people of God. By conquering Gilead they were in control of the balm that people sought after for years.
The balm was a medical salve that had the power to heal wounds. The reason for this balm was that one of the trees in Gilead secreted turpentine like resin that was highly sought after. It was said this balm was worth twice its weight in silver, because of its healing power. The caravan that Joseph was sold to was taking balm from Gilead to Egypt (Gen.37:25). After Joseph was elevated to second in command in Egypt, there was a food shortage. The famine that Joseph had warned was in full effect.
Many years after they sold Joseph into slavery, his brothers had come to Egypt in search of food due to the famine. The brothers not knowing that Joseph was their brother were given a test. Joseph placed Simeon in jail and sent them back to their homeland to retrieve his younger brother Benjamin. Jacob under much distress over losing Joseph, Simeon and now Benjamin told Judah to take some balm back to Joseph. (Gen. 43:11)
During the contemporary era of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the nation of Israel was still known for this great resource, the balm of Gilead. (Ezekiel 27:17) However, during thier ministry, many of the people were wounded, due to their sin of idolatry. Their sins were making them sick. There was a health care crisis amongst the people of God. They needed to look back to God for the healing balm in Gilead.
Today, we as a people are wounded, became of our sins of the idolatry of materialism. Our sin is making us sick. There is a health care crisis in America. The people of God need to look back for the healing balm of Gilead. As we look to our government for the answers to health care, I can hear God clearly posing the question. Where is the balm in my church? Why isn’t the Christians physician there? Why aren’t the wounds of my people healed in the church? Why are you placing all of your hope in the limited power of the government?
Look to me to heal your wounded body, mind and soul. There is a balm in American’s churches.
Christian healing is not charismatic chaos. It is a Baptist belief or should I say, it was the Baptist belief. The Baptist believer use to trust what the Word of God said about healing. We believe in healing. We believe in healing even though there are and have been many false examples of Christian healing. We believe in healing even though God does not heal every person or disease. We believe in miraculous healing through prayer. We believe in miraculous healing through doctors. This is why this and any other health care bills need to be passed for the poor and the disenfranchised. Some Christians only believe in miraculous healing and they will not see a doctor. This belief will lead you open to false healer. Some Christians only believe in doctors and medications. This belief will lead you to the limit power of doctors and medications. We believe that ultimate healing is from God. Jeremiah 30:17 says, “For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds.”
God is my health care plan. This is the first thing that Christian must believe to be in good health. When we become sick, we must believe God for healing. There is a healing balm in the church. The church is a hospital. The church is a place where you can go for health care or healing.
The bible says in James 5:14-16, “ 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be or given. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Is there a healing balm in America? America’s healing balm is in the church. If I am sick, the first thing that I will do is go to church. I will ask the pastor and the deacons to pray for me. If I am healed then, I will come back the next Sunday and praise God for my healing. If I do not have health care or can not see a doctor I will have to solely depend upon God’s healing power. If I am not healed an have health care then, I will go to the doctor and follow his instructions. I will take the prescribed medications and adjust my lifestyle choices. If this does not heal my condition, then I will pray to God. I will ask him to give me the power to serve Him regardless of my sickness for His glory. Thanks you God for your healing balm in America’ churches!