Refusing Medical Treatment


Jer. 8:22     Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people
not been restored?


The Israelites were in a terrible state spiritually. They had refused to follow God and his leadings in their lives. Instead they did everything that they wanted and went the way of the world. The result was their destruction and loss of everything that was dear to them.

In his grief Jeremiah expresses his frustration. The people are sick and dying from the sin which has so entangled their lives but there is a cure! Jeremiah knows that the doctor and the healing balm exists to cure their disease. But they are not healed, nor is their health restored, for they refuse all treatment.


When you or I don’t feel well, we generally go to the doctor. If one of our children might be ill, we try and take care of things right away. We realize the need for prompt and accurate treatment so that there will not be any lingering and/or on-going effects of the illness. If we ignore what’s going on in our physical bodies we will bear the consequences.

The Israelites had ignored their spiritual symptoms for far too long — and we may be as well. We may be refusing the very spiritual treatment that will bring us life and health simply because we don’t want to face the doctor.

Okay — I’ve been there too. I don’t like going to the doctor for one very basic reason — they weigh you! Who wants to go through that :) Or, of course then there are the obligatory screening tests — some of which come annually, some once a decade, but all the same, not pleasant. But if we ignore what is offered to us, we may find ourselves terribly ill and the treatment devastating.

There are some who have wandered far away from the faith and are living with the damaging consequences. Some have been terribly hurt by what they have faced in this world and yet refuse to get help. There is a balm in Gilead — there is a physician who wants to bring healing — but only if we accept the treatment.


Lord, may your healing balm flow to those in need today. Amen.

Thank you to Nazarene Publishing House and Keri Mitchell for helping to create and publish Reflecting the Image. This is not a devotional book, but rather a collection of thoughts and stories which lead us in the direction of reflecting Christ. Click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on


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