Take Your Medicine
By: Keith Olbricht
Have you ever received instructions like this: Take 2 pills twice a day for 10 days? You get that bottle of medicine and you are relieved to know that you hold what you need in your hand, and that in 10 short days you should be all better. You take the medicine on day one, morning and evening. Days 2 and 3, likewise. Then about Day 4 you begin to feel a little better. Day 5, you take it in the morning, but forget that evening. By Day 7 you feel like new, but the bottle of medicine has now gone untouched for 2 days. Ten pills remain. That is no big deal, is it? You feel better, and that is all that matters. Isn’t it? If your illness should return in a few days, who are going to blame: the doctor, the medicine, the pharmacist, or the patient (a.k.a., you)? In the days of Jeremiah, God dealt pretty harshly with His people. They had turned their backs on Him, refused to listen to a word He said, and were just starting to feel the symptoms of their prolonged spiritual illness. False prophets were telling the people that everything was going to be okay, even as Jeremiah was telling them it most certainly was not. God let them know that they were sick, and they were going to have to take their medicine.
But they were feeling better, weren’t they? God even said, “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace” (Jeremiah 8:11). Some of their pain had been dissipated through the temporary consolation provided by the false prophets. In actuality, though, all their comfort did was treat the symptoms but not the disease. Just because you feel better does not mean the disease has gone away.
Sin is like that. There may be all kinds of feelings that go along with our sin (guilt, shame, cowardice, fear, despair), and there may be things that we do or words that others tell us that bring us relief from those feelings. But have we treated the disease, or just the symptoms? The only practitioner of sin-healing is the Great Physician (Matthew 9:12), and the only medicine is the gospel (Romans 1:16). If you are not healed of your sin, whom shall you blame? “Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery For the health of the daughter of my people?” (Jeremiah 8:22).
Take your medicine.