Jeremiah 8

Impenitence brings certain ruin. All the boasted wisdom of man cannot serve to keep him from the consuming judgments pronounced upon those who mock at God’s Word and take their own course.

1 At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:

2 And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.

3 And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts.

4 ¶ Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return?

5 Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.

6 I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.

7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.

8 How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain.

9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?

10 Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

13 ¶ I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.

14 Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD.

15 We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!

16 The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein.

17 For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.

18 ¶ When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.

19 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?

20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Jeremiah 8:4-22 – False Promises of Peace

   This chapter is filled with denunciation of the unreasonable and infatuated obstinacy of Israel. As the horse rushes madly to the fight, so were the people set on evil. The very birds that were sensitive to the laws of migration, and obeyed the call of the sunnier clime, were more impressible than the Chosen People. God often calls us out of the stormy winter blasts to lands of sunny fellowship, but we will not heed. From Jeremiah 5:10 onward we have a description of the desolation about to visit the land. Notwithstanding the promises of false prophets, the invader overran the country and the exiled people might readily begin to question why such a fate had befallen them. To this there was but one answer. Their sin had cut them off from God’s protecting care. Is not this the reason why harvests pass and summers end, and the years roll on, and still you are not saved? There is balm for your wounds, and a physician for your healing, but you do not avail yourselves of them; and God’s love is powerless, however greatly He desires to help you, until you return. The father would do anything for the prodigal, but He has no chance so long as the prodigal remains in the far-land. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Jeremiah 8:22—Is there no balm in Gilead; Is there no physician there?

​   How many of God’s children are discouraged! They have mourned, confessed, and resolved; but they do not expect to see any great alteration in themselves. They have lost hope. Now, it is evident that as long as this spirit prevails, there is very little prospect of improvement. Discouragement can only bring defeat. One of the first objects of a physician is always to awaken hope, for otherwise he knows that his medicines can profit but little. Now, bethink you, what is the cause of your failure? Is it in God? Is there not balm in Gilead? Is there not a physician there? Why, then, is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?
   O wounded, sorrowful soul, there is balm in Gilead, there is a Good Physician. No hurt He cannot heal, no bleeding He cannot staunch, no sickness He cannot cure! Why keep lamenting so bitterly, “My bad heart, my bad heart”? Why speak as though that temper, that predisposition to sin, that habit, were to be lost only in death? Why be uncomforted? Jesus can heal all sicknesses, all diseases, among the people. One touch of the King can heal the soul of whatsoever disease it has.
   Why are you not in health? It is because you resort to quacks, and not to the Divine Physician; or because you do not bare your pain to its roots before Him; or because you refuse to abandon yourself wholly to his prescriptions and treatment. Dare to search out and know the cause of ill-health; for be sure it is on your side, not Christ’s. Then let Him treat you as He will. He will prescribe diet, exercise, fresh air, change of scene. He may use the knife. but He will do his work as dexterously and painlessly as possible. “Who healeth all thy diseases” (Psalm 103:3). —Our Daily Homily